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  • 1966nm20 August 2004
    The communistic states used historical films to make propaganda on their policy, as well as to promote national pride. Romania was not an exception and this film is one of the most interesting of its kind.

    It presents the true story of Romania's national hero, prince Vlad Tepes of Vlachia, a man who tried to reform his country and resist the Ottoman invasions, using every way available, no matter how cruel, in order to succeed. The idea is that the cause justifies the means and for this, Vlad Tepes was a perfect example.

    Having cinema treating their national hero as a monster since 1922, the Romanians have every right to present him as a cruel BUT great leader, which he practically was. There have been other films about this topic but no other has approached so much the historical truth as this one.

    Worth the trouble of watching if you don't hate history.
  • History buffs will be enthralled with this accurate depiction of the 15th century brief rule of Vlad the Impaler who became Romania's great national hero. Stefan Sileanu is nothing less than great in the role of the ruthless, bloody sovereign who defied Church, tradition, and the obduracy of his fractious boyars in order to drive the invading Ottoman Turks under Mahmud II out of his country. But first he had to overcome entrenched opposition from his own rebellious and traitorous nobles. He accepted nothing less than obedience...fight or die. His uncompromising stand and dire punishments earned him his sobriquet, but after viewing this masterful film one is left astounded at his great achievement during his short reign. Bram Stoker has a lot to answer for in fictionalizing this astonishing patriot into a horrific monster. Anyone interested in the truth about this legendary personality should see this film.
  • swedzin3 October 2012
    Seen this movie recently, didn't even heard about it and I was very excited to find it one the internet. And it's good. Finally, a film about Vlad the impaler, directly and strictly about him. No, vampires, no fangs, no sexy euro accents, no capes, no Van Helsing... thank Jebus. This is an historical film about Tepes and it's pretty enjoyable. If you got chance to see this film, don't miss it. Movies about Vlad the impaler are pretty rare, I saw Dark Prince (2000) with Rudolph Martin, the movie wasn't that bad, but... they just couldn't resist to put supernatural element in the film. In Vlad (1980), there's nothing supernatural, and that makes this movie excellent. I am not from Romania, and I have read many historical facts about Vlad Tepes, I really don't know how this film accurate is, but no matter, most of things are accurate and it's because it was filmed in Romania and it is a Romanian film, and who else knows better about Vlad than Romanians themselves? And it's in Romanian language, for which I was grateful, finally yo hear Dracula speaking in his native language. Actor who plays Vlad Stefan Sileanu is brilliant, with his powerful stare and rasping voice, he is the face of true evil and also true savior of his people. Watch this film, you'll love it.
  • The acting is great. I would dare to say that the script is one of the best for this kind of movies. But I would like to say something about the legendary Vlad Draculea, also known as Vlad Tepes (The Impaler) and see if the history has done him justice.

    First of all, Vlad Tepes' father, Vlad Basarab, was known as Vlad Dracul not because he was part of a secret organization, as other movies suggested, but for the following reason:

    He received from the emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg the highest Order that was given to a knight in those troubled days - higher than The Teutons' Order, The Order of the Maltese Knights or The Order of the Knights from Rhodos. That was The Dragon's Order. In Romanian, Dracul means The Devil. And from Dragon to Devil was only a small step.

    Vlad (the father of Vlad Tepes (pronounced Tsépesh)) and Mircea, Vlad's brother were buried alive by some coward, traitorous nobles, just because the nobles didn't like the idea of a war against the Turks. Those nobles wanted peace with the Ottomans, even if this would have meant a harsh tribute in gold, silver, cattle and CHILDREN.

    By that time, Vlad and his brother, Radu The Handsome, were forced guests at the Sublime Porte as a pledge that their father wouldn't have risen again against the Turks.

    Vlad Tepes (now known as Draculea or Dracula) has punished very harsh the thieves, liars and the enemies. And that scared people as hell. Yes, he was harsh even for those days. But efficient!!! While he ruled the country nobody dared to steal anything!!! Why, in the evening, you could let a bag full of money in the middle of the road and in the next morning it would still be there. LOL! That's why in my country HE is a national HERO!!!!

