The Odyssey (TV Mini-Series 1997) Poster


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Riveting. Will make one want to re-read The Odyssey.
elblanco194721 September 2005
This is probably the best TV movie of all time. Odysseus is the perfect hero for the aging 1st world population, with his use of guile to triumph when strength is not enough. Despite the fact that one of my favorite parts of The Odyssey is left out, when Odysseus returns home after 20 years, his faithful pet Argus awaiting him, only to die after one greeting; I think this is an incredibly arresting film. Armand Assante is surprising terrific as Odysseus. He conveys with his expressions the depth of thought and emotion which characterized Odysseus. All the more amazing when one considers that Odysseus was an Achaean, a tall, fair race of people, though Odysseus was, himself, described by Homer as one of middle stature, for an Achaean, no doubt. This movie makes the tales of Homer seem more real than any film I have ever seen. The emotions of all are complex and real. The mutual love and devotion of Odysseus and Penelope are portrayed in a beautiful and believable way by the actors. The scene in which Odysseus returns to take back his kingdom is brutally and believably real. I cannot say enough good things about this movie. It should be required in the schools.
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Worth seeing as a companion to Homer's book/poem.
tenten7613 May 2003
I thoroughly enjoyed the book of the epic, which I read recently, and was pleasantly surprised to find this on video.

Obviously, there are significant omissions, edits and rewrites from the original - and quite long - text, not to mention the change to a standard timescale (rather than using constant flashbacks and anecdotes as in Homer's tale). Having said that, a surprising amount of detail did make it into this film, and the locations especially were almost all perfect - just as I'd imagined them. I even 'recognised' places before they were mentioned by name. Kudos to the production team.

Where the story is simplified, it is done carefully and logically, and leaves in virtually all of Odysseus's more fantastic adventures - dispensing with most of the hospitality, minor characters' subplots - Telemachus' journey is over in seconds - and (unfortunately) with any scenes on Mount Olympus. The net effect is of the story told entirely from Odysseus' viewpoint, while keeping an eye on events back at his palace in Ithaca.

I'll not go too far into the story - since that is why you'll be watching in the first place - but I will say that the special effects are mostly quite good, and don't detract in any way. Of the entire cast I only found Telemachus to be somewhat whiney & annoying, but you manage. Casting is generally very good (especially Calypso - wow).

If there is a problem with this film, it is that by cutting out so much of the rituals, travel and more complicated deceptions, it takes away much of the scale, grandeur and 'epic'ness of it all - while still taking 3 hours to watch. A lot of the ritual and repetition of the original text is actually a large part of its charm (as well as an entirely necessary story-telling mechanic), and I think it could be adapted in full if turned into a short series.

In summary, this is a decent version, but you'll get the most enjoyment out of this film if you've already read The Odyssey (which, as with most book/film adaptations, is significantly better). If you're thinking of watching this instead of reading The Odyssey - please don't. You'll have trouble getting into the text if you think you know what's coming next.

And for the cast & crew of this film - well done. I wish there were a bit more ambition amongst TV and film companies these days.
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A great movie experience
kristinasullivan16 September 2006
My husband and I just read the Odyssey together and this film was such a wonderful visualization! The settings, the sea, the magical gods' voices and appearances were absorbing and believable. I especially enjoyed the costuming; we see frozen images of people in ancient Greek dress but they moved with the wearers, just as our clothes do, and they helped create a very sensual impression of ancient Greek life. Although the interiors were a little bare, they were believable too and I enjoyed the colors and paintings that gave life to otherwise stony buildings. I have visited much of the Mediterranean and love the bleached ruins of the Greeks and Romans, but they had colors when they were new--it was exciting to see them that way. The actors were also believable, esp. Assant as Odysseus, conveying both drama and excitement. Some viewers seem to miss the fact that Odysseus survived the Trojan war and would have gotten home faster if he had not offended Poseidon, the god of the sea, by bragging about his performance. Poseidon makes sure he suffers before he reaches home, enlisting his relatives and friends, while Odysseus persists in his goal of reaching his loving wife and home. Altogether a terrific film. I want a DVD version to watch it again--the library video we saw had some jumpy places!
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Richly crafted, supremely entertaining epic
houseofjames31 October 2005
This is a fine, beautifully crafted version of Homer's The Odyssey. Armand Assante gives a sterling performance as the King of Ithica, who's journey to return from the siege of Troy leads him on a 20-odd year quest to find his way home to his beloved wife Penelope.

