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Queen Victoria's Empire VHS


4.3 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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VHS Tape
(Jul 17, 2001)
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Product details

  • Actors: Lawrence James, Donald Sutherland, Frances McDevitt, Maxine Berg, David Hardiman
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Number of tapes: 2
  • Studio: Pbs (Direct)
  • VHS Release Date: July 17, 2001
  • Run Time: 219 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00005MIR0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,124 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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Editorial Reviews


During the first half of the 19th century Great Britain underwent an extraordinary transformation. The Industrial Revolution turned farm laborers into factory workers, goods manufactured in England were sold around the world, and successive governments struggled to reconcile the rapid growth of national wealth and prestige with terrible social inequality. In 1837, the 18-year-old Queen Victoria was crowned, and this epic documentary explores the vital role she played in the events of that tumultuous century.

The first episode focuses on the consequences of the Industrial Revolution, from the engineering feats of Isembard Kingdom Brunel to the horrors of the Irish famine. Victoria's beloved husband, Albert, emerges as a powerful force, and his belief in expansion through trade set the agenda for the early years of Victoria's reign. The second episode, "Passage to India," examines the growth of British power in India and the consequences of the new imperialist mood. The final two episodes deal with the problems of imperialism and the eventual decline of British power. After the death of Albert the queen was drawn into an ideological struggle between Disraeli and Gladstone, two prime ministers with opposite views. Disraeli was an expansionist, while Gladstone found imperialism repugnant. Their battleground was to be Africa, where the ambitious Cecil Rhodes would draw the Britain into the Boer War to further his own dreams of empire.

Queen Victoria's Empire conveys the complex social and political events in the 19th-century British Empire with admirable clarity. Any project with such a massive scope can only touch on many events, but this documentary offers a fascinating introduction to a remarkable historical period. --Simon Leake

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November 19, 2008
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September 5, 2001
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