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A record of historical inaccuracies
kerstyevans16 October 2003
To the Producers of "Boudica"

All my life I have had a special interest in ancient Celtic culture and lifestyle and a particular fascination for 1st century Britain. Therefore i have done a great lot of research over the years and read and watch anything I can find on the subject.

"Boudica" was probably the worst historical film ever made and could easily enter the Guinness Book of Records for the most historical inaccuracies, both in number and variety, ever seen on a screen. Apart from the swords (where were the shields?), chariots and some of the women's hairstyles there was absolutely nothing right. i know it wasn't meant to be a comedy, but there are some utterly hilarious lines in this film.

Female leaders were very common in ancient Celtic society. Boudica was probably the ruling queen of her tribe anyway, but the Romans only accepted a man in that position and made Boudica's husband (who was much older than her and died of old age, not headaches!) the client king. There were a number of warrior women in 1st century Britain, though Boudica was the only one mentioned in history. Tacitus writes that to the Romans "the worst humiliation of losing the battle with Boudica, was being defeated by a woman!"

Tacitus, although on the other side, describes the British tribes and some of their customs and clothes in some detail. The producers of the film obviously haven't read any of that, or the actors and actresses would at least have worn costumes and hairstyles more appropriate for the period. Women always wore dresses, even in battle! The minor warriors wore very little, while the aristocracy dressed up to impress for the occasion with lots of (mainly gold) jewellery and colourful clothes. The women wore two piece dresses - a wide shirt of linen or wool held together in the middle by an elborate belt, and a full skirt. When horse riding, the skirt was pulled through between the legs, still covering the knees. Cloaks made of wool or fur were worn in the winter, and woollen leggings resembling leg warmers. The men wore similar shirts and cloaks, and breeches which were wide at the top. In the film they wore 20th century jogging bottoms and some sort of cavemen's furs reminding of the "Flintstones".

The men's 20th century hairstyles, I would think, would have looked out of place, even to anyone who never read anything about the 1st century. Almost all of them had their hair too short and where were their moustaches? Here, instead, some of the Romans have (very modern) beards, they would not have had in that period. Most Celtic men, especially those of any standing in society, had moustaches and a long mane of hair. Similar to some Native American tribes, 1st century Britons took pride in their long thick hair. Baldness was seen as a curse by the gods, so never in a million years would there have been a bald priest, and never would a druid or a priest of any sort have worn such rags! The Roman women are dressed up to the nines, although tacky and pantomine like. The Celtic women, and men, would have been dressed up elaborately.

Alright, we don't know the names of Boudica's daughters, though they wouldn't have come out of Arthurian legends or even Wagner. They could have read some ancient Welsh legends and picked some simple names from those.

A Celtic king who didn't want to go into battle would have been deposed, possibly murdered by his people for cowardice. There were no retired warriors anymore than bald priests in rags.

Claudius is hilarious. These scenes reminded me of a cross between "I Claudius" and the "Carry-on" films.

"Acts of Terrorism"? "Peace Process"? President Bush was here - did anyone recognise him?

Celtic funeral rites varied depending on the tribe. However, they never burned their dead. In fact, they went through a lot of trouble to rescue both the dead and the living from the flames, when any of their dwelling places was set on fire by an enemy. Any warrior of rank, especially a king, would have been buried with his sword, jewellery, food, sometimes other weapons or even a chariot. Their graves were usually in a wood and not marked on the outside. I won't go into too much detail here, not even sure you're still reading this. Death by fire was the ultimate punishment (only given to worst criminals), as there was a general belief that it would destroy the soul as well as the body and prevent the person from being reborn. I think there may have been a mix up with a Viking burial here, looking at the flames and water.

"Empire under new management!" another 20th/21st century phrase. "Read my lips!"

The Celtic aristocracy did not live in villages, but in hillside towns. They kept their homes and themselves clean, their hair, bodies and clothes washed regularly. There would not have been an army of the great unwashed, at least not before the battle. In fact, the Celts invented soap.

The Greeks visited Britain before the Romans, not to invade but just to trade, and there are some descriptions of their customs, looks and music. Music was distinctive and melodeous. Singing and playing instruments and dancing was a way of expressing high emotions. They had harps, though not those we know today, a variety of pipes, flutes and drums. We don't know their tunes, though some might have been similar to early medieval or middle eastern type music rather than new age pseudo Native American dirges used in the film.