If you have read The Odyssey, you will know what kind of challenge it would have been to adapt it into a coherent film and the filmmakers here did a superb job. In capturing all of the excitement, enticement and rollicking adventure of the epic, they brought to life a superlative story rich in imagination.

Kudos to the fine cast, including Eric Roberts as Eurymachus, Greta Scacchi as Penelope and an arresting cameo by Christopher Lee as the blind prophet Tiresias. Eduard Artemyev melodious score only adds to the epic feel.

Not without flaws (Troy is skimmed by a little too fast, and some of the visual effects are a little clunky), but the human element of the story is well dramatized. A supremely entertaining epic.
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Coherent adaptation of the epic poem
Servo-117 November 2001
Having been forced to read The Odyssey several times throughout school in clunky and stale translations, it was very refreshing to see the story brought to life like an action movie. I don't want to sound shallow by emphasizing that aspect of the epic because I do understand and appreciate the subtler nuances and motifs of Homer's poem. However, to take it out of the classroom and turn it into a popcorn movie does not do it injustice. In fact, it gave me a better appreciation of the story and a shot in the arm to give the print version another try. Which I did. And I really enjoyed it this time. Probably the fact that I didn't have an essay assignment breathing down my neck on my last reading helped immeasurably.

Anywho, I think Armand Assante was an inspired choice for Ulysses and the supporting cast was very well-chosen too, especially Greta Scacchi and Nicholas Clay. The Scylla/Charibdis and Hydra segments were the most thrilling. Perhaps the FX weren't always top-notch, but this is TV, folks. It definitely had a storybook feel to it with the bright colors and understandable dialogue. Now, if they will only make a TV miniseries of The Iliad......
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As good a book adaptation as you will ever see!
diane-3424 April 2004
I watched this movie last evening after not seeing it for at least four years and was completely absorbed by it again. I used to show it to my year eight high school classes as a tie-in to our introductory ancient history syllabus and the movie was well received. One of the most important aspects of movie/doco watching for adolescents is the time a particular scene stays before their eyes-the longer it stays the sooner adolescent-fidget sets in and the movie/doco, regardless of its inherent strength, is lost for them. Seen from this perspective, The Odyssey is a superbly made film.

Besides this superlative editing, the strength of the characters is dominant from the opening scenes and simply becomes stronger as the movie progresses, climaxing with the wonderful Calypso scene near the end. Vanessa William's superb rendition of her character is but a mirror of the other great acting roles distributed throughout the movie. It says much about the film adaptation of a mythological work that is roughly three thousand years old that the actors can make the essential humanness of the epic ring true. Dare I say it was "believable!"

