Young Winston

1972

Biography / Drama

2
IMDb Rating 6.7

Synopsis


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2.92G
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157 min
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157 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Ben Burgraff (cariart)

YOUNG WINSTON was a film that director Richard Attenborough said was verydifficult for him to make...his reputation as a director, in 1972, restedsolely on his only previous film, the anti-war cult classic OH! WHAT ALOVELY WAR (1969), and with YOUNG WINSTON, he was expected to tackle asubject that was directly opposite to his point of view. Winston Churchillwas the moral center of Great Britain in WWII, staunchly pro-Empire, andanything but anti-war. Yet his early life was an fascinating saga ofcontradictions, and the director felt that if he could focus on the personalodyssey Churchill experienced, against the backdrop of the dramatic eventsof the time, it would be a story worth telling. While the end result ofAttenborough's labors would not be entirely successful, YOUNG WINSTON isstill a rewarding, entertaining movie.<br><br>Told as a series of flashbacks, narrated by the older Winston Churchill(mimicked very accurately by the film's young star, Simon Ward), we jumpfrom battlefields in the Sudan to a childhood in Blenhiem Palace, at anoccasionally dizzying pace. The son of a brilliant yet self-destructive MP(played, with &eacute;lan, by Robert Shaw), and his dazzling American wife (theradiant Anne Bancroft), young Churchill worships his parents, but is largelyignored by them, except when the cruelty of a boarding school would becometoo apparent. Only an average student through most of his youth, he seemsdestined to a life of mediocrity, at least in his father's eyes, and theparent's cold indifference would only become more pronounced as heexperiences the ravages of syphilis, which destroys his career, and wouldkill him. Too late to win his father's love, Winston blossoms as a student,and determines to win fame, first as a soldier/journalist, then to take uphis father's banner in Parliament.<br><br>Self-centered, opinionated, and glory-hungry, Winston attracts the animosityof Britain's war staff, yet seems to be anywhere history is being made, fromtribal rebellions, to the last cavalry charge in history (seeing Churchillsheath his sword and pull out a pistol as his weapon is a telling sign thatthe era was ending). Behind the scenes, his widowed mother, trading on herlegendary beauty and string of admirers, makes up for her earlier aloofnessby using her contacts to help her son 'get ahead'. Yet Winston feels hisprogress is too slow, and decides to go to South Africa, where the Boer Warrages.<br><br>As a journalist, Churchill is captured, but, taking advantage of the Britishprisoners' escape plans, manages to break out of prison, and elude theBoers, while all England watches. By the time he finally reaches safety, theentire world is celebrating him as a hero, and he easily wins his father'sseat in Parliament...and takes up the same unpopular issues the elderChurchill had championed, and gone down defending. As Anthony Hopkins,playing Churchill friend David Lloyd George remarks, &quot;A young lion is loosein Parliament.&quot;<br><br>With an all-star cast (including Jack Hawkins, Patrick Magee, John Mills,Edward Woodward, and a very young Jane Seymour), the greatest credit must goto Simon Ward, the oldest of the three young actors portraying Churchillthrough his early years. Ward is astonishing, not only physically resemblingWinston, but giving the character a humanity that makes his opportunism andambition far more palpable. <br><br>Of note, as well, is Gerry Turpin's cinematography, with it's sweepingvistas of the British army in the field, and Alfred Ralston's rousing score,drawing heavily from Elgar's marches.<br><br>While the sheer scope of the story, and flashback approach, ultimatelydefeat the 'intimacy' Richard Attenborough had hoped for, YOUNG WINSTON isstill well worth watching, and helped him prepare for his next film, theeven more challenging A BRIDGE TOO FAR.<br><br>It is a wonderful film adventure! <br><br>

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Reviewed by artzau 9/10

This fine film of Richard Attenborough with Simon Ward really does havegreat legs, just like Ann Bancroft. What a great film with a splendid cast,John Mills, Robert Shaw, Patrick Magee, Tony Hopkins, Ian Holm and the greatJack Hawkins! I had not seen it since its release back in '72 and it wasjust as delightful seeing it tonight as it was back then.<br><br>History buffs may take a few shots at the unevenness of the story line andthe flash-backs-- especially, the interviews with Bancroft and Ward-- are abit distracting but the writing, the script and the film all work togetherin the hands of a real master, Richard Attenborough. It helps to no endthat Ward had the face of the young Winston Churchill and is able to subtlyportray the young man burning with ambition. The supporting cast is superb.The events are gloriously Victorian and it leaves not a whit of doubt aboutthe origins of the last of the old imperialists, Sir Winston. The finalscenes with Ward giving the speech on the floor of Parliament are wonderfuland suggestive of the great oratory that was characteristic of the oldBritish Lion. A great picture of Sir Winnie's rhetoric was given in HarryS. Truman's notes on meeting with him at Potsdam who observed how &quot;[he]spoke in sentences formed into well-formed paragraphs...a masterorator.&quot;Young, proud, vain, arrogant, ambitious, full of himself and self concerned,and fiercely intolerant of opinions differing from his own,Sir WinstonChurchill was indeed one of the controversial albeit great men of our lastcentury. This fine film stands as a fitting tribute tohim.

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Reviewed by Tirogesflair ([email protected]) 10/10

Like most reviewers here - I saw the film originally on the big screenback in 1972. As an eager young historian then - I recall how much thisfilm helped bring to life Winston Churchill and political and sociallife of Great Britain in the decades before the First World War. SimonWard was brilliant as the young Winston but Robert Shaw&#39;s torturedperformance as Lord Randolph Churchill stand out - especially the scenewhere he is addressing the House of Commons when clearly his mind wasfast gowing. Anthony Hopkins does have a small - but crucial role inthe film as Liberal M.P David Lloyd George. It was his friendship withChurchill and the then political issue of tariffs v Free trade that ledto Churchill leaving the Conservatives and becoming a Liberal for thenext 20 years. I do also recall the final &#39;ghost&#39; scene - so i will beinterested to see what the new DVD will do about that as a missingscene from the earlier video release.

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