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  • Detailing how the government of UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dealt with the Falkland Islands War of 1982, The Falklands Play has a long history. One of the most controversial productions ever commissioned by the BBC, The Falklands Play was unproduced for nearly two decades when it was finally aired on BBC Four in 2002. Originally unproduced due to being deemed to be too pro-Thatcher and jingoistic in its tone, The Falklands Play is an intriguing example of historical drama and the controversy it can cause.

    The film certainly has a fine cast. Patricia Hodge excels as Thatcher or at the very least playing the Thatcher portrayed in the script. Hodge's Thatcher is a strong willed woman who refuses to back down under any circumstances. The supporting cast includes strong performances from James Fox as Foreign Secretary Lord Peter Carrington, Clive Merrison as Defence Minister John Nott, Colin Stinton as US Secretary of State Alexander Haig, John Woodvine as Admiral Sir Terence Lewin and Tom Chadbon as Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse. Each of their performances, and those of much of the rest of the cast, gives the film a strength that it needs.

    The production values of The Falklands Play are strong as well. Melanie Allen's production design captures the real life settings of the film including an excellently done set of the House of Commons. The film's cinematography is exceptional as well with its cinema verite approach. The result is that the film is given a strong documentary feel to the entire film, giving the viewer the sense of watching history unfolding before them. The film also makes strong use of documentary footage from the time as well, mixing it skillfully into the drama. Like the performances, these elements give the film a strength that it needs.

    The script by Ian Curteis is at the heart of the film. The script after all was the single most controversial aspect of the production for almost twenty years. Back in the 1980s, the BBC deemed the script to be too pro-Thatcher and jingoistic in its tone. Looking at the film itself, it is very easy to see how that came about. The strong willed portrayal of Thatcher and her handling of her the situation is certainly pro-Thatcher. Also the film's portrayal of the decisions leading to the sinking of the Argentinian warship the General Belgrano, one of the most controversial events of the war, can certainly be seen to be pro-Thatcher. Surprisingly, the script used in the film isn't even the one originally written in the 1980s as it removes all the scenes involving the Argentinian Junta and the Pope. One suspects that the reaction the film would have gotten in the 1980s when it was supposed to have aired would have been similar to the reception that the 2003 Showtime film DC 9/11: Time Of Crisis (a film about President George W. Bush's handling of the 9/11 attacks and the lead up to the invasion of Afghanistan) received when it aired: being seen overwhelmingly as a piece of propaganda. The Falklands Play definitely isn't that but it is all too easy to see how it could have been seen as such.

    The Falklands Play is an interesting film. It has strong performances from its entire cast and also features strong productions values especially with its cinematography. The script however is the film's most interesting point as it was the source of controversy that kept the film from originally being made to begin with. With hindsight, it is easy to see why the script proved so controversial at the time and why it could remain so today. The Falklands Play therefore is an interesting film about a controversial war and a intriguing piece of historical drama.
  • This play was commissioned by the BBC and it was written based on the actual dialogues that occurred in the Cabinet, the Admiralty and in the House of Commons; the opinions, comments and speeches are all there on record if you want to see them. The BBC backed out of the project, because they wanted (like most British TV networks at the time) to put the knife into Mrs Thatcher's government and this play doesn't do that. Those who were expecting "Sink The Belgrano" got something else instead, and hey, it was something closer to the truth than a political rant.

    I'm sorry to disappoint any die hard anti-Thatcher or socialist critics reading this, but this play depicts what happened in those meetings. Mrs Thatcher didn't rub her hands with glee at the prospect of war after all, neither did the Conservative government ritually dine on a feast of babies before holding meetings and not all political drama has to have a strong left wing edge. And if you still think this play is a whitewash, then can I direct you to the primary source material this play was written from. Patricia Hodge is great in the role of Mrs Thatcher, and her put down of Tony Benn (again, it's a real quote, that dialogue did happen) at the end is brilliantly realised.
  • In this day and age of cynicism it's refreshing for a film (tele-play?) to tell it how it was. At the end of the day a militaristic dictatorship invaded a peaceful little Island, watched over by a democratic nation. Sorry but those are the facts. This is how it's told. You then throw in a strong, charismatic leader and you've also got a damn good story. Patricia Hodge (I would never have cast her) was marvellous. Anyone wishing to see a balanced view of the conflict should watch this and An Ungentlemanly Act and this presentation.
  • The Falklands Play has got to be one of the most controversial plays never produced of the 1980s.