    The people are such a distorted beings. They couldn't see the forest but the trees. Some can't behave unless their are forced to do so. The good deeds are easily forgotten but the harm done... Well... That's another story. And Vlad knew that well.

    Maybe if he had had the diplomacy of his cousin, Stefan The Great, the Lord of Moldavia, things would have been different.

    Knowing all that... Can anyone blame Vlad Tsépesh (The Impaler) for trying to clean his country of thieves, liars, false beggars, traitors and lazy people?

    Not to mention the fact that his little country, as well as the other parts of the future Romania, were as a shield to the rest of Europe against the Turks and Tartars. While the Romanians (then divided in Moldavians, Transylvanians, and Valachians) were trying to survive between the blows that came unceasingly from all sides, the rest of the Europe sinked in sloth, giving, when was requested help, only promises.

    So, tell me! Which ruler was the worst? The one that sacrificed anything for freedom or the one that promised to help but never did, continuing to enjoy a life of pleasures and lust, as long as the peril was away?
  • Excellent film biography of Vlad Dracula, also called Vlad Tepes (Tse-pesh), or "The Impaler", a nickname bestowed upon this 15th century warrior by enemies - the Turks of the Ottoman Empire - after his favorite method of execution. This is a good, albeit one-sided, biography of the historical Dracula, who is considered a great hero of Romania for defending his home country against excessive and insurmountable odds, which were later proven to be just that. Some of the salient facts are skewed just a bit (you can't make a hero look too much like a monster - which is what both the Turks and the Germans thought him to be), but the story is still great, and is comparable in its way to "Braveheart." Definitely recommended, but difficult to find.
  • coman_andrei13 November 2002
    This is one of the many good movies about the great romanian kings who change the history. The action depict the life of the romanian king, Vlad Tepes, known as the Impaler. He was the son of Vlad Dracul, named like this because he was member of the Dragon Order, and the grandson of Mircea the Older. Despite of his great ancestors, Vlad manage to get himself notice, even that his rulership wasn't so long. In one thought, Vlad said "Until now I ruled six years and they gone like only one day. I just wish I had two days, so that in the second day to build something useful for my people, something to be remembered. But still, I manage to build in the soul of my people, and that is a greater achievement." The movie also show the true origin of the mith of Dracula, the vampire. This is an example of how people are so easy to believe bad news, and so reluctant when listen to something good. On the overall, it worth seen the movie, not only for the action, but also for the tenacity shown by Draculea in defending his country against the Ottomans.
  • Vincentiu29 December 2011
    To speak about Vlad Țepeș is always a risk. Too many masks. The hero, the demon, the myth, the vampire, the character of historiography and the silhouette of Bram Stoker. The leader from chronicles and the model for Russian czars. A story without frontiers and rules. And, for the circle be full, the Communist vision about past, part of an absurd ideology. So, Procust bed. And, in this case, a good result. A story about courage and justice, patriotic values and crumbs of Medieval facts, politically correct and not very far from facts. A sage interpretation of a period with small extravagant sparkles. Ștefan Sileanu at perfect place, in struggle to create an interesting character, Ernest Maftei in same eternal role and director under PCR pressure. Today, an ironic remark is obligatory. But the 80 years was not a comfortable decade in Romania. In this case, like more others, a gentle smile is enough. And search to discover the dust of that period in its movies.
  • An impressive movie (considering its age, the political context, and the fact that the Romanian film industry is definitely not Hollywood, in terms of budget), and a well deserved tribute to an interesting historical figure, who was very badly mistreated for centuries. People usually remind only Dracula's cruelty, forgetting his incredible courage and cleverness in fighting for the freedom of his country and of Europe against the overwhelming power of the Ottoman Sultan (who killed many more people than Dracula did). The life of Vlad III is narrated in a quite bare biopic style, strictly focused on the Voivod as a warrior and a political leader, with the obvious intent to celebrate a national hero under the sponsoring of the PCR regime, but the story and the dialogues are good enough to make the film interesting and entertaining, not a mere propaganda, though it's a pity that Dracula's well known interest for alchemy and science, as well as his vast culture (he spoke several languages fluently), aren't mentioned. The best thing are the performances of the actors: on top, the excellent Stefan Sileanu, who's very convincing and charismatic in the role of Dracula and has got the perfect rude charm required for the character. The medieval age is portrayed well enough and there's a decent attempt of insight into Vlad's character: a very brave warrior and smart leader, living in a dark age, who is cruel out of necessity (and not without some moral doubts) in order to save his small country from a Turkish invasion and from his own greedy and unfaithful boyars, who have led Valachia to poverty and corruption. The script underlines Vlad's devotion to his land and somehow also his "rebel hero" side: he's not afraid to break rules and traditions, even to defy the Church, and to raise his head and fight against the arrogance of the Ottoman enemies. Still the best movie about the real Dracula.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's interesting how many of the reviews of this movie try to be history lessons, coming across more as excuses for the reviewer to brag about his knowledge of Vlad Tsepes, than an actual review of the movie! So i'll skip the history lesson; a couple of these reviewers have done a sufficient enough job on that.

