Sharpe's Justice (1997)

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Released 3-Aug-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Sharpe The Legend
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 101:22
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tom Clegg
Time Life Starring Sean Bean
Daragh O'Malley
Abigail Cruttenden
Caroline Langrishe
Philip Glenister
John Tams
Douglas Henshall
Alexis Denisof
Tony Haygarth
Karen Meagher
Philip Anthony
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI Box Music Dominic Muldowney
John Tams

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.56:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    England 1814. The long wars against Napoleon are over. The end of the war, however, has not brought prosperity for the English workers of the midlands. Conditions in the cotton mills are dangerous, the workers and their families facing starvation and disease in poor living conditions. In contrast the mill owners, including the newly wealthy Sir Willoughby Parfitt (Tony Haygarth), live a life of wealth and privilege, protected by a company of yeomanry commanded by Captain Wickham (Douglas Henshall). Major Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) is posted to the town in Yorkshire where he was born to command the yeomanry. He is to suppress unrest among the workers fermented by agitators such as Matthew Truemen (Philip Glenister), a man who Sharpe grew up with. So in Yorkshire Sharpe, born in the gutter the child of a prostitute, is required to defend the position and privileges of the wealthy mill owners against his own people.

     Arriving in Yorkshire Sharpe sets out to find the grave of his mother, in the process learning far more about his mother’s other child than he could have expected. To add to Sharpe’s difficulties, his wife Jane (Abigail Cruttenden) and her lover, Lord Rossendale (Alexis Denisof), have moved into a country house nearby as Rossendale intends in invest in the mills. When the wages of the mill workers are cut further Captain Wickham orders the yeomanry to break up a worker’s meeting which goes badly wrong. With workers and soldiers killed, Sharpe is blamed. Helped by Sergeant Harper (Daragh O’Malley), ex-rifleman Daniel Hagman (John Tams) and Lady Anne Camoynes (Caroline Langrishe), with whom Sharpe had a brief affair in Sharpe’s Regiment, Sharpe must clear his name. Perhaps even more important, Richard Sharpe, child of the gutter, must decide just where his values and allegiances truly lie.

     Sharpe's Justice is one of a series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell. Unlike most of the series, however, Sharpe's Justice has limited action. This does not mean it is uninteresting; rather the contrary. Instead, we get a much closer look at the England that was defended by the armies of Lord Wellington; an England of wealth, greed and privilege juxtaposed with the workers’ abject poverty. An England where justice only exists to defend the wealth and property of important men. In this world of peace Sharpe’s skills as a fighting man are almost useless and Sharpe is out of his depth whether attending the balls of the rich or fighting with a “gentleman’s” rapier. He is, as Jane taunts him, “an animal”, whose only skill is killing. Having won the war, can Sharpe survive the peace?

     In Sharpe's Justice Sean Bean is even better than usual as Sharpe as he examines his values, his conscience and wrestles with family ties and relationships in an environment in which he is out of his depth. Daragh O’Malley as Harper is also good and this episode gives a bigger role to John Tams as Hagman. But perhaps more surprising is that Lord Rossendale (Alexis Denisof) develops into far more that the fop he seemed in Sharpe’s Revenge while Abigail Cruttenden as Jane shows a streak of ruthlessness that would do justice to Lady Macbeth! With a good cast and an interesting plot Sharpe's Justice is a great 101 minutes.

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Transfer Quality


Sharpe's Justice is a made for TV movie and is in an aspect ratio of approximately 1:55.1. It is not 16x9 enhanced but is a reasonable print. The autumn colours look great although somewhat flat, blacks are solid but shadow detail only adequate. Sharpness is acceptable. There is frequent grain and some minor artefacts, such as aliasing (34:20), but nothing to spoil the enjoyment of the film.

There are no subtitle options.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


The only audio option is English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded. It is a reasonable track and the surrounds are utilised for music and sound effects. Dialogue is clear and there are no lip synchronisation problems. There is no subwoofer use.

The music includes an electronic score by Dominic Muldowney plus some period songs by John Tams. This works nicely and provides good support for the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Sharpe The Legend (90:20 minutes).

This feature length extra was produced by Carlton Television in 1997 and is included on the second disc of the box set with Sharpe’s Waterloo. It takes the form of Rifleman Cooper (Michael Mears) in character in a tavern reminiscing about Sharpe; his lovers, friends and enemies, supported by extended clips from the various films in the series. The quality of the video varies in line with the original source material. Sharpe The Legend works fine as a summary of the series.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There are various releases of Sharpe's adventures in Region 1 and 2 including a full box set that includes Sharpe The Legend and various dual episode DVDs. All seem to have similar video and audio; some include minor extras but nothing that would lead one to go beyond Region 4.


    Sharpe's Justice is a look at England at the beginning of the industrial revolution. While not a typical example of the Sharpe series, it includes an excellent performance by Sean Bean and is interesting and involving in its own right. Sharpe's Justice is presented on a DVD with acceptable video and audio and one feature length extra on the second disc of the box set. Sharpe's Justice is included with Sharpe's Revenge on one disc, Sharpe's Waterloo and Sharpe The Legend on the other. The box set presents excellent value for Sharpe fans.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, February 22, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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