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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:

The dissenter king. 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

When first announced by MGM in 1964, this was going to be titled "A King is Born". See more »

Quotes

Guthrum: Your Christ cannot be like out love god Frey. When maids see him they blush.
Alfred: My god is life, eternal! Your gods are dead.
Guthrum: Not dead. They speak in thunder, and in battle! In the birth cry, and in the loins from lovers! Here are my gods, they where your gods of old. Men say all saxon kings are sons of Odin.
Alfred: They lie.
Guthrum: He's a cruel god, lusting for power and knowledge. He was hanged by a tree to prove himself and to find wisdom.
Alfred: He found nothing. Your gods teach nothing. They have no wisdom.
Guthrum: They ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Fails both as lesson and entertainment.
2 March 2004 | by Chris-742See all my reviews

A disappointment. This film is filled with so many factual and historical errors it's not even funny. So it fails as a history lesson. But it also fails as entertainment, because the film is too slow-paced and the dialogue boring and the acting generally uninspired. A common film plot is to make the protagonist all good and the antagonist all bad. Black and white. But one of the big weaknesses of the film is the demonizing of the danes. At the time of the danish invasions, the danish society was in many ways more advanced than the saxon. They had a large set laws, and thus what happened to the woman at the feast would not have happened. The "spartan phalanx" as presented in the movie was a common norse formation "svinfylkingen", the spartans fought more like the danes fight in the movies. The greatness of Alfred was that he learned from his enemies and from his own mistakes. He emulated what was good in the danish society and built a society to resist the danes, both in civil life and military. But by demonizing the danes, the film also reduces the accomplishments of Alfred. Historically a great man, made small by a film like this.

The only ones getting away with their honor intact from this film is the set and costume makers. Least favorite moment in movie: A woman armed with a stick kills 5 or so heavily armored danes. Sigh.


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