The Last Valley - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Last Valley Reviews

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December 20, 2017
Outstanding motion picture. The reality of religion & war in the 17th century and in present day.
½ February 24, 2016
Emotional, moving, and entertaining, James Clavell created a solid war film through his script and character development, helped by a great performance by Michael Caine.
April 5, 2015
Something which was of special interest to me were several coversations which pointed out that the Thirty Years War....believed by many to be a religious war,really only used the people...regardless of beliefs gain more wealth and/or power for those at the top.Anyone familiar with this War could show enough examples of that.Examples were a Protestant ruler of Saxony supporting the Catholics in the first phase of the war or much later Cardinal Richelieu...responsible for the deaths of thousands of Protestants in France,supported the Protestants in the Habsburg Empire for very obvious reasons.
February 24, 2015
"The Captain" (Michael Caine) leads a band of mercenaries who fight for the highest bidder regardless of religion during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). His soldiers pillage the countryside, rape and loot when not fighting. Vogel (Omar Sharif) is a former teacher trying to survive the slaughter of civilians occurring throughout south-central Germany. Vogel runs from The Captain's forces, but eventually stumbles upon an idyllic mountain vale, untouched by war. The Captain and his small band are not far behind. Eventually The Captain and his men catches up with Vogel. Trapped in the valley, Vogel convinces The Captain to preserve it and the village it shelters for their own benefit as the outside world faces famine and devastation. The Captain decides that his men will indeed rest here for the winter. He forces the locals to submit, especially their Headman Gruber (Nigel Davenport). The local Catholic priest (Per Oscarsson) is livid that the mercenaries include a number of Protestants (and nihilistic atheists for that matter), but there is little he can do to sway The Captain. The mercenaries are of one mind after The Captain kills a dissenting member of his band, and religious and ethnic divisions are set aside. At first, the locals accept their fate. Vogel is appointed judge by Gruber, to settle disputes between villagers and soldiers. As long as food, shelter, and a small number of women are provided, the mercenaries leave the locals alone. Hansen (Michael Gothard) attempts to rape a girl and, exiled from the group, manages to lead a rival mercenary band to the valley, before the winter sets in and closes the valley to all outsiders. He and his band are destroyed and the valley goes into hibernation. But as winter fades, it becomes obvious that the soldiers will have to leave. The Captain learns of a major military campaign in the Upper Rhineland and decides to leave the valley in order to participate. Vogel wants to accompany him, fearing Gruber will have him killed once The Captain leaves. However, The Captain orders Vogel to stay as the condition of not destroying the village and leaving a few men as guards...

"The Last Valley" (1971), directed by James Clavell (behind "Shogun" and "Taipan"), is an historical drama set during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). The film was an expensive failure. It earned rentals of $380,000 in North America and $900,000 in other countries, recording an overall loss of $7,185,000. With its setting in the Thirty Years' War, it covered a period heretofore never depicted on film. In this light, George MacDonald Fraser wrote in 1988, "The plot left me bewildered - in fact the whole bloody business is probably an excellent microcosm of the Thirty Years' War, with no clear picture of what is happening and half the cast ending up dead to no purpose. To that extent, it must be rated a successful film. ... As a drama, The Last Valley is not remarkable; as a reminder of what happened in Central Europe, 1618-48, and shaped the future of Germany, it reads an interesting lesson." Fraser says of the stars, "Michael Caine ... gives one of his best performances as the hard-bitten mercenary captain, nicely complemented by Omar Sharif as the personification of reason." "The Last Valley" is the only film I can think of that deals with the Thirty Years War. 17th century Europe was the century of the great religious conflicts between Catholic and the many Protestant faiths. The Catholic Hapsburg Holy Roman Empire was gradually losing its grip on more and more of the various little domains that made up their empire. More rulers and the populations of those small kingdoms were converting to either Lutheranism or Calvinism. The rest of Europe was concerned as to who would come out on top and from 1617 when the conflict first started, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, France, Spain etc got involved in one way or another. Religion was the key factor, but hardly the only one. "The Last Valley" is a movie that has missed my radar and I┤m truly glad that I bought it with my gut feeling. This is great epic story with a foundation in the horrors of the Thirty Years' War whom Sweden were involved in as well. I love the settings, the environments, the clothes and the general vibe. The acting is truly intense and engaging (specifically from Caine and the swede Oscarsson) and I loved for example The Captain┤s final confrontation with the Priest played by Oscarsson (truly evil in this role). That┤s Caine at his best. The lovely Florinda Bolkan as Erica adds mysticism/female beauty and it was nice to see a young Brian Blessed as Korski. It┤s gritty, it┤s bloody, it┤s dramatic, it has deep religious quarrels and it┤s really about true survival in a time of war and the plague. There┤s so much you can relate to modern times and what we see in this part of the world today. "The Last Valley" is a dialogue driven movie and the drama /action we get to see is strong and violent. To me it has a perfect mix of the two. I can┤t understand that this ended up as a flop as it┤s a fine piece of film in my eyes. áá
July 7, 2014
My pick for the most underrated film of all time. Great cast, unpredictable, gripping plotline, strong characters, excellent direction and a brilliant John Barry score. It has been in my personal Top 10 since I first saw it.
