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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Tale of Americas Frontier pioneers spanning 200 years
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...
Published 24 months ago by Tommy Dooley

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Memorable, if overlong western epic
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...
Published on Sept. 8 2001 by Chris K. Wilson


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Memorable, if overlong western epic, Sept. 8 2001
By 
Chris K. Wilson "Chris Kent" (Dallas, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Centennial Box Set (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." The film soon switches gears to detail ranching life, farming struggles and the Depression. But the sense of wonder and awe seems to disappear, as the film wallows in a series of cliches (Brian Keith as the town sheriff is almost laughably bad) which resembles poor soap opera. The characters are not as multi-dimensional, and certainly not as inspiring.
"Centennial" rebounds somewhat during the twelth and final episode in which the valid question is raised as to what type of industry is best for the state of Colorado -- living off the land as our ancestors did, or mining the countryside for its resources. David Janssen is superb as a ranch owner and descendent of Pasquinel. His brooding intensity practically washes away the bad taste left from the frustrating boredom of the previous four episodes.
"Centennial" boasts one of the most extraordinary casts ever assembled for a motion picture. Almost too many to mention, some nods of respect must be given to Conrad, Chamberlain, Janssen, Chad Everett, Richard Crenna (in a particularly villainous role), Carrera, Lynn Redgrave, Gregory Harrison and Dennis Weaver (absolutely terrific as trail boss R.J. Poteet).
Appropriate kudos must be given to the beautiful cinemaphotography and the exciting musical score of John Addison.
"Centennial," essentially is a television history of the United States, from the early settlers to modern times. No stone is left unturned in this epic journey, and if the ambition was a bit more than these filmmakers could actually achieve given the restraints of the budget and the limitations of its marathon length, one can forgive these starry-eyed dreamers for losing steam during the final episodes.
Based on the first five episodes (11 hours) alone, "Centennial" is one of the finest works in television history. As a whole, the film sputters to a three-star rating. But for patient viewers, there are many diamonds to discover in the rough, unforgiving land known as "Centennial."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Tale of Americas Frontier pioneers spanning 200 years, July 11 2012
By 
Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Centennial: The Complete Series (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. With a cast of thousands that includes Raymond Burr, Donald Pleasance, Lynne Redgrave, Timothy Dalton, Dennis Weaver, Robert Vaughn, Sharon Gless, and a very young George Clooney who I actually missed, and has over 100 speaking parts this was a massive undertaking they had four directors and five cinematographers, which often can be seen as in `How The West Was Won', but this is completely intact, the style and narrative flow beautifully until we hit the twentieth Century where things sort of speed up.

On the way we get massacres, revolution, search for gold, inter racial marriage, bible bashing, cattle drives, Indian attacks, night rider attacks, sheep droving, darned farmers putting up fences and the brutal story of a nations progress with the concomitant shame that comes from a misplaced population. There is even a bar room brawl and a Wild West show as well as the tragedy of the dust bowl. This then is what the word epic was coined for, and it keeps the action coming as fast as both the joys and tragedy, to be anything other than impressed is to be bordering on churlish.

But hey ho I am going to point out some of the flaws - small though they are we still have them and that is that this is a faithful reprint from the original series and as such we get the full titles for every episode and they last for over three minutes. The sound quality varies in places requiring the remote to be handy, the make up for the ageing process of some of the characters was a bit am dram and the most annoying is the clip show element that appears in the last few episodes. That is where people stand around reminiscing and we get treated to often a lengthy clip from one or more previous episodes. This device was used in `Roots' a lot too and can become really annoying, but as these were often shown a week apart it was probably needed to remind the viewer of what had transpired.

That said it wears its educational, ecological and humanitarian heart on its sleeve, the issues and associated values are still valid today, whether it be the displaced Indian Nations, the slaughter of natures bounty or the greed that destroys everything - the land included. Because of the above issues I was going to award 4 stars but I absolutely loved this and it was only towards the end that I realised I had seen it first time round ( I remembered `The Winds of Death') but it has not lost any of its power. I can not recommend highly enough, so it gets the full 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Centennial is a short course in North American history - but what a course!, Jan. 18 2009
This review is from: Centennial: The Complete Series (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Back to the west., June 3 2014
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This review is from: Centennial: The Complete Series (DVD)
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. They are getting an education on just what the world they live in came because of those hardy men and women.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, Feb. 7 2014
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This review is from: Centennial: The Complete Series (DVD)
Watched the dvd's a few times since purchasing. Its a great show, and the discs and case are all in excellent condition!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great mini series, Jan. 17 2014
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This review is from: Centennial: The Complete Series (DVD)
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. Anyone interested in the past will enjoy this series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, Dec 19 2013
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This review is from: Centennial: The Complete Series (DVD)
Wonderful historically relevant series. Even my wife (who is not big on this type of movie) loved it. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Centennial, Jan. 7 2013
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This review is from: Centennial: The Complete Series (DVD)
Enjoyed this series although the last two parts were mostly a summary of the past and repetitive of what was already seen
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5.0 out of 5 stars Follow the development of wilderness North America from the early French traders along the Mississippi to today., Jan. 6 2013
By 
John R. Moore "seahawk05" (Niagara, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Centennial: The Complete Series (DVD)
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. The early part of the story covers a fair length of time to tell, then picks up speed as each next generation comes along, rushing to the modern day. I feel this is a collectors must-have set to enjoy any time there is the urge to re-watch this timeless story of exploration, hardship,and triumph.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Centennial, Oct. 17 2012
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This review is from: Centennial: The Complete Series (DVD)
Centennial is the best mini series I have ever watched. Centennial was worth every cent I spent, because the enjoyment was thrilling. When I had to leave it, I couldn't wait to get back to see the outcome.
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Centennial: The Complete Series
Centennial: The Complete Series by Virgil W. Vogel (DVD - 2008)
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