The "Excalibur" type magic doesn't work here, only making the whole thing more ridiculous.

We are not sure what sort of music they had in the 1st century, but we know that music, poetry and storytelling was an important part of Celtic culture. Singing, dancing and playing instruments expressed their high emotions. They had harps, though not those we know today, a variety of pipes and flutes and drums. Middle Eastern or early medieval type tunes may have been similar, or at least would have fitted into a proper historical film, instead of some weird new age pseudo Native American wailings. I think I heard a didgeridoo once as well, but by then nothing could shock or surprise me anymore.

"What the hell is going on?" Nero said. What is a Classic battle? Then someone mentioned Anglesey! The island was called Ynis Mon, still known by that name in Wales today. The Romans always took a local name and latinised it, therefore called it Mona. The Angles occupied the island five centuries later and called it Anglesey! The producers wouldn't even need to read about this, but could have asked any Welsh person the right name.

The Romans drank from metal tankards and pottery cups, not glasses, as far as I know. Well, certainly not Art Deco glasses.

i don't think the Britons grew cabbages either, maybe mushrooms though I don't know. Their diet consisted mainly of meat, cheese, bread, cakes and apples and berries, maybe some leaves were used as vegetable garnish. Herbs were used in medicine rather than cooking.

Well, I just had to get this off my chest, even if no-one reads it.


Kersty Evans
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It's little wonder she drank poison
Procopius29 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Warning, Possible Spoiler.

The Oxford Classical Dictionary and everyone else has always spelled the name as Boudicca, but hey! what do they know? However, I'm not going to pontificate about historical accuracy, as anyone reading this is at liberty to peruse the many extensive websites about Boudicca and the Iceni for themselves.

Firstly, I come to praise Alex Kingston, not to bury her. She is a striking and accomplished actress who valiantly gave it her very best shot, but as was the case in AD 60 when Boudicca faced Suetonius Paulinus, the effort was doomed from the start.

The sets were poor, flimsy and unconvincing; much of the spectacle was the same. The Romans of antiquity were of small stature and were terrified of the brawny adversaries they faced to the North, but the Iceni of this production were frankly unconvincing. Braveheart it was not.

The Iron Age people of Britain producing stunning art of all kinds (again, see websites). The Iceni on this production were uniformly dressed as the Saxons in any Robin Hood tale, or as the revolting peasants in a Carry On film. Steven Waddington as Prasutagas was wearing a virtually identical costume to the one he wore in the 1996 production of Ivanhoe. What we saw on Boudica was a cross-cultural mish-mash of financially expedient but imaginatively bankrupt costumes, accents and sets, where Boudicca seemed to inhabit an outsize wigwam instead of the stunning villa that Prasutagas would have lived in. Every wishful New Age cliché was there before us, apart from the Iceni having dream-catchers, but there was another Wild West connection, aside from wigwams.

Halfway through the battle at the end, Boudicca had a parley or 'pow-wow' with Suetonius, who saluted her in an almost exact replica of a scene in Robert Shaw's Custer. Perhaps it's irrelevant to point out that this never happened in ancient Britain, either. The dialogue, however, was firmly based on the principle of the perceptions of English class system. The Iceni largely spoke like yokels, as did the junior Roman ranks, with a touch of 'Gor Blimey Guv' Cockney thrown in for good measure. Just to make things abundantly clear, the Senior Romans affected upper-class English accents, to the Manor Born. In all fairness, though, the Romanian countryside looked very appealing.

Suetonius Paulinus miraculously made his way from Anglesey to Rome, then back again after hearing Nero's instructions, all without a Lear Jet in sight. This production showed him as a humanitarian, but in reality he was recalled from Britain for his savage excesses after putting down Boudicca's rebellion.

All this could be forgiven, but for the script, which was absolutely diabolical. Many fine actors and actresses in the cast struggled against lines utterly devoid of character, passion, credibility and/or the reality of the characters' situations. At times, the lines of dialogue raced around the map, up and down the perceived English class system, then back & forwards in time for good measure. `Awe, truly' as an anecdote goes. You think I'm making this up? Look at the list of characters, which include little-known Roman luminaries such as Horribulus and Tysonsius.

