Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Over the Hills and Far Away

I have a love for good historical drama and some of the best films have been a 16 part British series based on a number of books by Bernard Cornwell about Lt. Richard Sharpe, a fictional soldier during the Napoleonic Wars. The action/adventure movies follow the journeys of Richard Sharpe, played by Sean Bean, as he travels throughout Europe to fight the French under Napolean Bonaparte. After saving his commanding officer's life, Sgt. Sharpe is given a battlefield promotion and we watch as he rises through the officer ranks often coming into conflict with the aristocrats who have bought their rank rather than earning them through bravery. You get a real sense of the deep divide in the British class system between the haves and have nots. If you want to see a realistic portrayal of life for British infantrymen during the Napoleonic Wars you will enjoy this series. There is heroism, betrayal, loyalty, and honor. The chaos of the 18th century battlefield is vividly illustrated. Sharpe's 'Chosen Men' are amoung the best soldiers in the British army but are uneducated commoners like he is. To fight and die for King and country is the best they can expect from life. Sharp is a natural leader and you revel in the moments when those superior to him see his value as a trustworthy and more than capable soldier. He even has the respect of Wellington himself who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. You can see my favorite of the series - Sharpe's Eagle - on You Tube for free. My father and I loved these and I know you will too.

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