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1. Ride the High Country
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2. In the Heat of the Night
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3. Tom Sawyer
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4. Up Periscope
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5. The Rounders
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6. There Was a Crooked Man
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7. The Thief Who Came to Dinner
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8. Stripes
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9. Race with the Devil
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10. The Blue and the Gray
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11. Major Dundee
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12. The Wild Bunch
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13. Two-Lane Blacktop
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14. The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond
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15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
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16. The Wild Bunch
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17. In the Heat of the Night
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18. Two-Lane Blacktop
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19. The Wild Bunch - 30th Anniversary
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20. Drum

1. Ride the High Country
Director: Sam Peckinpah
list price: $19.99
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Asin: 6302032245
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5225
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

Next to The Wild Bunch, this may be director Sam Peckinpah's best movie--all the more extraordinary because it was shot almost a decade before his big breakthrough. Peckinpah cannily cast two aging stars of cowboy films--Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott--in their only film together, playing a pair of over-the-hill cowboys who take a job guarding a gold shipment on its journey down from a mining camp. A reflective tale about two men past their prime, looking back on the paths their lives have taken and the choices they've made, it features a stirring finale and terrific performances by McCrea and Scott. It also features, in her first movie role, a very young Mariette Hartley. Look quickly and you'll see Warren Oates, James Drury, and L.Q. Jones. --Marshall Fine ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Western
Joel McCrae stars as Steve Judd, an ageing lawman reduced to taking odd jobs in the rapidly civilizing west of the late 1890s. Taking a job transporting gold from a violent mining camp in the High Sierras, Judd hires two men to help in the job, one a friend(Randolph Scott) from law days gone by. The two assistants plot to steal the gold as soon as they are hired and the action gets thick from there. Vital to this movie is the display of Judd's moral code. Judd may be a man just barely hanging on, a supurfluous man in the New West, but he's kept his manly virtues- his strength of character, his wisdom, his courage, and his dignity. However humbled by his circumstances, Judd is a man worthy of emulation. He is a true hero. END

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the very best...of all time
When this film came out in 1962 I went with my Dad to see it at the movie theater. Its images, its words, its story have remained with me ever since....

Sam Peckinpah's RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY is one of the finest western adventures in cinematic history. Everything---the superb acting from old time veterans Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, the crisp and pointed dialogue, the camera work (and film editing), and the never-overdone elegiac underlay of farewell and warning, not just about the "old west" of the motion pictures (of the 1930-1960 period), but about the reality of the American frontier and the American spirit--adds up to excellence.

If two actors truly symbolized the Old West of public imagination, certainly those actors were Randy Scott and Joel McCrea. How fitting that RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY should be their "so long, pardner" to the genre! In 1962 the classic Western was dying, the genre changing, just as America was changing. The spirit of American innocence and optimism was subtly being transformed--while we longed for the return of Randy Scott, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, and moral certainties, Vietnam would soon make us a nation of cynics and skeptics. Thus, RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY is more than just a salute to two great Western actors and their farewell to that enduring American film creation the classic Western; RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY tells us, through two of the most admired cowboy actors of all time, about ouselves, about changing American society, and presents us with a classic morality tale. Steve (McCrea)Judd's remarkable words to Gil (Scott) Westrum, when Westrum gently suggests they might skip out with the gold they are charged with transporting, says it all: "All I want to do is enter my house justifed." It was the classic, optimistic American dream that motivated the pioneers of the old West just as it did the pioneers of Virginia or Massachusetts, the foundation of our society "to enter our house justified," to make a just and fair life for ourselves in a new land. RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY reminds us, this one last time, of our original national purpose, and shows us the pitfalls along the way--not just temptation but the "times" that threaten us.

In the end Westrum (Scott) returns (repents of his deviation from the moral course) to Judd's rescue...and Judd's response is: "I knew you would [return] all the time." Perhaps it is indeed too late, for Judd dies, alone, in one of the most amazing scenes in all cinema. Does his fervent dream of a "house justified" die with him? Does the older America of undbounded optimism and a moral code disappear with his departure and the end of the western frontier---and the end of "old time" Westerns? Peckinpah does not answer, and we are left to ponder. But one thing IS certain...we are never the same after watcbing this marvelous film.

5-0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's Masterpiece
After a lengthy apprenticeship in the theater and TV, this was Sam Peckinpah's second feature, and the only one that completely fulfilled his talents as a director. Joel McRea and Randolph Scott (finishing their sterling careers in a blaze of glory here) joust over right and wrong, money and honor in a parable about two men bringing a gold shipment from the mines to a bank. Ironically, they are brought to the brink of destruction not by greed but by the torments of young love, something of which they only have dim memories. Peckinpah, who was an accomplished TV scriptwriter, reportedly augmented N.B. Stone's original story with his own touches. The pacing and changes of mood, the action scenes, the great dialogue are all masterfully handled and speak of a very talented artist still more interested in his material than in himself. Sadly, this didn't last; Peckinpah's next feature, "Major Dundee", was a fiasco, and although he created many great moments in a dozen more films over the next 20 years, he never again pulled it all together over the course of an entire project. By the by, "Ride the High Country" is certainly worthy of DVD treatment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great in all respects.
The opening scene of this movie fooled me. I thought the movie was going to be a Western comedy set in the city. I was wrong. The character interaction, dialog, and scenery are first rate. Even the soundtrack is stirring to the point that it moves your soul. The conversations between Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott reminded me of my own personal life. The ending is stirring. One of my favorite Westerns of all time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah directs McRae and Scott in this classic western
MGM thought they were producing just another B-Wesern when director Sam Peckinpah made this 1962 movie, but "Ride in the High Country" turns out to be a classic of the genre. Aging ex-Marshall Steve Judd (Joel McRae) is hired to transport a load of gold from a mining camp to town. He hires his old friend, Gil Westrum (Randolph Scott) and a younger one, Heck Longtree (Ron Starr) to help him guard the gold. Westrum tries to convince Judd to steal the gold, but Judd refuses. They attend the wild wedding of Elsa (Mariette Hartley), who ends up running away with them, having fallen for young Heck. While the groom's family comes after Elsa, Westrum and Longtree try to steal the gold. Judd stops them and vows to bring them in for trial. But when the in-laws catch up with Judd, Westrum returns to help out his old friend in one last gun battle.

"Ride the High Country" is about the death of the Old West. This film was supposed to be the last film for both Scott and McRae, although McRae changed his mind afterwards. Peckinpah presents a natural Western, in settings far removed from the Monument Valley splendor we associate with John Ford. Both the dialogue and the performances represent that realism as well. The final scene between Scott and McRae is as touching as any this side of "Shane." Of course, Peckinpah goes on to deal with the end of the Old West in a more different fashion in his classic "The Wild Bunch." But I really think this is the better Western once you get past all the bloody violence of the other one. ... Read more


2. In the Heat of the Night
Director: Norman Jewison
list price: $4.94
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Asin: 6304961685
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 20961
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

This 1967 film took home lots of Oscars for its fascinating drama about a Philadelphia detective (Sidney Poitier) who assists a redneck Southern sheriff (Rod Steiger) in solving a murder. A study in racism that ebbs a bit through the collective and shared need between a black man and a white man who don't want to be working together, the film continues to strike a chord today. Steiger is a mass of snarling danger, Poitier a bundle of nerves covered in class. Norman Jewison (Moonstruck) directs with a keen feeling for the cultural and social atmosphere of the setting. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Explosive Mystery-Drama
In The Heat Of The Night is an explosively powerful murder mystery that at the time of its release in 1967 was quite controversial. It deals with a black detective, Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) going to a small southern town to investigate a murder. At first he meets the usually hatred and racism from the local cops led by the gruff and racist sheriff, Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) He is arrested and accused of the murder, but when discovered innocent, he goes on to solve the mystery and gain the respect of the sheriff. Both Mr. Poitier and Mr. Steiger are brilliant in the film. Although they do sometimes plays things over the top, the acting fits the mood. The actors make a fine team and they push one another to excellence. The supporting cast is quite strong with Lee Grant, Warren Oates and William Schallert and Norman Jewison guides the movie with his deft hand. Haskell Wexler's cinematography is sharp and Quincy Jones' soundtrack is right on. The film went on to win the Best Picture Oscar and Mr. Steiger took home the Best Actor prize.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cinema's all-time best detective thriller.
Between the dark film noir of "The Maltese Falcon" and the creepy gorefests inspired by "The Silence of the Lambs," the detective film wasn't exactly a vital film genre. But at least one entry into the genre made a major impact during those years, and that was 1967's "In the Heat of the Night." Since it was released, much has been made of the movie's status as a powerful story of race relations during the time of segregation, but the fact is, these elements are somewhat secondary to its brilliant character studies and expertly-handled mystery investigation. This is THE detective film, and quite possibly THE police film as well.

The film begins with Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) -- sheriff of the small town of Sparta, Mississippi -- investigating the scene where a powerful businessman has been murdered. Gillespie's deputies arrest a traveller named Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) for the murder simply on the grounds that he is black, but he turns out to be a homicide detective from Philadelphia who was just passing through. After being cleared, Tibbs is anxious to leave Sparta, but Gillespie -- in need of such an expert -- convinces him to stay and help solve the case. And from there, we have our movie.

Besides the story, the main thing "In the Heat of the Night" has going for it are the performances of its lead actors. It would have been incredibly easy to portray Tibbs as a noble black crusader, forced by his innate nobility to offer his help in the face of hatred (Poitier had played this type of good-natured gentleman in many of his other films). It would have been even easier for Gillespie to come off as a mindless racist redneck. Neither description comes anywhere close to describing the characters in this film. Virgil Tibbs is arrogant and aloof when we first meet him. He's no hero; he's a real human being who reacts to the way the Sparta police have treated him in the understandable manner of trying to get out of town as quickly as possible. He doesn't want to help them, and even when he's forced to, he lets his prejudices against Southern whites cloud his investigation (Tibbs spends the majority of the film believing one of the victim's business rivals -- a detestable racist -- to be the murderer, only to be proven wrong).

