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History Channel: "The True Story of Alexander the Great" | National Geographic: Beyond the Movie | BBC: Charging for Alexander | PBS: In the Footsteps of Alexander | In the Footsteps... (companion book) | Discovery School: Conquerors, Alexander the Great | Other documentaries

History Channel: "The True Story of Alexander the Great"

History Channel's Official site. Highlights include:

  • An interactive map. It's great someone finally did a good one, at least as far as the map engine is concerned. But it's a shame they messed up the placenames so much, mixing different transliteration systems: Greek (Granikos, Kaspian), Latin (Halicarnassus, Alexandria ad Issum).
  • Alexander's Conquest. A remarkably "young" Alexander game. It's cute and fun—basically a trivia Candyland—but is it pitched to the same audience that gets Olympias with the snake?
Top 5%

"Three Profs and a Conqueror" by Eugene N. Borza, from the Alexander on Archaeology (magazine) gateway. Borza's review is positive, lauding particularly the performace and consulting work of Green, Bosworth and Murray, to whom he credits much of the "historical strength of this Alexander program."[1] He even liked the computer graphics and the actors playing Arrian, Diodorus, Plutarch and Curtius! He faults some details but, as with his review of the 1956 Alexander, Borza's glass is at least half-full.

My own review of the show ("Cheesy but Factual Documentary Delivers Chicks with Snakes and Peter Green too!"). Semi-positive. Stop me before I start quoting myself. Top 5%

Review by Matthew Gray,, the History Channel's "sleekest and most interesting multi-hour fest to date," but not exactly flawless. His description of the "sources" actors is better than mine:

"Plutarch is played by a shifty Portuguese version of Jeremy Davies, and Diodorus has either just had a tracheotomy or his voice is being digitally disguised as he hides from the Mob."

Jeanne Reames-Zimmerman's review at Livejournal: Megalexandros. Luke-warm review.

"They seemed, without fail, to go for the most dramatic story."

University of South Florida Press Release on USF Prof. William Murray's involvement in the History Channel "Alexander" documentary.

The Tampa Bay Online interviews Murray about the History Channel documentary, the upcoming movie, and hopes for a surge in interest on Alexander.

Promotional assets (large JPEGs and banners, including the "They didn't call him Alexander the Timid" ones). They originally had "They didn't call him Alexander the Candy-Ass," but despite my protests, they would not bring it back. Much funnier, I think.

National Geographic: Beyond the Movie

Amazon. Alexander the Great: Beyond the Movie (DVD release: November 2, 2004)

BBC: Charging for Alexander

Interview with Robin Lane Fox, in aid of movie tie-in BBC documentary "Charging for Alexander."

"Films have to be compromises. Everything has to be told rapidly and you can't go into extreme detail. But we had teams of armourers and textile makers all around the world. Unbelievably they were doing it from 1 June to 1 September. If any university in Britain or America had been asked to coordinate the making of historically-based replicas for over 2,000 people in four months they would have got as far as the initial paperwork empowering the health and safety officers to come and see it. Given that, I now understand the speed and commitment and love with which everybody works and it is tremendous."

IMDb. Minimal, except six low votes and the trivia that Fox wanted the screen credits to be "And Introducing Robin Lane Fox."

Producer Alison Grist profiled and quoted by Liz Hyder (

"Lane Fox had never been on a film set before heading to Morocco , but his baffled delight at the Hollywood way of working is charming to watch."

Guardian article on Charging for Alexander by Nancy Banks-Smith. Either an excerpt or full on this blog.

PBS: In the Footsteps of Alexander

Amazon DVD. In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great. Michael Wood's travel adventure. Also available in VHS format. Amazon reviewers are mostly enthusiastic. "Dang!" one writes, "This is the best documentary ever!" Top 5%

Audio: NPR: Weekend Edition Sunday Interview with Michael Wood (May 3, 1998)

"Alexander's Epic March" (review of Wood's documentary) by E. Borza in Archaeology v. 51 n. 3 May/June 1998. Full text now online.

"Except for suggesting some alternate routes, the film does not contribute much to traditional scholarship on Alexander. On an artistic level, however, it is a major achievement that will enrich both scholars and the general public. With stunning images of parts of the world rarely seen by Western eyes, Wood conveys a sense of the extraordinary distances and dramatic campaigns in the difficult country through which Alexander led his army. No book or film has ever before so persuasively conveyed this message." Top 5%

PBS's "In the Footsteps of Alexander" site, an impressive, graphical site. The site is retired, but was mirrored by Maryland Public Television. Also available (sorta) on Web Archive.

IMDb. Gives writing credit to Plutarch and Homer. I enjoyed clicking on the Plutarch link—he's also wrote the History Channel flick on Cleopatra. The question is: Can you connect Plutarch and Kevin Bacon?

In the Footsteps of Alexander. Short review by The History Net.

Web Archive: Jacksonville Daily News review of "In the Footsteps."

In the Footsteps... (companion book)

Amazon. In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great : A Journey from Greece to Asia by Michael Wood. The companion book. (See the UC publisher's blurb.) Borza's review of the video calls the book "uneven and occasionally inaccurate account of Alexander's career." I liked it better, but I won't press the case. Top 5%

The book, reviewed by Janet Burnett Grossman. BMCR 98.4. Grossman likes the book but makes some sharp observations:

"The secondary story told here is in the footsteps of Michael Wood who is pictured seven times with progressively haggard demeanor as the journey proceeds through increasingly harsh territory. Indeed, he has listed himself in the index no less than thirty-three times!"

Review by Joseph M. McCarthy, Scholia ns. 9 (2000).

"As compared to the video, this really does not provide enough additional material or insight to justify the cost. In this case, for once, it may be the better part to say, 'No, but I saw the movie.'"

Excerpt from "In the Footsteps" Book (Salon magazine).

The Irish News reviews the book.

Discovery School: Conquerors, Alexander the Great

Discovery School / Wendy S. Buchberg lesson plans on Alexander for 6-8 graders, based on the documentary "Conquerors: Alexander the Great."

Video: This video clip shows it to be very much adapted for children.

Discovery School. Conquerors: Alexander the Great (Grade level 6-12).

Other documentaries

Amazon. Alexander the Great - The Battle of Issus. Once again, there isn't much on the web about this, but I did manage to see this one. It isn't that terrible.

The Discovery Channel: "Becoming Alexander." Due to air November 24, "captures Colin Farrell's journey of transformation into the conqueror of the ancient world."

Amazon. Alexander the Great: Ruler of the World (1996 video, now out-of-print). Designed for the school crowd as well as adults. The documentary seems to have sunk quickly as I can't find anything about it except a bunch of study Questions and Answers.

1997 BBC Special "Alexander the God King" on Alexander's effect on religion. Also here.

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.
Check out my new site
Wiki Classical Dictionary, currently focused on Alexander

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( See all my ancient history sites )