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The Pillars of the Earth

Season 1
 (2,758)
7.42010X-Ray15
Set against the backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles which tears lives and families apart.
Starring
Ian McShaneRufus SewellMatthew MacFadyen
Genres
RomanceDrama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio Languages
English

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  1. 1. Anarchy
    23 July 2010
    57min
    15
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio Languages
    English
    The succession to the crown of England is in doubt and causes King Henry's daughter and nephew to compete for the throne. Church politics see Philip, a monk, elected the new prior, which leaves him indebted to Deacon Waleran.
  2. 2. Master Builder
    23 July 2010
    53min
    15
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio Languages
    English
    A fire destroys Kingsbridge church, giving Tom, son Alfred and stepson Jack the chance to build a new cathedral. Prior Philip learns the power of politics when he gets caught between Bishop Waleran and the Hamleighs' quest for Shiring Castle.
  3. 3. Redemption
    30 July 2010
    54min
    15
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio Languages
    English
    Aliena protests her father's imprisonment. Prior Philip and William find themselves in a standoff over access to stone in the Shiring quarry. Jack's artistic talents take hold as he begins to carve a statue to honour the cathedral relic.
  4. 4. Battlefield
    6 August 2010
    48min
    15
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio Languages
    English
    William applies to have his father's title of Earl transferred to him, and discovers a mysterious knight is also a rival for the Earldom. King Stephen, frightened by Jack's appearance, orders an assassin to kill him.
  5. 5. Legacy
    13 August 2010
    55min
    15
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio Languages
    English
    Waleran and Regan engineer the prisoner exchange so that they remain on the winning side of the war. Tom wants Jack and Alfred to be friends, but their rivalry over their work lives and Aliena is too intense.
  6. 6. Witchcraft
    20 August 2010
    52min
    15
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio Languages
    English
    Richard returns from war to find his sister penniless, with no more money to support his knighthood. Alfred offers himself to Prior Philip as master-builder. Aliena has to choose between her love for Jack and her oath to her father.
  7. 7. New Beginnings
    27 August 2010
    54min
    15
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio Languages
    English
    Jack has learned how to fulfill Tom Builder's dream of a cathedral filled with light. Aliena tracks Jack by following the trail of his carvings. Waleran offers Philip a new position, but it means that Philip must always obey Waleran.
  8. 8. The Work of Angels
    27 August 2010
    55min
    15
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio Languages
    English
    Eight years later, Jack's fixation with the cathedral leaves him little time or energy for anything else, while Aliena's fixation with the distant Earldom of Shiring has married her to Alfred, a man she hates.

More details

Directors
Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
Supporting actors
Eddie RedmayneHayley AtwellSarah ParishNatalia WörnerTony CurranDonald SutherlandAlison Pill
Season year
2010
Network
Tandem Communications
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