    Stefan Sileanu is extremely engaging in his portrayal of the Voivod; regal, menacing and imperious all at once. Keeping in mind that this movie was for all intents and purposes sponsored by Ceaucescu at the height of his grip over the country, it is a fairly balanced piece, keeping in line with what we already know of that period of history (skewed as those reports may be), and Sileanu's performance consolidates what we know of Vlad without coming across as cheesy or hammy (a thin line, when dealing with characters like Vlad Dracula).

    My only complaint is that the movie cuts off right at the exact moment Vlad's biography becomes a) most intriguing, & b) least known - his captivity under Matthias Corvinus. While this movie was trying to be as historical as possible, i would have liked to have seen some attempt to catalog these rather obscure 12 years - time during which he is supposed to have a) become involved with a female in Corvinus' family (seemingly a cousin, but possibly a sister) & b) convinced the powers-that-be in the rather powerful Hungarian court to release him back to his position as Voivod.

    This is only a small complaint, but one that has stayed with me ever since i first saw this movie about 12 years ago. i have recently obtained a DVD copy off eBay, and i have to say that i am equally impressed with it now as i was back then.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Known for his unmatched tyranny and stories that cropped up around it, Vlad turned into a legend for the world. Yet, no accurate account of Vlad the Impaler exists. If some brand him as a downright sadist tyrant then others respect him as a hero/leader that brought together a warring nation (Wallachia of old, merged into modern Romania now) against the mighty Turkish forces.

    This film shows the heroic/patriotic/eccentric side of Vlad who ultimately, like a dark knight, took the fall for his country. He did all the dirty work—used the cruelest of methods to reform the nation that was being eaten away from the inside by power hungry Boyars (a Romanian rank of aristocracy), defied the Church and rid the country of thieves, beggars, smugglers and money launders. In six years of his reign he made his country so free of corruption that it is said a gold cup openly kept in the middle of town won't be touched by anyone. He has been shown as a devout Christian too and his ultimate goal was same as of the Church. However, their methods to achieve the eventual goal were poles apart—Church insisted on using 'love' whereas Vlad used 'fear' highhandedly. He even used his fear tactics in defeating an overwhelmingly large army of Ottoman Empire's Sultan. For a win/country, he was someone who would set aside morality and ethics. This is exactly what he did to the immense Turkish army—poisoned all water wells in outskirt villages, hit the depleted enemies with surprise attacks at night, instilled more fear in them by festering their path with impaled dead carcasses of killed enemies—and got the psychological edge. The thirsty/hungry army couldn't take this anymore, Sultan realized this man's horrors know no limit and he, eventually, decided to cut short his campaign.

    'Vlad Tepes' (tepes means spikes and his nick name came from the fact that Vlad use to impale the criminals on spikes as punishment) shows the first half of Vlad's life, rather a part of it as his childhood hasn't been shown but only referenced once, briefly. The second half of his life, his recapturing of throne and ultimate death haven't been dealt with in the film.

    I am not a qualified historian to judge the authenticity of the film but it seems like a very honest effort—one that shatters many previously held false beliefs.

    And finally some trivia! Vlad's father was Count Dracul and in Romanian added 'a' meant 'son of'. Hence, he came to be known as Count Dracula.

    This film had been in my watch list for a while and what I saw really enhanced my experience of world cinema. Highly recommended, specifically to history buffs. Do watch out for Stefan Sileanu, he gives a powerful performance as the Count.