If Poitier's portrayal of Tibbs as a realistic human being rather than a flawless screen hero is admirable, then Rod Steiger's handling of the Sheriff Gillespie character is downright masterful. Bill Gillespie does not like or trust African-Americans, and he makes no secret of this. And yet the filmmakers didn't fall into a cliche trap and take care to show that even though Gillespie is a bigot, he's also a good cop. Unlike certain similar characters (and even some of his deputies in this film), Gillespie doesn't allow his prejudices to stand in the way of his investigation (a character flaw that, oddly enough, Tibbs gives in to while Gillespie does not). This is no "Bull Connor" character; this is a man who knows his job, and does it well. Tibbs and Gillespie begin the movie as two prejudiced men who begrudgingly admit to needing each other's help due to the circumstances (Gillespie's lack of a homicide expert; Tibbs' being forced to remain in an unfamiliar and hostile environment), and end it with a powerful respect for one another.

"In the Heat of the Night" won Best Picture at the 1968 Academy Awards (the first detective film to do so), and Steiger took home the Best Actor award for his career-best portrayal of Gillespie. (Because this, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," and "To Sir, With Love" were all released in the same year, Poitier was unable to consolidate enough votes for any one film and thus failed to be nominated; Norman Jewison lost Best Director to "The Graduate"'s Mike Nichols.) That perfectly sums up this film's legacy: a brilliant film with two powerful lead performances, and an all-time classic of the detective genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just About as Good as a Movie Gets
In 1967 Poitier made this movie and Look Who's Coming to Dinner. Both were extremely well received and this won academy awards for best picture and best actor. Poitier's career slid downhill from here almost immediately. That his status as The Greatest Black Actor Ever hasn't diminished nearly 40 years later is a testament to his excellence and influence in the late 50's and the 60's up until '67. The movie is nearly perfect. Rod Steiger gives the performance of his career. Poitier is excellent, of course. The story is good but the movie is really about the racial tensions and two men forced to work together despite their desire not to be in the same room together. Also at hand is a backward and archaic South being slowly dragged kicking and screaming into postwar 20th century.

2-0 out of 5 stars TENSIONS FLAIR IN THE HEAT OF THIS NIGHT!
"In The Heat of the Night" is the racially charged melodrama that made Sidney Poitier a star. Poitier is Det. Virgil Tibbs, an out of state detective assigned to investigate a racially motivated crime in the deep South. Tibbs' initial congenial good nature immediate brand him a push over by both his fellow officers and the populous. But Tibbs is a man of conviction. He immediately runs into interference from Police Chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), a bigoted and pompous law man who begins to change his ways when it turns out that Virgil's hunch on the case might just turn out to be true. Both the central performances of Poitier and Steiger, and the unlikely bond and ultimate friendship that ensue, are electrifying reasons to revisit this powerful drama of the 1960s. Lee Grant, Beah Richards and Warren Oates costar. In the late 80s "In The Heat of the Night" became a prime time television series starring Caroll O'Connor. But by then much of the tempestuous and confrontational aspects of its subplot had been removed.

MGM/UA gives us a non-anamorphic widescreen DVD. Colors are severely dated with a lot of fading present throughout the print. Age related artifacts are everywhere and sometimes distract. Black levels are often weak. Pixelization is primarily responsible for an unstable image. The audio is mono and badly dated as well, strident and poorly balanced. There are no extras.

5-0 out of 5 stars STEIGER AND POITIER AT THEIR HEIGHTS OF POWER
In 1967, Sidney Poitier again stirred the red-necks with "In the Heat of the Night", where he plays Virgil Tibbs, a competent Philadelphia cop stuck overnight in a Mississippi town. It must be 110 degrees at night. The white boys sweat like stuck pigs while Virgil is as cool as a cucumber in a Savoy Row suit. The sheriff, Rod Steiger, is discomfited by circumstances in which Tibbs is "lent" to him to solve a murder that happens to occur when he is there. In working together, layer after layer of characterization is stripped away in marvelous fashion, through the skill of director Norman Jewison (who tells everybody he is not a Jew, he is Methodist), until understanding between the two men become a metaphor for the healing of a divided America. Very good stuff.

STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM ... Read more


3. Tom Sawyer
Director: Don Taylor
list price: $4.94
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Asin: 6304413491
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 1256
Average Customer Review: 3.54 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best Tom Sawyer i ever saw.
This movie was playing at Radio City Music Hall back in the days of the movie/stage show formt. It was also presented in 70mm on that huge Radio City screen. I remember how impressed i was with that opening scene with the steam boat going down the river and you see Tom running thru the field and the music builds more and more. Wow,,,,what a great movie!I've seen many versions of "Tom Sawyer" but this one seems to be the best ever brought to the screen. Maybe because it's a musical. Whatever made this so successful back then you will not be disappointed by it's gradure and scope. A must for ever American kid and adult too. This is as red, white and blue as it gets and now must be the most politically incorrect movie ever made. (hehe) Buy it before some group puts a ban on it. Which should want you to buy this for the kids even more. They don't make them like this anymore.

4-0 out of 5 stars Energetic, sunny adaptation
Made at a time when the inclusion of songs was all but compulsory for a family film, this musical adaptation nonetheless manages to translate the best aspects of Twain's book to the screen. The movie does an impressive job of creating a dramatic shape out of Twain's material. The book is a collection of episodes which form a composite portrait of Tom's character, and, for adult readers, offer a glimpse into a lost world; but there really is no narrative drive. The murder and Tom's subsequent dilemma about testifying in court are simply two episodes unconnected to the other events. In the book, the boys simply decide one day to form a gang of robbers and go live on the island. In the movie, the retreat to the island arises out of the boys' fear after having witnessed the murder, and it is only the guilt they feel while spying on their own funeral that makes them return home. The songs are not especially memorable, but harmless enough. The performances by the supporting adult cast are strong, particularly that of Celeste Holm as Aunt Polly. A splendid scene at the dinner table is a masterful fleshing-out of Twain's prose. Full of nice photography and beautiful scenery, this movie sparkles with joy and youthful optimism.

5-0 out of 5 stars A national treasure! Please release on DVD.
I just re-watched this film and wow, what a treasure of a film!

With songs written by the famous Sherman Brothers (the brilliant Disney songwriters who did "Mary Poppins" et al.) and the charm of Johnny Whitaker as Tom Sawyer (1970's tv show"Family Affair") this is the best version of the classic Mark Twain tale I've ever seen on film. You really feel like you're right there in Hannibal, Missouri.

Great casting all the way around and a fantastic musical as well.

I originally saw this when I was about nine and it completely caught my imagination both then and now. I'd never forgotten several catchy songs from the film, such as "Free Bootin.' Great stuff all the way around.

My only complaint is that this film is not currently available on DVD, as I'd love to see and hear this treasure of a film in full visual and audio clarity.

2-0 out of 5 stars whatever
this movie is like so the not so awesome.we are watching it in school(me go to mater dei academy)and when i go home my ears hurt so much from all the... singing.i wish it only had like no singing and like what is up with the charectors dos man it is like way out there if ya know what i'm sayin.so i would not like refer this to anyone.if yall wanna watch tom sawyer watch the one with jtt.

3-0 out of 5 stars Jodie Foster is GREAT! The music is terrible.
I fast-forwarded through the really bad songs in this would-be musical. It is a lot of fun. The character of Tom Sawyer is great. He is both a bad kid and a great guy at the same time -- a mix not so common in America's world of truly evil and absolutely saintly characters. Not particularly deep, not particularly inspiring, but fun. ... Read more


4. Up Periscope
Director: Gordon Douglas
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 6302365937
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 11079
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Description

O'Brien is the sub commander, who loses the trust of his crew, Garner the naval officer assigned a commando mission-but the real story here is the vintage cast-Richard Bakalyan and Warren Oates are joined by TV's familiar faces: Edd (Kooky) Byrnes, Henry (Otto Schmidlapp from "Life of Riley") Kulka, and Alan (the Skipper from "Gilligan's Island") Hale Jr. The fine performances are punctuated by adequate action scenes that result in a very watchable picture. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars patterned after book.
I bought this video because it appeared to be based on the book UP PERISCOPE writen by Robb White. I bought the book in about 1961 in grade school. I loved the book and read it several times. The movie has the same characters, Kenn Braden, Skipper Stevensen, Pat Malone, Si, etc. It roughly followed the book, except there was a big difference in one outcome. To be honest, I liked the book more, but I really enjoyed the movie. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had not read that book and tried to follow the two plots. It was a good movie, but, like the one goat said to the other goat as they were eating the film from a movie "I liked the book better!" Robb White also wrote a book called SECRET SEA, which I enjoyed almost as much as UP PERISCOPE.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Good Submarine Film
It seemed that ever since the release of 1957's THE ENEMY BELOW, World War II submarine movies enjoyed great popularity during the late 50s. This is one of the better ones directed by Gordon Douglas with stalwart James Garner and cautious Edmond O'Brien. The scenes around the Japanese held island are suspenseful and well filmed by Carl Guthrie. Richard Landau's screenplay is pretty faithful to the novel by Robb White. It also features Edd Byrnes, Alan Hale Jr. and one of my favorite actors Warren Oates.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth watching over.
Edmond O'Brien has a reputation for being so cautious that some of the crew thinks that equates to chicken. James Garner (Lt. Ken Braden) is about to test that caution with his life. Lt. Braden has a mission that is bordering on endangering the SUB. The bulk of the movie is the stress and interaction between the commander and LT and the crew that thinks the commander is chicken. You may have heard the story before but this is a very good version.

5-0 out of 5 stars FROM INSIDE THE FISH
PART OF THE ACTION SHOTS FOR THIS MOTION PICTURE WAS FILMED ABOARD THE USS TILEFISH (SS307) IN SAN DIEGO, CA. (1958). I WAS A YOUNG NINETEEN YEAR OLD WHITE HAT SAILOR THAT WAS IN AHA! NOT ONLY WERE THESE PEOPLE GREAT ACTORS - THESE ACTORS WERE GREAT PEOPLE. MAYBE I WAS TO CLOSE TO BE AN OBJECTIVE CRITIC, BUT I LOVED IT.

