User Reviews (18)

Add a Review

  • francheval18 October 2003
    As it was already put, the best version ever of Homer's epic. Entirely shot in natural locations in the Mediterranean. The sea and the sky are strikingly blue, the islands green and untouched. The clothing is linen, wool and fur, the settings stony and bare, everything is somewhat rugged and primitive, a bit what you would find in Cacoyannis or Pasolini movies, and it makes it all the more authentic. Although the story is based on myths and widely goes into supernatural, it gives us a good idea of what life in the 10th century BC might have been like.

    The rhythm is somewhat slow and austere, but the whole is so beautiful that you quickly get into it. Actually, it is amazingly close to the original plot by Homer, if not to the text itself. Ulysses doesn't appear until the first hour, the start being centered on his son looking after him. Then he suddenly appears lost in a storm, lands on the island of the Pheacians where the royal family takes good care of him. His adventures are told in flashback as a narration to his hosts : the terrifying Cyclop, the magic world of Circe, the Underworld, the Sirens etc. He finally comes back to his homeland Ithaca after 20 years, and it all ends dramatically with the killing of the pretenders of his faithful spouse Penelope.

    As a story, the Odyssey is an unparalleled metaphor of the struggles of a man's life. The cast is brilliant and international here. Irene Papas gives us a typical Greek tragedy style performance as Penelope, but most amazing is the Albanian actor Bekim Fehmiu as Ulysses. Really good looking and totally convincing, it seems the role was really made for him. Strange that he was never offered roles of this dimension afterwards. Also playing Nausicaa is Barbara Bach (as Barbara Gregorini) later famous as the James Bond girl in "The Spy Who Loved Me", and playing Athena is Michele Breton, who was otherwise noted in the strange movie called "Performance" with Mick Jagger.

    As it was done 35 years ago, the series was actually quite an innovation for its time, as the first big European co-production for TV (Italy, France, Germany and Yugoslavia). I have seen this mini-series in 8 parts on French television as far back as 1974. I was a kid back then, and although it was all in black and white, it left a very vivid impression. All my life long I wondered if I would ever get a chance to see it again, as it was never shown on French TV later on.

    I recently found a copy on DVD (all in wonderful color) through Internet. It is unfortunately only in Italian with no subtitles, although French and German versions existed back then. I never heard there was any English version of this film as it is widely unknown in the Anglo Saxon world, and it's quite a shame. If you ever get a chance to watch this, you are not going to forget it ever.

    There were not many versions of the Odyssey before or after that. The one by Camerini in 1955 starring Kirk Douglas is a classic sword-and-sandal like "the 10 Commandments", but not as impressive and very short for such a complex story. The one in 1997 by Konchalovsky is a meretricious Hollywood movie, based on special effects, sometimes quite gory, very poorly acted and grossly afar from Homer's story and atmosphere.
  • This European TV mini-series has haunted me since I first viewed it with my parents over 20 years ago. Irene Pappas is superb as Penelope. The actor playing Ulysses seems to truly embody my image of the archetypal "thinking man's hero." The rhythm and pacing; the sets and location; the sense of death, longing and loss - "nostalgia" - from the Greek, "a longing for home" - are imbued in each scene. I remember asking my parents many questions about these strange doomed characters and their fate. And decades later,I remember the intensity with which we watched this production. It spurred me to seek a deeper understanding of Homer's work. Too bad the producers of this year's "Troy" (2004) didn't try and emulate this masterpiece. I'd appreciate any information on how I could obtain a DVD/video copy.
  • I've been trying to find out about this series for ages! Thank you, IMDb! I saw this as a child and have never quite been able to get it out of my mind. As a 6-year old, of course, I was particularly struck by the episode of the cyclops, which was absolutely chilling (I talked about it so much that my older brother made me a cyclops out of a plastic cave man figurine, which I still have) What I also remember, though, was the atmosphere, which was unusual right from the beginning - mysterious, austere, and extremely authentic. When I read the original many years later I experienced that same sensation. It's a very hard thing to capture - and probably impossible in Hollywood. Every 'Odyssey' I've seen since has been an enormous let-down. The characters in this series seemed genuine, real people - ancient Greek people - and not some Hollywood stars in costumes. This is a real masterpiece! But - Why is it not better known? And why isn't it available on VHS or DVD? I would just love to have the chance to see this again!
  • It's very simple to qualify that movie: "A PURE MASTERPIECE". This opinion is formulated for the following reasons: the performance of the actors, they seem to be citizens of that epoch, 1100 B.C. They personalize perfectly the characters. A second reason is that the poetry expressed by Homere in his poem is well given by the production. Among others the narrations made by the chorus give a particular atmosphere that makes us party of the artistic rendition. Third reason: the reconstitution of the decor is absolutely perfect, in Mediterranean regions, where the action of the poem occurred. And most of all, the emotion is on the rendezvous. I repeat my appreciation: "A PURE MASTERPIECE".
  • In all honesty, this series is as much a classic (as television goes) as the original poem is to the world's literature. Far from being crassly exploitative, it is a beautiful and respectful rendering of one of the western culture's defining texts.

