Review: Eagle of the Ninth

DVD: Eagle of the Ninth (1977)

Eagle of the Ninth, originally a novel written for kids by Rosemary Sutcliff in 1954 is a story set in Roman Britain in the 2nd century AD, and tells the tale of our hero, a young Roman officer named Marcus Flavius Aquila (perfect casting of Anthony Higgins, who stars in one of my favourite films ‘The Draughtman’s Contract’) who after getting discharged from service in the Legion because of a battle wound, tries to discover the truth about the disappearance of his father’s legion in northern Britain, Caledonia. Disguised as a Greek oculist and travelling beyond Hadrian’s Wall (Scotland) with his freed ex-slave, Esca, Marcus finds that the demoralized and possibly mutinous Ninth Legion was wiped out by a great rising of the northern tribes against them. However, legend tells that this disgrace was somewhat redeemed through a heroic last stand by a small band of legionnaires, including Marcus’s father, around the legion’s eagle standard.
Marcus’s hope of seeing the lost legion re-established is dashed, but he is able to bring back the bronze eagle so that it can no longer serve as a symbol of Roman defeat.

Made in 1977 this 6 part Childrens’ TV series is far superior to the recent film ‘The Eagle’ starring Channing Tatum. The acting is superb, the costumes, set design and ‘feel’ are closer to ‘I Claudius’ than Hollywood, and I would say after watching, this may appeal to kids, but adults will possibly get more out of it due to the acting and storyline.

This isn’t an ‘instant’ story, but one made with care, over 6 parts with lots of dialogue about how Roman life in Britain was. Strangely I have no recollection of ever seeing this (weird because all I ever wanted to watch as a kid was anything history-related) so being able to watch this new release from Simply Media was a pleasure.

Eagle of the Ninth is released on 15th January 2018 and can be bought by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes.

Review by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Simply Media.