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The Battle of Culloden (1964)

Culloden (original title)
A reconstruction of the Battle of Culloden, the last battle to take place on British soil, as if modern TV cameras were present.

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Tony Cosgrove ...
Lt. Ward / Field Interviewer (uncredited)
Olivier Espitalier-Noel ...
Don Fairservice ...
English Officer (uncredited)
George McBean ...
Alexander McDonald (uncredited)
Robert Oates ...
Pvt. Alexander Laing (uncredited)
Patrick Watkins ...
Crying Baby (uncredited)
Peter Watkins ...
Field Interviewer (uncredited)
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Storyline

A reconstruction of the Battle of Culloden, the last battle to take place on British soil, as if modern TV cameras were present.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

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Details

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Release Date:

24 May 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Battle of Culloden  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Narrator: They've created a desert and have called it "peace".
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Connections

Featured in Ex-S: Culloden: Making Reel History (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

My Bonnie Moorhen
(trad.)
Sung by Colin Cater
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User Reviews

 
Shattering History

When Peter Watkins made "Culloden" in 1964, most historical films tended to melodramatic costume dramas - this is as far from that as possible.

This is one of the early uses of "docudrama" technique, using voice-over, rapid editing, hand-held camera and interviews with the 1746 characters. Based on the John Prebble book of the same title, the film is full of terrible facts. The Highland clan system was brutal - as was the English system. None seem attractive by today's standards. The audience is introduced to the effects of cannonade, grapeshot, bayonet & claymore. The non-actors who play the Highland peasants, speak in Gaelic, emphasising the cultural divide between the Highlands and Westminster. Nearly all the dialogue is quotes from the time. Irony piles on irony - the Catholic Highlanders are fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie, a man more familiar with Polish, Italian & French than English or Gaelic. The Protestant Scots & British are fighting for a German - George II. The shaky black & white footage of the British massacre of Scots wounded, is horribly reminiscent of World War II Nazi footage (as it is meant to be). Watkins revulsion at British brutalities and sympathy for the Highlanders, caused a storm of controversy when the BBC televised it. The reaction was so strong, the BBC did not reshow it for years. Edited versions exist, with less violence. I first saw this in the 1960's and it is as strong an argument for Scottish independence as the more colourful "Braveheart". Recommended for all history & military buffs.


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