3-0 out of 5 stars UP PERISCOPE
UP PERISCOPE IS A TOP NOTCH WORLD WAR II FILM STARRING JAMES GARNER & EDMOND O'BRIEN. WELL WORTH WATCHING. A TRUE FIND IF YOUR A WAR MOVIE BUFF LIKE ME. ... Read more


5. The Rounders
Director: Burt Kennedy
list price: $19.99
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Asin: 6302760089
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 11863
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Burt Kennedy wrote several of the finest Westerns ever for director BuddBoetticher in the late '50s--marvels of austere, subtle storytelling. Yet on hisown, writer-director Kennedy tended to very broad comedy-Westerns. TheRounders, based on a novel by Max Evans, falls somewhere between SupportYour Local Sheriff (high) and Dirty Dingus Magee (low). Glenn Fordand Henry Fonda play two bronc busters in the pickup-driving West who, by theirown admission, "ain't exactly the smartest cowboys that ever lived." Somehowthey always end up owing rancher Jim Ed Love (Chill Wills) one more year ofindentured servitude. The year we observe is dominated by a purely diabolicalroan and capped by a randy brush with two showgirls (Sue Ane Langdon and HopeHoliday) who play "Dumber" to Ford and Fonda's "Dumb."It's all very amiableand unassuming, but the toot-plunk-whistle-boom soundtrack--to signal "This isthe funny part"--is sheer torture. --Richard T. Jameson ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Charming cowboy comedy
Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford co-star as a pair of almost-over-the-hill cowpunchers whose love of the free life, and plain lack of horse sense, have kept them pinned to the same lousy job year after years, and also from settling down with any of the gals that moon over them when they come down from the hills long enough to spend their dough. These guys are loveable foul-ups, roustabouts who haven't quite figured out how to get ahead, but sure like doing things the hard way. Plenty of light comedy (including some of the most charming early '60s sexist jokes you're ever likely to see) and a funny love-hate relationship between Ford and the one horse he simply cannot break. It's nice to see Ford and Fonda play characters who just ain't that bright, each in their own typical understated style. Cute film -- recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars They sure don't make 'em like they used to...do they?
The inspired, superb teaming of Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda help raise this laid back film from almost certain obscurity. Based on the novel by Max Evans 'The Rounders' emerged as a sleeper hit when released in '65 and after all this time continues to defy the odds and remain a real audience pleaser today. Told with all too rare simplicity and filmed on alternately stark locations and colorful vistas, screenwriter and director Burt Kennedy crafts another one of his long series of winning films. Ford and Fonda play the aging bronc-busters (or 'cowboys with their brains kicked out' as Ford says) Ben Jones and Howdy Lewis just trying to earn enough money for a boat so they can live on the ocean...or a desert isle...or...well anywhere "where there ain't no grass and there ain't no horses!" as Ben firmly explains it to Howdy. Two factors stand in the way of their dreams: working for a stingy rancher who tries to pinch the duo for what he can and their own penchant for wasting every dime they earn in a matter of days when they make the annual journey into Sedona.

As the movie opens it is early autumn; Ben and Howdy reluctantly accept work from Jim Ed Love, a rancher they both love to hate. Part of their duties includes attempting to tame a furious and ornery young mustang properly named "Ol' Fooler". The horse quickly becomes their arch nemesis as it continually defies their attempts at bronc-busting; wily old veterans they refuse to be done-in by the stubborn animal and will eventually talk Love into letting them keep it as part of their pay. Ben and Howdy brainstorm that they can make a mint and leave their hard-luck days behind at the annual rodeo in Sedona by betting that no one can ride their varmint of a horse for longer than eight seconds. The plan goes fairly well but they encounter an unexpected twist of events that threatens to ruin the guys' enterprise and sink their dreams fast.

It shouldn't amount to much - but it does. One of the very best supporting casts ever assembled helps out tremendously providing endless appeal and colorful characterizations. Chill Wills, Edgar Buchanan, and both Kathleen & Joan Freeman show up as the story progresses and have fairly expanded roles. Barton MacLane, Denver Pyle and Doodles Weaver appear in cameo roles that seem tailored perfectly to their talents. An uncredited Warren Oates plays a bumbling gun-crazy wrangler that runs afoul of Jones and Lewis. The best surprise of all though is Sue Ann Langdon and Hope Holiday as two attractive and voluptuous ladies that Ben and Howdy happen upon when they make the late spring journey into Sedona. This sequence of the film supplies us with it's funniest and most memorable moments.

Made at a time when films could be both sparse of activity and routinely but unabashedly sentimental 'The Rounders' is living proof that comedies don't have to be big, bold and brassy to be enjoyed. For a refreshing change of pace and an opportunity to see Ford and Fonda at their most likeable I heartily recommend you set aside some time for this flick.

5-0 out of 5 stars A not much of a movie plot
THE ROUNDERS is a not much of a movie plot. It's just a good movie. Unlike those wonderful B Westerns from the 1930s, these cowboys--Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda--got to drink hard "hotch" and also kiss the girls as well as the horse. It is a film that defines great countryside, solid friendship, how dreams keep yuh going, how great a movie can be without much of a plot, and how yuh learn to love your enemy. In this case, the enemy is that cagey Roan roping, bucking horse that slo-witted Ford tried his dangdest to break and couldn't. He wants to run down the horse with a pickup, shoot it,send it to the glue factory [soap product in this case] or sell it to some sucker willing to buy it. In the end bronco-busters Ford and Fonda don't bust the cantankerous Roan, but they prove that you can make an endearing story into a movie without getting maudlin about it. Three CHEERS and a DOZEN YIPPEES for this film.

5-0 out of 5 stars loved it
This is a great old favorite of mine, all the stars, good story. If you liked City Slickers, give this a shot.

5-0 out of 5 stars Totally Southwest Cowboy
I have sat and watched this movie several times and I've enjoyed it more each time. Ford and Fonda are a great cowboy team. With the spectacular scenery of Sedona and surrounding Arizona territory, this makes for a superb afternoon at the movies. ... Read more


6. There Was a Crooked Man
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
list price: $14.99
our price: $14.99
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Asin: 6302877873
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 24972
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Shelved for more than a year and released as an un-holiday-like afterthought at Christmas 1970, this sardonic comedy-cum-Western-cum-prison movie immediately dropped off the radar and has scarcely been heard of since. We can understand that. By their own admission, hotshot screenwriters David Newman and Robert Benton (just off Bonnie and Clyde) and veteran director Joe Mankiewicz (more typically associated with the likes of All About Eve) never found the right focus for their mix of sociopolitical satire, frontier bawdiness, and brutal Western action. Still, the very unevenness makes for fascinating tensions, and the myriad insights and moods created by a cast comprising Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Hume Cronyn, John Randolph, Warren Oates, and Burgess Meredith more than repay a visit.

Douglas plays one of those charming bastards at which he excelled--here, Paris Pittman Jr., a bandit capable of seducing virtually anyone into doing his will. Pittman has a fortune in gold stashed somewhere. Inconveniently, he himself has been stashed in the territorial penitentiary in the middle of the desert, so he begins conniving to escape. This means betraying everyone in range, including the liberal-minded warden (Fonda) who's determined to redeem him. The stellar adversaries are ideally cast, with Fonda cannily subverting his own image (as he recently had in Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West). Cronyn and Randolph are priceless as "an old married couple," and Oates is heartbreaking as a congenital loner who thinks that, in Paris Pittman, he has at last found a friend. --Richard T. Jameson ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Raunchy, rowdy and fun.
A purposefully crass, low-brow, yet engaging Western comedy-drama featuring Kirk Douglas as a ne'er-do-well, debonnaire robber whose half-million dollar heist lands him in a miserable desert prison, which, of course, he is determined to break out of. Henry Fonda shows up as the newly-appointed, socially progressive warden who spars with this untameable scoundrel, and the two western movie icons have a good time matching wits in this antiheroic romp. It's not a great flick; the transgressive humor is very much of its time, but it is notable for the surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of two gay convicts who are part of Douglas's escape team... they in fact turn out to be the unlikely heroes of the film, which is as unexpected as it is refreshing.

1-0 out of 5 stars About as bad as it gets
What can one say about a movie like this. The music selections make one want to hit the MUTE button on the remote. The acting quality of Douglas is far from what one would expect from this man. Ditto for Fonda. The script is positively stupid, though I'm really having difficulty trying to find a proper word. Just are no words that fit the bill. I bought this moveie because I found out Hume Cronyn passed away in June (03). He, like the others, fails to live up to past performances. The worst part of this flick is it is just plain STUPID. Wish I had seen this before spending the money on it. Now, with a review this negative, the forum moderator will probably delete it, but if it survives, go look for something else. This movie is a total joke, but I don't mean "funny". Pathetic-like joke.

4-0 out of 5 stars Western Comedy with a few surprises
I first saw this movie on an Amtrak train. Although I was only 7 at the time it made a lasting impression on me. I couldn't remember the name of this movie or the stars, just the story line.

I finally caught this movie on the Western channel and it is just as good as I remembered it. Not your typical Western, it's a comedy with a lot of star power behind it and just enough twists to keep it fresh.

Chances are you have seen this film before if you are looking this far since this film never received the notoriety that it deserves. If by chance, you have stumbled upon this title, check it out you'll be pleasantly surprised.

