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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

By far the best film on Columbus

Author: edjavega from Barcelona, Spain
13 December 2005

I saw this in late 1985 on TV and was pleasantly surprised by its very high quality and by the presence of so many recognizable names and faces (Faye Dunaway, Gabriel Byrne, Rosanno Brazzi, Raf Vallone, Eli Wallach, Max von Sydow, Oliver Reed, Virna Lisi, Nicol Williamson, Elpidia Carrillo,etc.) in the supporting cast.

In 1992 there were these two films on Columbus and neither holds a candle to this superb TV miniseries. They are almost a travesty to the great achievement of the Genoese explorer. This TV movie on the other hand properly does him justice.

Gabriel Byrne as Columbus and Faye Dunaway as Queen Isabela of Spain give memorable performances. It was good that this series did not imply that there was a romance or romantic attraction between the two, unlike in the two 1992 films, as that has never been established for sure by historians.

The script is also balanced in that it shows important facets about the story and the period: Colombus' drive and determination against all odds; Spanish religious zeal after the expulsion of the Moors; the vision of the Spanish monarchs in supporting Colombus when the Portuguese King did not; the courage of the seamen who sailed with Colombus, but also, their cruelty to the Indians who were just defending their land; Columbus' skills as a seaman but ineptness as an administrator; the beauty of both Renaissance Europe and pre-Columbian America. It's all here.

This is clearly a high-budget affair, with its expensive sets and costumes. And remember, this was in the days before CG, so the ships you see here are real.

The music is also inspiring and for opera fans, you get the bonus of hearing the great Plácido Domingo sing Italian-language lyrics to the main theme at the end credits.

THIS TV FILM SHOULD BE MORE POPULAR THAN IT IS!

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

One of the best!

Author: Steve Bradfield from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
9 December 2004

I first caught this in about 1988, and the next time it was on I taped it. Far, far better than either of the two 1992 'Columbus' movies, this one pays great attention to the details of his life, struggles to feed his young family and to gain backing for his dream. It then goes on to show his successes and his failures. Great acting, great costuming, great everything. For some reason I found myself especially pleased by the constant referral of his name in Italian: Christoforo Columbo. Faye Dunaway is subdued and authoritative as Isabella, and even wears the proper armor when accepting the surrender of the leader of the Moors.

If this is ever on DVD, don't miss it!

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Greatest TV movie ever!

10/10
Author: kenandraf from Honolulu, Hawaii
10 January 2001

I was caught off guard when I found out later on that this was a TV movie!If this is so,then it may be the greatest TV movie I have ever seen.This was very uncompromising and really dealt with as much realism as can be depicted all the while keeping the audience entertained and enthralled.Splendid casting and directing as well.I highly recommend this film to anybody who really wants to learn the circumstances regarding the Columbus journeys and the repercussions it created in Europe and the new world.Done in the uncompromising tradition and style of "Roots".Not for typical Hollywood formula fans.For this reason,mainstream has kept this classic in the closet so to speak.Bravo!

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

the best TV miniseries ever made

10/10
Author: daisuke69 from California
15 May 2005

Not only is this by far the best film adaptation of Columbus and his life, it is very probably the best TV miniseries ever made. Nothing I have ever seen surpasses the setting and acting given out in this series, this is so good that it should be shown at schools religiously in order to teach them about columbus' voyage (even if current wisdom no longer reads that columbus discovered America).

I have watched this series at least 5 times and it never ceases to enthrall me. The first time I watched it I must have been about 8 and ever since then when I think of columbus I think of Gabriel Byrne, this one performance seen at an early age made me a fan for life of his work.

ALL acting is superb, wardrobe is out of this world. There isn't a single thing I could criticize in it.

I echo the other comments... if this ever comes out on DVD I'm buying a copy in case I ever have kids!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

an outstanding mini-series about a great man & his dream

10/10
Author: spj-4 from Australia
12 December 2007

I chanced upon this mini-series soon after my parents died & I was enthralled by it!

My father was a sailor & his love of the sea, the wild blue yonder beyond & man's curiosities were most impressive to someone who prefers having his feet on the ground but loves being near the water! So this "Christopher Columbus" mini-series was the more appealing to me at the time!

