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The Pillars of the Earth 

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Set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles which tears lives and families apart.
1,139 ( 93)




Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 5 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
Ian McShane ...  Waleran Bigod 8 episodes, 2010
Matthew Macfadyen ...  Philip 8 episodes, 2010
Eddie Redmayne ...  Jack 8 episodes, 2010
Hayley Atwell ...  Aliena 8 episodes, 2010
Sarah Parish ...  Regan Hamleigh 8 episodes, 2010
Natalia Wörner ...  Ellen 8 episodes, 2010
Anatole Taubman ...  Remigius 8 episodes, 2010
John Pielmeier John Pielmeier ...  Cuthbert 8 episodes, 2010
Robert Bathurst ...  Percy Hamleigh 8 episodes, 2010
Clive Wood ...  King Henry I 8 episodes, 2010
Sam Claflin ...  Richard 8 episodes, 2010
Liam Garrigan ...  Alfred 8 episodes, 2010
David Oakes ...  William Hamleigh 8 episodes, 2010
Tony Curran ...  Stephen 8 episodes, 2010
Donald Sutherland ...  Bartholomew 8 episodes, 2010
Alison Pill ...  Maud 8 episodes, 2010
Gordon Pinsent ...  Archbishop 8 episodes, 2010
László Áron László Áron ...  Architect 8 episodes, 2010
Féodor Atkine ...  Abbot Suger 8 episodes, 2010
Kelly Banlaki Kelly Banlaki ...  Princess 8 episodes, 2010
Virág Bárány Virág Bárány ...  Young Woman Whore 8 episodes, 2010
David Bark-Jones David Bark-Jones ...  Francis 8 episodes, 2010
Tamás Baross Tamás Baross ...  Gabriel 8 episodes, 2010
Oliver Bauer Oliver Bauer ...  Medieval Child 8 episodes, 2010
Skye Bennett ...  Martha - young 8 episodes, 2010
Freddie Boath ...  Henry - 15 years old 8 episodes, 2010
Douglas Booth ...  Eustace - 15 years old 8 episodes, 2010
Ottilia Borbáth Ottilia Borbáth ...  Townfolk #3 8 episodes, 2010
Jonathan Coy ...  Father Ralph 8 episodes, 2010
Scott Curtis Scott Curtis ...  Peasant 8 episodes, 2010
Antal Czapkó Antal Czapkó ...  General 8 episodes, 2010
Brooke Dean Brooke Dean ...  Maud - 6 years old 8 episodes, 2010
Matt Devere ...  Gloucester 8 episodes, 2010
Kate Dickie ...  Agnes 8 episodes, 2010
Lara Dzikowski Lara Dzikowski ...  Townfolk #5 8 episodes, 2010
Gabi Fon Gabi Fon ...  Townfolk #1 8 episodes, 2010
Stu Gamble ...  Lad 8 episodes, 2010
Kevin Griffiths ...  Lord #1 8 episodes, 2010
David Haderer David Haderer ...  Robin Goodfellow 8 episodes, 2010
Jody Halse Jody Halse ...  Johnny Eightpence 8 episodes, 2010
Máté Haumann ...  Messenger #3 8 episodes, 2010
Jeremy Haward-Grau Jeremy Haward-Grau ...  Little Henry 8 episodes, 2010
Emily Holt Emily Holt ...  Martha - older 8 episodes, 2010
Péter Horkay Péter Horkay ...  Steward 8 episodes, 2010
Ákos Horváth Ákos Horváth ...  Simon Goodfellow 8 episodes, 2010
Barna Illyés Barna Illyés ...  Labourer 8 episodes, 2010
Csaba Jakab Csaba Jakab ...  French Mason 8 episodes, 2010
Sidney Johnston ...  Jonathan - 4-5 years old 8 episodes, 2010
Mike Kelly ...  Messenger #2 8 episodes, 2010
Péter Kertész Péter Kertész ...  Stephen's Physician 8 episodes, 2010
Bernadett Kis Bernadett Kis ...  Midwife 8 episodes, 2010
László Konter László Konter ...  Bishop 8 episodes, 2010
Alexis Latham Alexis Latham ...  One-armed Wool Man 8 episodes, 2010
Antal Leisen Antal Leisen ...  Townfolk #4 8 episodes, 2010
Peter Linka ...  Townsman 8 episodes, 2010
Skye Lourie Skye Lourie ...  Elizabeth 8 episodes, 2010
Pál Makrai Pál Makrai ...  French Master Builder 8 episodes, 2010
Michael Mehlmann ...  Prior James 8 episodes, 2010
George Mendel George Mendel ...  Lord #2 8 episodes, 2010
Lisa Millett ...  Kate 8 episodes, 2010
Piroska Molnár ...  Grandmama 8 episodes, 2010
Ben O'Brien Ben O'Brien ...  Winchester Clerk 8 episodes, 2010
Kende Orbán Kende Orbán ...  Eustace - 4-5 years old / ... 8 episodes, 2010
Miklos Pavel Miklos Pavel ...  Sentry Edgar 8 episodes, 2010
Mark C. Phelan Mark C. Phelan ...  Otto 8 episodes, 2010
Tibor Pintér Tibor Pintér ...  Shareburg 8 episodes, 2010
John Rado John Rado ...  Sentry 8 episodes, 2010
Kevin Rees Kevin Rees ...  Jonathan - 30 years old 8 episodes, 2010
Barnabás Réti ...  Brother Paul 8 episodes, 2010
Richard Rifkin Richard Rifkin ...  Matthew 8 episodes, 2010
András Sándor András Sándor ...  Page 8 episodes, 2010
Nicolas Sipek Nicolas Sipek ...  Stephen's Fake Son - 4 years old 8 episodes, 2010
Tibor Süle Tibor Süle ...  Antoine 8 episodes, 2010
Margaréta Szabó ...  Young Woman 8 episodes, 2010
Tatiana Turner ...  Gabriel's Mother 8 episodes, 2010
Sándor Téri ...  Physician 8 episodes, 2010
Dorian Thomas Dorian Thomas ...  Teenage Boy 8 episodes, 2010
Geoffrey Thomas Geoffrey Thomas ...  Earl of Weymouth 8 episodes, 2010
Zoltan Toth Zoltan Toth ...  Prince 8 episodes, 2010
Zsófi Trecskó Zsófi Trecskó ...  French Peasant Woman 8 episodes, 2010
Tamás Varga Tamás Varga ...  Townfolk #2 8 episodes, 2010
András Várkonyi András Várkonyi ...  Captain 8 episodes, 2010
Zsolt Zágoni Zsolt Zágoni ...  Shiring Messenger #1 8 episodes, 2010
Marcell Závodi Marcell Závodi ...  Tommy - 9 years old 8 episodes, 2010
Bianca Bauer Bianca Bauer ...  Medieval Child 8 episodes, 2010
Rufus Sewell ...  Tom Builder 7 episodes, 2010
Götz Otto ...  Walter 7 episodes, 2010
Ken Follett Ken Follett ...  Merchant 3 episodes, 2010


