Richard Harris is AWSOME in this,
Alec Guinness (the original Obi Wan)
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.