April 4, 2014
A truly remarkable work, realistic, brutal, great acting and music. A lost Gem from the 70s.
½ October 17, 2013
Excellent and spectacular epic film set in the 17th-century during ĘThirty Years WarĘ--A hidden treasure!!
March 25, 2013
This film is witty and rough. If you want a dise of reality, you'll find it here.
½ January 12, 2013
A company of soldiers decide to camp in a German village sometime during the 30-years war in Europe (17th century).
July 12, 2012
A memorable movie which combines violence with an idyllic setting, a respite from the winter of the 30 Years War.
May 13, 2012
A fine film about an historical time that is rarely remembered in any film.
½ January 7, 2012
Clavell's approach to realism may pale by today's standards, but his direction in this more-or-less accurate historical drama holds its own. Caine shines despite his ludicrous accent and although Sahrif doesn't dissappoint, he does seem somewhat out of his element in 17th century Europe.
October 28, 2011
Probably the only thing worth noting about this melodramatic costume drama is Michael CaineÔ(TM)s performance as an atheist knight. His self loathing is watchable even when the film is not.
October 24, 2011
A fine film about an historical time that is rarely remembered in any film.
September 5, 2011
½ February 4, 2011
T┼(TM)icetilet├í v├ílka, zapomenut├ (C) ├║dol├ş, kter├ (C) bylo dosud u┼íet┼(TM)eno. Kapit├ín (Michael Caine) a jeho ┼ 3/4oldn├ (C)┼(TM)i, kte┼(TM)├ş toto ├║dol├ş objev├ş. Omar Sharif jako dezert├ (C)r/u─?itel, kter├ 1/2 je tam necht─>n─> p┼(TM)ivede. Jejich hereck├ (C) v├ 1/2kony vynikaj├ş; ostatn├ş bohu┼ 3/4el dost v├ 1/2razn─> p┼(TM)ehr├ívaj├ş. Film nen├ş ani tak cenn├ 1/2 p┼(TM)├şb─>hem (ono se toho zas a┼ 3/4 tolik nestane), ale p┼(TM)edev┼í├şm skv─>le vykreslen├ 1/2mi uv─>┼(TM)iteln├ 1/2mi postavami. A ├║┼ 3/4asn├ (C) vizu├íln├ş prost┼(TM)ed├ş taky ne┼íkod├ş.
April 29, 2010
Michael Caine and a group of barbarous (are there any other kind?) mercenaries first sack a village then fall in love with that village. They've been warring a long time and need the help of Omar Sharif's teacher/beggar to mediate an understanding between the warriors and the people. An odd movie for sure that deals with manhood, religion, war farming, and witchcraft. You've seen him in Zulu and Jaws: The Revenge, so you know Caine is the master of portraying morally dubious individuals and he has lots of scenery to chew in The Last Valley. Caine fans will have fun for sure. VF.
January 15, 2010
From acclaimed writer James Clavell (SHOGUN) comes this stirring war epic starring Oscar winner Michael Caine as a soldier who knows nothing but battle. He and his soldiers stumble upon a tranquil alpine village untouched by the Thirty Years War (17th century Germany). Known as the "Captain", he has laid waste to any village his troops have encountered. But when he gets to this village he is convinced by Vogel (Omar Sharif) to leave the village intact and spend the winter warm and well-fed. Beautiful scenery but somewhat lackluster fight scenes. Caine is calculating and a true military man but finds love (in his own way). Sharif has lost all of his family and is shell-shocked in the beginning but finds his humanity at last. Nigel Davenport plays the village mayor (Gruber) but this wasn't a good choice for that role. The female actors are bland and lifeless. Best part of the whole movie was Caine's ruthlessness and his accent. Some good philosophical points are made about religion and politics.
December 7, 2009
This is what happens when religion replaces faith, when greed replaces grace, when madness takes hold and ignorance is nurtured by the twisted. "The Last Valley" is such an ambiguous film, and is put together in such a way that everyone who watches it will take something away from it. Every angle is touched on, every life, but in the end, it's all the same. The film is masterful, and Omar Sharif, as well as Michael Caine, are magnificent in it. "If you ever find God, tell him, that we created..." Wow!
½ July 19, 2009
Possibly worth watching for Michael Caine, Omar Sharif, and Nigel Davenport, but there's a reason no one's ever heard of this movie.
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