5-0 out of 5 stars What exactly is it? Answer: Incredible
When I sat down to watch this movie, I expected to see a movie much in the tradition of, say, The Wild Bunch or The Searchers. You know, tough guys on horses being tough. What I ended up watching was a western-comedy that I honestly saw as the grandfather of Blazing Saddles. Honestly, to me, this movie is that funny. Douglas, Fonda, Burgess Meredith, and the always awesome Warren Oates all give performances worthy of all the praise you can give them. Prison movie? It just happens to be set there, and serves as the backdrop for the hilarious posturing going on between Douglas and Fonda. Right from the start, you'll be hooked.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, classic, You can't tell where it's going.
What a great film. Kirk Douglas has the hand up on the Warden played by Henry Fonda, but you never know who will win. The two actors play back and forth with pranks and hilarious lines. This is a classic western comedy! Anyone who likes John Wayne films will love it. The ending is so good I cannot spoil it for you now. Every home should add this copy to it's westerns. My favorite thing about the movie is that while Kirk Douglas thinks he is sly, the Warden proves to be even more cunning. Just another story to prove, "Crime doesn't Pay" ... Read more


7. The Thief Who Came to Dinner
Director: Bud Yorkin
list price: $14.99
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Asin: 6300268837
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 28957
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Description

A computer expert moonlights as a successful jewel thief. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Warren Oates chases jewel thief O'Neal with amusing results.
Ryan O'neal plays a computer programmer who after a divorce decides he is tired of his programmed life and becomes a cat burgler, leaving chess moves at each robbery as his calling card. Warren Oates plays the insurance investigator obscessed with bringing him in. Jacqueline Bisset plays the love interest who tumbles to Ryans life of crime but loves him anyway. This film has aspirations of being in the same league as To Catch A Thief and How To Steal a Million but doesnt quite make it. However this film isn't without it's fair share of charm. Especially in the interplay of cat and mouse between O'Neal and Oates. But just which one is the cat, and which is the mouse? ... Read more


8. Stripes
Director: Ivan Reitman
list price: $9.95
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Asin: 6302800412
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 3422
Average Customer Review: 3.98 out of 5 stars
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Bill Murray was heading toward a career peak on the back of comedies such as this one from 1981, the second film in his ongoing collaboration with director Ivan Reitman (the two went on to make Ghostbusters). Murray plays a chronic loser who joins the army and fails to find a fan for his ironic sensibilities in his by-the-book sergeant (Warren Oates). When push comes to shove, however, the smirking hero takes charge of his ragtag unit and turns them into fighting machines, albeit to the rhythm of hit songs by Manfred Mann and Sly Stone. The film is occasionally funny, but it mostly plays like any one of a dozen underachieving comedies featuring players from Saturday Night Live and SCTV. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars Bill Murray wants you
In one atypical morning, loser Murray loses his job, car, apartment, and girlfriend. This was pretty much his own doing, and since one stupid move deserves another, he and pal Ramis enlist in the army. His whole platoon is comprised of misfits,who give drill sergeant Warren Oates a run for his money. But when he's injured during basic training, Murray leads the platoon in completing basic training by themselves. This captures the attention of the general, who decides that these go-getters must be assigned to a special mission in Italy. The assignment in question is the EM-50, a killing machine disguised as an RV. Murray and Ramis, while on post, decide to take it for a little joyride. This results in the rest of their platoon being captured and held behind the iron curtain. Murray and a reluctant Ramis set off to rescue their counterparts. Very funny start to finish, with a hilarious scene in a mud wrestling club. Great supporting cast includes John Larroquette, John Candy, Judge Reinhold, and P.J. Soles. Screenwriter Ramis shines in his first on camera role. A welcome member of the "Animal House" genre.

4-0 out of 5 stars A very funny movie!
When John Winger (played by Bill Murray) finds his life sliding away from him, a television commercial shows him an organization that can help him turn his life around, the United States Army! Dragging his friend Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis), he joins up, and runs into a stone wall in the shape of Drill-Sergeant Hulka (Warren Oates). Together with the other misfits in his outfit (John Candy, Judge Reinhold, John Diehl, and others), Winger games the system and turns the US Army every which way but loose! [Color, released in 1981, with a running time of 1 hour, 41 minutes.]

This is a very funny movie! Unfortunately, it is rated R, and is NOT for younger viewers. The violence is pretty tame, and there are a few swear words used, but the main problem is that there are several nude scenes. So, if you buy this, you will need to watch it when the kids aren't around, just like me. But, it is a hilarious movie, and one that you will enjoy watching over and over again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Lighten up, Francis...
I'm a bit perplexed by the reviews criticizing this movie because of its unrealistic depiction of the Army. Do these same people complain that "Animal House" doesn't accurately display college life or that "Vacation" isn't what a family trip across the country is really like? (Hey, I live in St. Louis and could easily take exception to the outright offensive inaccuracies in "Vacation", but I still love the movie!) This is a comedy, folks. It's not "Saving Private Ryan" or "Band of Brothers", and it never claims or tries to be. It uses exaggeration and absurdities to make us laugh. It isn't striving for realism, although to its credit, I have heard plenty of people say that this is the best movie they've ever seen at giving you the feel for what its like going into the service, and that their own drill instructor was identical to Sgt Hulka.

The first half of this movie is just about the funniest comedy ever made. Bill Murray and Harold Ramis are the perfect slobs with shiftless lives who try to maintain what's left of their dignity by enlisting in the Army. Their chemistry is wonderful and they truly are believable as out-of-shape but likable losers. Virtually every line and every character is memorable (Psycho, Ox, Cruiser, that lady in the cab, John Laroquette, and of course Russell and Winger), and this has to be the most quotable movie in history. No, John Candy would not have spoken to a superior officer that way when he gets off the bus (or at least not have gotten away with it), but that's what's so funny about it! And speaking of Sgt. Hulka, Warren Oates should have been given an Oscar nomination for this role. He's the high point of the movie for me, and his intense, over the top performance reminds me of Robert Shaw in "Jaws"- some actors are so good that they can chew scenery and get away with it. So for the first half of the movie, there's not an unfunny moment. Maybe basic training isn't like this, but the scenes are so well-done that a generation of adolescent guys has grown up thinking that it is and have no doubt gone into the military with this movie in the back of their minds.

The second half of the movie sort of devolves into a bearable but not great action movie, with its contrived plot about the stolen military RV and the rescue mission across the Czech border. Still, the same characters are present and continue to sustain the movie until the end. Great music, too- I don't think this has ever been issued as a soundtrack but it contains one of the most memorable themes ever written for a movie.

The DVD itself is passable- no extras, somewhat grainy video, unspectacular sound. But we surived watching it over and over again on basic cable with plenty of edits and subpar picture quality, so I can't complain too much. I suppose someday it will be given a "Special Edition" with a commentary and a retrospective from the stars, but the movie stands on its own without anything fancy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bill's in the army now!
John Winger(Bill Murray) quits driving taxicabs and enlists in the army with his teacher roommate(Harold Ramis). They experience the typical army life,filled with commanders,guns and best of all,pretty girls. The late John Candy gives great moral support as one of the soldiers. The then-little-known Sean Young is one of the girls whom the guys meet while in the army. One of Murray's most memorable post-Saturday Night Live films. Murray and Ramis later filmed the two GHOSTBUSTERS movies and Ramis directed 1993's GROUNDHOG DAY,starring Murray and Andie MacDowell.

4-0 out of 5 stars This is why I joined the Army...
What? You mean the Army isn't really like this movie? Okay, so it's a comedy and it isn't meant to be like the Army, but it is meant to be funny, which it really is.

Bill Murray and Harold Ramis play the part of unlikely Army recruits bumbling their way through their training to somehow manage to get their entire platoon transferred to Europe for a top secret assignment, which Murray manages to ruin and get his platoon captured behind the iron curtain.

This comical movie is packed with one-liners and gags that typify comedies of the early 80's, and like many other movies of this era, the occasional gratuitious nude scene help keep the movie interesing if you like that kind of thing.

John Laroquette and John Candy round out the cast. Laroquette plays the part of the company commander. ... Read more


9. Race with the Devil
Director: Jack Starrett
list price: $12.98
our price: $12.98
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Asin: 630180550X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 568
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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An alternate title for this movie could easily be RV to Hell.Two middle-class couples take their spankin'-new motor home on a trip toColorado. While camping out in Texas, the men see something they shouldn't--ahuman sacrifice by Satanists who somehow manage not to notice their Safeway- sized vehicle until the last minute. The tourists flee from the devilworshippers, getting the monstrous RV hung up in a stream, and so goes therest of the movie. The local sheriff is in league with the devil, and everytown they come to is full of pesky Satanists. The vacationers are nothing ifnot resourceful, though; when a pair of determined Beelzebubbers cling to thevehicle like barnacles, Peter Fonda pokes at them with an aluminumvacuum-cleaner wand until they give up and fall off! Oddly, halfway through thefilm, it turns from a fairly routine (if suspenseful) horror movie to a RonHoward-style car-chase film, with a half-dozen vehicles pursuing the motorhome. The vacationers continue to abuse the RV until large chunks of it beginto fall off, fending off their enemies with a shotgun until the nastysurprise ending. With a cast that includes Fonda, Warren Oates, Loretta Swit,and Lara Parker, it's hard to go wrong (though the women's roles consist ofscreaming ineffectually, making coffee, and cleaning the earth-tonedWinnebago). Yep, this Central Texas-lensed drive-in feature supplies thrills,car wrecks, devil worshippers, and unintended laughs by the bushel... whatelse can you ask for? --Jerry Renshaw ... Read more

Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars A 70's drive-in classic and a great team-up
This film evokes such great memories of warm summer nights at the drive-in. It has one of the greatest character actors who ever lived in Warren Oates, one of the coolest in Peter Fonda and together, they make a great team and have wonderful chemistry in their scenes together. Loretta Swit and Lara Parker are both good at making coffee in the RV and are very believable as the wives and boy can they scream!! Jack Starrett does a fine job directing, sets up some great, tense moments of suspense (the scene with the rattlesnakes is harrowing!!) and puts some first-rate car chase scenes and stunts into the mix, as well. It is also far more believable, plotwise, than the vast majority of horror films that have been made since. And they did it without the gratuitous blood and gore so common now. The most chilling aspect of this film's many villains is that they are not indestructible, unkillable monsters, but are very ordinary and human. They and the many everyday, normal settings both take on a cold, eerie quality, even in the brightest daylight. It also pays homage to the era in which was made. Imagine getting excited these days about having a microwave oven in an RV!! It doesn't make any efforts to be anything more than what it is, but the film is meant to be enjoyed as a thrill-show, like a rollercoaster. You care about the two vacationing couples, you cheer them on as they run for their lives, you despise the villains and you hate the abrupt, shock ending. All-in-all, this film delivers what it promises and is a satisfying story. Forget what the eggheaded film critics like Leonard Maltin have to say about it and just enjoy yourself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Bloody, just very realistic!
By realistic, I don't mean it is realistic for devil worshipers to control most of a southern state. However, just two couples going on a camping trip, has very real possibilities for a good story. Especially a horror story. From the conversation between Oates and Fonda before the chase, to the reactions of our four main characters throughout this movie. Without giving away the story line... As Peter "Easy Rider" Fonda would say... This movie did not "cop out" at the end. Very creepy and realistic movie, much maligned by professional critics, but it's nice to see other regular people enjoyed this movie. Brings up great drive in memories.

