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      With Fire & Sword

      1999 3h 3m History Drama List
      Reviews 76% Audience Score 250+ Ratings Amid political turmoil, as Cossacks are revolting against Polish rule in the late 1600s, Jan (Michal Zebrowski), a Polish soldier, falls for Helena (Izabella Scorupco). Problematically, Helena is set to be married to a fellow Ukrainian named Bohun (Aleksandr Domogarov). When the wedding is abruptly called off, Bohun becomes enraged and snatches Helena, at which point Jan gives chase. As Jan tries to find his beloved, the coup rising up around him continues to gain momentum. Read More Read Less

      Audience Reviews

      View All (17) audience reviews
      Audience Member Great opprtunity to see XVII Poland and Ukraine. Based on book written by Nobel Prize Winer Henryk Sienkiewicz Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Audience Member This movie was surprisingly good for something I had no expectations for. It's basically the Polish version of War and Peace with a Romance plotline about two men pursuing the hand of a princess amidst a huge war between Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth and a loose Cossack alliance rebellion. The movie is long and comes in at a whopping 3 hour running time and there are definitely parts in the middle where the movie drags. However that said there is quite a bit of comedy in the movie coming from the grouping of main characters who act as support to the lead Polish hero guy. The action sequences are quite sweeping as they got quite a few extras in period clothing and had to go at it, with sabers, pikes, and flintlocks. The winged Hussars scenes are absolutely great to watch and you can tell that a lot of money was sunk into the production value for what's kind of a B movie script. So I enjoyed myself immensely but I can see some fairly large hurdles for anyone trying to watch it. 1. Length, this movie is long and sometimes feels long. 2. Almost everyone sports the same mustache style and after a while it becomes hard to remember who is who and what's going on. Since they all start to blend with each other. 3. There's a lot of background having to do with eastern poland in 1644, with mentions of Cossacks, Tartars, and the Crimean Khanate. Luckily I had a basic understanding of what these ethnic groups were before hand so I could keep up with the larger war metaplot, but if you don't I think it would extremely difficult to follow which army is doing what. So if you're interested in a sweeping epic of what the eastern part of Europe was doing around 1644 this is great and I would recommend it. Also bonus trivia: My father pointed out that the main actress who plays the princess is the bond girl who played Natalia from 007's Golden Eye. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/15/23 Full Review Audience Member With Fire and Sword is an epic Polish film about Ukraine vs. Poland and is based off of a very famous trilogy of books written in the late 1800's. The story is based on historical accounts, and has many real life characters. Because it's Polish, and talks about a Ukranian-Polish conflict there are some critics who argue that the film shows bias against the Ukranians. These are people who don't understand the concept of how a movie works and you should probably ignore them because they might drag you down with their stupid ideas. When it was released, the film was the most expensive Poland had ever made, like a not-shitty Polish version of Avatar. It's got lots of standard epic stuff: crazy costumes, castle sieges, a dude with a giant sword who wants to cut 3 heads off with one swing, a pretty sweet bad guy, crazy moustaches, and that hot babe from Goldeneye 007 (you totally get to see her boobs). It's pretty cool because you get to see a lot of shit you never learned about if you're American, because Europe is a fag country that doesn't need to be taught in your curriculum. This movie can turn that all around, and after watching it you can impress babes at your favorite pierogi restaurant and become a worldly person. TL;DR - 7/10 It's a pretty cool movie, but you've gotta like war stuff, swords, fire and hot babes. It's subtitled too, so if you don't like to read you're better off just watching something not tied to literature, like the Harry Potter movies. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/19/23 Full Review Audience Member Man, this title is a power metal ballad just waiting to happen ("With the fire and the sword we carry on!" I told you, DragonForce fans!), but it's not like the filmmakers even knew that when they started adapting Henryk Sienkiewicz's trilogy back in the '60s. That's right, people, it's been a long, long while, but Jerzy Hoffman finally completes this Polish history trilogy in the way that seems only nature: ...with the first installment. I'd say that I don't know if I'm more baffled by the fact that it took Hoffman this long to come out with the follow-up to the, by 1999, 25-year-old "The Deluge", or by the fact that Hoffman adapted this trilogy in reverse order, but make no mistake, the latter is more shocking because as long as it takes to see the final version of "The Deluge", you know that whatever was next in this saga was going to take, like, at least 20 years to make. They spent those last five years trying to come up with the money to make this, [u][b]the most expensive Polish film ever made[/u][/b]... which still cost about $8 million in USD. Hoffman eventually topped that with "Battle of Warsaw" with only $9 million, so in case you have any doubts that Poland is full of Jews, just look at their standard for film budgets to get an idea of how stingy they can be with their money. That's a terrible thing to joke about, because Poland has fought for a long, long, long time, with many, many, many people, to uphold their honor, and if nothing else drives you to respect that, it's the fact that those conflicts have made for some pretty good movies. This one is no exception, as it was ostensibly precious money pretty well-spent, and yet, like this film's budget, there are a few laze-outs in the film's storytelling. This is something of an