2758 global ratings

  1. 78% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

BillytReviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 January 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good portrayal of the book in many respects but disappointing ending.
Verified purchase
Having read and enjoyed Ken Follet's book I was intrigued to see how it could possibly be portrayed in film. The book is long and detailed so this must have been a huge undertaking.
Firstly it is extremely well acted by the three main characters, Eddie Redmayne, Rufus Sewell and surprisingly Ian McShane who you would not usually expect to find in a period drama of this type.
Secondly the whole setting about the building of a 12th century cathedral alongside a monastry is well done with convincing film sets throughout.
Lastly the main themes of the book are covered accurately until close to the end. Unfortunately it deviates greatly from the book here in concentrating on the demise of the villain of the piece rather than what could have been the historically accurate killing of Thomas Beckett in Canterbury Cathedral. Why the film makers chose to skip the book's ending and invent their own was my only disappointment.
4 people found this helpful
Throda tzenReviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 August 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
 “Who do you love most?” [Regan]
Verified purchase
This 2010 made for TV miniseries diverges widely from the book, which may upset many fans and carries a 15 age rating. The story revolves around Tom Builder [Rufus Sewell] a master stone mason who is trying to simply feed his growing family and wants to build his dream cathedral, all set against the actual historical period known as ‘The Anarchy’ [1135-1154, when England and Normandy were engulfed in a bloody Civil War of secession between Stephen and Matilda].
The box set contains all 8 episodes on 3 discs. Features are sparse, containing play, English language and English subtitles for the hard of hearing and scene selection on each disc but with one special feature apiece, these being disc 1 a making of, disc 2 special effects and the final disc a titles progression feature. While the main feature runs for 7 hours and 8 minutes.
This well produced series has a fine cast of actors who play the characters well but everyone seems to have ‘dark’ secrets and their own agendas as we meet self serving clergy, power crazed aristocrats, double dealing knights and everyday villains. There is something for everyone, convincing battles, numerous stand-offs, rape, incest, witch burnings, ‘sinful’ lust, unrequited love, found love, betrayals, inadvertent betrayals and duplicity of all kinds, but is anyone above it all?
At the end of the day this is a fictional drama built around a real period in history so just suspend belief and allow this entertaining story to carry you along as it does tend to capture everyday life in a grubby manner, being almost an ‘Upstairs and Downstairs’ view on the period giving a decent indication of what ‘life’ may have been like at the time.
If you enjoy historical costume dramas like ‘Rome’, ‘The Tudors’ and ‘The Borgias’ then this will probably please you, but bear in mind if you’re looking for a copy of the book in film form, you’ll probably be bitterly disappointed.
7 people found this helpful
JKReviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 January 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
A fabulous romp through the Dark Ages-7 hours of addictive TV
Verified purchase
Addictive, hugely entertaining and never meant to be taken too seriously - brilliant - and what a cast; Rufus Sewell, Donald Sutherland, Ian McShane, Mathew MacFayden and Hayley Atwell to name but a few.

Trying to summarise the whole plot would take far too long for a review so I'll give a very basic outline:-

England is just out of the Dark Ages as Tom Builder (Sewell) sets out on the road to find work and shelter for himself and his family. Events take a dark turn for Tom. Eventually he finds himself in a place where his dream of building a Cathedral comes true. Unfortunately, both the town and church around Tom are riddled with deep, dark secrets and his plans for the Cathedral bring corruption and mystery out into the open. Add a wonderful background of Monarchy (Queen Maud and King Stephen), double dealing Knights of the Realm, evil Bishops, corrupt churches/monasteries, poisoning, battles, escapes to France plus political intrique and you're not even half way into the plot.

The Pillars of the Earth is a piece of fantasy loosely based on the plot of a Ken Follet novel. There's more than enough (moderate-strong) sex, violence and strong language to reduce the whole series to little more than an historical romp at times. The market for this DVD is definitely aimed at those of us who enjoy TV drama such as The Tudors or The Borgias. I'm only adding those comments because I've read through some of the earlier reviews and seen how disappointed people were with the TV mini-series. For that reason I'll add a couple of words of advise: if you're expecting The Pillars of the Earth to be a true depiction of the novel you'll be disappointed. It's not. Neither is it historically accurate or particularly believable. You have to be prepared to suspend belief and allow this entertaining, gripping, darkly comic story to carry you along.

Age Restriction 15 (contains strong language, once very strong, sex and bloody violence).
Running time:- 7 hours 01 minute.
English language and English subtitles for the hard of hearing.
Special Feature - behind the scenes.

No problems with running the DVD and the picture/audio qualities are good throughout.
3 people found this helpful
Sally TReviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 December 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
Pillars of the Earth
Verified purchase
I never read any of Ken Follet's books, so I had no idea what Pillars of the Earth was about. That is until I read the review of the DVD, I knew then that this was a " must have and watch". It is riveting - the fact that it is historical drama made it even more appealing to me. It is set in the period in history where England was plunged in a civil war fought between Stephen of Blois and Mathilda each claiming a right to the English throne. In spite of all the misery and lawlessness these wars brought with them, there is still the yearning to create beauty and the result is the building of the cathedrals all over Britain and Europe which, to this day, are a marvel to see.