If you want to view an extremely watchable movie then make every attempt to see this one-in my opinion, everything about it is fabulous!
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Surprising; Eye-Filling and Important; The Finest Classical Spectacle Yet
silverscreen88828 July 2005
"The Odyssey", purportedly the work of the same man who wrote "The Iliad", is a long epic poem which is world-renowned as a tale of adventure. The greatness of this adaptation is that the ethical central character, Odysseus or 'Ulysses', King of Ithaca, is treated as the first man in history able to think rationally--to control his passions. The filmmakers do not spend more than a few minutes on the "Odysseys" background, the war by the ancient Argives' alliance against the city of Ilium or "Troy". The thrust of the piece is the wanderings undertaken by Ulysses AFTER he returns home safely from that war. His wife Penelope waits for him; his family never gives up. But meanwhile, even as his son grows, the kingdom's nobles grow bolder. They demand Penelope marry one of them, since they believe Ulysses is dead. By night, Penelope unweaves what she has woven of her wedding dress during daylight. The bulk of the film follows Ulysses on what amounts to a shipborne Cook's tour of fictionally-reworked famous ancient places about the Mediterraean, to confrontations with the man-eating Cyclops and his herd of sheep, with Circe the goddess who can transform men into swine, with the Lotos eaters and the Gulf of the world. This movie is a special-effects extravaganza with high-tech effects and a solid cast to back up the adventure by way of intelligent direction and good dialogue. The very large made-for-television epic was directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. Konchalovsky did the adaptation and Christopher Solimine the teleplay. The bright cinematography for a very long and colorful adventure was the work of Sergei Kopzlov, the original music composed by Eduard Artemyev; the elaborate set decorations were done by Kren Brooks, with costumes by Charles Knode. The outstanding production design was the achievement of Roger Hall. In the huge cast, Armand Assante seemed an intelligent Odysseus save that he lacked a classical speech training. Greta Scacchi was Penelope, Isaballa Rossellini Athena, Irene Papas Anticleia, and Jeroen Krabbe King Alcinous. Vanessa Williams played Calypso, Christopher Lee Tiresias, Bernadette Peters Circe and Geraldine Chaplin played Eurycleia. Many others enacted the parts of persons in the Trojan War, the suitors at Ithaca's court, assorted divinities and personages encountered by Odeysseus and his mates in the course of his ship's many adventures. Katie Carr was Nausicaa, who helped him when he was shipwrecked; and Alan Stenson portrayed Odysseus's son Telemcahus. From the Trojan sequences to the slaughter of the offending nobles by team-Ulysses, he in disguise using an ancient horn-bow only he could string to perform the deed, this is an exciting, eye-filling and well-planned cinematic adventure. It was a great surprise when it was offering among many mean-streets naturalistic films in 1997. Not to be missed.
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The old boys are doing well
mijann19725 October 2004
I am a big fan of fantasy movies and more if it concerns mythologic episodes. Next to Jason and the Argonauts we also have the Odyssey which is according to me a wonderful movie. Homerus classical epos about Odysseus and the movements after the fall of Troy have been filmed in a magnificent way in the Odyssey. The gods make Odysseus and his men to puppets in a game. They push them to make long trips which delay their trip with years and bring them in conflict with Circe, the cyclope and Poseidon. Finally Odysseus even enters the underworld. In the meanwhile the wife of Odysseus, Penelope must get the men away from her, who want to have the properties of Odysseus. They think that he is dead, but with the help Athens he continues searching his way home. This movie receives from me a 8 out of 10 because it is an enjoyable movie which also gives you some history lessons, so 2 flies in 1 hit, a good movie and education. Well done !!!!!!!!!!!
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For a made for TV actually does pretty well
EvilAsh8820 November 2005
Okay I first saw this movie when I was in 9th grade.We watched it after reading the book.I thought it was a pretty good movie from the start.The special effects were considerably good.Armand Assante played an Excellent Odysseus....I liked Armand's portrayal more than Sean Bean's (Troy).I love Greek mythology and I love this movie.I plan on buying it on DVD.The scene where the old man shoots the arrow through the loops to reveal Odysseus is amazing.Then he says "your crime is that you tried to steal my world" that part was awesome.I think if you are into Greek mythology you will like this movie.They show it on the sci-fi channel every once in a while so I think you should definitely check it out.Like it says in my summary....for a made for TV film it does pretty well.
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Excellent Television Miniseries
domino10038 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"The Odyssey" is an excellent adaptation of Homer's classic epic in which show the journey of Odysseus, who is trying to get home after the battle of Troy.

Odysseus (Armand Assante)has fought the Trojan war for many years, and after the Gods helped him (Courtesy of The Trojan Horse), he decides not to give thanks.

Bad move.

If we've learned anything from Greek mythology, it's that you can't anger the gods. So as punishment, they make it practically impossible for Odysseus to get home, sending him and his faithful crew on journeys, meeting cyclops and sirens and even going on a journey through Hades. Meanwhile, his ever-faithful wife Penelope (Greta Scacchi) waits for his return while dealing with rather pushy suitors, including Eurymachus (Eric Roberts), who want Penelope and Odysseus's throne.

For those who don't want to read the book, this is a pretty faithful (using that word a lot in this review, aren't I?)adaptation. Visually stunning (especially Hades), and great locations. I especially love the Island that Calypso (Vanessa Williams)and her subjects live (And where Odysseus is held prisoner). The performances are great and you feel Odysseus's despair as he tries desperately to get home.

