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Parade's End

4.4 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Set over a tumultuous ten-year period 100 years ago, this five-hour miniseries tells the story of an honorable Englishman coping with his growing disillusion at the end of one privileged era and the beginning of a new, egalitarian one. As the comfortable certainties of Edwardian England begin to give way to the chaos and destruction of WWI, aristocrat Christopher Tietjens (Benedict Cumberbatch) puts principles first by marrying Sylvia (Rebecca Hall), a pretty, manipulative socialite who gives birth to a child who may not be his. While enduring his new wife’s whims and overt indiscretions, Christopher finds himself inexorably drawn to a young suffragette, Valentine Wannop (Adelaide Clemens), but refuses to give in to their mutual passion or end his marriage with Sylvia. The onset of war, combined with the advent of feminism at home and communism in Russia, ushers in far-reaching changes for the English status quo, and gradually erodes the constraints that have kept Christopher tethered to his aristocratic past.

An HBO miniseries based on the tetralogy of novels by Ford Madox Ford and set during World War I, Parade's End is the story of Christopher Tietjens (Benedict Cumberbatch), a proper English gentleman struggling to adapt in a time of immense societal change. Christopher's wife Sylvia (Rebecca Hall) is a modern, even maverick woman who gleefully tests her husband and regularly defies convention. Propriety dictates that Christopher keep up appearances and overlook his wife's indiscretions and manipulative behavior, but the lure of local woman Valentine Wannop (Adelaide Clemens), who's involved in a steadfast battle to earn women the power to vote, threatens everything Christopher believes in. The advent of World War I challenges the staunch conventions of the English aristocracy and eventually leads to Christopher's deployment overseas. There, his unyielding sense of duty and devotion to what he deems proper threatens his comfort, credibility, and success, both personally and professionally. The characters in this series are quite complex and the skilled portrayals by Cumberbatch, Hall, and Clemens leave viewers vacillating in their support of individual characters and between convention and modernism. While the war figures prominently in the story, this is not really a series about the Great War, but an exploration of the advent of modernism, the difficulty of change, and the search for personal happiness and fulfillment. The 28-minute bonus audio interview of writer Tom Stoppard by radio host Elvis Mitchell is quite interesting and informative. --Tami Horiuchi

Special Features

Tom Stoppard NPR Interview

Product Details

  • Actors: Rebecca Hall, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adelaide Clemens
  • Directors: Susanna White
  • Writers: Tom Stoppard, Ford Madox Ford
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: September 10, 2013
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,354 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on March 22, 2013
Format: DVD
Oddly enough, this handsome co-production (BBC and HBO) of "Parade's End" isn't even the first adaptation of this wartime saga that I've seen this month! BBC has also dusted another version from 1964 out of their archives for DVD release, and I watched that one prior to settling down to this most current version. Although it has no particular bearing on my comments about this interpretation, it might be of interest to you if you love the story. It features nice performances (Jeanne Moody is merciless as Sylvia) and boasts a young Judi Dench as the second female lead Valentine. I love Dench, so it was a win-win! Ford Madox Ford's "Parade's End" is an epic tale of love, scandal, marriage, and war. It is also about propriety, integrity, and retaining gentlemanly values as the world crumbles around you. It has a very moral center which is why the 1964 version didn't even feel particularly dated, and this lovely new adaptation is nicely stylized between the modern and the old-fashioned. The original publications were actually a series of four shorter novels released between 1924-28 that were pulled together and packaged under the new title of "Parade's End." And pretty much, with this journey, you're getting the bulk of the tale as related through the first three of these novels (the fourth is largely dismissed critically).

There is no denying the extraordinary efforts that the creators have employed to make this prestige piece a can't miss proposition for adult audiences. With beautiful production values, vivid lead performances and an incredibly literate script from premiere playwright Tom Stoppard, "Parade's End" presents a powerful, but not overstated, character journey set against the backdrop of World War I.
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Format: Blu-ray
I've just completed watching Parade's End for the second time and much to my surprise, it was just as enjoyable as the first time. Second time around watching usually loses something... but not in this case.

The stoic and admirable character of Christopher Tietjens is beautifully played by Benedict Cumberbatch and without question, one of his best roles. He shows such pain in the situations faced - whether it be the result of being honorable or often being caused by his manipulative wife, Sylvia, played by the stunning Rebecca Hall. You cannot help but loathe her character due to all of the crap she pulls on everyone. But in the same breath, you also feel some pity for her - the obvious desperation to be needed and loved by the one man she cannot - maybe even shouldn't - have. Then in walks Valentine Wannop - a kindred spirit to Tietjens and against what is "right", you're rooting for them to be together.

The characters were fantastic and the story is captivating - along with Mr. Cumberbatch's sultry baritone voice. Parade's End offered a view into a time where honor, duty, shame and freedom were completely different than that of today. And after you're done watching - there's this wistfulness of a simpler and more nobler day lingering.

If you enjoy historical fiction (Pride & Prejudice, The Other Boleyn Girl, Persuasion, etc.) - you will most definitely enjoy Parade's End.
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Format: DVD
This HBO miniseries is a masterpiece. It is beautifully written and acted, and unusually accurate historically. The film is emotionally devestating on the incompetence of the British military leadership in WWI, and on the hypocracy of social mores in the period before that war. From excellent novels by Ford Maddox Ford, but even better. Also, this is Benedict Cumberbatch's best film performance to date. Buy the video!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I loved this series - and it gets even better with repeat viewings. If anyone were to delete this from my DVR between now and the time the Region 1 Discs ship I WOULD kill them.

Rebecca Hall is a force, and the rest of the cast is fantastic. Yes it's a bit uneven at times but just go with it - it's worth the ride. This is not a comfy "sit back and be spoon fed" piece by any means. The characters are so layered and complex that you really feel you know them.

After watching Parade's End I saw Benedict in Star Trek - and he was no where NEAR as impressive/appealing without Ford/Stoppards beautiful words and clear motivations. True - he's an actor who can make just about anything he says sound good - but why should he have to? Parade's End is in a word - DELICIOUS!!

The physical changes in Cumberbatch's character over the 10 years of this are at times a bit jarring, but it is 10 years, and he is playing a fat, clumsy, ugly, blond Yorkshireman - if you can imagine. (He does get "prettier" as it goes on - if that's important to you).

After I watched this - I picked up the audio of all 4 of Ford's books (42 hours). The detail, stream of consciousness content, backstory, and follow up are whip cream with a cherry. I highly recommend it! Tom Stoppard did a masterful job of capturing the books in his script - as I could NEVER have figured out what was going on in the books had I not seen this first. Talk about jumping around...

Personally, Parade's End is my clear #2 (for Cumberbatch) - right behind 2004 BBC's Hawking - with the dazzling Sherlock at #3. It really is that good.

Also note - that the 6 negative reviews right now are all technical/operator problems that have nothing to do with the content. This should have more stars.
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