5-0 out of 5 stars RACE WITH THE DEVIL
WHERE IS THE DVD???? THIS MOVIE IS SUCH A CLASSIC.CREEPY AND SCARY ALIKE.SO WORTH SEEING!!

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the great drive-in classics of all time....
The 1975 film "Race With the Devil" begins innocently enough. Two couples on vacation in an RV decide to take a turn on a dirt road to spend the night away from the bustle. They park their rocking vehicle out in the wilds of south central Texas. They inspect the beauty of the desolate land, have a candle-lit dinner and a glass of wine, and toast the first night of a needed vacation. The sun sets and a full moon rises. But a funny thing happens.

Across the river they hear an eerie howl and suddenly, a mysterious bonfire roars to life. They grab a pair of binoculars and notice a group of people in black robes dancing around this huge fire. There's weird chanting, a man in a mask with a sword, and nude women at his feet. The dancing becomes more intense, and a woman is stabbed to death in an apparent sacrifice. At that moment, the wife of one of the stunned men turns on the RV light and screams at her husband to come inside. The Satanic cult realizes they are not alone, and furiously charge across the river. Thus begins one long and very creepy chase across the back roads of a Texas landscape.

We've been here before, whether it be with a cannibalistic family in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or Georgia hillbillies in "Deliverance." The setup is usually the same - a group of innocents, semi-lost, encountering horrid miscreants without a shred of help anywhere in sight. I don't think "Race With the Devil" is as good as either of the two previous films mentioned, but I will say in all honesty this flick scared me as a child.

"Race With the Devil" taps a primal fear we have of being stranded in unknown lands pursued by people with murderous intentions. The inspirations for this little 1975 horror opus are many, as Satan was quite the villain back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Where to begin? Perhaps Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby," one of the most chilling films ever made. And then you have "The Exorcist," "The Devil's Rain" and such TV flicks as "Crowhaven Farm." Which brings us to "Race With the Devil," where you have robed Lucifer hippies clawing at an agonizingly slow RV rolling for the nearest stretch of cement. Peter Fonda and Warren Oates do their best to fight off this beer-bellied horde (I suppose with the exception of the occasional dancing, they get little exercise), using everything from vacuum cleaners to ski poles to hold off the possessed crew.

For a kid growing up in the suburbs of Texas (that would be me), Satanic cults existed out there, and they were waiting in the dark. Out there is an uneducated wilderness, and it's scary. To this day, I have moments of fear when camping alone, remembering that cult from "Race With the Devil." As our society grows each day into an urban setting with farming communities disappearing, what is rural becomes alien and evil. It's out there man! Who knows what shenanigans they're up to!

The Texas-born Jack Starrett directed this little drive-in horror/action hybrid, and he really didn't create much else. A few episodes of "Hill Street Blues," a couple of other B-movie excursions. He's probably best known as the tough cop with a billy club who drives Sylvester Stallone over the edge in "First Blood." He sadly passed on in 1989. Starrett has a funny cameo in Race With the Devil as a nosy gas station attendant.

Warren Oates, the greatest character actor in motion picture history, stars as the unlucky sod who makes the fateful choice to camp in the Texas boonies. He was really too good to be starring in this fare, but he does deliver the best line when the sheriff mentions a local hippie cult that kills cats. With a straight face, Oates replies, "Well, I guess they ran out of cats." By most accounts Oates tilted beers with film director Sam Peckinpah while they made such films as "The Wild Bunch" and "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia." A huge Warren Oates cult has grown since his death in 1983, and this film is as good as any learn the greatness of this brilliant actor.

In "Race With the Devil," Peter Fonda has a good time shaking martinis while firing shotguns at hillbilly Satanists. And you even have "Hotlips" Loretta Swit as a perplexed wife. She likes to scream a lot and wear colorful bathrobes.

I suppose we could obsess over the stupid decisions our protagonists make before Satan closes in on the RV. We could laugh at the dialog as they marvel over the newfangled microwave and color TV. We could even snicker as by the end of "Race With the Devil," the trashed RV resembles Steve Martin's and John Candy's car in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." But our laughs are uneasy. When we travel to unknown lands, we are terrified of being preyed upon. In "Race With the Devil," these country folks are out there man, creepy and evil. Part horror, car chase and action, this film is one of the greatest drive-in flicks ever made.

5-0 out of 5 stars unsung cult classic
I saw this film in the 70's. It made a lasting impression on me. The film includes the foxy witch from Dark Shadows. Hotlips from MASH. Peter Fonda from Easy Rider and Mr.Warren Oates.
This film was made in an much inocent time way before the strange societies and strange uneasyness that is circulating now. Talkabout Tom Cruz's film Eyes Wide Shut this film prefigured that message. It just that unlike Cruz's movie that alerted folks that rich people belong to not too frienldly societies so too do regular folk inhabite fringelike clubs too. This classic never got the attention it deserved,perhapes it was too close to real life. The ending is real to life too. I mean with all the innocent children being kidnapped and other freaky things that our cablenews is alerting us to be very wary. Imagine how back in innocent times before Ted Bundy and other kind with strange appetites. How it scary was. I mean Earthday was just invented and peace, love, and joy were still believed in. Heck folks in Florida did noteven lock their doors to their houses yet. This film was way before its time. I pesonnally can not see a vacationing RV without thinking of what happened in the film. People disappear while vacation in cars or RVs more than is realize. The film is not graphic or gory. It does not have to be to get the message across. The panic in the film comes across as pure choas. The choas that one feels in the dark no place to turn and no one to turn to for help. That is what so scary. It so like we are living today with the aftermath of the Twin Towers, never knowing what is gonna happen next. You just want everything to return to normal.
Its like impending doom. This film is exactly what Americans feel like today. We are in that RV and bad things are happening man! ... Read more


10. The Blue and the Gray
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 6301810678
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 12218
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING AND WELL DONE
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and highly recommend it to anyone who has yet to see it. It has all the elements for a great epic.....a storyline with action/adventure, romance, and well developed characters. It's perfect for Civil War buffs as well as teachers/parents who are looking to encourage interest in the Civil War. I do however confess that as much as I enjoyed the Blue and the Gray, the miniseries North and South is a notch better and I highly, highly recommend this movie as well.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Blue and the Gray Stretches the Truth
Although this movie has OK acting, some scenes are unrealistic. I doubt that soldiers would be "marching" down the road not in line and using their rifle slings. This didn't happen. Rifle slings were only used back then to handle a hot rifle. Soldiers marching throughout the movie were out of step. One obvious mistake to me was their 1970's hairstyles. Women had long hair hanging down, which was not how it was worn in the 1860's. In one scene, a cannon on a hilltop is firing at advancing federals. The cannon is pointed upwards, way over the federal's heads and yet it is ripping giant holes in their lines. The movie kind of switches around Grant's famous saying at the end of the war "The war is over. The rebels are our countrymen again." However, the movie was correct in the fact that Grant ordered his men not to celebrate, but probably not in the manner that was shown in the movie. In short, this movie was good entertainment with good acting, but not one that your should rely on for historical accuracy. Instead, try Gettysburg, which I found to be quite accurate. The new movie Gods and Generals has Jackson wearing obvious shoulder pads in his jackets throughout the movie. I thought it kind of ruined the journey back into time.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Blue and the Gray
It's a great show movie to watch in school for Social Studies. I watched it in class and it's extremely interesting and really good. It's quite accurate and shows fantical abolitionist John Brown and his case. The whole particular movie is about a young Virginia reporter, John Geyser, trying to stay neutral while his brothers are fighting for the south and his cousins for the North. It has some funny scenes too like when Malicar encounters a Rebel and they get to talking.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Blue And The Gray
We watched this movie in school when we were studying the Civil War. My whole class agreed that it was the coolest movie we had to watch in school. It's about a dude named John who is a war reporter. He tries to stay neutral when his brothers are fighting for the south and his cousins for the north. He has a best friend named Jonas and a girlfriend named Cathy. Jonas kissed Cathy and the whole class laughed our heads off. A lot of the movie was sad though. But really cool.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Teaching tool for the Civil War
The series Blue and Gray is a great tour de force of the American Civil War. This series is a great teaching tool for middle school teachers who want to capture the passion and reality of America's greatest struggle for their students. The movie neither sugar coats nor overplays the tragedy of the war on soldiers or civilians. A longer complete version of this mini-series is available on video, and if Amazon could add it to their list, it would fill the small voids left by this shorter version. Overall, my favorite CW movie. ... Read more


11. Major Dundee
Director: Sam Peckinpah
list price: $9.95
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Asin: 6303257704
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 12382
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

At one point in the filming of this flawed epic, actor Charlton Heston (in the title role) got so mad at director Sam Peckinpah that he charged him on horseback with a cavalry sword and Peckinpah had to escape into the air on the camera crane. Yet Heston offered to give up his salary to get the studio to let Peckinpah finish the film. As it turned out, this story--of a headstrong Army professional who goes slightly crazy chasing a band of Apaches while shepherding a group of Confederate prisoners--was taken away from Peckinpah in the editing room and recut, so that much of the character development was eliminated from the crucial central section of the film. Still, it offers solid outings by Heston and Richard Harris (as his prisoner) and gives a hint of things to come in Peckinpah's next film, The Wild Bunch. --Marshall Fine ... Read more

Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars A flawed western.
They say this movie was cut to ribbons by order of overanxious studio execs, and it certainly shows. The movie starts out great with Major Dundee (Heston), a Federal cavalry officer who has seen his career plummet from fighting in the battles of the Civil War to a POW camp warden, being forced to recruit Confederate POW's to help him track down an Apache raider. Unfortunatly, the movie eventually loses focus and just meanders along. It seems disjointed and, at times, just patched together. Part of the fault was the studio execs decision to cut it down and part of it was Peckinpah's who started filming without a complete script much to Heston's dismay. The result is a flawed film with some good performances, especially Richard Harris, and some great action sequences which were a Peckinpah specialty.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mangled to pieces
Despite being ripped apart in the editing room, Major Dundee still manages to be a very entertaining western. Supposedly the movie was supposed to clock in at just under three hours, but the editing cut it down to just over two hours. It is a shame that it was mangled so badly since it has a lot of potential.

