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The Plague (History Channel)

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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(Feb 28, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

It began much like the common cold. Yet within a day fever took over black swellings the size of baseballs appeared on the neck and finally a highly contagious bloody cough quickly sealed the victim's fate. During the worst biological disaster in the history of mankind the so-called black death released an indiscriminate fury which shook the very foundations of human order. Religious hysteria began to break out and in desperation frenzied masses scrambled to find a scapegoat. When all was said and done nearly one-third of Europe's population had been completely wiped out and devastated survivors were left to contend with a world forever changed both socially and economically. In this feature-length special THE HISTORY CHANNEL-® investigates the origins of this devastating moment in human history and explores the many questions surrounding the terrifying possibility of a modern-day biological threat. DVD Features: Interactive Menus; Scene Selection (Note - shot in HD)

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CSTK7O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,746 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Without going into too much detail, this documentary is amazing. The speakers are all experts in their respective fields, and the historical accuracy is beyond reproach. I found no such "religious hatred" anywhere in the film; again, pure historical accuracy. (To put it very VERY lightly, medieval Christians weren't exactly friendly to their Jewish neighbors. Look into it before getting all defensive, please.)
An excellent base of information for anyone with an interest in this watershed event in human history.
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Format: DVD
The Plague is a very fine documentary by The History Channel; it gives us a great deal of information about the "Black Death" or what was probably the bubonic plague that killed up to half of Europe's and Asia's population when it spread uncontrollably in the late 1340s. While this film is extremely educational, there are some not so pretty scenes (the flagellants walking from village to village, for example) that make me want to warn you that small children and sensitive people could be upset by some of the footage. On the other hand, however, it is an excellent telling of the story; and the pace moves along very well. There's lots of time spent to make sure that we really understand what happened and how; things never felt rushed. In addition, the quality of the print is excellent.

Some may say that the reenactments of events that occurred during The Plague are overdone or poorly acted but I thought it was all done rather professionally and with great care. I particularly like the way the filmmakers wove together reenactment scenes with interviews with today's scholars who know so much about the illness; and the narration was also done very well. It is through all these things put together that we get the complete story of this outbreak of bubonic plague and how it rushed through so much of the world so fast; and we see how physicians of the day were powerless to cure people of it or prevent it for that matter. We see the flagellant movement gaining strength and then waning in Germany; we learn how the Church was challenged by the devastation and we also learn about wealthy people who tried to escape the plague by fleeing cities for country estates where they were more isolated.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A perfect E squared (entertainment/education). Very well done and interesting documentary on mankinds deadliest killer ever! If you enjoy medieval histroy then this is a must. The plague transformed the face of Europe and affected life in inumerable ways. I highly recommend this entertaining and educational DVD.
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Format: DVD
As a high-school teacher for history and English foundations, I must utilize movies as a visual aide supplement to help them connect with the characters, setting, dialogue... I strongly recommend using this dvd to support your curriculum to teach on all levels of student learning (auditory, kinesthetic, visual).
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Format: DVD
I teach 9th grade English, and show my students this documentary before we read Romeo and Juliet. The show is educational, informative, and keeps my Freshmen's attention from beginning to the end. Highly recommended.
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Format: DVD
Here's a heads-up: You can actually get this entire 90-minute documentary for free as a special feature on the History Channel's "Dark Ages" DVD, a far superior product to this one since "Dark Ages" is a far superior production. That's where I viewed "The Plague" myself and I must admit I was disappointed. It appears "The Plague" was done on the cheap and heavily padded out, extending what should be a 30-minute documentary into an hour and a half of relentlessly depressing imagery and scare tactics designed to attract germophobic viewers. This film might be riveting if you've just survived major surgery and relish seeing images of people worse off than you, but it's pretty slow going otherwise.

First, the re-enactments are repetitive and poorly budgeted, with what appear to be the same extras continually coughing up blood with title cards like "London 1347" or "Avignon 1348" superimposed over scenes which are indistinguishable in their locales from one another. Secondly, the same four or five historical experts keep popping up throughout, adding little that's new. The narrator himself punctuates their intelligent commentary with really stupid and over-simplified claims about medieval Europe in general and medieval Catholicism in particular, using words like "religion" and "superstition" interchangeably, and overplaying the ignorance of an era in which European culture was actually on the rise. It's like watching history for 5th graders.

Thirdly, this film that mocks the alleged brutality and fears of medieval Europe revels in the very same thing, giving us continual images of sadistic Christians punishing themselves and others as they seek a scapegoat (including an unfortunate group of Jews in one case) for the plague while the pope hides in Avignon.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a very informative documentary. It contains some good historical information, however, it seems fairly repetitious in many places. They frequently repeated the same info, as if trying to drag it out to fill the time span of the episode. Not one of the History Channel's better documentaries, but it did have some good info.
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