A must have in your collection.
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Nice and spectacular rendition based on Homer's immortal poem about the mythological hero Odysseus
ma-cortes14 August 2017
This is a fine retelling concerning about Odysseus' journey told in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey . After fighting in the Trojan War , Odysseus spends years trying to return home to Itaka . In the ancient Greek city of Ithaca , many impatiently await the return of their king Ulysses and his warriors from the Trojan War . Among these , Odysseus (Armand Assante)'s devoted wife Penélope (Greta Scacchi) and his grown son Telemachus . But Ulysses' return is not eagerly awaited by everyone , especially by his enemies . They openly court Penelope and ask her to give her husband up for dead and re-marry one of the rowdy suitors who have taken up residence in her home since her husband's departure . However, Penelope clings to her belief that Ulysses will soon return. To appease the aggressive suitors (Eric Roberts), Penelope promises that she would re-marry as soon as she finishes weaving a large tapestry depicting Ulysses' deeds of bravery . In secret , she's unraveling the day's weaving, thus delaying the tapestry's completion . Penelope knows that her trick won't work forever. The sorrowful face of Penelope still gazes longingly across the open sea . In Troy, Ulysses and his warriors use the Trojan Horse ruse to conquer the city . In his fervor, Ulysses destroys the Trojans' temple to Neptune , god of the sea , incurring the ire of Neptune who curses him to suffer the wrath of the winds . As Neptune , protector God of the conquered people , pursued him with his anger and kept him murdering for ten years . The cave of Pholiphemus still reverberates with the with the bellowing roars of the son of Neptuno . And on a distant shore Circe still casts her spill . For the immortality that Ulysses refused of a goddess was later given to him by a poet . And the epic poem that Homer sang of the hero's wanderings and of his yearning for home will live for all time . On the return home to Ithaca , Ulysses' boat shipwrecks and he's found unconscious on a Phaeacian island beach by beautiful princess , Calypso (Vanessa Williams) . His long , arduous , treacherous and perilous odyssey goes on . The dust of centuries has not dimmed the glories of Ulysses' heroic deeds .

This is the story of a man who left his home , his wife and his son to go away to war , as Ulysses destroyed the city of his enemies and started back home . It is the story of Ulysses , his dangerous travel , and his home , where his wife Penelope was waiting and waiting . Good rendition deals with Ulysses on his Odyssey home to Penelope and Telemaco after the Trojan War . The classic version ever of Homer's epic produced by the greatest TV producer : Robert Halmi . Based on Homer's Odyssey adapted by Chris Solomine and director Andre Konchalovski himself . As a tale , the Odyssey is an unparalleled metaphor of the struggles of a man's life . The cast is brilliant and international , with American as well as European actors . Armand Assante gives a fine acting as as the brave and valiant Ulysses who challenged the Gods and continued his journey to Ithaca . Assante is really good looking , impulsive and totally convincing , it seems the role was really written for him . Greta Scacchi gives us a typical Greek tragedy style performance as Penelope . Great support cast as Isabella Rossellini as Athena , Bernadette Peters as Circe , Eric Roberts as Eurymachus , Irene Papas as Anticleia , Jeroen Krabbé as King Alcinous , Christopher Lee as Tiresias , Nicholas Clay as Menelaus and Geraldine Chaplin as Eurycleia . Partially shot in natural locations in the Mediterranean including islands from Turkey and Malta . The exteriors of this luxurious motion picture were filmed on the Mediterranean coast and islands described in Homer's Odyssey . The sea and the sky are strikingly blue , the islands green and wild . Colorful and spectacular cinematography by Sergei Kozlov . Evocative and impressive original score by Eduard Artemev and being well conducted . The picture was professionally directed by Andrey Konchalovskiy . Rating : Better than average take on that will appeal to Greek world lovers .

Other excellent adaptations result to be the followings : the classic ¨Ulysses¨ by Mario Camerini with Kirk Douglas , Anthony Quinn , Silvana Mangano , Rossana Podesta , and ¨L'Odissea¨ (1968) TV series directed by Franco Rossi and by Mario Bava with Bekim Fehmiu as Ulysses and Irene Papas as Penelope.
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A very well done adaptation of Homer's Odyssey
sbenitezb25 September 2006
I've come to love Homer's Odyssey, and when I saw this movie I felt the story really matched the original poem. If you didn't read the book, go buy it before you watch this movie. It is worth it, and you will follow the story and expect what's going to happen next. You will recognize each of the labors Odysseus has to complete. They are, of course, abbreviated to fit the movie run time. But they made a great job selecting the most important parts of the poem and representing them.

The performances where good, even if may appear a little overacted, specially Odysseus. But all in all, I really enjoyed this great movie, like I enjoyed other epic movies. I've also seen "Troy" and "Helen of Troy", but Odyssey is an adventure. There is some violence, but not what you would expect from the Troy war.