Major Dundee stars Charlton Heston as Amos Dundee, a Union officer banished to the west for a mistake he made in the heat of battle. Richard Harris co-stars, he steals many scenes, as Confederate officer Benjamin Tyreen, an old friend of Dundee who was betrayed by him at a court martial hearing. Dundee organizes a ragtag bunch of Confederate prisoners, black Union infantry, frontiersman, and Jim Hutton as the bumbling artillery officer, Lt. Graham, assigned to the cavalry, to pursue Sierra Cheriba, a renegade Apache. Dundee's troop runs into the Apache as well as French lancers in Mexico amidst many well-executed action sequences. The final battle in the river should not be missed.

The movie does leave a few parts with no conclusion, but overall the film is well worth the watch. Great supporting cast with James Coburn, Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, L.Q. Jones, Slim Pickens and Senta Berger. Great action with good storyline. Too bad the movie got mangled since it is very good even mangled as it is. To all you Peckinpah fans out there, go out and get this movie!

1-0 out of 5 stars Wrong Turn
Sam Peckinpah's bungling of this film and his discharge from "The Cincinnati Kid" nearly terminated his directorial career, and "Dundee" gives a hint of the self-destructive inclincations that eventually put him out of business for good. The disciplined creator of "The Rifleman" and "The Westerner" TV series and director of the masterpiece "Ride the High Country" went completely haywire on "Dundee," much to the shock of the studio backing it, and although Peckinpah tried to shift the blame, it was his alone for mounting a disastrously disorganized production of a thoroughly idiotic script. His principal reason for pushing the project apparently was his desire to film in Mexico, a country for whose women he was devloping an all-consuming passion. That and his incipient alcoholism were having severe personality repercussions and giving an ugly cast to Peckinpah's works that he never shook completely.

This story of a Union POW camp officer using Confederate prisoners to cross into Mexico to hunt for Apaches has no basis in historical reality whatsoever and there isn't a single believable scene as a consequence.

5-0 out of 5 stars BRAVO!!!
Definitely a great Western and one of my personal favorites, Major Dundee, brings to the screen such heavyweights as Charlton Heston and Richard Harris, whose performances are outstanding, making this movie one of the best of its kind. The acting, the battles and the costumes are all wonderful!
Major Dundee is a movie about honor, bravery, and heroes from a time long gone.
A great movie indeed!

5-0 out of 5 stars Greatest western/civil war drama of all time.
This movie is a classic which inspired many that followed. The cast is incredible and they all give the performances of a lifetime. Charlton Heston is in his prime. Full of confidence and conflict. Cast includes Richard Harris, James Coburn, Warren Oates, Slim Pickens and many others. All give great performances. I have watched this movie many times and enjoy different aspects each time(there are many themes still relevant today). This is a must see film. ... Read more


12. The Wild Bunch
Director: Sam Peckinpah
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304039433
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 47167
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

One of the best action movies ever made, in a cleaned-up print restoring crucial parts of the story. No cavalry ever rode in with more epochal impact than the Wild Bunch in the legendary opening scene. Their steel-eyed leader, Pike (William Holden), and his robbers in stolen army uniforms help an old lady across the street, and then spark a massacre led by Pike's old crony Thornton (Robert Ryan), sprung from jail to hunt down his old gang. In just a few minutes, Sam Peckinpah sets the scene--a dusty Texas town in 1913--sketches a dozen vividly individualized characters, and choreographs one of the most realistic, influential, brilliantly photographed shootouts under the pitiless sun. The cast is superb (even Ernest Borgnine!), the dialog crackling, the bitterly ambiguous moral of the story hard-earned. It's the deeper, dark flip side to 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Consider buying the letterbox Wild Bunch, the review collection Doing It Right, and the Peckinpah bio "If They Move... Kill 'Em!" --Tim Appelo ... Read more

Reviews (139)

5-0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's ode to the closing of the American West.....
It would be impossible for film fans to have a conversation about controversial movies throughout the years, and for the epic western, "The Wild Bunch" not to get a solid mention.

Since I first saw this film over twenty years ago, I have owned numerous versions on VHS and laser disc, and it is particularly satisfying to finally have the restored directors version, with the accompanying documentary "The Wild Bunch : An album in montage" available on DVD in true widescreen format.

Sam Peckinpah's blood and thunder tale of outlaws on the Texas/Mexican border with their own set of unique morals has been such a dynamic influence on many directors and future films since it's release way back in 1969. But what sets "The Wild Bunch" apart from it's many imitators is it's deep, almost mythical storytelling, the complex moral nature of the characters peopling the tale and the gritty passion & energy that Peckinpah infused into the entire production. William Holden and Ernest Borgnine are simply tremendous as Pike & Dutch, the leaders of the Bunch...each man with his own individuality. Ben Johnson & Warren Oates portray the crazy Gorch Brothers, Jaime Sanchez is the arrogant and fiercely partiotic Mexican, Angel...and Edmond O'Brien is the grizzly, old timer Sykes.

Additionally, Peckinpah's film features Emilio Fernandez as the bloated, evil dictator Mapache...Albert Dekker as the manipulative and remorseless railroad man, Harrigan....and Robert Ryan putting in another one of his strong performances as the ex-gang member turned reluctant bounty hunter, Deke Thornton. And a Peckinpah movie almost wouldn't be complete without the appearance of LQ Jones and Strother Martin as a pair of filthy, grave robbing bounty hunters out for the reward on the heads of the Wild Bunch.

The Wild Bunch pulls no punches in it's tale of desperado's who they themselves are desperately running out of time...as Holden reflects in the film "We've got to start thinking beyond our guns...those days are closing fast". Whilst "The Wild Bunch" is most notorious for it's two bloody shootouts that book end the film's 144 minute running time...there is so much excitement, passion, adventure and personal conflict within the movie that can be found upon each repeated viewing of this stunning work.

A film that can be treasured and enjoyed by any true film fan....The Wild Bunch will be continually looked upon as one of the most important contributions to American cinema.

4-0 out of 5 stars Director's cut not needed, but great moments still abundant
The Wild Bunch is, without a doubt, one of the greatest westerns that has ever been thought up, but it is also quite controversial. The romantic view of the Old West is shattered in this 1969 film; no sign of John Wayne anywhere, and most of the cliches found in a typical western are nonexistant(not that I dislike typical western movies, they're actually quite entertaining). Sam Peckinpah, a master of improvisation, creates an unforgettable movie that is not only responsible for redefining cinematic violence, but also carries with it an engrossing story of friendship, betrayal, and the dying west. I didn't feel a Director's cut was needed for this film though, because the original version moved at such a lightning-fast pace. The restored scenes may interest some viewers, but I just wasn't interested. That is probably why I don't own this version of the movie. I'd prefer that other Sam Peckinpah flicks be restored, preferrably Major Dundee. Besides that, the DVD still captures all the explosive action and catchy dialogue. I particularly enjoyed the presentation of the credits, and Jerry Fielding's music adds to the realistic atmosphere, and that's not a bad thing. If you're looking for a great action flick with a plot, The Wild Bunch is a winner for a weekend rental, but RENT this version before you buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best westerns of all-time
The Wild Bunch-Restored Director's Cut is one of the best westerns ever made and also one of the best movies ever. In 1913 during the Mexican Revolution, times are changing as the Old West disappears into oblivion. After a botched robbery in the town of Starbuck, the Wild Bunch, a gang of aging outlaws must decide what their next move is. The remaining members of the gang decide to head south into Mexico where their services may be needed. The bunch robs a gun shipment for a Mexican general, hoping this will be their last job. At the same time, a posse is hunting them down with a former gang member at the posse's head. While this movie is most well known for its violence, it is ultimately a story about honor among men in a changing time. Knowing that the world they knew is changing, the bunch has to try and survive as their end closes in. Nonetheless, director Sam Peckinpah knows how to construct an action sequence. The Battle of Bloody Porch is a balletic, slow-motion, masterpiece of blood and guts as the Wild Bunch meets their end. Just as good is their final march through the streets knowing what awaits them. One of the best westerns, if not the best, ever made and highly recommended.

What makes this movie special, along with the groundbreaking filmmaking of Sam Peckinpah, is the cast. The whole cast gives excellent performances. William Holden stars as Pike Bishop, the leader of the Wild Bunch who knows time is running out for the bunch. His right hand man, Dutch Engstrom, is played by Ernest Borgnine in a perfect part for him. Robert Ryan plays Deke Thornton, a former member of the Wild Bunch and the unwilling leader of the posses following the gang. The rest of the gang includes Edmond O'Brien as Freddie Sykes, Warren Oates and Ben Johnson as brothers Lyle and Tector Gorch, and Jaime Sanchez as Angel. Emilio Fernandez plays Mapache, the Mexican general who pays the bunch to steal a shipment of guns. Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones are great as Coffer and TC, members of the posse. What is surprising about these characters is that as despicable as they are, they are still likable. The Restored Director's Cut DVD includes about ten minutes cut from the original version, a theatrical trailer, production notes, an excellent making of documentary, "The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage", and a great-looking widescreen presentation. For a great western with incredible gunfights, a terrific cast, and a great story, check out the truly classic western, The Wild Bunch!

4-0 out of 5 stars NOT ONE OF YOUR GRANDPA'S WESTERNS.
"The Wild Bunch" is not the typical western that tells the story of a bunch of good ol' cowboys versus the mean ol' Indians, this movie goes beyond the cliches of the earlier westerns, so in some way "The Wild Bunch" resembles more to a Spaghetti Western than a John Wayne-versus-the-indians western.