  • un113 January 2015
    The movie "Vlad Țepeș" presents us the life and deeds of Vlad the Impaler during his reign, the challenges he faces and the sheer determination he had to overcome them.

    The acting, costumes and scenery are all top, as well as the historicity of the actions in the movie, but the real thing that makes the movie special is Vlad and his deeds, it's more than a life lesson, it's a new moral understanding that he left his people as a legacy, that things can be different, that evil can be defeated, and by not only opposing but actually fighting the typical human weaknesses and wickedness, he managed to stay in the collective memory of his people and foes, thus becoming an immortal, and the personification both cruelty and righteousness and that the human spirit can indeed cleanse itself and get closer to perfection and justice by deeds rather than words.

    This movie should be an inspiration for all humanity, willpower overcomes evilness and weakness, and sets us free.
  • I'm writing this review in response to some nationalistic hyperbole here, just to remind you folks out there what was happening in Romania at the time this film was made.

    From the mid-70s, the Ceaușescu regime nationalized all ethnic minority centers. Villages and cities were renamed, non-Romanian schools and businesses closed, non-Romanian employees fired amidst an ever tightening noose of state oppression. In response to this, West Germany paid the government a "head prize" of 10000 Deutschmarks to allow the German population to emigrate. Ceaușescu saw this as incentive to step up the persecution, thus almost the entire German minority (and many Hungarians) left.

    The film makes reference to this when the Hungarian nobility is portrayed as treacherous (which indeed it was), and the German merchants as greedy (which is debatable - they didn't trade slaves, for example). There is a scene when Vlad levies a heavy tax on them, which in the context of 1979 could be understood as legitimization of asset confiscation. Also Vlad holds many speeches about the need for firm leadership, which in his time was certainly true, but the wording obviously refers to the "condutatorul" (meaning Führer) Ceaușescu.

    Apart from these obvious reverences the film makers had to make to the dictator, this is actually a fairly good portrayal of the historical Vlad, even though his fantastic life story would certainly deserve a huge Hollywood production - it is so much more interesting than that novel concocted by that sexually frustrated, opium-addicted Irishman.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Excellent Movie. I saw the cut, chopped, and delayed dubbing version. Still intense.

    Clearly a propaganda movie to make Vlad look like a hero. And I guess it worked on the most part. The version I saw was part of a double movie on one DVD with another more modern and inferior Vlad the Impaler movie. I would not recommend buying this DVD. The other movie was more gory but clearly low production with crappy acting. This movie was chopped on the corners, with some kind of label on the left and right throughout, the dubbing was delayed with misspellings, and it appears to have been edited with parts missing. However, the acting was incredible. The guy who played Vlad, clearly much older than 25 when he started his main rule, played the part great. His costars were great as well. Great music and cinematography.

    One thing that stood out is, there are hardly any women in this movie. Only a few peasant women. So, as a biography of Vlad, this movie only shows his 2nd and main rule, but cuts out any other aspects of his life except for the business of being a price and administering law, order, and war.

    Now, I see there is a youtube version that is uncut, with better subtitles. I need to check that out.

    Rating is a B, or 7 stars.
  • Kirpianuscus21 February 2017
    like many films under Comunist regime, it is a tool of propaganda. and this is the rule who defines especially historical films. the past legitimating the present. the hero in heroic aura. the history as a kind of magnificent page of hagiography. two small details impose the difference. first - the theme. it could be an answer to the image of vampire who is so popular in West. and who has an explanation in film. then - the performances. like in many other Romanian films from the same period, saving the film against the not remarkable dialogues or political rest - well known ingredients : the fight scenes, the music, the war between boyars and the leader, the loyal poor men and the Ottoman Empire. but the virtue is the science of Ștefan Sileanu to do a remarkable Vlad Țepeș. to reflect the essence of a not comfortable and too ambiguous character. then,Alexandru Repan as Mahomed II and the fascinating meet between Vlad and the Valachian Metropolit.
  • In my opinion, the films of that generation create a beautiful way to know history and at the same time to see how the art of cinema has developed over the years. These are movies that reach the soul. Congratulations to Stefan Sileanu and the entire production team!