    Originally written by Ian Curteis shortly after the war ended but the BBC declined to produce it, officially because it wasn't good enough, but widely believed to be because it was too pro-Conservative just before a General Election in the UK. Watching it now it's even harder to believe that it wasn't good enough to make years ago.

    Telling the story of the British politics immediately before and during the conflict Patricia Hodge is brilliant in her role as Mrs. Thatcher. So scarily like her that during the recreated news clips it's hard to remember which one is the actress. Although some of the other lead characters look and sound nothing like their alter-egos, they still manage to recreate the right atmosphere.

    Deliberately supposed to show the conflict from `our side' I'm not sure if the emotional side of Margaret Thatcher isn't over played slightly.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I write this review, 25 years to the day of the liberation of The Falkland Islands. It is a review, I feel compelled to write in honour of all British servicemen killed in that brief conflict in 1982. I'm sure the Argentines have different views and feelings about the events which occurred between 2nd April - 14 June 1982, but just like The Falklands Play, my review intends to give a solely British perspective.

    The Falklands War, (or 'conflict' to give it's correct suffix), was the first war Britain had fought in my lifetime. It occurred shortly before my 9th birthday, but I remember it all as if it were yesterday. My father rushing into the garden to tell my brother and I that 'Were going down to give the Argie's some stick', the immense pride we all felt watching HMS Invincible setting sail with great pomp and circumstance, with all those brave lads aboard and the sadness and horror we all felt when the news of our Naval and Military loses started to filter through to the UK news services. It was awful when we heard HMS Coventry was sunk, not only was it the ship of our city, but one of our relatives was serving on the ship at the time and thankfully was not one of the 19 servicemen lost on the ship that day.

    As I said earlier, 'The Falklands Play' gives a British ONLY viewpoint of the Argentine invasion of British Sovereign Territory and our Governments subsequent yet fruitless attempts to negotiate and defuse the situation by diplomatic means.

    Patricia Hodge gives a truly fantastic performance as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who seeing an act of aggression committed against British subjects, refuses to concede to the appeasement demands made by The Argentines, The Americans mediators and even members of her own Cabinet.

    In some scenes, Hodge shows us the softer side to the 'Iron Lady', like her obvious frustration about having to order the sinking of the Argentine Cruiser 'General Belgrano', (formerly the American Cruiser USS Phoenix CL-46, a ship that had actually survived the Pearl Harbor attack 40 years earlier). We see her openly weeping when she first hears news of HMS Sheffield being hit by an Exocet anti-ship missile, and the sleepless night she experiences while worried about the stranded Marines, trapped on the unforgiving snow covered rocks of South Georgia. However, most of these instances occurred behind closed doors. In public 'Maggie' remained unwavering in her support for the besieged islanders and resolute in her stance.

    Other cast members are also outstanding, James Fox, as Lord Carrington, John Standing as William 'Willie' Whitelaw and Clive Merrison as John Nott. However, it is Colin Stinton who plays US Secretary Of State Alexander Haig that gives one of my favourite performances. My favourite character, (apart from Patricia Hodge as Thatcher), is John Woodvine's performance as Former 1st Sea Lord, Admiral of The Fleet and Chief Of Defence Staff, the late Sir Terence Lewin. He's the guy Maggie could not do without, and Woodvine plays his part magnificently, a great actor, playing and even greater man. Bob Sherman's portrayal of President Ronald Reagan, is sadly one of the weakest performances here, turning the 'Great Communicator' into a stuttering, indecisive bumbler instead of the great man he was.

    The Falklands Play, even boasts some subtle humour in parts, but due to it's serious subject matter, it's kept to a minimum because when you're making a film about war, especially one so fresh in some people's minds, to include laughs would be treading a very dangerous tightrope indeed.

    Whether any of the things we see in 'The Falklands Play' actually happened verbatim, we will never know as the play comes straight out of writer Ian Cureais's head. All I know is that 'The Falklands Play' is an enjoyable piece of screen work.