Sam Peckinpah took two steps forward the use of violence in the movies, he show the world how to use violence in a movie to produce visual art. Of course, some might complain about the cruel scenes in "The Wild Bunch", but open minded people know that the violence in the movies is not even close to the cruelty of the real world violence, plus, the violence in a movie can produce visual art if it's used in the right way, like Sam Peckinpah or Sergio Leone did in their movies.

"The Wild Bunch" has an excellent cast: the always efficient William Holden and Ernest Borgnine plus a great supporting cast that includes names like Robert Ryan, Warren Oates and Emilio Fernández. Also, the director Sam Peckinpah gave importance to each character, and that contributed to form a solid story. The cinematography is spectacular, "The Wild Bunch" has a lot of impressive camera angles that show the cruelty of the bullets and explosions, and the movie has some of the most impressive scenes ever put to film.

"The Wild Bunch" is in a very selected group of westerns. That list includes movies like "High Noon". "The Searchers", "Stagecoach", "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" and "Once Upon A Time In The West", among few others. That list includes the best westerns, and "The Wild Bunch" belongs in the list.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Grand Finale to the Old West - An American Classic
This is simply a rich, masterful, nostalgic story of the Old West, in all of its fading glory.

The charaters too, are fading in their own time - pursued relentlessly by forces reshaping the country, lives and landscape they ravaged, shared, and loved.

A long-in-the-tooth band of outlaws set out on one last job - to lighten the rich railroad barons of a few sacks of gold. Doublecross meets disaster and they're thrown back on their heels in a narrow escape. Then on to Mexico to trade a stolen shipment of rifles, stolen from under the government's nose, to a Mexican general who is a ruthless hombre in his own right.

Good guys and bad guys change roles and the moral lines of right and wrong shift beneath their feet as they make a last stand for honor among men.

This is a fun, exciting, warm movie which is excellent in every respect. Beautifully filmed, extraordinarily acted, and a terrific story, wonderfully told.

Five stars for a truly American Classic. ... Read more


13. Two-Lane Blacktop
Director: Monte Hellman
list price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00001ODI1
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 13570
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (70)

5-0 out of 5 stars Color me gone, baby!
I've just made my fourth trip down the two-lane blacktop, having recently caught this film on the Big Screen. (Do not--repeat, DO NOT--miss a chance to see this in a theatre.) This film gets better ever time I see it. Part road movie, part travelogue of America circa 1970, part existentialist tragedy, it's a strange, fascinating hodgepodge with no real precedent--not even "Easy Rider"--that I'm aware of. "Two-Lane Blacktop" is what it is; if you're expecting just another car chase movie, you will likely be disappointed. It's a movie for anyone fascinated by the mystique of lonely gas stations in the middle of nowhere, of long, quiet rides down the highway with nary another soul in sight.... I've never seen a movie that has so effectively communicated the extraordinary vastness of America. It manages to be sad, pathetic, funny, and haunting all at once. You can criticize it for its sometimes shaky acting (Warren Oates, at least, is fabulous), but I think the sum effect of the movie precludes serious complaint. And what an amazing ending....

5-0 out of 5 stars Existential Road Trip
Less dated than Easy Rider, this early 70's time capsule is an existential masterpiece. What the hell does that mean? It means the film is full of space. It's about absolute nothing, or everything, or somewhere in between. It's a poem that doesn't deliver what an audience expects but is utterly faithful to it's idea. It doesn't have an emotional pay-off, but instead finds a stylish way to cinematically burn rubber and fade away. It's characters are called Driver, Mechanic, GTO and Girl. Its stars are James Taylor (yeah the pop singer), Dennis Wilson (yeah the late Beach Boy), Warren Oates (in perhaps his finest performances) and Laura Bird (most won't know her, she's good).

Driver and Mechanic are the original slackers. They love racing, and hustling people to keep racing and their supercharged '55 Chevy. They are not hippies, but car junkies. The meet a loud mouth middle aged guy driving a newer sportier GTO who wants to race them for pink slips. Eventually they agree to what amounts to a gentlemen's type race from New Mexico to the East Coast. There's not a lot of suspense to the race, and the film is about. . . well whatever you want it to be about. GTO pretends to be someone else everytime he picks up a new hitch-hiker. He's amusing himself with his creative imagination and re-inventing himself to escape the middle age blues. Eventually there's a little bit of a competition over a young female hitchhiker.

The film was filmed on location as cast and crew drove across the country. The bare-bones script is by Rudolph Wurlitzer and Will Curry.

The film becomes more and more abstract as it moves along. The story matters less and less. A circle eventually forms and we realize we've been riding along on a very unique, one of a kind film. There's a wonderful example of an utterly open ended final shot.

Some are going to find this film very dull and wonder what there is to admire and respect about it. Others are going to 'discover' all sorts of things that are of course not actually present in the film itself, but are thoughts and reactions the film has sparked and triggered within them as they watched the film. Other's will enjoy the muscle cars, and late 60's cars that make sporadic appearances or rev up their engines on occassion.

It's a film you watch many times and find different subtexts, moods, ideas and space within. It's a film that requires the viewer to both observe, accept and participate in, like one would a living sculpture.

It's the kind of art film you would never expect from a director who made two quirky Westerns for Roger Corman in the mid 60's (The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind --with Nicholson right before Jack became a star with Easy Rider). Hellman also went on to make the very interesting Cockfigher with Warren Oates. He's appreciated by a small, growing cult of afficianado's and you'll find Hellman's name more recently as executive producer of Reservoir Dogs.

For something really unique I suggest you find a way to watch the DVD of Two-Lane Blacktop.

The film was long out of circulation because of disputes over music rights. They were resolved and the film has been beautifully transferred to DVD and actually looks better than it ever did since the contrasts in light were carefully boosted during the DVD transfer.

Chris Jarmick Author of The Glass Cocoon with Serena F. Holder - A steamy cyber thriller available January 2001. Please order it today. Thank You

5-0 out of 5 stars A RESPONSE TO REVIEWER "CORREIA"
Hey Correia,
Everyone's entitled to their opinions, but you're in the minority here. Two-Lane Blacktop is worshipped by film-lovers around the world and is regularly cited as one of the best pop-art flicks of the 70's, one of the most exciting periods in American cinema.

The reviewer's two complaints (little dialogue, couldn't understand what it was about) reveal the shortcomings of the reviewer, not the film. I mean really: "no dialogue?" Is he serious? Has he never seen a Western? A film noir? Charlie Chaplin? Keaton? Bresson? Wong Kar Wai?

In order to get Reservoir Dogs made, Quentin Tarantino got Two-Lane Blacktop director Monte Hellman to co-produce. I'm not a big Tarantino fan, but he DOES have great taste in other people's movies [his film company A Band Aparte is named after a Jean-Luc Godard film (paucity of dialogue, anyone?), he helped get Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express distributed, and idolizes Monte Hellman as one of the great American directors].

Based on the fact that Correia would critique a movie because it has little dialogue, it is no surprise that he "had absolutely no idea what the movie is about." Surely he can't mean the plot? Two muscle-car drivers race across country for their cars' pink slips? Most Schwarzenegger movies are less "high concept" (i.e. easy to sum up in a sentence).

Or is Correia admitting that he couldn't identify any Grand Themes or Social Issues? It's true, Hellman doesn't hit his viewers over the head with Deep Meanings. Like most of the greatest works of art, Hellman allows the meaning to be porous, letting each viewer read a certain amount of their own lives and themes into the characters.

TLB bears analysis, and is in fact deeply philosophical, but it is first a riveting aesthetic and emotional experience. Like a great landscape painting (or a David Lynch film?), it is primarily meditative, spiritual, and even deeply religious, rather than intellectual.

While watching it one re-experiences and understands many of the best things 'about' America-- the Road, movement, freedom-- and some of the worst-- rootlessness, restlessness, alienation. It can be read as a portrait of the modern, secularist, existential journey through life; in the lack of dialogue one could feel alienation and aloneness, or a comfortable silence expressing the deep bond between the driver and mechanic (we never hear the character's names, nor do the credits give them any).

TLB traffics in pop iconography, in quintessentially American images. We travel with the perfect embodiment of the Self-Reliant American Male, through rugged, iconic American landscapes, until the landscape and the travellers (and the audience?) become one.

Have these two men achieved a level of self-reliance that has freed them from the constraints of civilization? Or has their laconic independence imprisoned them, dooming them to ride alone, ala John Wayne in The Searchers? Hurtling through a Godless universe with only the most ill-defined of goals to guide them, and so on? Undergrad term paper, anyone?

The value of any creative expression is in the effort you expend, the distance you travel, to explore its meaning. Movies and books should pull us out of what we know, force us to expand to incorporate new ways of seeing and thinking. It ain't always easy but it's almost always rewarding. I applaud Correia for trying, but just because TLB isn't immediately easy to 'get' doesn't mean it isn't a great work of art.

2-0 out of 5 stars Two Lane Dead End
I watched the movie after purchasing it for a freind who is a big James Taylor music fan. I was disapointed in the character writing, as J.T. (The Driver)and Dennis Wilson (The Mechanic) both play the "straight" role, and it causes the scenes to drag. Upon more in depth analysis, Wilson's character is supposed to be aloof, and J.T.'s intense. Unfortunately, bad acting and poor character developement defused this combination.
Warren Oates does contribute to some of the best scenes in the film, as the mixed-up "GTO". A chameleon-like persona, ever-changing to adapt to and impress each hitch-hiker he picks up.
The scene with Harry Dean Stanton is particularly amusing in its context.
In all, "Two Lane Blacktop" was interesting, easy to watch, but the ending, if you can call it that (I find it hard to believe that the original theatrical ending is what I viewed on DVD) left me cold and wanting.

