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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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Release Date:

24 May 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Battle of Culloden  »

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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

Referenced 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

 
Raw and realistic, but a bit loose with some facts
22 August 2008 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This is one of the earliest examples of a "docu-drama" and one of the best. It's realism causes the viewer to feel true empathy for the participants---especially for the Scottish Jacobites.

While it's certainly true that the English and their Scottish allies were better equipped and had a more disciplined, unified command structure, the circumstances of the Highlanders weren't quite as dire as indicated. Many were indeed poor and malnourished, but generally not to the degree depicted in the film, where almost all are dressed in rags and covered in filth. It is also claimed that most didn't have firearms, yet the majority were armed with pistols or muskets of local or French manufacture. Their lack of discipline and cohesive command caused them to rely on the shock tactics that served them so well at the Battle of Prestonpens, and many dropped their muskets and charged after firing a volley. Interestingly, the English tally of captured weapons after the battle contained many more guns than swords. Swords; especially claymores; were expensive, and most of the poorer men without guns carried axes or pikes.

The contingent of French trained Scots and Irish, equipped and drilled in the same manner as the Redcoats, was larger than shown in the film. And the English forces contained significant numbers of both lowland and highland Scots. Although the English were well provided with artillery, most of their cannons were small three pounders used in urban street fighting or in the American woodlands where they were known as "grasshoppers". The standard light field gun was the six pounder. Despite these qualifications, the battle scenes are graphic and realistic.

Watkins makes it seem as if the Scots were true revolutionaries asserting their ethnic identity, when, in actual fact, Prince Charlie was simply a wannabe monarch seeking to restore the Stuarts, and probably as disdainful of the Highlanders as the Hanoverians were. The modern parallels he tries to draw simply aren't there.

Despite the above, this is a great movie that should be on every history buff and cinema enthusiast's list.


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