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"Centennial" More at IMDbPro »

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65 out of 83 people found the following review useful:

THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE .....Television or Cinema

Author: mikehess from United States
23 December 2004

I first read the book Centennial in 1976 and was absolutely amazed at how mere words seemed to actually take me back in time. The formation of the earth, the dinosaurs, the buffalo and the native Indians and the migration westward left me spellbound. I found myself re-reading chapters just to be with the characters again. And then, in 1978 NBC television somehow managed to bring all this adventure right into our homes. In anticipation of this event, I purchased a new technological marvel just introduced to the public, an RCA VCR player. This thing weighed a ton and cost an incredible amount of money at that time, but it was worth it. I have since purchased the VHS to be able to view this masterpiece whenever I please. How good is this movie-mini series? In my opinion, it's the BEST MOVIE EVER MADE, bar none. Being able to watch 20 plus hours of character development entwined with an engrossing story is pure enjoyment. How many others films have you ever watched and felt as though you actually knew these people. And felt a sense of sadness when they died off. Robert Conrad, Richard Chamberlan, Alex Karas, Gregory Harrison and Dennis Weaver gave performances of a lifetime, as did all the other talented people in the movie. Just think of all the stars that participated in making this mini-series. Can you imagine a studio trying to do that today? It will NEVER HAPPEN again. Besy way to enjoy the movie? Watch it with your family. Since 1999, my family and I watch this classic every year at Christmas time when the kids are on their 2 week break. We spread the entire 20 plus hours out over just 4 consecutive evenings. With mountains of popcorn closely at hand each night, we all take part, each of us quoting lines from the many characters even before they are spoke on the screen. When beginning this tradition, my youngest daughter was 9 years old and cried loudly when ever any major character had died, especially Levi Zendt. My youngest son is 4 and will have many opportunities to watch this great movie. Except for a rather weak final episode, this is the "ALL TIME GREATEST FILM EVER MADE". And one of the best stories ever told.

Who do we have to convince to put this on DVD ???

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43 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely the best

Author: roz1953 from London. England
27 July 2004

I agree with all comments regarding a DVD of this film. It is by far the best mini series ever.

Brilliant acting. Amazing photography. The costumes were incredible. And well researched.

The portrayal of the Native American people was very well done.

This should now be available for new generations to enjoy and understand how hard life was back then. The pioneer spirit should be allowed to live on in this creation.

The whole crew on this venture must be very proud of this masterpiece.


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27 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

"We have to look to the past and get back to some basic principles if there's gonna be any future worth having."

Author: Righty-Sock ( from Mexico
14 December 2008

"Centennial" is a great mini-series to discover America… It goes over a span of 200 years…It's about Pasquinel, a solitary trader with the Indians, who made his way through territory no white man has ever traveled, defending his trade and his life… It's about a man from Scotland who had come seeking solitude, but he found friendship and love… His name was Alexander McKeag… It's about the legendary Arapaho leader, Lame Beaver, who knew that the coming of the white man was the beginning of change…

"Centennial" is also about strong men, men of destiny and vision… It's also about stubborn men who only saw little in the windy, water-shy stretch of plains to stop for on their trek to a new place called Oregon…

"Centennial" is also about men of integrity like the young Mennonite named Levi Zendt who could not know it at the time that he was destined to leave the home he loved and share the dream of Alexander McKeag… It's about traders like Zendt, and soldiers like Maxwell Mercy… It's about men of honor, like Major Mercy who worked tirelessly to bring about a lasting peace… Men of vision like the stubborn German from the Volga named Hans Brumbaugh, who had walked from St. Louis to find gold… It's about the Englishman Oliver Seccombe, who would found an empire from the dream of a lifetime… A ranch that would spread from the Rocky Mountains on the west to the Nebraska border with Longhorns driven north from Texas by John Skimmerhorn and R. J. Poteet…

