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"Bangkok Hilton"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Bangkok Hilton" More at IMDbPro »

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28 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Certainly the best mini-series ever created.

Author: Dino-38 from Moscow, Russia
23 July 1999

When I first have seen these Tv-series in Russia, I didn't have an opportunity to see it from the beginning, but I was surprised. It's the best TV-film I have ever seen, and it's Kidman's best performance. KEN Cameron did a great job. So does Grame Revell's fantastic, brilliant score. It grips you so much, you are nervous, it's so WONDERFULLY and realstically acted and directed, you even forget that you're in front of your TV set. By the way, the scenes of Nicole Kidman's redemption were borrowed later by Frank Darabont in his adaptation of Stephen King's "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption". It's such a pity that this movie was not taken too seriously and it passed by too quickly, and at the same time we have ridiculous bad acted features like Titanic. By the way, I managed to buy a video with these series, and I'm so HAPPY!

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20 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Superior work from Australia.

Author: Rene Hasekamp from the Netherlands
25 April 2002

This is the ultimate TV mini-series. Everything is right. The story, the acting, the filming, the length, the locations, what not?

It looks as if even the prison scenes have been filmed in a real Thai prison, although one might doubt if permission would have been given for that by the Thai authorities if the script was known to them. All the other Bangkok scenes are definitely filmed on real locations. Also the airport scenes. They were definitely filmed at Bangkok Airport. I can guarantee this, knowing the place well. In this series Nicole Kidman broke through as an actress and she would deserve an Oscar, if there were one for this category (TV movies). Her acting is so perfectly natural and it looks as if she is going through the events herself, like in a documentary. One seldom sees such superior acting in a TV mini-series. All the locations have been chosen extremely well. I happen to know Bangkok quite well and I would not have been able to suggest any better locations. The movie last for about 4.5 hours, but this is not one minute too long. One needs every scene in the movie and it never bores. One can hardly believe that 4.5 hours have passed when the end credits appear. Time flies and if one looks at a video or DVD version it is impossible to interrupt it.

This one clearly shows that a TV mini-series can be of high quality and can be far superior to a movie, made for theaters. We can be happy that there is a DVD version (at least there is one in Europe). Everybody will want to see this one more than once. Superior work from Australia! Without any hesitation: 10/10!

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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A great miniseries

Author: skottyrock from headquarters, Tokyo
16 October 2001

One of Nicole Kidman's finest roles. 1989's Bangkok Hilton is everything 1999's Brokedown Palace isn't. It's a well-written story with wonderfully crafted characters. Kidman is spot on throughout the film; a very convincing portrayal of a young woman whose life begins and almost ends when she sets off in search of her father. The supporting cast: Denholm Elliot (from the Indiana Jones series) and Hugo Weaving (The Matrix) are wonderful in their supporting roles. Highly recommended viewing. 5 stars.

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:


Author: CineCritic2517 from The Netherlands
4 March 2008

When I first saw the series, I was 15 years old. Ever since I saw it, the first thing that came to mind whenever I heard the name Nicole Kidman was this series. And it was also something that tended to come up at the dinnertable when we were going back discussing television-shows.

Now, some 17 years later I accidentally stumbled upon the DVD and I was rather reserved about the thought of seeing it again because what else but disappointment was there to gain from seeing something which held a good memory but was surely going to be completely outdated.

Imagine my surprise that although it was rather dated, it had actually aged so well. Another surprise was finding no one less than Hugo Weaving playing a major role in it. An actor I had grown to love ever since I saw him in 'The Interview' and the later classics such as LOTR and the Matrix.

Bangkok Hilton has survived the test of time basically because of the really great acting performances, script, story and ambiance. And apparently this was all that it needed to remain the classic that it has become. And by no means the cinematography, which wouldn't stand a chance against even the average soap opera we see today.

When you compare the story and the screenplay to modern similar tales such as the prison-series OZ, you will find that it is really hopeless out of date. The hell-hole of a jail in which Kidman is kept, is like a Disneyride compared to what the men in Emerald City had to endure in OZ. You will find no 'spooning' practices in Bangkok Hilton if you know what I mean.

Perhaps this is what makes this mini series so great, that it's the story that keeps you on the edge of your seat rather than a form of (graphic) violence which seems to be todays primary ingredient for a success film-wise. Just see Labirinto Del Fauno if you want to check my point. That was a so called 'message movie' with really no message at all but in stead featured a been there done that war-drama and cardboard characters. Nonetheless, that movie was hailed by the public and professional movie critics when all it had to offer was a vapid contrast between fable and really graphic violence replacing what used to be a tale between good and evil and its 'grey zone'.