The budget couldn't stretch to the burning of London, which is fair enough. However, beneath modern-day London, there is still a fifteen inch thick layer of clay melted by the conflagration in 60 AD, such was its ferocity, which is known as the Boudiccan layer. You can make exciting films while totally reversing history (see Americans winning WWII), but this was an exception. It was simply join-the dots scriptwriting, presumably working on the assumption that the real Boudicca and the others couldn't sue the writer.

At the end, we heard Boudicca announce in voice-over that `we (the Celts, Iceni, etc) don't write stories down, we live them'. There was no story here, just a collection of blindingly obvious landmarks, the links between which were unnecessarily reinforced by truly awful dialogue that demeaned an otherwise fine cast. Aside from making me want to laugh & cry in all the wrong places, it was utterly unemotive, with the exception of Boudicca's public humiliation.

If you thought Caligula was bad, then you're in for a shock if you see this travesty. Dio and Tacitus told us that Boudicca wore a huge, heavy torque of gold around her neck, not fuse wire & bangles. Dramatic license is one thing, but this script was defamation of character. The dialogue hinted that Boudicca could glimpse the future, with the assistance of her court magician. If the Boudicca who died in AD 60 could indeed have peered into the future and foreseen how her legacy would be treated on film, it's no wonder this stunning, inspirational and courageous Queen of Britain despairingly drank poison.
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Definitely dud of the year. Imagine Lord of the rings done on home video by people off the street!
nickjg29 September 2003
I don't want to spoil this for any future viewer but this show will probably never be shown again. There are few facts known about Boudica, except that she burned London and Colchester and that she was whipped, her daughters raped and she took her revenge. In this feeble production, London and Colchester are a set of tent encampments- which the cast ludicrously describe as a 'big city.' The actors either shout a lot or sleepwalk through their parts. Nero is made up for a silent movie and, given the script, its a pity that it wasn't. They threw in the salacious bits - Nero fumbling with his mother's dress- poisoning and threatening, but in the language of a wide boy. At every point where you would expect some dramatic and memorable words, the script degenerates into soap opera. The battle scenes were large and animated but unengaging. The story was corrupted into another 'look how beastly they're being to the Celts' whinge with the usual dreary 'Celtic' solo singer and predictable 'magical' swords and a fey Scots magician on hand to give senseless advice. In fact, no clichee was left untouched. The high and important issues about power and oppression were treated like captions in a picture story in a teen mag.

So who was it for? Historians? hardly; Adults? only for porn value; Kids, only those who have never seen 'The Mummy' or 'Lord of the Rings'- This was like Lord of the Rings done on home video with a cast off the street. There were some talented actors involved, but this was no showcase for their abilities!
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Very good, very bad at the same time
dannym-319 September 2004
It's got some great sets and costumes, a fantastic, frankly groundbreaking soundtrack of calling vocals, and spectacular deeply theatric moments, basically any time the characters aren't actually speaking is OK. The dialogue is fundamentally awful, Romans are one-dimensionally bad, absurdly condescending and arrogant, and barbarians good. Obviously the writer wanted to make this a commentary about current politics, referring to Icenians as "terrorists", a concept which did not exist at the time. In fact, many lines such as "For God's sake!" would not exist for this setting.

I don't suppose anyone could tell me the reason why all the Roman soldiers have cockney accents either.

To watch this film, you've got to have a sense of humor for the dialogue which is utterly painful. The Romans are written so badly on such a deep level one can take amusement in it. But it can't be described, laughed at, and appreciated as a bad B-movie, there are quality stirring dramatic moments there and any humor you see in it is killed by the prolonged gang rape scene, which is not a gratuitous addition but a serious, fundamental part of the historical accounts of the real Boudicca.

This film is without compare in its strengths and weaknesses and I'm wholly at a loss to classify it or say exactly how one should appreciate it. You will have to decide for yourself and tell me.
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malcolm_murray29 September 2003
Boudica is, by TV standards, a big-scale romp, with large battle scenes and predictable displays of Roman decadence sitting alongside an attempt, expected from writer Andrew Davies, to add some historical focus and modern relevance.