    There are some that says it glorifies 'Thatcherism', maybe it does, but it's a movie made in one time, about events that occurred in another. There was a war, people died, and thanks to both Maragret Thatchers truculence, and the UK armed forces, (still the best fighting force in the world), Britain won it, but not without price.

    25 years on, I would like to pay my tribute to all who died and praise the courage of all the Falkland Islanders who were effected by those events 25 years ago. To them, I quote their own Island's motto .... "Desire The Right"

    We certainly didn't let them down.
  • richardw-1124 December 2004
    This is a highly watchable political drama which gives a true insight into the anguish brought about by the totally unexpected war in the South Atlantic.

    The actor selection is excellent and the writer has put together an excellent script which lends clarity to some of the decisions made at the time.

    The direction is crisp and the interweaving of News clips highlights the historical events.

    Particularly emphasised are the outstanding efforts made by the American administration led by Ronald Regan and efforted by Secretary Haig to stop the downhill slide into war.

    A truly tragic and unnecessary war - but an excellent play.

    Can't wait for the DVD to be issued.
  • What is with the world, The Falklands Play is great viewing or what I would call "Great TV" I was lucky to be at home the night this was aired on TV.

    Within minutes I knew this is great TV. Who cares if shows the Rt Hon Margaret Thatcher as a great PM or not. The acting is what I was watching Patricia Hodge is just so good at Playing Maggie & as for Shaughan Seymour as Adm Sir Henry Leach is he a good actor or is Carrie Hilton, Casting Director one of the greats or maybe Michael Samuels the Director who knows how to get the best out of the actors or just maybe all three.

    I am waiting for this to come out on DVD. I will buy it, great viewing great acting.

    Ohh how lucky was I again, this was on on Friday 8 th March 2006 & this time I had the VRC ready. It was just as good as the 1 st time I watched it, no that is wrong, it was better, I have seen it twice since Friday, there are bits I never noticed the 1 st time & not even the 2 nd time. I can only say again what great TV & so well acted.

    Thank you BBC 4 for showing this.

    Update March 2007 now on DVD & yes i have bought a copy.

    I have since bought "An Ungentlemanly Act" on DVD, great well worth the £4.99p from Play.com.
  • rmax30482325 July 2016
    A brief war was fought in 1982 over the sovereignty of a few small barren islands in the icy southern pacific. The combatants were Argentina, which had invaded the Falklands, and Britain, which had ruled since 1832.

    Britain won the little but costly war and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher emerged he winner. She was a hard charger and much admired for it. Of course if the victory had been the other way round, a lot of people would be dead for little reason and she would be thrashed. As it was, there was no stopping her in her determination. One American consultant muses, "I wish there were more like her. You always know exactly where you stand." "In the corner," replies another.

    There is very little footage of the war itself. The script seems to jump from the landings of the British SAS to the surrender of the Argentinian soldiers. But that's okay because this is, after all, a play, not a big budget feature film. Besides, the general outline of the war's progress is already familiar to some viewers, although by no means all of them. Anyone interested in the engagements should be directed to the concise documentary, "20th-Century battlefields: 1982 The Falkland Islands War." It can be viewed free on YouTube.

    The script has sufficient continuity so that we can follow events as they unfold, even though we're confined mostly to a few rooms and a handful of other sets. As Thatcher, Patricia Hodge is quite good, if lacking in heft. And there isn't a dull bulb among the supporting actors. There are a few moments of humor. Someone tells the Defence Minister, Clive Merrison, that this is the first time a British fleet has set sail for an attack since Suez. Merrison replies slowly and deliberately. "Can we keep Suez out of this conversation? Those are two little words that -- irk." The well-meaning Americans provide some ludic relief as well. Thatcher invites the American consultants to dinner and takes aside Alexander Haig, the Defense Secretary before they sit down. Thatcher shows him a large painting of two men -- the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson, saying that they were two heroes who put an end to willful aggression by dictators. "I thought you might want to look at them during dinner." Haig mutters into his drink, "Gee, thanks."

