Friday, November 12, 2010

First World War (2003)

One of a small handful of great documentaries on the Great War (two of the others were reviewed over the last two days).

This series of ten episodes nicely explains the war simply and directly. It also manages to cover a variety of other subjects that most other documentaries and books on the subject don't, for example the fighting in the Italian mountains. In this series brief number of episodes it manages to explain what happened and why better than almost any documentary you're ever going to run across and it's better than most books I've read on the war as well.

I'm a student of the First World War and I find it hard to find good films on the subject. Most are dull affairs that rehash the same old facts and figures using a limited number of film clips. Here the filmmakers have broadened their net covering a wide variety of subjects, but also using footage of many of the locations shot today. The result is a series that makes the war very current and alive, no longer is it a far away and long ago war, but one that happened in places that still exist.

Its magical.

Its so good that I found that after the second episode I was rationing the episodes out since I didn't want the mere ten to run out too quickly. This is a must see not only for people wanting to know about the war but also wanting to know about how we got to today.

This has run on the History Channel and its related cable stations, however its available on DVD and that's how you'll want to go because this is something you'll want to see repeatedly. (and the bonus episode is also great)

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