    I was moved by the plight of Odysseus and his followers; touched by the drama of the fall of Troy (which was felt but not seen); intrigued by the way the gods played with the fate of mortals. (It should be mentioned that the gods appearing here are not ridiculous CGI creatures flitting around on their ankle wings, or poorly-cast fashion models in bikinis. As in Homer's work, they act through mortal agents or, rarely, are represented by classical statuary).

    It's a pity it's not available in DVD, especially given the vastly inferior and cheesy adaptations of the Odyssey that one can find in video stores.
  • The Odyssey as a book is a masterpiece of world literature by itself. Sadly enough, every movie version of Homers epic, hardly make any impression on me, and from comments below I can see I'm not the only one.But seeing this version was entirely different experience. I don't know why, but no movie ever awake in me such sense for longing, nostalgic, a feel for time that past by, like this series. I was delighted to find Italian subs for deaf persons & translate it to my native Serbian.Latter, on my vacation on Kefalonia & Ithaca, I'v got desire to translate to English, and partly as a homage to Bekim Fehmiu who commit a suicide at that time in Belgrade. With only few minor diversions from Homer, F. Rossi made this series as best adaptation of any classical work, as by my opinion.Omittion of Scylla & Charibdes was probably due to budget constraints. Also, displacing the episode with Lestrygonians into openings of Odysseus story (& reducing Odysseus fleet to one ship), he cunningly enable himself easier & cheaper (but equally effective) performance.In places where he change Homer (ex.suitors decide to string bow day after failed competition), he does so artistically, that I have impression that even Homer would congratulate him. With obviously only two constructed ships (one large & one small-that of Telemachus), he accurately depicted on of most famous sea voyages in history.Unique depiction of ships, cities, Trojan horse or Odysseus bow just adds to astonishment. Dialogues are special thing in this series:natural, proverbial, romantic & never boring.Actors plays in such manner, that I cant remember anyone who deserves any critic. This series also affect me to look on another works of Franco Rossi. Thus I watch Eneid (1971), which is mostly deficient comparing to his previous work (ie Odissea), but have nice description of destruction of Troy & still its only full film version of Vergil epic.My recommendations.
  • Although I have not seen this mini-series in over twenty years I can still remember how the balance between character,plot and tale of marvelous adventures succeeded. The use of special effects was restrained making a more poetic rather than literal telling of the story. The two versions I've seen were dubbed (English and French)but the actors appear to speak their own language not just Italian so there is a synchronization problem. It does not spoil the story telling. Among the cast Irene Pappas as Penelope is the most recognizable to North Americans. Recommended to all followers of Odysseus' ever returning.
  • Of all the versions of the Odyssey (or of any Greek mythological story for that matter), this in my opinion is the best of them all. Almost true to the original storyline - with some minor deviations and omissions, e.g. the absence of Scylla & Charybdis and the fact that Odysseus's fleet of ships is reduced to just one instead of the original 12- the realistic acting and authentic scenery and costumes all contribute to make this a truly memorable masterpiece, not just another sword-and-sandal Hollywood production B-flick. Notwithstanding the fact that the dialogue and subtitles are completely in Italian, if one is familiar with the storyline, he can still make heads and tails of what is going on and what the actors are saying (provided you have a good handy text of the Odyssey at hand). At least I did, and so much so that it has inspired me to study the Italian language to better appreciate the movie even more.
  • This movie of 370 minutes was aired by the Italian public television during the early seventies. It tells you the myth attributed to Homer of the Journey home of Odysseus after the Troy war. It is an epic story about the ancient Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, told at list 500 years after those events toke place, around 1100 BC.

    This is a 1969 movie, so if you buy the DVD version you would find that the sound is just mono and there is no other language than Italian, even the close caption is in Italian. Pity. Many people would enjoy this masterpiece if it had at list the English subtitles. But if this is not a problem for you, than I would strongly recommend to watch this movie.
  • ...then stumbling upon it by pure chance on Youtube? That is how fabulous this version of the Odyssey is: so sure-footed, so unexpectedly faithful to the poem, so jaw droppingly gorgeous to look at that you are constantly re-checking the end credits for Fellini's name in there, surely, somewhere? I came on here, though, to answer the previous heartfelt pleas as to when this utter masterpiece can be seen again - someone this year has put it in four parts on Youtube. Search for 'The Odyssey Franco Rossi' And prepare to be quite, quite blown away
  • I'm Italian and when I've recently looked again this film I astonished for its beauty: the first time I was 10 years old and I liked it, but today I can appreciate it with adult mind and feelings. Now I can understand it was a masterpiece of a special season of the Italian cinema (Pasolini etc.), by that time gone.