Alex Kingston is in commanding form as the flame-haired warrior queen. It's the type of role she is moulded for - feisty and forceful with just a hint of no-nonsense sex. She does seem to look more like Mel Gibson in Braveheart as the film progresses, but her big pep talk to the troops is at least as powerful as Mel's. In the generally fine supporting cast, Gary Lewis is stoutly impressive as a seemingly magically abled priest supporter of Boudica; Jack Shepherd makes the most of the stammering Claudius, and Andrew Lee Potts, despite coming across like a spoilt brat and a half-dressed drag act, has fun with the positively loathsome Nero.

Add in some fairly strong gore, amusing sex and tolerable use of modern language and Boudica falls somewhere between bodice-ripper and historical epic. Good fun all round. 7/10
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Why not just stick to the facts.
Sulla-216 August 2005
I have no problems with film makers using their imagination when there is a lack of information. I fail to see the sense of deliberately distorting the facts though. Believe me, they could make a splendid film just sticking to the facts. A Book about Suetonius called 'Imperial Governor' would make the basis of a fine film. Others have pointed out the stupid mistakes in this film and the children running rings round trained ruthless soldiers was just plain silly. The final battle started of quite well and good use was made of technology. However, the Romans won battles like this using tight shield formations, NOT hand to hand fighting. I have no problems with the acting at all, just the story lines.
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A good idea, messed up by ITV
Fenris Fil12 October 2003
If this is going to have a theatrical release in the US this is going to bomb big time. A very dissapointing film, with the occasional good momment, but the worst thing is the typical trates of ITV dramas that have crept in. The tendancy for everyone behind the scenes to try and stand out from the crowd by throwing in their own little bits. As a result what could have been a good film was pretty much destroyed.

The beginning and ending was just downright patronising and the scenes in Rome (which seemed there entirely to emphasise that Nero was as nutty as a fruit cake) were pretty redundant. There were however a few good battle scenes and some good acting. On the whole though it was just bad camera work, bad directing, poor script, feeble attempts to shock the audience and very little genuine authenticity.

I rated this at a 4/10 but had it not been for the unprofessional start and end it could have scrapped a 6/10 because there was enough reasonable content here to make this film enjoyable at least for a one off viewing.

If you see this film on TV and like ancient history and legends it's worth a watch, but whatever you do don't pay to see this in a movie theatre because this is a long way off being anything other then a TV movie.
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A bad script,poor quality production and opportunity missed
vad-229 September 2003
I watched this on prime-time television with the expectation of seeing a good production. There is nothing that I can write about this poor quality production which would recommend it. The events of this part of our history are not well documented but Boudica did exist so at the very least we should have been treated to a more realistic portrayal of her and her exploits. Alex Kingston acted the part well but she was handicapped by a bad script, poor supporting actors and very unrealistic scenery and props. This was a lost opportunity to show a piece of English history to a generation who probably know little about the past. Even a computer generated Star Wars type film would have been preferable to this production. There is little more to say but please do better next time English history is being screened.
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Not bad, not great
lilitha-114 October 2003
Since it was on television, I didn't expect it to be "Lord of the Rings," as apparently some others did. They wouldn't have the budget. After seeing such horrosities as "The Druids" based on a Norman Spinrad novel and the American series "Roar" based on goodness knows what (The Romans in Ireland!), this was not bad, but not great. Celtic-Roman history seems to be beyond film/television writers ken. Maybe they need to read a little.

I actually liked the main player, Alex Kingston. I didn't watch ER, so I have no preconceptions about her. I liked most of the actors. I think the problem does not lie with the actors, but the script and this appalling need to make things relevant. It can be done, but it doesn't have to be done, and it was done badly here.

It would have been far more interesting to have a scene where Boudicca uses divination with a rabbit as described in Dio or show the statue of Victory fall rather than the statue of the Roman emperor. Both the Britons and the Romans were very prone to omens and portents. I suppose they thought the audience would not get it. Hello, that's what good writing does! Explains things we don't know.

I didn't mind the accents. We all know the Roman generals and emperors spoke with upper class British accents! We saw Lawrence Olivier in "Spartacus." We watched "I, Claudius.";)

I liked that they had the Britons lime their hair and paint up with woad, but costuming needed to be brighter and jewelry needed to be richer. However, this seems to be a general trend among costumers in film/television; they think that ancient peoples dressed dully. In fact, most ancient peoples dressed in brilliant colors. Positively garish by our standards. They did have Boudicca & her husband dress a little better when they meet Emperor Claudius. In fact, they look like a color drawing straight out of a costume book I have. However, a king and queen of a people would be far better dressed in this.