"Centennial is about many more characters like Clay Basket, the fiery Indian woman who shared the life Pasquinel loved best; Lise Bockweiss, the golden-haired lady of St. Louis; Pasquinel brothers whose names would strike terror into the hearts of all white men who thought of crossing the plains; Frank Skimmerhorn, the obsessed militia colonel who led a disgraceful massacre against Cheyenne chief, Broken Thumb; the frontier lawman Alex Dumire who would fall prey to a kind of crime the presence of his badge and gun could not prevent; the traveling actors, Mervin and Maude Wendell who founded its fortune power and prestige on stolen money and a murder…

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28 out of 33 people found the following review useful:


Author: ( from United States
1 April 2005

I strongly agree that Centennial is arguably the best mini-series ever made. The production is top drawer, with wonderful locations, costumes, musical score, cast, and direction. It is at its best from the beginning up through the cattle drive segment, and weakens somewhat thereafter, especially at the end. This is a small criticism, however. The one particular thing that has always stuck in my mind over the years is the incredible, standout performance by Robert Conrad as Pasquinel. For most of his career, his best work was in lighter vehicles such as "The Wild, Wild West," and never distinguished by any particular depth of characterization. In the role of Pasquinel, however, Conrad delivered a performance of which any actor could be justly proud. He gives the character all of the realism and believability one could possibly want, and conveys the qualities, both good and bad, which make Pasquinel such a compelling figure. If only for that performance alone, Centennial is well worth watching.

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34 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

A Great Story Told Well

Author: d_maccarter from Wyoming, USA
21 November 2004

I read the book Centennial in 1976 when it was first published in hardback. Its the only book I ever read that kept me up all night. A truly amazing story of the west, as it really was.

I missed the mini series in 1978 for some reason and just happened to see it available in the public library and took it in in one gulp. All I can say is WOW! What have I been missing all these years. Thank god for home video.

This is as close to a perfect presentation of Michener's novel as I could ever imagine. If you are in love with the west and it's history you will love every minute you spend watching this delightful program. It's characters capture every nuance of those in the novel. Romance, treachery, adventure, loyalty, history, the whole spectrum of humanity is here and well done too. And a word about the cast. How was it possible to assemble such a grand group. Just terrific. The only thing done lately to compare with this is "Gods and Generals".

If you love history I recommend it to you.

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22 out of 30 people found the following review useful:


Author: Flamio from Ohio
19 August 2002

I watched WAY TOO MUCH T.V. in the 70's, but for lucky dogs like you that's cool! Centennial was probably my favorite mini of all of them! It covered generations of a few main families through 200yrs in Colorado, and was narrated awesomely by David Janssen, and had a mystery to boot! I don't have enough space to review this whole series, but here are a few notes: Yes, Robert Conrad and the first few episodes were the best in my opinion, and in the opinions of others on this site. His portrayal of Pasquinel was incredible. A French Canadian coming to America to hunt beaver and start a life here is the American dream! Just ask Arnold if you doubt me! Roots, Shogun (Richard C. was in that one too), and Shaka Zulu also were all excellent mini-series in this vein but Centennial hit home here in America. Not many of us can relate to the other three biggies, but Centennial was U.S. all the way. Other big name actors that did a great job in this were Andy Griffith, Alex Karras (Hans Brumbaugh, man he did a great job for a new actor!), Dennis Weaver, Dan Janssen, Crenna, Carrera, Chamberlain, Kellerman, Keith, Dalton, Vaughn, I could go on forever! A POWER cast indeed! What in the heck was the budget on this thing! Some library's have this, rent it now! Hopefully AMC will show this next year uncut for it's 25th Anniv. and hopefully it will also come out on a DVD set! I'll be the first in line!!! FLAMIO

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25 out of 36 people found the following review useful:


Author: Tia Chin
23 November 2003

Centennial is the single best mini series ever made, if not the best movie ever made. Nothing else can nor will ever compare with it. AND before someone states Lonesome Dove is better... it isn't. The "Cowboys with John Wayne was better than that. Centennial has totally believable characters doing what they were born to do... they all work together to tell a rich full story. Rich character development and true character development on all fronts... If you have never seen this, watch it with your family [everyone can watch from 6 to 116) and remember it for what it truly is, a true tale of people doing their best when times were at their worst. If only there were movies still being made like this. All people want now are shoot em ups or sex movies, neither of which I like. This is a movie people can sit down and watch, and feel good afterwards.