    The Hollywood epic films are good...for fun. Perhaps this 'Odyssey' had no English version because is not enough funny... not suitable for pop-corn and coke audience. However suitable for Homer pathos and existentialist reflections.

    In Italy was recently released a very good DVD version: INTEGRAL, with excellent colors. You can find it in some file sharing, but it's Italian only, and without subtitles. Too bad: also the dialogs and the voices of this film are remarkable.
  • kuklablue26 February 2017
    I went through the sign in process just to write my plea -- why can't we see this again. I watched it on late night TV in the early 70s. I'd come home from my evening shift job and stay up just to enter this magical world. I have never forgotten it. It was narrated in English, it has a slow breathable pace, a dignity, a timelessness. Who reads these reviews? DVD production is a cinch these days -- surely it still exists in some archive somewhere. What would it take to give it back to us? Who must we ask?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have never before written a review simply confirming the prior reviews -- seems a duplication -- but there is always a first time for everything. The year was 1968. The Vietnam war was ripping the US to bits, there were soldiers shooting students, the only refuge was rock music ... and TV was generally junk. And then out of literally nowhere this adaptation appeared on US TV as a "mini-series" (itself rare!) adaptation of the Homerian epic (also rare, the common wisdom was that the Kirk Douglas version a decade earlier had nailed it and put it to bed) starring stars no one had ever heard of, and featuring an international cast. I can tell you this -- those that watched were hooked off the start, as the exceptionally high writing acting and production values were literally unknown in network TV at the time. Bekim Fehmiu -- a name I cannot pronounce even a half-century later -- was great and Irene Pappas was majestic. The pacing was brilliant, equal parts poetry, action, emotion, the gamut. Even special effects! The only spoiler here is that I already warned you this review was somewhat repetitive. But by all means add this review to the list of those saying this production was decades ahead of its time and worth a look, assuming you can find it.
  • The First time I saw this TV serie I was in prima superiore (I'm Italian) (now i'm in 2°) my literature professor let us see a Odissey film . Evento I red the band Mario Bava I was Galles in love. A literal precision according ti the Homer's Odissey, One great way ti learn the history. My favourite episode is "Polifemo" . Great Cast with Bekim Fehmiu and Irene Papas . Great sfx by Mario Bava and the Academy Awarded Carlo Rambaldi. One offline the best thing I Saw at school.
  • plater20 December 2020
    Best Homer adaptation available on film. Period. Profoundly Mediterranean. Bekim Fehmiu and all other cast members are spot on. Mandatory viewing for any man or woman of culture.
  • I agree with all the comments above that this 8 part miniseries is the best, by far, among all Odysee TV/ Film material made so far. Story intensity, poetic representation, climax, all are second to none. Bekim Fehmu and Irene Papas excel in their lead roles.

    I noted above that it's English version is not available. Of course, no English DVD either, so far. But, I did see this series on TV, in English, more than once. One of those times being, when VHSs were available and I did record it and still treasure it (Except for one episode that I missed recording). I hope, it's DVD becomes available and I can have it on DVD instead. In the meanwhile, if anyone interested, I sure am willing to share those VHSs.
  • First of all Odyssey was NOT written by the Greek poet Homer (the one who wrote the Iliad, reproduced in the film Troy)). The structure and the style of the two poems is completely different (Odyssey is discontinuous and full of flash backs, while Iliad is sequential), and the two works are dated at least 50 years apart.

    Franco Rossi, the director of "Odyssey - TV series", was an "Italian comedy"-style director. However, the production of the series was managed by the great producer Dino De Laurentiis (e.g. Serpico, Dune, Blue Velvet, Hannibal, etc.). The co-financing and the actor cast was full European. Although designed as TV series, it was filmed as a movie, with color film (not electronic means), special effects (by the director Bava and the creator Rambaldi), and a lot of external shootings.

    The mix of ingredients has yielded a very good product, an optimal mix of action and acting, entertainment and prose, real story and fantasy, classicist and modernity, well filmed and with good photography and colors. Given the presence of many foreign actors, the original Italian version was entirely dubbed by domestic professional dubbers. This has further increased the value of the opera. I invite the readers to see it in their own language. The Canadian version is in English, but I don't know the quality of the recitation.
  • ebiros215 September 2011
    I have to be honest to say that I didn't understand this drama very well since I don't speak Italian, but I already knew the story of Odyssius, so I could follow the story purely from the visuals.

    Even then, this was an entertaining piece with stunningly beautiful scenes, deeply dramatic settings amongst the characters, and compelling story telling. It's European, or Italian movie making at its finest accompanied by its traditional outstandingly beautiful visuals.

    Movie making has already reached its perfection in 1968. There's nothing to add to this fine cinema.

    Beautiful, and highly recommended.