There is a power struggle taking place, not just for the throne, but for titles and land and most of all in the Church itself. The actors are great, especially Ian McShane as the evil cleric and Matthew Macfadyen as the idealistic prior. Of course, there were abuses and evil in the Church, but there is also piety. Ultimately, we have these marvels in architecture due, in most part, to the Catholic Church and this, thankfully, is made very clear in Prior Philip's address to the congregation. The other actors do credit to their parts, especially Rufus Sewell as the master builder, and his apprentice. I would recommend this DVD to all who love history and architecture. I am glad I bought this DVD and I shall watch it again and again.
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 October 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars
Better than expected - wish there was a 2nd season!
Verified purchase
Didn't know quite what to expect, but my wife and I have just finished watching this and it was very good. Fairly gutted when we finished it that it is a one off, but being based on the book, I suppose that is fair enough!

First couple of episodes require a bit of patience - a lot of characters and the political context is established. After that we were hooked. Characters, story and production is fantastic. It must have had a massive budget because it looks great.

It has just 8 episodes, each about 50 minutes. We've got used to 'slow burner' shows like Mad Men where nothing much happens during each episode. Pillars of the Earth is completely different. Each episode is packed with action, intrigue, double crossing and plot-hatching! Waleron and William are nasty pieces of work. Jack and Aliena become the stars of the show. I know some people get hung up on the historical inaccuracies, but come on, it's just a piece of fiction.

Something a bit different and it gets five out of five from us.
One person found this helpful
K. A. NewtonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 January 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent.
Verified purchase
I bought this miniseries on a set of 3 discs but I still don't know the difference between this set and the other set of 3 discs costing over £10. more also available on Amazon. Please leave a comment on this review if you know the difference.

Now the Review.....

What can you say about perfection.

I am just glad it was not overidden with stars, you can sometimes forget the character when it is played by a big star but in the case of Ian McShane and Donald Sutherland this does not happen.

I loved every minute.

I have to warn other buyers that the different chapters on a disc all have cast lists on a black background following on and the first time I watched the first disc I took the disc out of my dvd player when the tv screen showed the cast list not realising there was another chapter following on on the same disc.

I have not enjoyed a miniseries so much in ages.
3 people found this helpful
S. R. CantleReviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 March 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars
Classy series; Worth every penny
Verified purchase
This is excellent 5 star entertainment from start to finish. There's lots of well fleshed-out characters to emerse your self in with the evil Waleran Bigod (Ian McShane) the ruthless puppet-master. It's a fantastic part for McShane and he delivers in every one of his scenes. Another stand-out for me was Eddie Redmayne who develops his character, Jack, slowly thru' the 8-episode series, by the end standing tall as a true hero of the piece.

What requires more imagaination by the viewer is the way the series deals with the timeshifts. Some of the characters appear to age more than others, and some, the lovely Hayley Atwell in particular, not at all. But it's a small gripe really as there's so much to enjoy - some wonderful battle action, plenty of fighting, all taking place in lots of beautifully created sets, cleverly aided by CGI. It's a wonderful treat in store if you've not seen it yet.
TonziReviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 January 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Compelling
Verified purchase
Having read the book and also read the sequel "World Without End," when I saw this DVD set was available, it was a must buy for me. If you like medieval period literature, then this DVD set makes for a great adaptation of a fine work. It is not suitable for children as there is some extreme language used and some of the scenes are a bit too sexually graphic for young eyes. However, for adults it makes for compelling viewing. It's not only entertaining, but also very informative. Just like the book, there is some good explanation of how major constructions such as cathedrals were built. You can see the tools and equipment used and how the lack of "Health & Safety" regulations enabled them to get on with things. Ian McShane is absolutely brilliant. He always seems to play the part of the villain and in this film he excels. You grow to really hate him! Thoroughly recommended and fantastic value.
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