As for caricature of Nero, the Roman writers don't seem all that fond of him, either. I knew before I watched this how Boudicca died, so I assumed (wrongly perhaps) that they simply didn't show it. However Tacitus says she took poisoned and died. Dio says she got sick and died. The fate of her daughters is not mentioned by either. And they have no names either.

I wasn't expecting exact history here. Or a documentary. I was expecting a really good historical adventure and romp. It is better than other attempts at ancient Celtic-Roman stories. But it would have been far better if the writers had stuck closer to Roman accounts and stopped trying to brain us with relevancy.
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User Friendly History
thestewarts-124 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I didn't hate this movie but there were a lot of times where I grimaced at the usual things that annoy me about historical films. I would love it if for once someone decided to explore the possibility of making a historical movie that actually tries to recreate a picture of what really might have happened! Is this so difficult? Will it screw up the story so badly to just make it feel real? I want the Romans to talk Latin and the Celts (if possible) to talk in their language. (subtitled with English) That's how real it should be. Virtually no one should have white teeth either. And they should spend a bit more time researching the tactics! Romans didn't just stand there waiting to be attacked (the final battle) they would have thrown their pila (javelins) and then drawn swords and hacked into the enemy. Standing defensively works for spear armed infantry not for assault infantry like the soldiers pictured in the film. No one has to know all these details but it's not like one is asking the director to move a mountain just to show the (cooler) actual tactics that we would have seen had we been watching the battle... Sure not many people will care about the added accuracy but...what have they got to lose by it? A few extra nights on google searching for ancient accounts of roman warfare??? As for Nero I thought the film showed him to be too concerned about the incident, like it was consuming his life. I don't think it occupied his thoughts as much as they make out - he is even totally preoccupied with the Celts before the rebellion! (which actually occurred years after Claudius's death).
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Awful Production
didcot3 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Possible Spoilers. OK, no one expects 100% accuracy. There are 100% accurate productions - they are called documentries. A film/programne can be historically inaccurate and be a darn good spectacle (Gladiator, Braveheart) but it is a different kettle of fish to insult the viewing public with a cheap, badly written and produced item like this. The Roman Army in Britain seemed to consist of about 10 people,Paulinius the Roman commander apparently makes his way from Angelsey to Rome (and back to his army) without anyone noticing, the aforementioned Roman Army was run ragged on numerous occasions by a bunch of children, there was some sub-plot about the murder of Nero's mother which had no relevance to the rest of the story, what appeared to be an absurd (and scottish) wizard running around with a magic mirror (which he should get serviced as all the Britons ended up getting killed) and the depictions of all the male British leaders as chauvenistic pigs which needed the fiesty Boudica as a leader (notably Prasutagus who must tie with Arthur Fowler of Eastenders as the wettest most whining character ever - three hearty cheers when he finally whimpered, rolled over and died) It is some achievement though, to do all this with such a fine collection of actors. (and Alex did look good) British companies should realise that if they do not have the finance to produce epics they shouldn't try, but stick to such subjects as Sharpe or Hornblower with their small band of followers on secret missions against the french. These are within the budget, are exciting, and allow our actors to carry the production with their acting skills and their very presence. (and I do believe we have a good percentage of the best in the world) For a good fictional account of Boudica's Rebellion which also shows the brutality and savagery of Rome I would recommend "Imperial Governor" by George Shipway (its in print) In short, is there anything that can save our reputation for historical dramas? Yes, there are quite a few Sharpe novels unfilmed!
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Inspiring Tribute
lucy_kriemhild12 January 2004
I loved Alex Kingston (of ER and numerous British period pieces) as the fierce, yet human Queen Boudica (also spelled Boadicea)! She was believably tough, yet believably naive in her struggles with the overwhelming forces of Rome. The whole plot boils down to a clash of two cultures: one ancient and decentralized and one a "modern" empire which butchers with ruthless efficiency. An inspiring tribute to the human spirit!
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Almost a parody
srfm7926 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Well, it was made for cable, so I will not bash the TV-series-like visuals. Neither will I criticize that everyone in the movie speaks English, although some sort of lingual contrast between Romans and Boudica's tribe would have been desirable. But to begin with this is technically very bad: the props - especially those of the Roman city that is destroyed - are obviously fake, and so is this way that the raped and tortured Boudica and her daughters drag themselves home (it looks like something from a zombie movie). The acting is generally unconvincing or perhaps just not very well directed. When Boudica confronts the enemy in a battle she resembles an enthusiastic housewife at a Rod Stewart concert more than a bloodthirsty avenger. The plot lends so many elements from "Braveheart", "Gladiator" and the like that it almost looks like a parody on historic epics (the main character whose family is assaulted, the cry-baby incestuous villain, the triumphant sacrifice for freedom and so on, and so on). And on top of it the opening sequence with its direct address of the audience and the anachronistic final is ripped off from Potter's "Orlando", only without embedding this theme in the entire script. Two stars because this is actually (unintentionally) quite funny at points.
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Histo-tainment, Andrew Davies style
pmicocci13 October 2003
I agree with the previous comments concerning this production, and I would like to add that it demonstrates a complete innocence of knowledge of Roman history as well. It's amazing that, being such puling, punkish little perverts, as they are depicted almost without exception, the Romans managed to more or less hold an empire together for another four centuries (despite the sententious pronouncement that "here the Roman Empire stands or crumbles"). The only Romans that appear to have more than a few decades on them are Claudius and Seutonius. Nero looks like he's suffering from a combination of tuberculosis and malaria; and he seems to have been conflated with Caligula, showing a penchant for strutting around in armor more appropriate in the son of a famous general who grew up in army camps in Gaul than in the haughty, patrician artist the historic Nero appears to have fancied himself to be. I guess all those emperors look the same from a distance of a couple of millennia. Also, there appears to have been a distinct lack of sunlight (not to mention personal hygiene) in the first century AD. All in all, I suppose it's slightly more authentic than an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess.
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Polyglot-517 July 2005
This movie was inspiring to me, as it was about a woman who would not give up. She is one of my favorite actresses, appearing on ER in the U.S. It was also about an empire which ran over indigenous people, a practice which continues into the present time. There are many lines in the movie which might just remind you of current day statements. And listen closely to Nero, does he remind you of anyone? The actors are all great in my opinion, they do not falter or miss a beat. Yes, it is a bit violent, and if that is a concern, you should not allow small children (under 8 or 10) to view this. Since we rarely see things about the Celts, I was happy to have an idea of how they dressed and some of their customs. Women definitely had equality, and that is rare to see even in these modern times.
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Britons on Fire
sexy_pisces_gal7 July 2005
Alex Kingston stars in the gritty dram about the formidable Iceni queen Boudica.

