Cromwell Reviews

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garyX
Super Reviewer
September 7, 2007
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.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
December 7, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
December 16, 2007
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.
April 18, 2014
Fascinating, even for an older film. Also fun to see Guinness in a role besides Obi-Wan.
Jed
February 12, 2014
Featuring riveting battle sequences, excellent cinematography, and good pacing, Cromwell is a highly entertaining and engaging historical drama with fantastic performances, particularly Alec Guinness, who is absolutely superb as Charles I.
January 4, 2013
Some impressive acting but its only loosely based on history. Cromwell is placed centre stage when he was merely leading a troop of cavalry, The battle of Edge Hill is not shown as the indecisive engagement that it was, and the representation of the battle of Naseby is a complete fantasy. Which is perhaps a sad reflection of the lack of public awafeness of its own history. This was an amazing and cruciall time in British history that does not benefit by being fantasised.
December 11, 2012
Like Spartacus it has some of the best acting ever on film. The monologues by Cromwell gives you the chills.
½ June 15, 2012
Cromwell is a movie that was shown in my socials studies class about Oliver Cromwell the guy that was part of the english court system. He is also the man responsible for taking down King Charles I and getting him guilotined. Alec Guiness does a fine job as Charles. Its accurate enough to earn the attention of the battle scenes which accurately show Charles winning a few at first then the rebelion winning more. But my favorite scene in the movie is the courtroom scene of the trail of King Charles I. Greatly made scene. But Cromwell is too underwhelming to get a higher rating.

69/100 C+
September 16, 2011
No está mal. Es la típica peli basada fielmente en hechos históricos. Como siempre los tejemanejes de la monarquía británica dan para películas más que interesantes.
½ January 7, 2011
The English Civil War from 1642 to 1651, Cromwell shows the story of the man himself portrayed by Richard Harris. When King Charles I stars the civil war by neglecting his people and more importantly in the course of things his own parliament things kick of when Cromwell's friend gets his ears lobbed of for getting a bit stroppy over the king giving his land to some rich get. The war comes to an end at the battle of Nasby but the king is bitter and continues to get up peoples noses.

Since this film I have never seen an English Civil War film revolve entirely round Oliver Cromwell even though he is the key figure in the whole ordeal. The reason for this in my opinion is Richard Harris; there has never been anyone that can even scratch the surface of what that man done for this film, he has almost created a stereotype of Cromwell (apart from the warts) and anything that will be made featuring a similar story line would just become a flop. There are also some good performances from Alec Guinness and a very young Timothy Dalton.

For the time there must have a been a tremendous amount of coinage put into the production of this feature, the battle scenes are huge and there was no aid of special effects, just pure labour, costumes and gunpowder. At over two hours I thought the movie would be a bit boring as I already knew allot of it would focus more on the arguing of parliament and people having banter about nasty Charles but I was surprisingly entertained.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
December 7, 2009
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.
October 19, 2006
England was at civil war with itself during the mid 1600s. The kingdom was ruled by an arrogant King Charles I (a subdued Alec Guiness) who wanted money to fight wars against the Scots and the Irish. Even though he lived a life of opulence he declared he had no money of his own to pay for the Army he would need.

So he demanded the public should underwrite the war by increased taxation, hitting the poor particularly hard. Even to the point where those without money but had access to land would find they were no longer landowners because the King took immediate ownship with a view to selling the land to rich property owners.

Parliament was reluctant to get involved in the King's affairs: the ministers were quite happy living the easy life talking in the Commons all day long, doin nothing of any note to improve the nations's well being, and also awarded themselves huge pay rises they went through unopposed (sounds somewhat familiar!)

However, there were a few ministers who resisted and wanted the King to become accoutable to his people and its parliament. The leader of this rebel-force was one Oliver Cromwell (Harris). He stood up to the king and rival members of parliament demanding that the common folk should not suffer any further taxation and that the King should go through a process of informing Parliament of his needs rather than being dictatorial and doing whatever he pleases.

Sides were taken and the claim to power became intense as Charles I was supported by the rich, noble folk and Cromwell supported by the masses. Civil war was inevitable.

Oliver Cromwell the real person was not quite the people-loving man betrayed in this decent movie version drama. In reality he became more the dictator & tyrant than the person he replaced in King Charles I.

However, putting that to one side, the film version of Cromwell's growing involvement in the War is marginally accurate and well done. Richard Harris, as Cromwell, makes a decent effort although I do feel he makes too much of a theatrical job with the role, with far too much posturing, self-smugness, and above all shouting....

I can understand his unhappiness at the Royalists encroachment of the Common People's liberties; and I can understand him fully remonstrating his feelings in the House of Commons, but Harris seems to shout in nearly every scene. So much so that by the end of the movie he is struggling for breath.

Conversely, Alec Guiness's Charles I is far more intelligently done. Underplayed yet convincing & too some extents we feel more sympathetic to his plight. After all he has a rather scheming Cathloic French Queen, the Catholic Church and a lot of other distractions to occupy his mind and usurp his powers.

The battle scenes are convincing but don't carry the same kind of savagery than the more prosaic Braveheart. But the supporting characters do a good job and add a more rounded feel from Harris' turgid performance.

The directing blows hot & cold, sometimes the story drifts & meanders before pulling back into sharp focus; while the choreography is sweeping & rich in content. The musical score, however, seems tacky & amateurish, lacking any depth in conjunction with what's going on in the film.

However, for all its faults and historical inaccuracies, we do get a slightly better insight into a rather grim & dark chapter in England's turbulent history.

Cromwell is a good film but should be taken with a large pinch of salt as far as retelling history is concerned.
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