    The role of the Americans is that of a nation full of good will, anxious to avoid bloodshed, and apparently oblivious to the fact that Argentina is under the thumb of a brutal military junta who has invaded the Falklands -- which they (still) insist on calling Las Malvinas -- in order to distract the population from the catastrophic conditions at home. Haig is a good guy, although ineffective. President Reagan's attitude was that "both of them are our friends," even after the British ambassador reminds him that Britain didn't hesitate for a moment to aid in the extraction of 52 hostages after the embassy takeover in Iran.

    Reagan apparently listened less to Haig than to his UN ambassador, Jeanne Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was a pragmatic and ardent anti-communist. As Wikipedia puts it, "She was known for the "Kirkpatrick Doctrine", which advocated supporting authoritarian regimes around the world if they went along with Washington's aims. She believed that they could be led into democracy by example." Argentina fell into that category.

    Reagan himself thought it a minor matter, calling them "bleak little islands" and never quite remembering their name. After the British victory, Reagan called on Thatcher to be "magnanimous," and Thatcher blew him off. By the time the war had begun, however, the US came around and placed an embargo on shipments to Argentina and agreed to supply Britain with whatever materiél it required.

    Whatever else this fine program does, it illustrates the way that democracy is supposed to work, and of course it will be informative to those whose memories don't extend very far into history.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The title of this review is aimed squarely at those who object to certain omissions from the film. If you want 100% historical accuracy watch a documentary. If you want world class acting with a riveting plot watch this. Frankly though the film is sufficiently accurate that all but those with a political axe to grind against Mrs. Thatcher ought to be satisfied. Having watched numerous documentaries on the subject myself I found nothing to complain about in the film. For sure there's a spin to it - the vast majority of war films have one.

    The film is simply top notch entertainment. The cast is a who's who of the cream of English talent and that shows through in spades. You'll go a long way to see a better cast do a better job.

    I called this a war film though in reality it's about the background to and political side of a war rather than the military side. Does it favour Mrs. Thatcher? - certainly it does. Then again the actual war favoured her too. She got the calls right and the people voted for her because of it, so in such a respect the film reflects reality. If you hate Mrs. Thatcher, and there are many who do, then that hatred will likely be strong enough to obscure the film so don't bother with it. Such a hate that's sufficient to rejoice at her death will certainly beat a few actors no matter how good their efforts. If you're a supporter or a neutral then put this in your must watch list of British films.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Much has been written about alleged "pro-Thatcher" approach of The Falklands Play, and it certainly was well acted. It would have been interested seeing it performed on stage rather than in a studio like here.

    I think though a follow-up play is necessary where it details what motivated the British Government to exclude their amputee soldiers (who lost their limbs in the Falklands) from the victory parades.

    I think a follow-up play is necessary where it details how Mrs Thatcher could support the totalitarian Pinochet regime who were hardly democratic, even though Mrs Thatcher fought to restore democracy in the Falklands.

    I think a follow-up play is necessary explain why this script wasn't shopped to ITV or Channel 4 when the BBC weren't so keen on it.

    I think a follow-up play is necessary to debunk the myth that the 1983 general election was an endorsement of Britain's involvement in the Falklands War, given the Conservative Party's national vote actually decreased from its 1979 share.

    I think such a follow-up play might be too much and too politically incorrect for the champagne conservatives. A follow-up play would be way too politically incorrect.
  • To state that this is a 'political drama', would fail to transfer an understanding of the feast of entertainment, excitement (even though we know the conclusion), and insight, into how the 'powers' interact, during an escalation to war.

    The acting is of the highest order...... you truly believe that these are the people, and this is how they behaved (Hodges Thatcher is remarkable). Add this to a plot that fiction could never match, and you are likely to be hooked from the opening scene.

    With caution, I would also suggest that this drama does bring history to the viewer, in a way the BBC seems to constantly excel at. Much of the script is taken from hansard (parliamentary transcripts), contemporary diaries, and news reports..... the drama didn't need to be invented.

    One or two earlier reviewers felt that it was a historical distortion, however, in my opinion, they are still grinding axes.

    So yes.... do bear in mind that in the years running up to the crisis, perhaps the Brits took their eye off the Falklands (though this is outside the remit of this play).