No longer being able to bear the pain of seeing the woman he loves with another man Dervalloc sets off across the waters away from his passionate Queen, convinced she is content with her King and two children But Boudica has a lot to be unhappy about. As wife to King Prasutagus of the Iceni tribe, she sees her fierce husband shamed before Rome's greedy onslaught. Prasutagus accepts a treaty that preserves his tribe's independence but at the cost of high taxes. When he dies mysteriously, Boudica becomes the Iceni leader but allegiance to her is not all one sided. Depraved Roman captain Catus shows the spirited queen a copy of her husbands will which leave half of his kingdom to the roman empire.

Convinced the will is a forgery Boudica battles to bring her people away from the slavery that is Rome and attempts to conquer the very powerful roman empire with tragic consequences.
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Heavy-Handed Political Metaphor...
escoles13 October 2003
... but, that said, an interesting document of its time. (Which is to say, 2002-2003, the time of the Second Iraq War.)

Romans are painted as arrogant evangelists for the Roman Way and "true" Roman religion -- as decadent in the extreme, by comparison with the virtuous (and bloodthirsty) Celts.

The radical inaccuracies of this picture are instructive. For example, imperial Romans are seen as intensely focused on the illegitimacy of Celtic religion -- real Romans of Nero's time probably wouldn't have cared that much about enforcing their state religion until the subjects were in the economic loop of the Empire. Standard Roman field punishments (e.g., death by slow public crucifiction) are conveniently witheld so that central characters can live on to avenge their humiliation. Roman camps, contrary to the usual marching discipline, are left un-palisaded and conveniently open to attack by the much-feared Britons. And the Celts themselves are turned into some kind of bloodthirsty hippie-clan, where Celt-on-Celt violence is conveniently glossed over and women easily sit at the head of armies.

