Set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles which tears lives and families apart.
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2010  
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Waleran Bigod (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Philip (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Jack (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Aliena (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Regan Hamleigh (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Ellen (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Remigius (9 episodes, 2010)
John Pielmeier ...
 Cuthbert (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Percy Hamleigh (9 episodes, 2010)
László Áron ...
 Architect (9 episodes, 2010)
Clive Wood ...
 King Henry I / ... (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Abbot Suger (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Richard (9 episodes, 2010)
Kelly Banlaki ...
 Princess (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Alfred (9 episodes, 2010)
Virág Bárány ...
 Young Woman Whore (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 William Hamleigh (9 episodes, 2010)
David Bark-Jones ...
 Francis (9 episodes, 2010)
Tamás Baross ...
 Gabriel (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Stephen (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Bartholomew (9 episodes, 2010)
Oliver Bauer ...
 Medieval Child (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Maud (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Martha - young (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Archbishop (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Henry - 15 years old (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Eustace - 15 years old (9 episodes, 2010)
Ottilia Borbáth ...
 Townfolk #3 (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Father Ralph (9 episodes, 2010)
Scott Curtis ...
 Peasant (9 episodes, 2010)
Antal Czapkó ...
 General (9 episodes, 2010)
Brooke Dean ...
 Maud - 6 years old (9 episodes, 2010)
Matt Devere ...
 Gloucester (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Agnes (9 episodes, 2010)
Lara Dzikowski ...
 Townfolk #5 (9 episodes, 2010)
Gabriella Fon ...
 Townfolk #1 (9 episodes, 2010)
Stu Gamble ...
 Lad (9 episodes, 2010)
Kevin Griffiths ...
 Lord #1 (9 episodes, 2010)
David Haderer ...
 Robin Goodfellow (9 episodes, 2010)
Jody Halse ...
 Johnny Eightpence (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Messenger #3 (9 episodes, 2010)
Jeremy Haward-Grau ...
 Little Henry (9 episodes, 2010)
Emily Holt ...
 Martha - older (9 episodes, 2010)
Péter Horkay ...
 Steward (9 episodes, 2010)
Ákos Horváth ...
 Simon Goodfellow (9 episodes, 2010)
Barna Illyés ...
 Labourer (9 episodes, 2010)
Csaba Jakab ...
 French Mason (9 episodes, 2010)
Sidney Johnston ...
 Jonathan - 4-5 years old (9 episodes, 2010)
Mike Kelly ...
 Messenger #2 (9 episodes, 2010)
Péter Kertész ...
 Stephen's Physician (9 episodes, 2010)
Bernadett Kis ...
 Midwife (9 episodes, 2010)
László Konter ...
 Bishop (9 episodes, 2010)
Alexis Latham ...
 One-armed Wool Man (9 episodes, 2010)
Antal Leisen ...
 Townfolk #4 (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Townsman (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Elizabeth (9 episodes, 2010)
Pál Makrai ...
 French Master Builder (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Prior James (9 episodes, 2010)
George Mendel ...
 Lord #2 (9 episodes, 2010)
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 Kate (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Grandmama (9 episodes, 2010)
Ben O'Brien ...
 Winchester Clerk (9 episodes, 2010)
Kende Orbán ...
 Eustace - 4-5 years old / ... (9 episodes, 2010)
Miklos Pavel ...
 Sentry Edgar (9 episodes, 2010)
Mark Phelan ...
 Otto (9 episodes, 2010)
Tibor Pintér ...
 Shareburg (9 episodes, 2010)
John Rado ...
 Sentry (9 episodes, 2010)
Kevin Rees ...
 Jonathan - 30 years old (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Brother Paul (9 episodes, 2010)
Richard Rifkin ...
 Matthew (9 episodes, 2010)
András Sándor ...
 Page (9 episodes, 2010)
Nicolas Sipek ...
 Stephen's Fake Son - 4 years old (9 episodes, 2010)
Tibor Süle ...
 Antoine (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Young Woman (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Gabriel's Mother (9 episodes, 2010)
Sándor Téri ...
 Physician (9 episodes, 2010)
Dorian Thomas ...
 Teenage Boy (9 episodes, 2010)
Geoffrey Thomas ...
 Earl of Weymouth (9 episodes, 2010)
Zsófi Trecskó ...
 French Peasant Woman (9 episodes, 2010)
Tamás Varga ...
 Townfolk #2 (9 episodes, 2010)
András Várkonyi ...
 Captain (9 episodes, 2010)
Zsolt Zágoni ...
 Shiring Messenger #1 (9 episodes, 2010)
Marcell Závodi ...
 Tommy - 9 years old (9 episodes, 2010)
Bianca Bauer ...
 Medieval Child (9 episodes, 2010)
...
 Tom Builder (8 episodes, 2010)
...
 Walter (8 episodes, 2010)
Zoltan Toth ...
 Prince (8 episodes, 2010)
Ken Follett ...
 Merchant (4 episodes, 2010)
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Storyline