    Also yes.... there was the major incident 'sinking of the Belgrano', that in real life, was controversial. However, I believe the play portrayed the genuine view of the decision makers: 'destroy it, before it destroys us'.... a view held by the majority of the UK population (I would suggest).

    As for the suggestion that 'Thatcher would never have ranted against Argentina to the US', I find beyond belief. That's exactly how she behaved, and she was famous for it AND by the way, it is portrayed marvelously in this play, with the joy of historical posturing so well done.

    If you get the chance...... watch it!
  • I think there were serious omissions from the historical truth.

    As noted by a reviewer above, Thatcher's political position was very weak at the time. She was seen by the country and many of her "wet" cabinet ministers as being a right wing liability who would sink the Tories at the next election because she had worsened, not improved, Britain's economy. Unemployment had sky-rocketed.

    The decision to withdraw HMS Endeavour from the South Atlantic (the supply ship for the Falklands) was made by her right wing Defence Minister John Nott on grounds of cost- cutting. Both the Foreign Office under Carrington and I believe the Chiefs of Staff and the Intelligence Services opposed it on the grounds that the Argentinians would interpret the withdrawal as a sign that the UK was not serious about maintaining its Falklands colony and this would greatly encourage them to invade. Thatcher overruled them and backed Nott. She therefore had direct responsibility for this mistaken decision and should, on the Argentinian invasion, have resigned.

    This was known at the time of the Saturday House of Commons debate by many people, especially on the Conservative back benches. There was great unease on them, and talk of replacing her. What saved her probably was Michael Foot's highly patriotic support of her in his speech and the fact that the debate only lasted 4 hours rather than the more usual 8. (Clever work probably by the Whips). If it had been 8, it is very likely that this unease about Thatcher would have surfaced from both wets and right wingers who suspected she was an incompetent woman who had blundered into a war.

    Then, had she been replaced - probably by a wet ("wets" by and large were of an older generation than the supporters of Thatcher and had fought in the 2nd War and would have been thought "reliable" to fight another war) - the war would have gone ahead, Britain would again probably have won, and a "wet" rather than Thatcher would have been in charge of Britain and subsequent history would have been radically different. But it is through ironies like this that history operates. As it was, it was those who had been originally been right on "Endeavour" who were forced to resign like Carrington, and Thatcher, the British politician (along with Nott) most responsible for allowing the war to break out, the person who went on to be lionised as a great Churchillian war leader.

    The Saturday Commons debate was the great turning point. Curteis presents the debate falsely as a straight patriotic piece of Churchillian stiff upper-lip tub thumping. (This is understandable, the Left had been and was caricaturing Thatcher mercilessly in their propaganda and Curteis's play is his right-wing propaganda blast back). But it would have been far more interesting - and dramatic - to go for neither villains or heroes, but what history really consists of - human beings. And by showing complexities and ironies, rather than pieties and propaganda.
  • I hear that this play was not originally broadcast by the BBC either as: it was politically sensitive, or; it was simply not up to scratch. I would say there was validity to both propositions.

    It is definitely politically sensitive material, and surely it was quite right that the original production was not broadcast in the run-up to what, if I remember correctly, was the 1987 General Election. The BBC had the utmost sense not to broadcast such an unbalanced, politically-slanted piece. One could understand such a play if it was written to sure up people's support for the State in a time of crisis, but inherently it was ready long after the Falklands conflict. One would expect a balanced, realistic perspective from such a play as this, but instead you get a whitewashing of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's character. In readings about her, from Hugo Young to Julian Critchley to any number of Cabinet colleagues, I can tell this is not the real Thatcher. True, the Falklands conflict may have shown her at her best, but this play is practically adulatory, portraying the "Great She Elephant" as a very balanced, pragmatic and acutely sensitive and emotional person. She was roundly not these things, and indeed, a cursory reading of the Falklands saga shows she was at odds with many of the people involved, not just the odd stray American who doesn't quite grasp the situation.

