The Battle of Culloden


Drama / History / War


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Glenn Wade 10 / 10

The first true depiction of war

Peter Watkins's much underestimated Docu-Drama that, frankly, has to be watched by the individual to have the maximum impact. This is, without doubt, the fairest and most realistic depiction of war in cinema history. Here we have no poetic licence and no particular bias, despite some claiming a strong swing in favour of the Jacobites. Men are men, war is war and blood is blood.

There are few ways in which to describe this masterpiece in a simple review. If you desire a stark wake up call to the brutality and pain that war and Civil War creates, get hold of a copy of this film.

If you are not moved, then you have no heart.

Reviewed by Miyagis_Sweaty_wifebeater ([email protected]) 10 / 10

Peter Watkins' Culloden.

Culloden (1964) (TV) was a movie that was funded by the B.B.C. They were impressed with Mr. Watkins work on the short Forgotten Faces. He was hired as a B.B.C. staff film-maker. With a shoe-string budget and a troop of amateur actors, Peter Watkins created a very controversial and grim look at the decaying Scottish clan system and the British occupation of Scotland. Whilst during the duration of the film Mr. Watkins takes no side and scathingly shows how both sides of the battlefield are morally and socially corrupt. Prince Bonnie Charles Stuart (pretender to the throne) on the battle field against the superior forces of the House of Hannover. The Jacobites didn't really stand a chance against the World's greatest army. Stupidity and jealousy ruined any chance they had.

Peter Watkins also showed the aftermath of the battle and the devastating effects the battle had on the surrounding communities. He shot this film in his trademark faux-documentary style. Even with a small budget, Mr. Watkins still manages to create a very important film. One that he spent months on researching and planning. The film also reflects how the media treated combat as we have one the field reports from the attacking army and interviews with the soldiers and their views on the enemy.

Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Chris_Docker 8 / 10

Brilliant !!

Enjoying a revival on the art-house circuit, this reconstruction of the famous last battle fought on British soil uses modern documentary-style reporting to convey immediacy. An effective and bloodthirsty film, it covers a landmark period of Scots-Anglo history, showing not only the senseless waste of human life, the total incompetence of the Bonnie Prince Charles as a military leader, but the barbaric excesses of both Scots and English, and the iniquity and the Scottish ‘clan' system. The period opened the way for the ‘clearances' where indigenous people were shipped off and the land used for (more profitable and less troublesome) sheep farming.

It really doesn't have anything very good to say about anyone, English or Scots, but this won't stop many English feeling it is racist and one-sided (just as the English critics as a whole were the only ones in the world to lambaste the magnificently spectacular but historically inaccurate, Braveheart). Watkins may well have had a political agenda – the film was likened to a social commentary on the American involvement in Vietnam (as the gutting of the Gaelic Highlands by the Noble Army was said to parallel the ‘pacification' of the Vietnamese by the U.S. Army). Culloden, however, is not only a key historical massacre but almost part of Scottish folklore. Arguing the details of the battle is still a not uncommon pub conversation, especially to the north and west of the country. My favourite version is by an elderly lady who lives near Culloden (just outside of Inverness) who ‘tells it like she was there'. The movie, although originally made for television, is also a landmark, and riveting stuff, but whether it can justifiably be used to further a pro-Scottish Independence agenda is much shakier, given that it happened a long time ago.

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