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Australians at War has been hailed as “the most comprehensive visual record ever made of our wartime history”, and deserves all the accolades it receives. The ABC television series has been faithfully transferred to DVD and is a must for historians and war-buffs everywhere. The series chronicled the 100 year history of Australia’s involvement in war, from the 1899 Boer War in South Africa to Vietnam. The Anzac tradition is also explored, with insights from servicemen and women throughout the series. It is the personal accounts and stories that make the documentary stand out above the rest. One can only imagine what the events could have been like, but these recollections provide a wonderful insight into Australia’s wartime history.

Australians At War
Throughout the eight episodes spread over the two discs, there is also the exploration of the political, cultural and social impacts of these events providing even more depth to what can only be described as the most thorough documentation that could possibly have been put together. When the series first screened it was met with a great deal of praise on all aspects and its not surprising to see why.

Video
The vast majority of the footage was shot from the archives and therefore is restricted to the format it originally existed in, such as Super 8 or other earlier film forms. However, the interviews and other more modern footage shows no signs of artifacts or visual flaws at all, something with which we have become accustomed to from the folks at Village and the ABC. Another impressive transfer, with the use of archived footage in conjunction with interviews and other visuals proving to be a winner.

Australians At War
The series is presented in 4:3 widescreen, due to the show being made for TV. No need for anything special here, as the impressive pictures and remarkable content tell the story.

Audio
The series contains a Dolby 2.0 English soundtrack, the only track available on the discs. Like other documentaries and television series, there is no need for anything special. The action remains in the front two speakers for the entire time, and is sufficient enough to listen to throughout.

Extras
Being the exact replica of what was shown on television, there are no real extras on the disc. There is some original footage never before seen that was shown when the series started but other than that, nothing of substance in the extras department, and no real reason for it either.

Australians At War
Overall
This two disc-set is a must have for anyone interested in Australian wartime recollections, or merely war documentaries in general. By far the most broad and thorough of all war accounts, and deserves its high status on our favourite format. While I cannot comment on the accuracy or other influences on the series, the amount of research and interviewing that was obviously done ensures the majority of views are covered and explored. Not for everyone, but those of you who will like this disc should know this series is a must have on DVD.


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