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Centennial: The Complete Series

William Atherton , Raymond Burr , Bernard McEveety , Harry Falk    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 49.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Centennial: The Complete Series + Hawkeye Compl Series + Into the West
Price For All Three: CDN$ 100.93

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  • Hawkeye Compl Series CDN$ 14.95
  • Into the West CDN$ 35.99

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Product Description

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A remarkably ambitious and engrossing project, this 1978 television miniseries ran 26-and-a-half hours, cost a then-enormous $25 million, and involved 4 directors, 5 cinematographers, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 speaking parts. Based on James Michener's panoramic bestseller about the settling of the American West--as reflected in the history of a fictional town called Centennial, Colorado--the story begins in the late 18th century and ends with a typical 20th century conflict over land usage. Centennial, however, largely concentrates on various memorable frontiersmen, trappers, Indians, ranchers, cowboys, and farmers from long ago. Richard Chamberlain shines as the pioneer Alexander McKeag, Robert Conrad does some of his best work as French-Canadian Pasquinel, and performances by Alex Karras, Chad Everett, Sally Kellerman, Raymond Burr, Richard Crenna, David Janssen, and Dennis Weaver effectively add to a tapestry of adventure, tragedy, violence, and dubious Western progress. Produced at a time when TV networks were in the throes of acknowledging America's history of racial injustice, the program paints a starkly villainous portrait of opportunists exploiting and destroying Indians in the name of manifest destiny. While the project's great length might make one wary of diving in, Centennial is the sort of carefully paced drama that makes one care about the intertwined destinies of unique characters and how they illuminate America's past. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Memorable, if overlong western epic Sept. 8 2001
Format:VHS Tape
The mammoth western epic "Centennial" has always deserved a storied place in television history.
This ambitious effort, based on the James Michener novel of the same name, attempts to cover the history of the state of Colorado, from the days of the Native Americans to the political/environmental dealings of modern times. Clocking in at 24 hours, it's probably safe to say that rarely has so much effort been put into the television medium. Unfortunately, "Centennial" would have been better served to cut it's running time in half.
The first five episodes of "Centennial," dealing with the settling of the American frontier and the eventual clash between pioneers and Native Americans, are some of the finest hours ever produced for television. This 1978 miniseries provides an early sympathetic view of the Native American, from the appealing chief Lame Beaver, played convincingly by Michael Ansara, to his daughter Clay Basket sympathetically played by Barbara Carrera. Throw into this mix the stormy relationship of trappers Pasquinel (Robert Conrad) and McKeag (Richard Chamberlain), and you have great drama on the untamed frontier. Their lives, and the rustic, changing world in which they live, makes for terrific historical fireworks.
Of course, Conrad's performance as Pasquinel, a colorful and memorable character if ever there was one, is one of the finest of his erratic career. As soon as his character leaves the film, there is an emptiness to the drama which is never quite replaced. And this emptiness damages the overall memory of this western epic.
Episode five, which details the disturbing true-life incident of the Sand Creek Massacre, in which hundreds of Native Americans were brutally murdered, is probably the last hurrah of "Centennial.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Centennial is one of the best TV series ever made. It is up there with I Claudius, Shogun & Roots. The caracters are unforgettable. It does not have the nastiness of I Claudius, the dull moment of Shogun or the cruelty of Roots. Robert Conrad played his best role as Pasquinel, the coureur-des-bois, the first white man to meet and trade with indians, the caracter like all the other caracters is based loosely on real people. His french takes time to get used to but his singing down the river is one of highlights of this serie. The natural scenery is a plus for this serie, where series like I Claudius feels like theater in a box, Centennial was filmed on location, or close by... Richard Chamberlain as Alexander McKeag is probably the best couple of hours you will have watching TV, he is better in that role than he was playing Blackthorne, his gradual understanding of the Indians is what makes this serie a classic. And now for the piece-of-resistance Barbara Carrera as Clear Basket is unforgettable, her love for two men is well played. As for the rest of the cast everybody is excellent, from Michael Ansara (Lame Beaver) to Brian Keith (Axel Dumire) to Lynn Redgrave (Charlotte Buckland) this is a serie where actors shine. One of my favorite is Stephanie Zimbalist (Elly Zendt), she is so young and she went so desperatly to make a home, her last smile will stay with you even after you finish watching the serie. Only drawback is the final episode, a bit too long with all the flashbacks, and not enough interraction between Andy Griffith, David Janssen and Robert Vaughn. But than the last scene is a surprise that few series this long finish with... Merle Haggard inviting us in one of his song to visit the Beloved Colorado... About the special feature, interview with the cast, too short! A few minutes with the man behind this sweeping saga would have been nice... James A Michener (1907-1997)... and a commentary track with specialist for each period would have been appreciated...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Tommy Dooley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
This is a rerelease of the ground breaking TV series from America that was originally shown in 1978. It was a really faithful adaptation of the best selling book of the same name by James A. Michener, who actually does an introduction. It tells of the story of the founding of a town that is the Centennial in the title and in so doing to tell in microcosm some of the events that helped shaped his nation.

It charts over 200 years of American history using the many characters to tell the story through their experiences. Starting in the late Eighteenth Century we first meet Pasquinelle, a French trapper who started trading with various Indian tribes like the Arapaho. He uses brawn, brain and guts to overcome the many barriers he must face and also marries one of his new Native American friends - Clay basket (great name) and saves a Scottish Trapper McKeeg (Richard Chamberlain doing a worse Scots accent than Mr Gibson did in `Braveheart') . What follows from the progeny is a tale of love from the daughters and hate from the half breed sons, who follow the Indian path which ultimately leads to war in a futile attempt to protect their land from the ever encroaching and greedy white settlers.

This is a 26 hour long production set in 12 episodes which are all in fact self contained films in their own right, and I found them to be ruddy addictive.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
GOOD
Published 2 months ago by lingar007
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to the west.
I truly loved this series, especially the first set, I have passed this on to younger members of the family as they never really sit and watch this kind of show. Read more
Published 4 months ago by diane2422@shaw.ca
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
Watched the dvd's a few times since purchasing. Its a great show, and the discs and case are all in excellent condition!
Published 8 months ago by Michael V. Lucas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great mini series
I had watched this years ago when it was on tv as a mini series, watched again and enjoyed it ever more. Really good story, and very interesting. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Cindy Hefferan
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
Wonderful historically relevant series. Even my wife (who is not big on this type of movie) loved it. Highly recommended.
Published 10 months ago by Ted Benson
4.0 out of 5 stars Centennial
Enjoyed this series although the last two parts were mostly a summary of the past and repetitive of what was already seen
Published 21 months ago by Cowgal11
5.0 out of 5 stars Follow the development of wilderness North America from the early...
This DVD box set contains 6 DVD disks in a three-fold case, with 2 chapters on each disk. The tale starts with a french trader and follows his family line to the present day. Read more
Published 21 months ago by John R. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Centennial
Centennial is the best mini series I have ever watched. Centennial was worth every cent I spent, because the enjoyment was thrilling. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2012 by Marjorie Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars Centennial
I have purchased this DVD and would suggest that if you like the old style western type of movie this is the one for you. Read more
Published on May 2 2012 by Robert
5.0 out of 5 stars Great History
After watching " Hell on Wheels" on AMC, reminded us of Centennial. Saw it over 30 yrs ago & enjoyed it then & even better now. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2011 by BC Guy
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