Having signed on as a 19-year-old so long ago, he could not expected his youthful idealism to be a contract unrelenting, until he was 31-years-old. As was the case at the time. And often forced to encounter tolerance & undisciplined natures & contributions from his sons, MUCH beyond what he was forced to tolerate! Surely, no youth of today, in the modern world of contemporary mass-media, would accept such binding obligations of blindness to commands of superior-ranked but often dictatorial officers!

While his family were raised to speak their mind in his absence! Surely this must have infuriated him! He was ship-shape but he came to expect such questioning to tempered by humility & obedience, but found it was not reciprocated much by the family he also sought to serve! As such, in many ways, he was a double loser in this world's terms, always the servant, but it was on such as his humility & self-control that lands were conquered by the likes of Christopher Columbus & Captain James Cook.

His consolations of life as many a sea-man of good heart, was to bury a few quiet ales whenever the opportunity arose & burrowed his head into the Sunday papers, for comic light-hearted relief & look for a naval or cowboy movie of simplicity on TV viewed from the armchair comfort he had worked hard for in many voyages. Surely still seeking a tilt of the prevailing tide, in his favour, that the world did not otherwise allow!

The magnificence of Christopher Columbus' immense & unlikely undertaking, was far from his patient & mostly unanswered appeals for his journey that was to open the dimensions of the Northern Hemisphere beyond imaginings. While Spain was persecuting anyone who dared to think differently among their own, in an era of inquisitions & persecution of those on a whim accused of heresy. But so this foreigner, eventually by much patience & personal hardship, was given an opportunity to lead an expedition that would yield remarkable treasures for the Spanish, yet just as remarkably came to conversely have his role diminished in the eyes of many to the tune of bigoted religiousness!

For me, this fine mini-series, strongly built on a major article I chanced upon in a "National Geographic" magazine of maybe 20 years ago, that I don't have access to now. But what I read of the epic encounter of great patience & faith by Columbus in finding even an opportunity to land on hostile coastlines of furious seas, was fleshed out all the more in this fine dramatic production, seemingly faithful to historical fact.

"Christopher Columbus", the mini-series will remain close to my heart as long as I am privileged to have it so, no matter how stark & ambivalent the memories! EVERYTHING about this production is TOP CLASS!!!

I would liken it & similarly recommend Keith Michell's version of the adventures of Captain James Cook!!!

They are remarkably similar in vision, grandeur of their accomplishments heralded, yet ABSURDLY, in the eyes of many, mostly taken for granted in their brave & selfless journeys of immense sacrifice & danger, to themselves & their crews & those they sought to bring towards the modern day reality where we are able to communicate across the planet in seconds, without leaving the firm ground we mostly live on.

This mini-series on "Christopher Columbus" also features the fine acting of stars like Gabrielle Byrne & Faye Dunaway. The settings are magnificent & the whole thing is put to together like an artistic masterpiece carefully & accurately restored, with clear research & fore-thought in its production.

Highly recommended!

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

This needs to be put on DVD!!!

10/10
Author: allanjenks-1
16 May 2002

This is an excellent movie (Tv Series). PLEASE get this on DVD!!! The acting is great. The producers outdid themselves. Gabriel Bryne is good in anything he does, and this is no exception. Max vonSydow likewise. I hope 'the powers that be' put this excellent series on DVD very very soon.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

We were excluded from the credits, Why??

Author: abbymus (abby4mus@yahoo.com) from Dominican Republic
21 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hi, back in 1985 I was a 25 yr old man, living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic who went for a casting to a fancy Hotel. I was casted as an extra but then since I spoke English fluently I got a couple of lines in this movie. My problem with it is, that even though I was in the set for more than 6 days, getting paid for appearing everyday at Columbus door as one of his Guards and doing my thing, I could not find my name in the credits, and also one of my friends who played a much more important part in this movie (He played a priest who was in the middle of a Caos) who did an excellent job, one of our best actors, also was excluded from the credits. We are actors and this is what we do here. I am an American citizen and I know for a fact that in the majority of the movies I've seen, even if I just cough loud enough they will give me my credit for that and it shows up in the credits as COUGHING GUY: ABBEY LAMA, so for us, not showing our names in the credits is pretty bad, because in our curriculum's we always write what we have done in the past, and if somebody checks this out, they will say we are lying and we are not. Thanks, that is all I had to say

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