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.
The cast is made up of the great and the good from the British movie industry of the time but the acting seems detached and lacking in passion, especially from Richard Harris as Cromwell who seems to lack the zeal and conviction that the role called for, perhaps he was a secret Royalist? Alec Guinness is charming rather than regal and I've seen the Sealed Knot give far more convincing reenactments of Civil War confrontations down the local park on a summer Bank Holiday than are on display here.
Never the less, this movie passes the time and serves a purpose, if only to send the viewer scuttling away to the history books to find out what battles are missing and which bits are wrong. This is a story much in need of a modern remake in order to giver a truer, dare I say, 'warts and all' portrait of Cromwell and his times but sadly, I don't think that there is an audience for such a venture.
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.
for england and god rather than himself ,i know he did some bad things a lot of them can be explained and have been
Director: Ken Hughes
Starring: Richard Harris, Alec Guinness, Robert Morley, Dorothy Tutin
Running time: 139 minutes
I had high expectations for this film because it stars two great and late actors who were both very talented but what I was mostly disappointed with in this film was that I don't think the acting from the actors were brilliant. It is good when it comes to action but when it comes to the story it feels sort of rushed. When the English Civil War ends it feels really rushed from then until the end. The Civil War ended about 1 hour 30 minutes and it had less than 40 minutes to try and write up and film the rest of the story with 2 hours 15 minutes duration. Well, that is what I think about it anyway. The costumes, art direction and cinematography were the best thing about this film apart from that is was pretty crap.
I wasn't that keen on neither Richard Harris as Oliver Cromwell nor Alec Guinness as King Charles I because neither actor made Charles or Cromwell very believable like they were history and lived 400 years ago. Richard Harris was better than Alec Guinness but neither actor gave me that feeling where there was any proper emotion involved within the characters like that really was England 400 years ago.
Ken Hughes' direction wasn't brilliant to be honest because it wasn't as believable as I was anticipating. The epic action scenes in the English Civil War didn't really help it very much. I wasn't that fond of the script neither because it was more like a made-up story rather than historical England. I am disappointed with saying that but it is true though.
This film won the Oscar for Best Costume Design and was nominated for Best Music Original Score but lost to Love Story. It was nominated for Best Music Original Score at the Golden Globes but lost to Love Story. Overall, Cromwell is a film that I found really disappointing. Alec Guinness was a legendary actor and his portrayal of King Charles I is at the moment his most disappointing. The late Richard Harris wasn't bad and wasn't good either but he was better. It is a film that is extremely underrated but should be considered for its technical design rather than its acting, directing and producing.