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The Art of War: Alexander the Great cover photo

The Art of War: Alexander the Great 2004


Distributed by Films Media Group, PO Box 2053, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-2053; 800-257-5126
Produced by Discovery Channel
Directed by Isaac Florentine
DVD, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Military Studies, History

Date Entered: 06/07/2005

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

On 1 October, 331 B.C., Alexander the Great decisively defeated the Persian Emperor Darius III near the village of Gaugamela in present-day Iraq. This effectively ended the wars between the Greeks and the Persians as well as the Persian Empire itself. With a force of less than 50,000 men Alexander defeated an army that may have been up to five times larger than his own. This History Channel production uses re-enacted scenes, 3-D computer animation, as well as commentary from Dale Dye, author Stephen Pressfield, and several other academics/military historians to depict the battle and the rise of Alexander. Besides glimpses into the person of Alexander, there are demonstrations and depictions of tactics and weapons which allow the viewer to understand how the battle was fought. The re-enactments are well-done with the actors speaking either ancient Greek or Persian with English sub-titles. The course of the battle is described in some depth and the production presents the phases of the battle quite clearly. The technical quality of this production is excellent. With its’ sweeping “big scene” computer graphics this is a very enjoyable, as well as informative, production. There is a scene depicting Darius that includes a very attractive belly dancer. While this reviewer didn’t object, those who oversee younger viewers should consider themselves informed.