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Alfred the Great (I) (1969)

M  -  Drama | History | War  -  1 October 1969 (Hong Kong)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 708 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 1 critic

While Old England is being ransacked by roving Danes in the 9th century, Alfred is planning to join the priesthood. But observing the rape of his land, he puts away his religious vows to ... See full summary »



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Title: Alfred the Great (1969)

Alfred the Great (1969) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Prunella Ransome ...
Colin Blakely ...
Alan Dobie ...
Vivien Merchant ...
Julian Chagrin ...
John Rees ...
Christopher Timothy ...
Peter Blythe ...


While Old England is being ransacked by roving Danes in the 9th century, Alfred is planning to join the priesthood. But observing the rape of his land, he puts away his religious vows to take up arms against the invaders, leading the English Christians to fight for their country. Alfred soundly defeats the Danes and becomes a hero. But now, although Alfred still longs for the priesthood, he is torn between his passion for God and his lust for blood. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


At 22 he gained a throne and saved a kingdom See more »


Drama | History | War


M | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 October 1969 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

A King Is Born  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


A 3/4 sized replica of the White Horse in Berkshire was recreated on the slopes of Knockma Hill on County Galway. It was designed and cut 18 inches deep, 280 feet long and 60 feet at its widest and filled with about 17 tons of plaster. The Berkshire White Horse, which dates from before the English/Viking battles was the scene of King Alfred's encounter with the Viking invaders. See more »

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User Reviews

Alfred the Guts-Ache ?!!
30 May 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This movie is dire. It paints England in the squalid colours of cliché and melodrama, where there should be character and drama. The script is mainly at blame here, with its stagy monologues and all-too-often speeches. But, "once more unto the breach" this is not. It is wooden and bereft of any real sense of emotion or motivation for the characters. As a result we are dragged through the major events of Alfred's life without any real notion of what made the man tick. What we have instead is a real Bastard - a man who is arrogant and tyrannical, self opinionated and full of self loathing. So you wonder if you care at all.

David Hemmings is as wooden as the script itself and poor Michael York suffers so much from being a stereotype that he might as well be a cartoon character. Nothing works here. It's long, it's boring, and Hemmings ranting in yet another tirade of opinion does nothing but annoy.

The battle scenes are awful - and I don't mean in the light of today's battle scenes. I mean these are terribly choreographed jumbles which, even when they are trying to be clever with military formations, just look like a load of soccer hooligans going at each other in a field. It's wholly uninspiring stuff! Bare in mind that Spartacus was 1960 and The 300 Spartans (which the film alludes to) was 1961, El Cid 1963, the list goes on... and while this film is an English and not Sword'n'Sandal Epic I see no reason why it could not at least aspire to set pieces such as feature in The Vikings (1958).

The Danes wander around chanting in formation and the chanting is nothing short of infuriating because it goes on and on and on throughout the entire picture. Also the depiction of these pagans is nothing short of ignorant. Yes, certain Gods are mentioned, but any understanding of how these people really thought of them and worshipped them is sold down the river for yet more clichés of the "evil-pagan" vs the "good-christian" - utter rubbish! There are no "real" scenes of Danes at all, and it is films like this that merely fuel ignorance, not dispel it. It all stinks of really bad direction and ill-thought out production.

The colour is drab and lifeless, and life is depicted as not much short of squalid, which we know it wasn't. I kept expecting the Monty Python team to pop up, "there's some lovely mud down 'ere" (a lá The Holy Grail). The costume department do seem to have been more on the ball, but the dull colours only amplify the banal palate of the picture, with it's uninspired wallpaper score and it's pseudo-theatrical pretensions. Even the photography and the editing are dull.

Only Ian McKellen appears to come out of this picture without egg on his face - and that's because he looks wholly uncomfortable in the film, probably wondering what the hell he's doing in this tripe.

And the "Gutts-Ache" of my title is a favoured saying of Alfred in the film awe inspiring script - "you make my guts ache"!!! Dross...

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