The only other true treasure I can think of is the 10th Kingdom... silly? yes of course but it is really fun to watch and enjoy. I may be Chineese but I can appreciate art and but of these movies are that. The Lost Kingdom is another of my favs, but not that good... And don't talk about the 9th Kingdom, Jonnie D. really scares me with that one...

Maybe someone should start a poll to get this released on DVD. There are so many totally BAD movies/series out on DVD. And yet this is not available. WHY doesn't the studio that made this release it on DVD? All I have is the 12 volume set on VHS, and it's almost worn out!

Television came a long way when this was released, but has regressed backwards. Even my people were shown for their part in this truly American saga. But... If only...


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15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

TV's greatest masterpiece

Author: ( from South Carolina
8 May 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In excess of 20 hours, when I had finished watching it, I wanted to start back at the beginning and see it all over again. Since this is a long mini-series, the characters and storyline are well developed. As characters grow old and die off, you feel a sadness that one rarely feels for a TV or movie character.

The lack of total good in any character adds to the realism. For instance, you find Pasquinel (Robert Conrad) very likeable, despite the fact that he is unfaithful to whomever he marries. As in real life, good does not always triumph over evil, as we painfully see when Pasquinel's "half-breed" son, Marcel, attempts to peacefully give himself up, and it brutally murdered.

And one better be prepared to have a whole box of tissues at hand during a most incredible scene where the army attacks a small tribe of Indian elderly, women and children and a young messenger boy evolves from hating the Indians to finding out very quickly that he does possesses a conscience and how painful that can be. The other scene which will haunt you long after it is over is where Lost Eagle stares tearfully into space as he holds a worthless trinket given to him by the U.S. government in exchange for his giving up his land and, more symbolically, his entire way of life and history.

The best way that I can explain how good Centennial is to put it this way: if the first few hours were chopped out and released as a movie the same year as Dances With Wolves, Centennial would have easily won the Academy award for Best Picture.

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20 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

The most memorable miniseries ever

Author: muximas from Antwerp, Belgium
13 January 2003

When looking up what Timothy Dalton had done over the years I saw Centennial in the list... immediately it brought back a lot of memories. I saw the series when I was 12 years old and I was very impressed with it. The way Pasquinel ventured out alone into the unknown and made a living by trading beaver skins, the way he meets his indian wife, the friendship he develops with Alexander McKeag, The honest Levi Zendt, the great cattle drive... after all those years those things are still in my memory and I recommend this series to everyone who has a chance of seeing it.

I hope they put it on DVD because this is one series I would really like to show to my children, I am sure they would love it just as much as I did back then.

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

If You Love History

Author: Richard Royal from United States
8 August 2008

If you love history, you will love this film. How many times have you watched a film or miniseries and wondered, what happened next? You need not worry with Centennial. As a historian I hate loose ends. There are none here.

We so often forget what "history" a geographical place has. This ties the history of a specific place through multiple eras very nicely. It follows the history of the individuals and families that inhabit an area from the late 1700s through the 1970s.

This story happens to takes place in Colorado. But even if you do not like the west or frontier stories, it does not matter. The story will captivate you. Every place has a history like this.

I watched it as a teenager in the 70s, taped it on VHS in the 80s and finally have it on DVD now. My wife and I watched it in under a week--all 21 hours! The acting and cinematography are good, but secondary--the story will enthrall you!

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