(BTW, I'm not entirely sure these should be Celts, as they're said to be during the screenplay. But I'm sure someone can come forth in a later review to correct my apprehension...)

And consider: The phrase "terrorism" is bandied about self-righteously at every turn; sober elder-statesmen with a workable plans are subverted by treachery; a devious ruler vetoes the sensible advice of rational military men in favor of a plan that results in needless bloodshed; clerics drive the action behind the scenes, exhorting their leaders to fight for the honor of their god and heritage, against the corruption of their people.

All in all, it's a fairly heavy-handed metaphor for Americo-British imperialism in the Islamic world -- a cautionary fairy tale, if you will.

Oh, and, by the way -- it's a really dumb movie. If the production values were a little higher, it would be a real candidate for a bad movie night.
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Bloody entertaining
Thulemanden31 January 2005
An undemanding movie set in historic rural England. Many lovely scenes from the village life, good costumes and sympathetic characters.

There's an air of Icelandic saga simmering over the movie all the time with unnerving background music. Women have the central stage here and the movie will talk to many both girls and boys, although it is somewhat bloody at times.

A few lapses in cutting and continuation.

Outstanding performance as Claudius by Jack Shepherd who nearly steals the movie in his first scene from a time before statesmanship became a bad joke.

Steven Waddington plays his low-key role gallantly giving room for the ladies before chivalry became modern.

They missed one obvious line delivering two heads: 'I made an early start' where the line could have been: 'I made a head start'. Well, maybe they wouldn't make the killing into a comedy.

A fine movie for its budget and sure to entertain many a home audience while teaching a bit of history.
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Quite entertaining
sayhitowarren10 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I have found "Boudica" aka "Warrior Queen" to be quite entertaining and very much worth watching. Although I had glimpsed Alex Kingston on ER, she had never really come up on my radar in a significant way. However, now that she's Boudica the Warrior Queen, I'm quite impressed with her (and maybe a little in love). In general, all of the casting was very good and the actors all made the most of their roles. If the budget had been on par with "Alexander" or "Troy" I think this could have been almost as good as those films (although they are far from perfect!). Having glanced at a few of the other user comments, I saw some criticism of the historical accuracy of the film. Those kinds of critiques are unfounded because they are based on naive and unanalytical readings of the source material. In other words, the critic believes everything he or she reads in old books, and criticizes films if they don't match the books point for point. Good historians know that a film like "Boudica" is a valid alternative interpretation of the sources and, at the very least, an excellent heuristic tool.
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Very absorbing
cherold8 November 2003
I've been looking at the comments on this site, and it looks like almost everyone who posted is very familiar with Boudica and very upset by what are apparently myriad inaccuracies. It makes me wonder if anyone saw this show who wasn't a history freak. So let me begin by saying I know absolutely nothing whatsoever about the real story. But from the vantage point of someone who isn't horrified by incorrect costumes and hairstyles, I thought this was an excellent movie with many striking scenes. Also, as someone who doesn't watch ER I have not pigeonholed the excellent actress Alex Kingston into whatever character she plays in the show. I am only familiar with her from her first rate performance in Moll Flanders. It's very silly to object to a performance not based on the quality of the performance but on what you're used to seeing the actress in.

I liked this about as well as I liked Braveheart (which I thought was good but overrated).
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Excellent Material under Utilized.
Magellan Grey13 October 2003
Nothing wrong with the choice of actors, but the history itself was underutilized. The rape of Boudica's daughters were overemphasized to the point of trauma to even the moderately sensitive viewer. Just knowing that the girls were raped was enough. The producers didn't have to actually show quasigraphic on public television. Basically it would be called disgusting.

Anyway, the fighting was well done, but teh ending was too abrupt and left the viewer wanting to know what happened after the battle. All in all, the show was about 90 minutes.

I was at best disappointed.
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A good TV movie
spoodie30 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I knew very little of Boudica prior to watching this TV movie and I'm dubious as to how many actually facts I can take from it but at least it doesn't present any blatant lies as I would have to expect from Hollywood, e.g. U-571. None-the-less I found the movie interesting and enjoyable, although I may be biased being a Brit myself. As this was not a BBC production I had some concerns but these were unfounded; while the script did not appear as factual as I would expect from the Beeb it was also missing a feeling of sterility you might experience from their productions, the added drama was refreshing and helped maintain my interest in the story.