    One clearly gets the sense, with use of archive news reports and the general slanted tone, that the writer had no personal experience of what went on within the higher echelons of British Government at the time. That is not to say, of course, that someone like this shouldn't be allowed to write a play about the Falklands; just that they should have tried to craft a drama with far more adherence to what really happened. Thinking about it, this drama really is lacking in dramatics. Where is the real insight as to Thatcher's tensions with Messrs. Carrington and Pym? A capable, veteran cast of British stalwarts act it out reasonably, but it does no good really. Patricia Hodge does a good job at acting a Prime Minister who really is no Margaret Thatcher. She does not attempt to capture virtually any of the mannerisms or tones of Thatcher. An ill-advised performance, but surely the result of Curteis' slanted perspective. It really could be a Party Political Broadcast for the Right Hon. Member for Finchley and the Conservative Government of the time. The handling of the historical sequence of events is plodding and really quite banal. And what to say about certain political figures' portrayal? A Denis Healey who looks absolutely nothing like him, a Ronald Reagan who is sent up as a hapless, clueless charlatan. Well, maybe there's some validity to *that*...!

    So, certainly a mistaken choice for BBC4 to revive this project, a project that frankly had little merit; the original decision on it was quite justified on both counts.

    Rating:- **/*****
  • I've seen this garbage twice now and I still can't believe how it's being promoted as a great guide to what went on behind the scenes.

    Are we really supposed to believe that a world leader who has had Pinochet round for tea would seriously denounce Argentina as a corrupt country that brutally suppresses political dissent? This is practically a love letter to Margaret Thatcher! The writer has so obvious an agenda it ruins what could otherwise be seen as a great work of fiction.

    It even manages to undermine it's own efforts to portray Thatcher in a more favourable light. Apparently it is true that she took the time to write letters to the next of kin of all the British fatalities. But then the writer goes and ruins it by showing more stupid scenes of Thatcher raving about Argentina's human rights record.

    If you want to know the type of movie Goebbels may have written about Hitler's crushing of Polish aggression in 1939 you only have to watch this execrable pack of lies.

    A remarkable piece of propoganda. Dreadful, dreadful rubbish.
  • This is a deeply flawed portrayal of the Falklands crisis, though arguably it's no more flawed than portrayals which unthinkingly demonise the Thatcher government. Propaganda is still propaganda, regardless of which side it comes from.

    The Falklands Play makes many errors and omissions which undermines its relevance: It ignores the prevailing British domestic political situation. Thatcher was struggling in the polls, there was disquiet over the wisdom of choosing such a right-wing leader both within the Conservative party and in the country as a whole, and the economy showed no sign of sustained recovery from the problems of the late 1970s.

    Thatcher is rightly portrayed as someone who had delusions of Churchillian leadership, however, as the play portrays her as focused and eloquent in the way Churchill was, she was in reality as desperate to retain the idea of British international power and empire as Churchill was. And just as wrong. Such irrational motives will always be wrong.

    The idea that Thatcher would cite Argentina's human rights record as a reason to act aggressively is unlikely given the US support for Latin America's quasi-fascist dictators (Operation Condor and more). The international fight against Communism was far more important, especially in the US, than a petty squabble over some desolate rocks filled with little Englanders. Thatcher would know that Argentina's dictatorship was US-backed, just as was Chile's and a handful of others, and their unethical methods were tolerated in order to prevent the spread of Communism.

    The play shows Argentina to be exclusively aggressive, intransigent and scheming. Appeasers or doubters are portrayed as woolly-minded, weak or foolish (especially Francis Pym). Another reviewer suggested this was a 'love letter' to Thatcher, in that it portrayed her in almost exclusively positive light: deliberate, strong, decisive, thoughtful. All of these two dimensional portrayals serve only undermine the writer's intention (whatever that might be) and makes the whole easy to dismiss.

    There are comments here that suggest a black and white version of events suggesting Argentina, in order to quell internal disquiet about the ruling dictatorship, invaded Las Malvinas, a long-standing dispute with Britain, to unite their nation and distract from domestic problems. Whilst this is true, the play's wilful ignorance of Britain's readiness to pay only token and cursory attention to US diplomatic efforts gives an unbalanced picture.

    The Falklands conflict was, like most international disputes, very complicated, shrouded in doubt and manipulation. It was the product of both domestic realpolitik, international image, and personal ego. The Falklands Play prefers to give the impression that it was some brave, patriotic, moral battle of good (Britain) against evil (Argentina). Writers and film-makers have learned that you can't even portray the Second World War in such simplistic terms any more.