Bangkok Hilton confirmed what I suspected all along, namely that cinema (although achieving greater technical marvels day by day) is becoming increasingly more banal and formula driven, even in the successful, so called 'art house films'.

I'm sorry for letting this review turn out to be such a rant. Thanks for reading and see Bankok Hilton whenever you get a chance.


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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Just as topical today as it was 20 years ago when it was made

Author: mab8485 from Sydney, Australia
28 February 2006

If you're an Aussie you will be well-aware of the recent Bali-based drug cases involving Schapelle Corby and the "Bali 9". The latter are clearly guilty and will pay for their crimes, many will say justifiably.

Schapelle Corby's case is another matter altogether with opinion as to her guilt or otherwise being divided. Her case is very similar to Kidman's in that the drugs are alleged to be someone else's.

If anyone saw Corby's reaction to her conviction on TV last November it is identical to Kidman's in the BH with shortness of breath, deep breathing, shocked look. The resemblance is uncanny: life imitates art which imitates life.

Acting in the BH is superb all round. The story is well-written and harrowing, especially given those recent events. One can accept the Asian countries' reasons for their tough stance against drugs but emotions and sympathy for those jailed are stirred in the BH.

It's amazing that this miniseries was made 20 years ago as it could have happened yesterday. Indeed the only differences are that the barbaric firing squad was replaced by more humane lethal injection (just 3 years ago) and that actors such as Kidman and Weaving have moved on to even greater acclaim and Elliott has unfortunately passed on.... and the callous Ehlers has left an indelible impression, typecast for life by me at least.

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Bloody Fantastic

Author: Theraven-2 from Australia
3 November 1998

I waited so long to see this mini-series because first time it aired in Australia I was unable to watch it. I was not disappointed at all, everything I thought it would be it was. This is undoubtedly Nicole Kidman's best performance ever. I could do nothing but highly recommend this to anyone.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Arguably one of the best Australian TV productions ever

Author: Keith F. Hatcher from La Rioja, Spain
24 September 2005

I have just had the luck to see this TV mini again recently. The second viewing just reinforced my impressions from my first viewing a few years ago.

This is Nicole Kidman playing an extraordinary rôle in a great film, before she became another one for the Hollywood heap. Since this film, I have only ever seen her in two better rôles: "The Portrait of a Lady" (qv) and Robert Daldry's astounding masterpiece "The Hours" (qv).

A two-part mini of 90 minutes each, I had to watch the whole three hours in one go: but was not at all tired on either experience. "Bangkok Hilton" does not mess about with unnecessary details, but gets you right into the story from the beginning, especially in the second half which includes those tremendous prison scenes in Thailand's capital, from whence logically the film's title.

Yes, one of Nicole Kidman's earlier works, but one in which you know she was on the road to great things. A few stupidities got in the way - like "Moulin Rouge!" (qv) - but even so, one can now see where she did her spade-work, and "Bangkok Hilton" is one of the best examples.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:


Author: kyranthis from Cambridge, England
18 December 2001

Bangkok Hilton is a stunning series. Denholm Elliot gives one of the finest acting performances I've ever seen, and the plot has you gripped from the first episode right until the wonderful finish. It's been many many years since the BBC last showed it, though: a great shame!

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Shiningly Brilliant!

Author: Andrew Lees from Sydney, Australia
20 May 2001

Granted, the first 20 minutes are somewhat boring, but from there, the film just takes off! A brilliant story (and the basis of films like Breakdown Palace) sets this off from the beginning to the very end.

Nicole Kidman's performance and transformation from a quiet, shy country girl into a tough, cunning prisoner is incredible and so well-done.

Bravo to the actors, producers, directors, to EVERYONE involved in BANGKOK HILTON! Well worth a watch for everybody who likes drama, action, thrillers, romance and for everybody who doesn't!

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

have to see

Author: lauralovesmoscow from Sweden
19 December 2004

You have to see this movie! As it was said in the other comment, the story is very exciting and the play of the actors is just super! I was, however, very surprised to see there was only one comment on this movie! Haven't you seen this? I can guarantee that after seeing this one you will definitely want to stay our of jail and away from Thailand. Trust my word! The story is very beautiful and there's no way to tell for sure how it will end (if you haven't seen it before). If you like adventure and close to truth stories then this one is for you. Can suggest you also to see "If tomorrow comes" with Tom Berenger and "Shawshank redemption"!! Just marvelous!

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