The relatively low budget seems only evident in the battle scenes which may not be able hold there own against the likes of Brave Heart, etc. but are effective and reasonably convincing. There are other elements of the movie which are not as convincing, but I will not describe them here for fear of spoilers.

Alex Kingston does a good job playing the difficult role of the Warrior Queen and as a bonus; she is actually British. Claudius and Nero make brief appearances. Jack Shepherd successfully duplicates the charming interpretation of Claudius that Derek Jocobi performed in the mini-series `I, Caudius'. Although Nero is a strange, stylised performance with use of some very modern phrases which do jar somewhat.

For a TV movie this is a job well done and if you're not a stickler for historical accuracy then you should enjoy viewing this drama.
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Inaccurate or not Tacitus was there as witness over this great warrior Boadicea !!!
elo-equipamentos29 July 2019
Just few things know over the Iceni tribe and Queen Boudica (Boadicea), it was lost in the mist of the pass, however by roman Tacitus who wrote the Celtic's uprising on 61 A.D. and he was there, actually this record just was found on mid ages, however l agree with the Mr. Kerstie Evans who are on top reviewer, according inaccuracies which he wisely describe in small details concerning over ancient Celtic culture, mainly by the Druids who were the high Priest, advisers and had powerful skills to connect with the invisible world, although I don't agree it was the worst movie ever done as he said, there are valuable even shallow information over such Queen, the subject already is pacified, back on the movie itself, it was made for TV, is too easy to see it was a low budge, thus explains all inconsistencies on clothes, garments and also the narrative, it was barely for dramatization purposes only, the picture is really a bad and cheap production, somehow by me is more important is about this remarkable Celtic warrior, that's the point! to discuss!!


First watch: 2010 / How many: 2 / Source: DVD / Rating: 7
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I was disappointed
attentionspike13 October 2003
There was only one scene in this entire movie that made me actually pay attention to it, and that was its most horrifying: the scene where Boudica's daughters are raped by the Romans.

I found it difficult to watch.

The rest of the movie was a poor man's imitation of "Braveheart", and a bad one at that.

One of the major flaws is the casting of Alex Kingston as Boudica. All through the puzzling battle scenes, I kept thinking: " 'Dr. Corday' is definetly violating the Hippocratic Oath'."

I wouldn't recommend this movie.
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Great film -- very engaging!
malczeck9 April 2013
I'm aware there are historical inaccuracies (not at all clear the spelling of the titular name is one of them - Boudicca and Boadicea are both recognized alternatives), but when did that become unusual for non-documentary? My impression is the purpose was to engage and entertain, and as far as I'm concerned, it accomplished that. Alex did a superb job with her character and the other Celtic characters also worked for me.

It's hard to know what to think regarding the Roman characterizations, but my impression from history is they may be reasonable, especially Claudius, the proconsul, and General Suetonius. Claudius probably wouldn't even have invaded Britain if he hadn't needed a feather in his cap to offset the negative impression due to his infirmities (installed by the military because they thought he'd be their puppet). Nero was a very dangerous megalomaniac. So, just how far off were the portrayals? Hard to judge, but given the limited screen time available to establish character, I'm not sure how much more could have been done.

If some find the magical elements unacceptable, that's a shame, but then, I'm an Excalibur fan! I don't think the film was trying to present true reality (as demonstrated by the opening and closing), but rather tell-a-story that delivers the essence -- a story that's exciting and at times heart rending, an adventure. I'd say it was largely Alex that pulled the rabbit out-of-the-hat with this, but the actors portraying the daughters, the druid, Dervalloc, and the other main characters all made worthy contributions.

In sum, a very engaging film that I'm adding to my collection. Already watched it several times since first seeing it a few weeks ago. Yes, I like and enjoy it -- led me to look more closely into the history and that's not a bad thing.

Note: Had trouble deciding between a score of 7 or 8, but went with 8 partially due to the excessive criticism I see in some of the reviews, partially in salute to the truly excellent job Alex did in bringing herself fully to her character, and partially because I find the film so unusually engaging -- again a nod to Alex. A definite keeper!
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