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Cromwell

Cromwell (1970)

My Rating

Movie Info

This biography of Oliver Cromwell recalls the political and religious struggles of 17th century England. Cromwell (Richard Harris) is the Anglican religious fanatic who fights corruption and Catholicism with equal zeal, while King Charles (Alec Guinness) is the vacillating monarch who believes his crown gives him a direct pipeline to the wisdom of God. Also starring Robert Morley and Timothy Dalton, Cromwell won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and was nominated for Best Original Score.

G,

Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics

Ken Hughes

Oct 7, 2003

Columbia Pictures

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All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (1) | Rotten (3) | DVD (4)

An impressive cast of Brit thespians yelling dialogue in that declamatory manner that clues you in on the fact that this is important stuff.

May 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Cromwell

Crowmell tells the story of the man who was the driving force behind the English civil war and the father of English democracy. Oliver Cromwell is played with great intensity by Richard Harris as an honourable and incorruptible man who stuck by his principles despite the burden of his conscience; the fact that he was also a bigoted religious zealot, bullying imperialist and war criminal are all conveniently glossed over. But it would be in a film called "Cromwell", wouldn't it. Alec Guiness juggles the arrogance and inflexibility of Charles I and his refusal to relinquish absolute power even though his life depended upon it, with his more human side as a loving father. It also has some (for the time at least) epic battle sequences but it is very stagy, and may not quicken the pulses of those without an interest in politics and history. A well made and well acted historical drama that resembles an illustrated (albeit not entirely accurate) history lesson rather than Braveheart-like popular entertainment.
January 21, 2009
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Aided by a very good cast, "Cromwell" is a lavish if mostly simplistic spectacle about the conflict between Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell(Richard Harris) and King Charles I(Alec Guinness) that starts in 1640 as England is facing an invasion from Scotland and Cromwell is about to immigrate to America with his family and fellow Puritans. However, the cause of defending farmers from the king's interests intercedes and Cromwell and his allies work tirelessly in Parliament in an escalating fight that leads to civil war.

What works best in "Cromwell" is the contrast between Charles and Cromwell which is expressed perfectly in a great debate about whether ordinary men are capable of extraordinary things. Cromwell takes one side of this argument as he fights for a more just society but loses himself along the way, eventually becoming a tyrant as much as the one he eliminates. On the other hand, the subject of religion is skirted over as is Cromwell's brutal stint in Ireland.(Gore Vidal once wrote that the Puritans left England not because they were persecuted but because they were persecuting everyone else.) The movie's one critical error is in arguing that a country requires a strong head of state to succeed. Just don't knock anarchy if you haven't tried it.
December 7, 2009
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Caught this at the weekend. One of those big historical films that Britain used to make. Harris is excellent and really gets his teeth into the role. Great to see him acting in a 'class' project (sadly he will mostly be remembered by most young people now as an old wizard!). Guiness is also brilliant as Charles and in fact the film suffers once his character is executed. Yes the film is overlong and is probably not historically accurate but they don't make them like this anymore. Shame.
December 16, 2007
David Sayers

Super Reviewer

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