    Thatcher was a shrewd political operator who saw an opportunity to depict Britain as the injured party in a minor dispute. She and her government undoubtedly played their part in amplifying and escalating a situation which could have been resolved without the loss of life which the dispute ultimately cost, for domestic reasons. Anyone who can remember the tub-thumbing, jingoistic nonsense which accompanied much of the coverage of the conflict will know just how well it played for the struggling Thatcher government. Ultimately, both Thatcher and Galtieri used the islands as a pawn for domestic political reasons. In reality, it should never have been allowed to get to the stage of armed conflict, and Britain, as much as Argentina, must share the blame for it doing so.
  • First off, I am particularly interested in this subject as I was serving in the US Air Force in England during these events. As a student of WWII history it was a nearly surreal experience to find myself listening to the war news every evening on the BBC in my local country pub, much as my predecessors would've done during WWII. I well remember the reports of the losses, particularly those of HMS Sheffield, Coventry, Atlantic Conveyor and Sir Galahad. I remember the many conversations with locals old enough to still have memories of that earlier war.

    Patricia Hodge was wonderful as "Maggie" and being a big fan of British TV and films many other faces were quite familiar. I was quite struck by how Rt Hon Francis Pym and members of the labor party has so quickly forgotten the lessons and cost of appeasement! At one point I would've loved to hear Mrs. Thatcher respond to those questioning the rightness of fighting over "some small rocks and a handful of people" with "If 1,800 British subjects are not worth fighting for, please tell me, exactly, what is the minimum number that IS? 5,000? 10,000? 100,000? 1,000,000?"

    Besides having been there to listen to the daily coverage, I've watch a number of documentaries and read a number of books on the battle including the memoirs of the Battle Group Commander Adm. Sandy Woodward. Everything in this movie tracks closely with everything else that I know about the time, the situation and the battles. The one thing I would take exception with, frankly comes as no surprise to me. The all too familiar anti-American jealousy/prejudice that is very common in British programming. One need only contrast the carefully chosen flattering selection of Patricia Hodge to play Margaret Thatcher with the perhaps equally carefully chosen unflattering selection of Bob Sherman to play President Reagan. Not only did he bear no resemblance beyond an American accent, he played Reagan as a bumbling fool who couldn't even remember the name of the islands rather than the strong leader who helped bring down the Berlin wall and with it the Soviet Union. The most pathetic moment was portraying Reagan as having trouble deciding which tie to wear while discussing the issues. That was simply petty and mean.

    Lost in all of this is the reality that the British government had allowed this crisis to develop through apathy, neglect and an unwillingness to sacrifice. The Argentine government was emboldened to act due to the steady decline of the power of the Royal Navy and in fact, had they the patience to simply wait a year or two more, the RN's only two carriers would've been decommissioned and Britain would've been forced to accept the take over of the islands. As it is, the losses of British shipping, especially that of the Sheffield and Coventry were reportedly contributed to a decision to cut costs on construction by reducing the length of the ships eliminating the space required for the anti-missile system they were originally designed to carry. This would seem to be a major deficiency for a ship supposedly designed for radar picket duty to detect and defend incoming missile attack! Oddly enough, another documentary I recently watched about the Eurofighter project disclosed similarly dangerous cost cutting which only proves that even those lessons written in blood are too soon forgotten!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    *Spoiler/plot- The Falkland Play, 2002. A dramatization of the events in UK Govt when the Argentinians escalated they action to take over the Falkland islands in the Southern Atlantic ocean in the 80's.

    *Special Stars- Hugh Grant. Tara Fitzgerald, Patricia Hodges, James Fox.

    *Theme- Oppressors and bullies internationally need to be confronted in all ways, diplomatic and military.

    *Trivia/location/goofs- Shot in the UK production. All UK cast & crew with news file footage. Battlefield news footage was used in this film.

    *Emotion- I remember this military action and how the news handled this military dispute. I'm was and are Pro-British in this matter. This film was a balanced presentation of the matter and also shows some secret matters the American Govt did to diffuse this military action.

    *Based On- The news events and accounts of this military & diplomatic events.