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37 of 38 found the following review helpful:
Wonderful. History comes alive! Great entertainment. May 23, 2003
By Roger J. Buffington
This is great entertainment and great historical drama. It is based upon actual cables between Washington, London, and Moscow during the Second World War, and deals almost exclusively with the relationship between the leaders of these countries throughout the war. Franklin Roosevelt (played by John Lithgow), Winston Churchill (Bob Hoskins) and Josef Stalin (Michael Caine) spring to life as real but imperfect people who nevertheless are great leaders fighting a great war. Incidentally, the film focuses almost solely on the European war--the war against Japan is largely in the background, which has the effect of causing the film to somewhat diminish America's contribution to the war. This is a minor quibble, however. This is a wonderful film.
The miniseries does a wonderful job of juxtaposing dialog between the great war leaders with actual footage of combat scenes from the war. It tells a great story in a highly entertaining fashion, and does a splendid job of showing the viewer some of the problems, controversies, and arguments between the allied powers while the three leaders struggled to hold together the greatest coalition of nations in history.
The striking thing about this film is that it never deviates from its theme--to tell the story of the allied war leaders and the problems they faced. No bogus "love interest" material--this is historical drama with emphasis on the "historical." In fact, only a few actors in this film even have speaking parts--Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Molotov, and Henry Hopkins are the only ones I can recall.
The acting is very fine. I thought Lithgow did a great job as Roosevelt--although he looks and speaks differently than FDR did, he nevertheless pulled it off very well in my opinion. Bob Hoskins was quite literally perfect as Churchill, and as far as I am concerned is virtually indistinguishable from him. Michael Caine was taller and better-looking than Stalin ever was, but nevertheless did a great job in the role. Ed Begley Jr. did well playing Henry Hopkins, although since I have never even seen a photo of the real Hopkins I have no idea if he were true-to-life. Ditto Jan Triska as Molotov.
Wonderful historical drama that will draw and retain the interest of viewers interested in World War 2.
27 of 27 found the following review helpful:
Words Cannot Describe How Incredible This Movie Is Feb 11, 2006
By Kevin D. Wroblewski
This movie is quite literally my all time favorite movie. I saw it originally air on NBC way back when I was in 10th grade and I was awestruck by it. The acting alone blows me away and since I have become an actor and director in my own life, I look to this movie quite frequently for inspiration. The fact that a three hour movie where only five people even speak and every line of dialogue is historical accuracy can so captively hold an audience's attention alone speaks for its greatness. That being said, I can understand that this movie wouldn't be for everyone. In this age of dumbed-down, attention-deprived American culture, I doubt most people would be interested in this movie for more than 5 minutes. But, those who enjoy history or just fine acting, this movie speaks volumes. I actually intend to adapt this as a stage-play in the future. I can only hope that someday it get's released on DVD.
18 of 18 found the following review helpful:
when lions roared Mar 20, 2007
By M. Edwards
This was a very good movie. It gave us a chance to see behind the scenes of policy making in World War II even if there was a little dramatic license taken. I recommend this movie highly to anyone interested in this time period in history
13 of 13 found the following review helpful:
Far better than the Amazon review would have you believe Apr 29, 2008
It is perhaps the nature of the medium that on the internet we continually get reviews which complain that the product would be much better if only it were something completely different than it was intended to be. It is somehow more disappointing in an Amazon-sanctioned review which one hopes is based upon some sense of the purpose of the thing.
In this case, it ought to be understood that the whole raison d'etre of the film is to use only the actual words of the historical figures portrayed as dialogue for the film. Therefore, the "oddly cobbled-together" script to which the Amazon reviewer refers is not cobbled-together at all, but rather an adaptation of written correspondence into monologue or dialogue. It is a brilliant device and admirably executed. The "strange" split-screen scenes of which the reviewer complains are some of the cleverest in the film, turning correspondence that would have taken weeks of transport to travel back and forth in wartime into contemporaneous conversation.
All this with actual footage of the war, the results of the decisions of these men, played out behind them. It is unusual, perhaps, for television, but it is eminently theatrical and hardly "chummy" or "glib." The overall effect of the film is not the sort of jingoism implied by the Amazon reviewer, but a sense of the true complexity and difficulty of the dilemmas these men faced--and the different means each of them utilized in handling them. FDR, for example, hardly comes off well in his acquiescence to Stalin without consultation of Churchill.
Caine is good. Lithgow is not very good. Hoskins is pitch-perfect! The film is highly recommended for its originality, its historicity, and its thoughtful approach to a difficult subject.
11 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Excellent Writing, Good Acting, Historically Sound Oct 23, 2006
By Daniel J. Morlan
"Keep your hands, arms, legs, and feet safely in the ride!"
The make up artists deserve all the praise they can get, but this series, while it has taken some historical liberties, is absolutely fabulous, and timeless. It breaks my heart to not see this series available on DVD. It truly deserves to be produced. I was fresh out of high school when this series hit TV, and I was awe inspired by it. The actual words spoken by FDR, Churchill, and Stalin are used, with a minimal amount of creative fluff to add a bit of frosting to a cake thatis already rich with historical facts, which are creatively put together to bring the viewer back to the time.
I must beg to differ on a few key points, though. I do not believe for a moment that FDR said, "I wanted my administration to end without war." America was preparing for it, and it was an inevitability. The belligerents, and co-belligerents were getting overwhelmingly callous, and ruthless, and had to be checked. FDR knew this, and I find a few scenes utterly unhistoric, and quotes taken out-of-context. Things Churhill said in the house of commons weren't mumbled in blackened dark rooms alone. Nonetheless, the story as it unfolded, the soundtrack, and the delightful acting makes it a gem that would occupy a spot on my shelf the day it comes out if it were released on DVD.
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