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Alfred the Great (1969)

While Old England is being ransacked by roving Danes in the ninth century, Alfred is planning to join the priesthood. But observing the rape of his land, he puts away his religious vows, to... See full summary »

Director:

Clive Donner

Writers:

James R. Webb (story), Ken Taylor (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Hemmings ... Alfred
Michael York ... Guthrum
Prunella Ransome ... Aelhswith
Colin Blakely ... Asher
Ian McKellen ... Roger
Peter Vaughan ... Burrud
Alan Dobie Alan Dobie ... Ethelred
Julian Glover ... Æthelstan
Vivien Merchant ... Freda
Julian Chagrin ... Ivar
Jim Norton ... Thanet
John Rees John Rees ... Cuthbert
Christopher Timothy ... Cerdic
Peter Blythe ... Eafa
Sinéad Cusack ... Edith
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Storyline

While Old England is being ransacked by roving Danes in the ninth century, Alfred is planning to join the priesthood. But observing the rape of his land, he puts away his religious vows, to take up arms against the invaders, leading the English Christians to fight for their country. Alfred soundly defeats the Danes and becomes a hero. But now, although Alfred still longs for the priesthood, he is torn between his passion for God and his lust for blood. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

At 22 he gained a throne and saved a kingdom See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1969 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

A King Is Born See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Second theatrical movie of Sir Ian McKellen (Roger). A Touch of Love (1969) was his debut, having been released sooner. See more »

Quotes

Guthrum: I am Guthrum, son of Odin! This is Ivar, my warrior cheif. He's called Ivar the boneless because his mother made him with gristle, instead of bone. Show them.
[Ivar performs impressive acrobatics with a sword]
Guthrum: He fights as well.
Alfred: I am Alfred, king of Wessex. This is my cousin, Athelstan of Lamborn. I fear he only jumps on Danish graves.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in MGM 40th Anniversary (1964) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Workmanlike historical drama
26 August 2004 | by lorenellroySee all my reviews

Alfred ,King of England was a man of vital importance in the history of his nation -the first to set down a written legal code in the vernacular and a staunch defender of the realm against the incursions of the Danes ,he also can be regarded with some validity as the founder of the English navy ,throughout history the great barrier against foreign invasion .Sadly these are only touched on in this proficient but not terribly gripping late sixties movie . It opens with a Danish raid on England .Alfred is about to take holy orders but is summoned to lead the resistance ,taking over from his charming but distinctly unmilitary brother Ethelred the Unready .The strategy is successful and the Danes temporarily repulsed and Alfred is reluctantly propelled to kingship by the death of his brother . When the Danes return he is forced to buy time to regroup by paying the Danes to stay away .giving the Danish leader his estranged wife as hostage. Miltary defeat forces him into a guerilla campaign until -with the aid of an outlaw band -he is able to face the enemy in the final battle. The battle scenes are well staged conveying the reality of close quarter combat ,and there is an admirable and accurate description of the tactics used against the Danes .Some striking location photography helps a lot too. There are some fine peformances among the supporting cast -a dignified Ethelred from Alan Dobie and strong turns from stalwart character actors like Peter Vaughan ,Julian Glover and Colin Blakely while a young Ian McKenna impresses as the outlaw leader . David Hemming takes an intelligent stab at the title role but comes over as lacking in charisma and power and thus the core of the movie is somewhat hollow a fact not aided by a lightweight performance from Michael York as the Danish leader and a lacklustre performance from Prunella Ransome as Alfred's wife

Its a decent introduction to the story of an outstanding man but it could have been so much better with a more incisive script and sharper playing from the leads .


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