Resuming, I would recommend you to read the book first. It's not the normal kind of movie, like those usually seen on TV.
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Perhaps the best possible adaptation of the iconic story.
tankace23 April 2017
It is the anniversary of this historic mini-series which here in Greece back in High- School our history and philosophy teachers always said to us to watch it. And truth to be told ,this time they we right, the series is at least a decent take of one of the most famous adventure stories of all time and one of the oldest to.

So to finish with this part quickly yes the series has taken several liberties with the source material and yes the parts about the Trojan War are perhaps the one of the biggest strays of a source material since Braveheart, Apocalypto, Pocahontas, the Patriot and Pearl Harbor. However unlike those films it has quality story-telling, nice scenery and a respect to the adapted material ,so it is more a case of the 300 and the Last Samurai. And as I wrote we have an adapted material, so it is the take of the directing, producing and writing team of the story not the story itself for the Odyssey is a monster of a book! For that the creative team has to be faithful to the themes, major plot points and characters of the story and that mini-series actives this goal.

Now the acting ,in all honesty, is passable ,with the exception of Odysseas, Penelopy and Tilemacos, who are portrait very well. Well it is the story of Odysseas and his family isn't it? I think ,is logical to get the best parts of it, though the rest of the cast do a good work ,so no real complains here.

The effects are quit good event two decades after dispute the facts we are talking about a TV-budget adventure. The creatures of the myth are depicted very good and even now when I re-read the Odyssey when I want to think of the creatures, I use their incarnation from the series and the same applies for the human characters in a lesser extent.

In general we have a decent adaptation of Homer's work and was presumably the best we could get back then, which in the end is "Not too bad at all". Now if it is a remake of that I have no idea, let's hope that it will be as respectful as this series.
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Accurate and enjoyable Homer
siderite10 January 2013
I've read a lot of reviews. Many are favorable and many say the film was dull. But the truth, as I see it, is that it is a very accurate depiction of the way people were back then. Odysseus is even recognized by one of the gods as "the first man to use his head". The rest of the characters are emotional, animalistic sometimes, the gods are petty and egotistic and always in conflict to one another and Ithaca is harder to reach than Hades's realm.

The effects are not great, the actors play almost like in a Bible movie, but actually, it's the best adaptation I've seen yet. So give it a try, enter the world of hard men and gorgeous women from which only Irene Papas is Greek, and you might also like it as I did.
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I liked it
TheMonkeyStoleTheWallet13 October 2003
I saw this in my freshman year of high school, for English class and when are teacher said we would be watching a 4 hour movie, our whole class cringed. But over the next few days we started to like it, and we didn't want it to end. I recommend it.
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Awesome job, spitting in Homer's grave.
mecha-samurai131 October 2005
This movie was terrible. It's a great story, based on one of the greatest epics of all time (second to Beowulf, in my opinion), but they ruined it. It seems that the only thing it had going for it was the sex appeal. Sure, ancient Greece was filled with sex, but why throw that much into the Odyssey? Second, they screwed up the order of everything that happened. Sure, they do that for all movies based on books, but how do you mess with the Odyssey? It's such a timeless story. Finally, the violence is really dumb. When somebody gets hit by an arrow, they don't fly back. Hell, if somebody gets hit by a bullet they probably won't fly back. If you really want to hear the story of how it happened, read the book. If you want a crappy retelling that isn't worth your time, watch this pile.
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Superb acting at various points...
mmarcus-426 December 2006
While this movie was produced in the 1990's and featured fairly crude special effects, one has to admit that the acting, especially within several crucial scenes, is superb. This is one of those relaxing yet overly drawn out tails which, at times, features some superb scenes accompanied by superb acting as well. Overall, this is a long yet enjoyable movie for the entire family (keeping in mind that some scenes are quite violent) which features several very tender yet adult scenes of love, compassion, passion, anger, and vengeance.

A few of the scenes are worthy of any four star movie. Yet, preview this movie before allowing children younger than teenage years to see it. Why this preview recommendation? Simply because some parents choose to be very careful about what they allow their children to watch. Thus there may a be a few scenes where parents may wish to cover their children's's eyes. On the other hand, this movie is spectacular overall in the sense that parents can choose to expose their children to some of the real world aspects of violence, death, compassion, love, regret, and other emotions, aspects which Homer intended to make his readers feel, in a movie which carefully contains these emotions within the "reality" presented within the movie. In this sense, The Odyssey can serve to carefully expose your children to more adult themes which are related to adult life. Nevertheless, this is a movie which I recommend that you preview before allowing your children to watch, alone, the entire way through.