old-fashioned historical epic, and by that, I mean that storytelling sticks with a worthy formula, perhaps a little too tightly, hitting trope after trope, occasionally glaringly, until it's able to break the norm with some tonal shifts that would be much more refreshing if they were much more realized. With this installment in Jerzy Hoffman's adaptation of Henryk Sienkiewicz's classic trilogy, tone is as uneven as it's ever been, as there will be so much tension for so long, before it goes broken swiftly and surely, with comic relief that is made all the more aggravating by an often juvenile cheesiness and flatness that even has the nerve to get trite. Actually, the humor isn't the only thing plagued with certain cheese and flatness, because if nothing else smooths out the transition to lighthearted fluff, it's dramatic weight's always being suppressed by some degree of melodrama that, as a matter of fact, shouldn't be too glaring. Of course, you are given the opportunity to gain a grip on how limited dramatic genuineness is here when you take into account an uneven sense of consequence in this film which derives from a lot of talk and little action, throughout a questionable course, no less. I think it's safe to say that this series set quite the standard for dragging through the arguably superior, yet nonetheless five-hour-long "The Deluge", but at about three hours, this film's runtime still feels a little bloated, at least with all of the inconsistencies that convolute a sense of layering and momentum to this subject matter of great scale, and of an interpretation of only so much realization. Enough is realized to make a rewarding film out of a promising story concept, but this is still more of the same, arguably with a little more tonal and focal unevenness than usual. I can't promise that this film will reward everyone, but I feel that those who go endeared by this epic ought to be thoroughly compelled, even on an aesthetic level. I kind of question being so quick to laud Krzesimir Dębski's score, as it's exploration is also a little uneven, whether it be because it's so often underused or because it's so often undercooked, yet I still sing the praises for the many beautiful highlights in musical artistry which Dębski utilizes to supplement a sense of importance and scope to this epic. Production designer Andrzej Halinski and costume designers Magdalena Biernawska-Teslawska and Pawel Grabarczyk further supplement that sense by surprisingly subtly, yet unsurprisingly surely restoring 17th century Poland and Ukraine with convincing sweep and an impressive technical proficiency which immerses, partly with the help of worthwhile action sequences. As I said earlier, action is limited in this mostly very talkative epic of a melodrama, but when it does come into play, you can see where a, for Poland, unprecedented budget went, through sweepingly dynamic staging and style which reflect heights in Jerzy Hoffman's lively directorial efforts. Yes, Hoffman has his shortcomings, and ultimately doesn't do as much as he probably should to compensate for his and Andrzej Krakowski's scripted shortcomings, but the final product wouldn't be so compelling if Hoffman didn't do so much right, whether it be working with the style with adequate color, or getting some charismatic performances out of a solid cast. If nothing else, Hoffman really surprises by sustaining a great deal of liveliness, getting over the storytelling slow spells of the predecessors in this series and ultimately making sure that momentum never falls so greatly as to lose entertainment value, even though he can't keep momentum smooth enough to really stress the depths of this story. With that said, through all of its melodrama and reliance on chit-chat and what have you, this subject matter is so promising that it should be hard to make this drama underwhelming, and sure enough, uneven and formulaic storytelling can't entirely obscure the importance and magnitude of this dramatization of the Khmelnytsky Uprising, especially when the inspiration really does spark. There is always something throughout this film to keep you engrossed, whether it be the entertainment value, or the technical proficiency, or enough of a sense of consequence and scope to allow this overambitious and sometimes somewhat lazy epic to transcend its shortcomings as genuinely rewarding to the patient. Overall, conventions and histrionics keep consistent in storytelling which often hits inconsistencies in tone and a sense of consequentiality throughout its overlong course, until reward value is threatened, almost miraculously secured by the beautiful score work, immersive art direction, solid action and lively direction which do just enough justice to a grand story concept to make Jerzy Hoffman's "With Fire and Sword" an ultimately fairly engrossing conclusion to the nonlinear film adaptation of Henryk Sienkiewicz's saga. 3/5 - Good Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/23/23 Full Review Audience Member Sienkiewicz work is biased and more entertaining than accurate, and so was this movie. As an adaptation, it was a great success followed by an amazing soundtrack. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/28/23 Full Review Audience Member Standard epic fare: lengthy, boy-girl-boy triangle, lots of battles. The costumes are the only remarkable thing about the film. I worry that horses were mistreated in the filming as might be evident in some scenes (trip wires?), but since I have no proof, I did not let that affect my rating. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Amid political turmoil, as Cossacks are revolting against Polish rule in the late 1600s, Jan (Michal Zebrowski), a Polish soldier, falls for Helena (Izabella Scorupco). Problematically, Helena is set to be married to a fellow Ukrainian named Bohun (Aleksandr Domogarov). When the wedding is abruptly called off, Bohun becomes enraged and snatches Helena, at which point Jan gives chase. As Jan tries to find his beloved, the coup rising up around him continues to gain momentum.
      Jerzy Hoffman
      Jerzy R. Michaluk, Jerzy Hoffman
      Jerzy Hoffman
      History, Drama
      Original Language
      3h 3m