The Pillars of the Earth is set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles which tears lives and families apart. In that time, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against the backdrop, love-stories entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, the sadistic Lord William, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone work and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age. Follett masterfully weaves these stories through political turmoil of 12th century England, creating a relevant and viable world for today's audience and for generations to come. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Building the Monumental Television Event of 2010 See more »


Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

23 July 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los pilares de la Tierra  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ken Follett: The merchant who tells Jack about his father. See more »

Goofs

Rectangular quadripartite rib vaults, the type of the Gothic vaults used in the cathedral's nave, appeared in the second half of the 13th century (about a century later than shown in the series). See more »

Connections

Featured in The Wright Stuff: Episode #14.55 (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Grand, thrilling epic respectful to its source material
8 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ken Follett is one of the most brilliant novelists of modern times. His stories immerse and engage the reader into worlds so real that it seems possible to step into them.

"Pillars of the Earth" is one of his most popular books. Originally published in 1989, it gained a cult following through word of mouth then achieved even greater prominence when Oprah discovered it just a few years ago.

Tandem Productions and Tony and Ridley Scott took the risk of adapting the sweeping historic novel into a miniseries. The novel is such an intricate spiderweb of lust, revenge, and triumph of an iron will that the mere act of adapting the screenplay for sound-bite and short attention span 21st century viewers was a daunting challenge.

The makers of "Pillars of the Earth" succeeded in what seemed like an impossible challenge. They have followed the novel's plot entirely,making minor tweaks and changes for the sake of exposition and moving things along.

The two hour premiere manages to thrust the viewer into 1100s England and reveal the complicated origins of the civil war with the ship burning and the crisis related to heirs of the throne. A monk overhears a plot to overthrow the king and tells his brother, who tells an archbishop, and the brother becomes a prior by helping the archbishop become elevated to bishop.

Why is that detail important? The new prior, Phillip, has decided to rebuild his cathedral by making it a "compass to God" and this event becomes central to the story "Pillars of the Earth." While wars and strife erupt around it, the beautiful cathedral rises from an English meadow.

The special effects and art direction masterfully create the grimy, gritty world of 1100s England and the stark contrasts between privileges of royalty and serfs wallowing in the mud beside the hogs they keep. Public executions and dismembering are commonplace as one plot change involving the deposed Earl Bartholomew of Shiring (portrayed aristocratically by Donald Sutherland) tears at the heart.

While the novel relied on straightforward storytelling, the miniseries offers deftly executed, haunting flashbacks to establish the mysterious Ellen's role in the dirty laundry of Percy Hamleigh and Archbishop Waleran's past. Her husband had been mysteriously executed around the time the ship burned. Ellen's son Jack, who is portrayed as an artistic savant, becomes a force in building the cathedral.

King Stephen also plays a larger role in the miniseries. His father portrays a ghost in his dreams in a manner similar to Hamlet, creating a torturous tumult of inner conflict in him. Best of all, Ian McShane as the absurdly evil Bishop Waleron Bigod explodes from the screen with a voice that booms like a thunderclap as he progresses from one dirty deed and double cross to another.

Eddie Redmayne as Jack Jackson, one of the central characters of the story, deserves special mention for his deft portrayal of the sensitive but strong character. Rufus Sewell as Tom Builder also shines, especially during one early intense scene where he forces the nasty William Hamleigh to pay him and his helpers despite being out-armed.

Some viewers may blanch at the changes involving the relationship between William Hamleigh and his mother, Regan. Even a casual review of the works of Shakespeare reveals that incest ran rampant through royalty during the middle ages, so the plot detail is historically relevant and manages to create additional atmosphere and tension.

Overall, the television miniseries should thrill the fans of the novel. Even the opening credits contain a clever, metamorphosing animated sequence and a stirring dramatic musical score punctuates and accentuates the grandeur.


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