These are my thoughts for what they are worth.


P.S. My stepchildren thoroughly enjoyed it while myself and my ex-wife covered their eyes through just a couple of specific scenes. Yet nevertheless the overall movie really got my stepchildren thinking and opened their eyes quite a bit with regards to the real world and where they are within it.
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Marred by the gods, but some effective scenes with great cast & score
Wuchakk9 September 2015
This 1997 TV movie by Andrey Konchalovskiy is an almost-three-hour rendition of Homer's Odyssey, the epic Greek poem that details Odysseus' decade of wandering from one adventure to another after his victory in the long Trojan War, trying to make it back to Ithaca, Greece, and his beloved Penelope. Armand Assante plays Odysseus, Greta Scacchi his wife and Alan Stenson their son. Some of the numerous guest stars include Isabella Rossellini, Bernadette Peters, Eric Roberts, Christopher Lee, Vanessa Williams and Michael J. Pollard.

While the cast, locations and score are excellent, the story is conveyed in a relatively dull manner in the first half and is hampered by the manifestations of "the gods." Yes, I realize the filmmakers' were only trying to be true to Homer's epic, but some of these manifestations are eye-rolling and take the viewer out of the story. This explains why 1954's "Ulysses" and 2004's "Troy" played down this element or cut it out altogether. However, after the first half you start to accept it as part of the adventure/fantasy and roll with it, particularly because the second half is nigh exceptional, starting with the crew's confrontation with the three-headed Scylla, which is a truly horrific sequence, and then the entire final act, especially the action-packed fight between Odysseus & his son and the brutish suitors of Penelope.

Assante isn't larger-than-life as Douglas was in "Ulysses," but he evokes Odysseus' intelligence, guile, and versatility, as shown in the poem. Once you catch a grip there are some potent scenes/acting, like the initial revelation of Odysseus with various Ithacans. Furthermore, some parts have a palpable spiritual quality. Unfortunately, it does take a while to get into the groove, but the second half is more than worth it (not to mention the score and the magnificent Mediterranean locations).

Lastly, some people have erroneously summed up the moral of the film as "Don't anger the gods." While this is true on the surface, the subtext is way more than this and totally applicable to reality. It's revealed in the second half: *** SPOILER ALERT*** Odysseus was condemned to wandering from crisis to crisis for a decade because of his arrogance after his victory at Troy. Before finally returning to Ithaca we observe a humbled and enlightened man. This is the core message. Once Odysseus is humbled a potent nugget of wisdom is revealed: Sometimes it's necessary to temporarily kowtow to the arrogant in order to assess the situation and bide your time for an effective strike.

The film runs 176 minutes (the VHS 165 minutes) and was shot in Turkey and Malta.

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Extremely UNDER-RATED!
chilam_cigrat16 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is just the sort of movie any adventure lover would LOVE! Beautiful scenarios combined with great camera work and a great adventurous story to go with it..well,What an absolute diamond it was! Odysseus's adventurous story is nothing new to most people who know Greek myth,and this was a great step forward in bringing that beautiful journey to the viewers. This movie does NOT deserve the ratings that it has gotten.Anything under 8/10 is a crime,in case of this movie.I rate it 9/10 and i stand by my vote! It is recommended for anyone who loves adventure movies.u'ld love it,no doubt about it. The only thing that they could've may be improved was,the time-line of the movie. It is way too lengthy and that may repel some viewers,but still its worth a shot. The acting was great too.Odysseus's role was played to perfection.We see such amazing Greek mythological characters as Achilles and so many others who we have always loved. Ah,just watch it!!!
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good as a historical reference, but a little overdone at times
lee_eisenberg3 April 2007
When I was in eighth grade and we were studying ancient Greece, we read "The Odyssey", and then watched this movie version. Homer's tale was so overwhelming that it was nearly impossible to digest. I thought that overall, this version came out OK. But, like any adaptation of classic Greek literature, it came across as silly and overdone at times. Most of the characters have English accents - is that always necessary? - and there are so many special effects and stuff that I almost felt like I'd been bounced around the Greek islands like in a pinball machine.

