Despite earlier promises to pass his crown to one of his Flemish, Viking or Norman relatives, English king Edward The Confessor dies in 1066, leaving his crown to Anglo-Saxon Harold Godwinson, causing a bloody succession war.
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In 1066, King Edward The Confessor of England dies leaving his crown to Anglo-Saxon Harold Godwinson. In doing this, King Edward disregards his earlier promises to give the throne of England to one of his legitimate successors from among his Flemish, Viking or Norman relatives.As a result of this unwise decision, a contest for the English crown begins. While an Armada of Viking ships under Viking King Hardrada invades the north of England, a Norman invasion, led by William Duke of Normandy, strikes the south. Caught in a giant pincer movement, the new English king Harold Godwinson and his small army must rush to the north to deal with the Viking invasion while planning an eventual mad dash to the south to face the Normans. The fate of Anglo-Saxon England hangs into balance. Written by
The angle of telling the historical story from the fighting man's perspective, was suspensefully implemented. I witnessed the view of the invading Vikings, shared their long journey via the North Atlantic , the excitement of pillaging the anglo -saxon villages, and their thirst for a adventures battles. The main focus however was on the anglo - saxon peasants, who had to leave their homesteads and their loved ones behind, to fight the invaders. Expecting an attack from William the Conquerer from Normandy they had to guard the Sussex Coast. When News arrived, that a mighty Viking force was attacking the Midlands, 200 miles north. Imagine untrained farmers turned soldiers with few professional soldiers (the Kings Guard)commanding them, it was quite an archivement to cover that distance in 4 days, with only dirt path's in that direction. The old roman cobblestone streets run mostly east - west. The hardship of it, is illustrated in great detail, specially when you have watched the extras of the DVD, before you have watched the movie series. This is what I recommend to all viewers. After having seen the extra features, you will appreciate the movie more. Footwear, food, clothing and weaponry really round up the " you have been there " feeling. No Superheroes, or corny over-dramatized characters, just real people trying to survive. The battles however are graphic, nothing for the fainthearted. With fear, panic, cut of limbs, the movie is also not without humor. I remember the Stamford Bridge Battle scene, where eager soldiers from the rear ranks and file pushing the frontline without caution, where an "ole battle hand" in front kept swearing at them, going into certain slaughter. I haven't seen anything like that, so authentic in a period peace battle. King Herold,King Harald and William the Conquerer, take a backstage in this film, it's all about the common fighting man. A very interesting approach, that worked very well in this movie. A refreshing detour from the "300" type of making history movies. The movie is 4 hours short, more than 2 hours are of it spend for the 3 great battles: Midland, Stamford Bridge and Hastings. Yes, the anglo - saxons had to march all the 200 miles back to meet another enemy at Hastings, telling more would spoil the movie. I feel fortunate to own a region free DVD player, otherwise I couldn't see all the great historical movies from europe. There is nothing like this movie here in north America.
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