Conquering 90% of the known world by the age of 25, Alexander the Great led his armies through 22,000 miles of sieges and conquests in just eight years. Coming out of tiny Macedonia (today part of Greece), Alexander led his armies against the mighty Persian Empire, drove west to Egypt, and finally made his way east to India. This film will concentrate on those eight years of battles, as well as his relationship with his boyhood friend and battle mate, Hephaestion. Alexander died young, of illness, at 33. Alexander's conquests paved the way for the spread of Greek culture (facilitating the spread of Christianity centuries later), and removed many of the obstacles that might have prevented the expansion of the Roman Empire. In other words, the world we know today might never have been if not for Alexander's bloody, yet unifying, conquest.Written by
In both the major battles of the movie (The battle of Gaugamela against the Persian Empire and the battle in the Forest against the Indians and their Elephants) Alexander attempts to assassinate the leader of the opposing army by riding up to him on his horse and throw something at them (Darius III he attempts to kill with a spear while the nameless Indian elephant rider he throws his sword at). Both times, he misses and something bad happens (Darius escapes from the Battle of Gaugamela and in the battle in India's forests, Alexander's beloved steed is killed). See more »
They talk about Hindu Kush in the movie. The first reference to this name shows up more than 1300 years later. See more »
Our world is gone now. Smashed by the wars. Now I am the keeper of his body, embalmed here in the Egyptian ways. I followed him as Pharaoh, and have now ruled 40 years. I am the victor. But what does it all mean when there is not one left to remember - the great cavalry charge at Gaugamela, or the mountains of the Hindu Kush when we crossed a 100,000-man army into India? He was a god, Cadmos. Or as close as anything I've ever seen.
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I met Oliver Stone while sitting at one of my regular coffee haunts in southern California, when he asked about what I was reading. I said it was my favorite biography on Alexander and that it was for the the 6th or 7th time, that it was the only one I know of written by a woman, and it was by far the best one. I told him I had read 5 including 2 from the ancient sources, and I do not read biographies. That Alexander had been my only exception. While we were talking, it seemed that he looked vaguely familiar, but I didn't know who he was until hearing months later that someone was making a movie about Alexander.
When I found out that it was Oliver Stone doing the picture, I just shook my head and smiled. We had been the only 2 people on the small patio of this downtown coffee house. Years later when I discovered he had donated 100k to the foundation (?) of this long dead Oxford graduate lesbian who lived in South Africa, whose writing seems to be generally disliked by classicists and scholars everywhere - I was certain it was him. At one point while asking me about the book, I told him no one had the balls to make a movie about Alexander. Not a real one. He must have taken it as a challenge. But then if you know his movies, someone like him would.
I don't have time to go into all the error, misunderstanding and lack of well known and widely available historical knowledge by so many, of the same sex relations during the entire span of ancient Greek might. From Homer to the Spartan hegemony to 5th century Athens to the Empire of Alexander, almost everybody did it, they were all married - and nobody was gay. Such terms, the idea and attitude they convey, as well as modern societal norms did not exist in that society or at that time. It is a historical non sequitur to apply what we know and how we live to what they knew and how they lived. And that's coming from a Preacher, who believes every word of the Bible. I just happen to like Alexander, and have studied him for almost 20 years now.
This film is highly accurate and well worth watching. But if you're not interested in Alexander - you won't be in the film. It's about one of the most influential men in history, but it is about a man. It's a great war flick also, but the action is incidental to the man. Not the other way around. With the exception of one movie with Richard Burton from at least 50 years ago, there are no other films about Alexander. It has a great cast with all giving strong performances, and Colin Farrell was perfect as Alexander.
We're talking about a guy who named one town after his horse and another after his dog. Who gave lavishly to everybody, inspired lifelong loyalty and rewarded it. Who knew thousands of his men by their first names and had personally saved many of their lives as well as payed off many of their debts - with his own money. He restored many conquered rulers to their former place (under him of course), and tolerated to live many who he knew hated him and wanted him dead - both in Athens and in his own camp - when he could have easily had them killed and nobody would have said anything, but he did not. Arrian says of Alexander that unlike other Kings, he repented when he knew he had done wrong. Knowing all that will help you know the man a little, and I think help you enjoy the film more.
I have read a fair amount by men who seemed to me jealous of him, and others who made the aforementioned non sequitur of judging him by the standards of their day instead of those of his own. It's also worth remembering that one of his boyhood friends and most trusted generals, Ptolemy, was the man responsible for the Hebrew Bible being translated into Greek - giving us the Septuagint. His son ( Ptolemy Philadelphus) finished the project. Giving us the very foundation for the Bible we have today.
When Alexander became King of Macedon at a little past 20 years old, all that he had inherited from his father were a few gold and silver cups, less than 60 talents in the treasury and debts of 500 that he owed. Upon borrowing 800 more, he gave away everything he had to friends and loyal supporters, some would take nothing from him. The man who would become his second in command, Perdiccas, asked him"What are you keeping for yourself ?" "Hope," said Alexander, to which Perdiccas replied "That I'll share."