Still, I enjoyed the movie. I have to say that movie versions of Homer's classic tale tend to come out quite well (there was this one and "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"; I'd like to see a Leslie Nielsen version). Armand Assante makes one tough Odysseus, and you can feel for Greta Scacchi as Penelope (you gotta admit, with her husband gone so long, of course she wanted to meet suitors). Also starring Isabella Rossellini, Irene Pappas and Michael J. Pollard.

In conclusion, the Greeks really were first at everything.
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Not faithful to the epic or to history
karhukissa5 January 2007
Several people commented that the film is not faithful to Homer's epic poem. This is certainly a problem, especially when omissions make the story difficult to follow. (Why did Odysseus say to the Cyclops: "My name is nobody"? The line is included in the film, but the punchline of the joke isn't.)

Of course, we cannot expect a film to include everything in the book, some parts must be left out. (But why the poor sirens? They are one of the few parts everyone knows about the Odyssey.) Such parts merely bother the few who have read the original and expect the director to be faithful to it; others might not even notice omissions or goofs. (Here's one for you: Achilles' body is laid out, covered in wounds and scars. However, anyone who's read the Iliad knows that Achilles could only be wounded at his heel.) Nor should we be particular about geographical detail, such as the fact that Pamukkale (the place that features as Calypso's island) is in fact hundreds of miles from the sea.

What we can expect and what I did expect was some faithfulness to the original message and to historical detail. Neither can be said about this film. Odysseus (the original) is not a Hollywood-type muscular hero but a cunning guy whose cleverness and sense of humor, rather than strength gets him out of difficult situations. Here you hardly get any of this. Actually, his men have more likable characters than he does. The clever tricks I enjoyed about the epic are missing almost completely.

Those who want to find about ancient Greek culture are led astray even more. The costumes are ridiculous: warriors wear underpants and one of the servant girls a long-sleeved blouse. It is also quite unlikely that Odysseus was present at his son's birth, given that in traditional cultures men were forbidden to go near a woman in labor for fear of bringing a curse on her. The forms of displaying affection or Penelope's masturbation with the sea waves are also things I find hard to imagine at the time. My 2 points go to spectacular scenes and landscapes, and some of the acting. (Not Armand Assante's.) Still, I wish filmmakers would keep from turning every literary work, even ones from different ages and cultures, into a tacky Hollywood 'you can achieve anything'-success story.
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The Odysssey
jpking-122 October 2005
by Stephen Whatley.

The Odyssey is a breath-taking adventure that is the produced version of Homers Odyssey. It involves a bunch of wonderfully portrayed characters. Odysseus is played by Armand Assante. Penelope is his wife who is played by Greta Scacchi. After a huge victory over Troy, Odysseus makes his way back home. On the way he gets into an argument with Poseidon, the sea god. As he makes his way back home the trip takes nearly 2 decades. Along the way he battles gods, goddesses, and Cyclopses.

The reason why I like this movie is because it has a lot of action, drama, and romance. One of the better action scenes is the Battle of Troy. Everyone is fighting each other and it was just a great scene. One of the funny love scenes is that somehow Odysseus is always ending up with a goddess and doing stuff with them. One of the better dramatic scenes is when Odysseus and his crew are leaving Hell and you're not sure if they're going to make it out alive.

The Odyssey is a fun-filled, action-packed, dramatic, comedy movie, that is based on an old Greek tale. It's an adventure for the whole family.
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senorhoffman19 December 2001
Having read an actual translation of Homer's Odyssey, I would have to say that this motion picture is one of the most satirical feats of human stupidity in the history of humankind. Some of the events portrayed in the movie are simply wrong. This film is a visual feast of bad acting. In actuality, it is a major entertainment event, assuming you have a piece of paper ready for recorded all of the errors. Play a fun game and compete with your friends; who can find more gross discrepancies from the text! Ladies and gentlemen, there are only 24 hours in a day, please spend them more efficiently than viewers of this movie have.
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Without the gods, man is nothing
DarthBill24 September 2004
Armand Assante is Odysseus in this surprisingly dull, loosely adapted version of Homer's "The Odyssey".

Well if you've read the epic poem you know what to expect: water, cyclopses, water, sheep, water, wind, water, sexy goddesses, water, horny suitors, water, whiny youth, water, bad special effects, water, and... just for a change of pace, MORE WATER!

Granted it's always been a wee bit of a chore to adapt the great epic Greek poems, but this one really misses the mark, and Assante isn't very compelling as Odysseus.

Not without its merits, but no classic either.
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