Produced and released in Great Britain in 1970 by Columbia Pictures, Technicolor 35mm negative, 2.35:1 screen ratio, mono sound, 145 mins., laserdisc released 1993.
Richard Harris and Alec Guiness
Oliver Cromwell and Charles I




This film is a biography narrative based on the story of the Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell and the beginning of the English Civil War against the Stuart king Charles I (1625-1649). The king had dissolved Parliament for 11 years (1629-40) and with his Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud had imposed English episcopacy on the Scottish Presbyterians (Bishops War 1639). The Puritan movement in England opposed the authority and catholicity of Laud's Church of England, and the absolutism of the Stuart monarchy. Charles I called the meeting of the Short Parliament April 13, 1640, but refused to grant concessions to the Puritans, and ended the session May 5. However, Charles I needed money and called the Long Parliament Nov. 3, 1640. This Parliament refused to be dissolved, impeached the Earl of Strafford and Archbishop Laud. Charles sent soldiers to the House of Commons to arrest the leaders on Jan. 4, 1642, but they took refuge in the London Guildhall, and in July formed an army led by the Lord Essex. The Civil War began in 1642 and Cromwell rose to leadership, winning the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644 with his army of Ironsides, and the decisive Battle of Naseby in 1645. By 1648, several civil wars raged in England: royalists vs roundheads, Scots vs English, Presbyterians vs Independents. Charles I was beheaded 1649 and Cromwell ruled his Commonwealth until 1653, replacing it with a military dictatorship with himself as Lord Protector. After his death in 1658, Cromwell was briefly succeeded by his son, but in 1660 Charles II restored the monarchy, now in the shadow of a much stronger Parliament.


revised 9/14/01 by Schoenherr | Casino Royale | Filmnotes