William the Conqueror

 (22)6.153min201513+
One of the most powerful rulers in all of European history, William the Conqueror, is profiled in this documentary. From his rulership at age eight, to his commanding victory in the battle of Hastings, William reinvented the structure of European royalty. From the battlefield to the royal court, William set the stage for the continent's future. This is his story.
Directors
Frederic Compain
Genres
Special InterestDocumentary
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Studio
Yuyu
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4.1 out of 5 stars

22 global ratings

  1. 48% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 26% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 16% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

Andy McKinneyReviewed in the United States on November 12, 2020
3.0 out of 5 starsFrench perspective on William the Conqueror
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I rate this documentary at the level of a one hour TV piece. I found it useful to understand the French point of view on the Duke and King. That POV is somewhat at odds with the more familiar English version of the facts. By the facts, I mean the facts upon which William's claim to the English throne is based. There are historical and legal quibbles about who pledges what to whom and when but it hardly matters. William became King of England, a nice promotion for an ambitious French Duke of dubious heritage. Winning counts a lot more than lawyerly quill scratching.
I found the account of the Battle of Hastings to be fair and accurate, so far as I remember from my study of the events in English language writings. The costumes and weapons of the actors all seemed authentic. I like that as it gives the modern viewer some sense of what it looked like to live a thousand years ago. I especially liked the use of the Beaux Tapestry to explain how the invasion and battle evolved. The narrator took pains to explain that the Tapestry served as a propaganda effort for William and that we should be careful about giving it more credulity than it merits. I found that generous from the French perspective.
I did learn about some of the building projects of William in Normandy. The scale of castle building in England really staggers the imagination. The narrator claimed that the number of castles in England went from five in 1066 to five hundred just a few years later. I would have liked the film to mention the rather primitive earth and log castles, the motte and bailey style castles. The soldiers of William put them up quickly to nail down the countryside but the film let us think that the castles were all the stone fortifications of our imagination. I took off a star for that omission.
All in all, this is a useful introduction to the subject, emphasis on introduction.
6 people found this helpful
Big BoomerReviewed in the United States on December 6, 2018
4.0 out of 5 starsGood historical film
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The facts seem well researched, but be aware that the film is mostly in French with a few English subtitles and occasional narration in English to tie events together. The costumes and make-up are well done but some of the acting is, in my opinion, a bit too "dramatic".
12 people found this helpful
John PittawayReviewed in the United States on September 17, 2019
1.0 out of 5 starsA Very French Account of English History
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This documentary ignores some rather interesting facts. The Saxon kings were nominated to the wode. That was council of the Saxon barons. The elected king. The crown was not Edward’s to bequeath or Harold’s give away.

William the Bastard made a deal with the Vatican to bring England to heel to Papal authority, and of course, revenue. In return Willam the Bastard would henceforth be known as William the Conqueror.

My favorite legends are that he survived the assassination because of nightmare and the Matilda refused to mary a bastard. On the night his faithless uncles chose kill the boy, he had a nightmare. He climbed into bed with the guardian. When the uncles could not find him in his room, they tried to force his guardian to betray him. The guardian was stabbed to death while hiding William with his body in the thick goose down bed. William spent the night in the old mans blood.

Matilda is said to have refused her father’s betrothed to a bastard. William kicked down her bower door and drug her around the room by the hair of her head until she agreed.

Neither story is proven, but the election of the Saxon kings is history as is fact Harold did not believe he could be held to an oath that beyond his power to keep.
3 people found this helpful
SandyppReviewed in the United States on December 18, 2018
2.0 out of 5 starsThe photography and music were both good.
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I did not learn anything new, I was not challanged to view events from a different perspective nor was I glad I spent any time watching this film.
Pierre Bouet is introduced at three minutes into this film, a Professor of Medieval Latin, he describes the events which are translated into English during the entire movie. In the final credits, he is one of four names following "With the participation of historians".
Sorry, but this reminded me of a bad film in high school history.
I gave it 2 stars because it was bad but not wrong or offensive.
6 people found this helpful
Michael EspositoReviewed in the United States on April 3, 2021
4.0 out of 5 starsCreative elements were surprising
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MRE 2021.04.02 - While this was a typical, modestly budgeted, documentary, it did have some creative flourishes that made more interesting. I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but the way they mingled the documentary commentators into reenactments was unique. If you don't know a lot about this part of British history, this is a adequate primer.
One person found this helpful
K. SiegfriedReviewed in the United States on February 11, 2019
3.0 out of 5 starsGeneric
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This is a fairly generic history. If you are completely new to the subject matter it may help you write a high school paper, but if you enjoy history, it falls flat. There's nothing new, or controversial in the narrative.
he acting and costuming seem above average for a TV documentary however.
4 people found this helpful
Daniel R.Reviewed in the United States on May 21, 2021
4.0 out of 5 starsExcellent French documentary about a Norman hero
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Very well done and informative. It's been a really long time since my Western Civilization class in college, so my memories of William the Conqueror's story had faded. This documentary is a great reminder about why William is one of the most important figures in Western history. Definitely worth watching.
Oldies FanReviewed in the United States on October 14, 2020
5.0 out of 5 starsWell Written and Produced
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The subtitles are well-done for the most part. A very informative introduction to William the Conqueror, with much detail to chew on.
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