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The History Channel examines the Dark Ages from the fall of the Roman Empire to the First Crusade.


Christopher Cassel


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Credited cast:
Philip Daileader Philip Daileader ... Himself - William and Mary College
Kelly DeVries Kelly DeVries ... Himself - Loyola College
Bonnie Effros Bonnie Effros ... Herself - SUNY Binghamton
Adnan Husain Adnan Husain ... Himself - Queen's University
Michael Kulikowski Michael Kulikowski ... Himself - University of Tennessee
Thomas Martin Thomas Martin ... Himself - College of the Holy Cross
Jim Masschaele Jim Masschaele ... Himself - Rutgers University
Vilma Raubaite Vilma Raubaite ... Empress Theodora
Brett Whalen Brett Whalen ... Himself - UNC, Chapel Hill


After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Western civilisation went into a state of decline which kickstarted the Dark Ages, the bleakest period in human history. This one-off History Channel documentary investigates this age of degeneration, which lasted close to 1000 years, between the fall of the world's greatest empire and ending in the resurgence of the Renaissance. Written by Tom Daly

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Release Date:

4 March 2007 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

A lot of information to cram into one film.
17 March 2012 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Considering that the film covers a period spanning many centuries, it's amazing that they thought they could cram it all into two hours, but the History Channel has tried! And, overall, it achieves a lot in less than two hours. However, to adequately encompass the Middle Ages, a series would seem in order, as the show was a bit episodic and moved way too fast.

When the show begins, it's still the Roman era--one that the film seems to overly romanticize. Sure, it was advanced and organized--but it was also brutal and just plain evil. So, when Rome fell, I thought it was interesting that this was seen as a bad thing--as they had enslaved the civilized world. The show then jumps a bit in history to discuss the major events of the next 700 or so years. It hits most of the biggies such as Charlemagne, the Battle of Tours, plagues and the Vikings. It ends with the Crusades--an attempt by the Church to channel the cruel knights into more productive work.

There were some things I really liked about the show. A few of the comments by the historians were pretty funny, such as the remark about a Viking named 'Skull-Splitter' as well as their accurate assessment of the role of knights (they were NOT chivalrous or gallant in the least). I also liked that the Vikings were not shown wearing horned helmets (a common myth). A few things I was less thrilled about was how sketchy the show was, how it never really talked about the life of folks during this time as well as it portraying the Battle of Tours--with what seems like about 30 men (when it actually had an estimated 60000 soldiers in the fight). Not perfect but if you MUST see 700 years of history shoved into less than two hours, it does about as good a job as you could expect.

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