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


Nothing is sacred. See more »


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site


Germany | Canada | UK | Hungary


English | French

Release Date:

23 July 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pillars of the Earth See more »

Filming Locations:

Tata, Hungary See more »


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Throughout the series the term "Your Majesty" is used when addressing a monarch. The proper form of address for a monarch until Henry VIII some 400 years later was "Your Grace". See more »


Prior Philip is referred to by several characters as 'Father', 'a Priest' and a character at one point goes to make Confession to him. In actual fact Philip was a monk and never a priest, so should have been referred to as 'Brother' not 'Father'. Also, in Catholic ritual only priests can hear confessions. Monks cannot. See more »


Featured in 2011 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable despite its many flaws
15 March 2012 | by ekarfopSee all my reviews

First of all, I haven't read the book, this is my opinion solely on the series. I do however plan to read the book, since many other reviewers praise it so much.

I guess it was a mistake to watch this right after I finished watching Game of Thrones. This is NO Game of Thrones. It is also set in the Middle Ages, but it is not "dark" enough. There is also some bloodshed, but it is nowhere close to the gore in Game of Thrones. And there is some sex in it, but again, that was more fairy tale -ish love, it was not really sexy...

There are many flaws in this series, flaws that even someone not familiar with British medieval history, like myself, can notice. Stuff like how the dialogue got so out of place at certain points it made me laugh. Or how after Aliena and Richard are stripped of their title and castle, Aliena decides to make money by working as a merchant. So she just trades fur and just gets rich. Like everybody else around was just stupid and didn't think to work and earn money. She, a woman in the Middle Ages, a princess who had never worked in her entire life, could just do it.

Another thing that bothered me was that the actors did not look convincingly medieval, they looked like modern people in an odd setting. I am not sure why... Maybe their make-up, or the way they talked, or the way they carried themselves in general? I cannot really place it, but they felt odd. Especially Ellen. Every scene she was in felt like I had just found Waldo! Not to mention the fact that they weren't aging... The plot covers something like 15 years, yet Ellen looks 30 when her son is 18, and 30 when her son is 30. Another problem with the casting was Alison Pill as Maud. I kept waiting for her to start playing the drums or something! She looked nothing like a medieval Queen.

Moreover, this is a clear case of the good guys fighting the bad guys. The bad guys' sole reason of existence is to do bad things to the good guys. Why? We are given some reasons in the beginning, but at the middle of the series I had to try and remember what the reasons were. They seemed to do "bad" things because they enjoyed being mean. And the line "who do you hate the most?" just stresses this. It was like the Queen in Snow White asking her mirror who is the prettiest. The villains in this series are equivalent to villains from a Disney movie. No depth and no character whatsoever.

The story revolving around the character of Richard also gives many opportunities for "whaaat...?"s. He was a total coward at first and then miraculously turned to the greatest knight in the kingdom, all because he went to train in France. How exactly did this happen? Then he fought for King Stephen, the one who executed his father for treason. Instead of Maud, the one his father tried to help. And so on.

Why I gave this a seven then? Well, despite its flaws, I actually enjoyed it! I liked the many different character plots connected around the building of the Cathedral. Every time I visit a medieval Cathedral I wonder and try to picture its story... How it was used originally, how did they manage to build it. And I know this is not a historically correct answer, but it's a perfectly suitable fictional one. And as far as television making goes, this had a little bit of everything: numerous characters to like or dislike, love, fighting, treason, plotting. And okay I admit, I do have a soft spot for Eddie Redmayne. Even though his character comes out a bit inefficient at times, if not stupid.

This is light entertainment, not history, and if you are looking for a fun way to spend a few evenings, it is a nice choice. Not a great one, but good enough.

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