The Crusaders

  • 2001
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama, Historical

Blessed with generous production values, this imported mini-series blends historical fact about Pope Urban II's Holy War with compelling fictional back-stories. In 1079, feudal enmity rips apart the Duchy of Taranto in Southern Italy. Pope Urban II bids Christians to stop fighting each other and rout the Saracens from the Holy Land. Lowly shepherd...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Blessed with generous production values, this imported mini-series blends historical fact about Pope Urban II's Holy War with compelling fictional back-stories.

In 1079, feudal enmity rips apart the Duchy of Taranto in Southern Italy. Pope Urban II bids Christians to stop fighting each other and rout the Saracens from the Holy Land. Lowly shepherd Andrew (Thure Riefenstein) vows to do God's

Will, as does the aristocratic Richard (Johannes Brandrup), whose throne-grabbing uncle wants him out of the way. Andrew’s bookish stepbrother, Peter (Alessandro Gassman), isn’t nearly as gung ho: His heritage has always been shrouded in mystery and Peter suspects that his birth father may have been an infidel. Peter also joins the Jerusalem-bound pilgrimage after he's unable to prevent his beloved stepsister Maria's (Karin Proia) arranged marriage to military blackguard Bastiano (Rodolfo Corsato). The road to religious glory is paved with treachery: Tricked by a Viking ally and his Armenian guides, Peter, Andrew and Richard attack what they've been told is a hostile outpost. But it's actually a peaceful Jewish settlement the mercenaries want to plunder and pillage. In an effort to rectify their mistake, the trio rescues Rachel (Barboura Bobulova), who's guarding the Torah while masquerading as a

male scholar; unfortunately, both Andrew and Peter fall in love with for her. After booting out the traitors, the rag-tag battalion appoints Andrew to lead them to Jerusalem. Lovelorn and passed over, Peter considers abandoning Andrew, Richard and the Catholic faith and cooperating with the Saracens.

Screenwriter Andrea Porporati's core story of a sibling relationship buffeted

by war is a grabber and though the lengthy running time allows for a few too many valleys between dramatic peaks, director Domenique Othenin-Girard piles on the panoramic sweep.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Blessed with generous production values, this imported mini-series blends historical fact about Pope Urban II's Holy War with compelling fictional back-stories. In 1079, feudal enmity rips apart the Duchy of Taranto in Southern Italy. Pope Urban II… (more)

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