5-0 out of 5 stars DENNIS WILSON IN HIS ONE AND ONLY
THE REASON I GOT THIS MOVIE WAS BECAUSE OF DENNIS IT DID NOT HAVE A BIG BUGET BUT IT HAD FAST CARS AND THE ACTING WAS COOL PLUS THEY HAD A DOORS SONG IN IT SO YOU CANT GO WRONG WITH THAT SO FOR ALL THAT STUFF I GIVE IT 5 STARS BUY WHY YOU STILL CAN. ... Read more


14. The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond
Director: Budd Boetticher
list price: $19.99
our price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6302066875
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 13165
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Description

A fictionalized bio-pic of New York mobster Jack "Legs" Diamond. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Masterful story telling of Prohibition mobster !!
Talented director / screenwriter Budd Boetticher brought to life the violent story of infamous gangster, Jack "Legs" Diamond in this often overlooked, but high quality addition to the crime genre. The filming of this production in harsh black and white tones adds further realism to this gritty tale of illegal activities, shadowy ambushes and executions !

Ray Danton is superb in the lead role as the treacherous and manipulative small time hoodlum who arrive's in New York and immediately sets about muscling in on everyone elses racket to build his own empire. A very young Warren Oates plays Danton's sickly brother, Eddie Diamond, in a low key yet interesting performance. Simon Oakland is the aggressive and determined Lt. Moody hounding Diamond every step of the way...and Robert Lowerey portrays Prohibition kingpin Arnold Rothstein.

Boetticher's direction is fluid and crisp and he keeps this film noir gem tightly paced and holding your interest all the way through. Although Danton was never a major star, he simply shines in this film and his oily nature and good looks made him the perfect choice to play "the clay pidgeon" of the Prohibition era underworld.

An engaging and stimulating film that will be enjoyed by fans of film noir underworld drama !

FOOTNOTE: Diamond was known as "the clay pidgeon" of the underworld because of his repeated ability to survive assassination attempts...until he was betrayed and caught asleep one night and shot 6 times in the head ! And Diamond was not actually nicknamed "Legs" because of his dancing abilities, but rather for his habit on running out on his friends ! ... Read more


15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
Director: Sam Peckinpah
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6301967909
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 18162
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mercy!
Bring the Head of Alfredo Garcia is a rough film. It wasn't for the faint hearted back in '74 and it stil isn't. So many people got killed that I lost count. It depicts a brutal, filthy world and doesn't have an uplifting golly gee ending. I loved it. Warren Oates gave his finest performance as Benny, an American small timer who has one last chance to make it big. Benny is so cool he never takes off his shades even in bed. He doesn't hesitate to kill the bad yet his personal code won't allow him to harm the innocent.

The actress who plays his girlfriend is perfect. She's attractive but in a beat up been-around-the-block-too-many-times way. She spends a lot of time nude or semi nude in this movie but it's not cheap. She's a semi retired prostitute afterall. She ought to be a throw away character but she isn't. She's Benny's heart and although he doesn't know it, she, not dead Alfredo Garcia, is his last chance.

Yes, this is an ugly film but it's incredible. Put the kids to bed early, buy the video and sit back to watch a movie that still shocks and dazzles.

4-0 out of 5 stars Did he give ya good Head?!
Easily the most nihilistic of all of Peckinpah's films, this grim 1974 mix of western, crime, and horror elements set in present-day Mexico remains the subject of much invective. Some see it as a bizarre masterpiece, others see it as filthy trash. Most certainly it IS weird, bizarre, bleak, and full of despair.

Warren Oates, in a role that is part Humphrey Bogart (TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, which ALFREDO GARCIA resembles somewhat) and part Peckinpah (no surprise there), is excellent as the American expatriot barfly who is hired on by two hitmen (Robert Webber, Gig Young) to retrieve the head of a two-timing Mexican gigolo named Alfredo Garcia--and JUST the head. They offer him a $10,000 reward and Oates goes off on his mad quest with his girlfriend (Isela Vega) who once romanced with Garcia.

Getting Garcia's top ought to be a piece of cake, because he's dead. It is anything BUT that. And when he is bonged over the head with a shovel in a Mexican graveyard and Vega is killed, the film takes an ever-accelerating ride towards a bullet-riddled finale. As Oates finds out, so many people want the head of Alfredo Garcia because the millionaire (Emilio Fernandez) who screamed for the man's head was offering a million dollars (!).

This weird movie has to be seen to be believed. Peckinpah's trademark slow-mo violence is here, though not in the apocalyptic way it was in THE WILD BUNCH. The basic themes of redemption, killing, and Oates' macabre quest (the head is kept in a sack, with the flies buzzing all around it) are incredible. ALFREDO GARCIA is furthermore blessed with a fine score by Jerry Fielding that is part Mexican and also partially like his score for Peckinpah's 1971 horror film STRAW DOGS.

To be sure, even more than a quarter century later, ALFREDO GARCIA is not everyone's cup of tea. But for Peckinpah lovers, it is a must-have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Warren Oates
There is only one other actor that could replace Warren Oates, and that is Steve McQueen. This movie was excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars bring me the head of alfredo garcia
Please release this masterpice on DVD as soon as possible.
Dark humour, twisted and very violent. A must for Peckinpah fans.

1-0 out of 5 stars Ludicrous
Easily Peckinpah's worst film and one of the worst American movies of the 1970's. It marked the beginning of the director's decline into booze-and-drug self-absorption from which he never emerged. The plot is too ridiculous to merit recounting: just more of Peckinpah's Mexican malarkey. When the film came out the multi-screen cineplex was just being introduced around the country. The title was too long to fit onto the smaller marquees and it was shortened variously to "Bring Me Alfredo Garcia," "Alfredo Garcia's Head," and memorably "Bring Me a Head." ... Read more


16. The Wild Bunch
Director: Sam Peckinpah
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6301016912
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 37970
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (139)

5-0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's ode to the closing of the American West.....
It would be impossible for film fans to have a conversation about controversial movies throughout the years, and for the epic western, "The Wild Bunch" not to get a solid mention.

Since I first saw this film over twenty years ago, I have owned numerous versions on VHS and laser disc, and it is particularly satisfying to finally have the restored directors version, with the accompanying documentary "The Wild Bunch : An album in montage" available on DVD in true widescreen format.

Sam Peckinpah's blood and thunder tale of outlaws on the Texas/Mexican border with their own set of unique morals has been such a dynamic influence on many directors and future films since it's release way back in 1969. But what sets "The Wild Bunch" apart from it's many imitators is it's deep, almost mythical storytelling, the complex moral nature of the characters peopling the tale and the gritty passion & energy that Peckinpah infused into the entire production. William Holden and Ernest Borgnine are simply tremendous as Pike & Dutch, the leaders of the Bunch...each man with his own individuality. Ben Johnson & Warren Oates portray the crazy Gorch Brothers, Jaime Sanchez is the arrogant and fiercely partiotic Mexican, Angel...and Edmond O'Brien is the grizzly, old timer Sykes.

Additionally, Peckinpah's film features Emilio Fernandez as the bloated, evil dictator Mapache...Albert Dekker as the manipulative and remorseless railroad man, Harrigan....and Robert Ryan putting in another one of his strong performances as the ex-gang member turned reluctant bounty hunter, Deke Thornton. And a Peckinpah movie almost wouldn't be complete without the appearance of LQ Jones and Strother Martin as a pair of filthy, grave robbing bounty hunters out for the reward on the heads of the Wild Bunch.

The Wild Bunch pulls no punches in it's tale of desperado's who they themselves are desperately running out of time...as Holden reflects in the film "We've got to start thinking beyond our guns...those days are closing fast". Whilst "The Wild Bunch" is most notorious for it's two bloody shootouts that book end the film's 144 minute running time...there is so much excitement, passion, adventure and personal conflict within the movie that can be found upon each repeated viewing of this stunning work.

A film that can be treasured and enjoyed by any true film fan....The Wild Bunch will be continually looked upon as one of the most important contributions to American cinema.

4-0 out of 5 stars Director's cut not needed, but great moments still abundant
The Wild Bunch is, without a doubt, one of the greatest westerns that has ever been thought up, but it is also quite controversial. The romantic view of the Old West is shattered in this 1969 film; no sign of John Wayne anywhere, and most of the cliches found in a typical western are nonexistant(not that I dislike typical western movies, they're actually quite entertaining). Sam Peckinpah, a master of improvisation, creates an unforgettable movie that is not only responsible for redefining cinematic violence, but also carries with it an engrossing story of friendship, betrayal, and the dying west. I didn't feel a Director's cut was needed for this film though, because the original version moved at such a lightning-fast pace. The restored scenes may interest some viewers, but I just wasn't interested. That is probably why I don't own this version of the movie. I'd prefer that other Sam Peckinpah flicks be restored, preferrably Major Dundee. Besides that, the DVD still captures all the explosive action and catchy dialogue. I particularly enjoyed the presentation of the credits, and Jerry Fielding's music adds to the realistic atmosphere, and that's not a bad thing. If you're looking for a great action flick with a plot, The Wild Bunch is a winner for a weekend rental, but RENT this version before you buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best westerns of all-time
The Wild Bunch-Restored Director's Cut is one of the best westerns ever made and also one of the best movies ever. In 1913 during the Mexican Revolution, times are changing as the Old West disappears into oblivion. After a botched robbery in the town of Starbuck, the Wild Bunch, a gang of aging outlaws must decide what their next move is. The remaining members of the gang decide to head south into Mexico where their services may be needed. The bunch robs a gun shipment for a Mexican general, hoping this will be their last job. At the same time, a posse is hunting them down with a former gang member at the posse's head. While this movie is most well known for its violence, it is ultimately a story about honor among men in a changing time. Knowing that the world they knew is changing, the bunch has to try and survive as their end closes in. Nonetheless, director Sam Peckinpah knows how to construct an action sequence. The Battle of Bloody Porch is a balletic, slow-motion, masterpiece of blood and guts as the Wild Bunch meets their end. Just as good is their final march through the streets knowing what awaits them. One of the best westerns, if not the best, ever made and highly recommended.

What makes this movie special, along with the groundbreaking filmmaking of Sam Peckinpah, is the cast. The whole cast gives excellent performances. William Holden stars as Pike Bishop, the leader of the Wild Bunch who knows time is running out for the bunch. His right hand man, Dutch Engstrom, is played by Ernest Borgnine in a perfect part for him. Robert Ryan plays Deke Thornton, a former member of the Wild Bunch and the unwilling leader of the posses following the gang. The rest of the gang includes Edmond O'Brien as Freddie Sykes, Warren Oates and Ben Johnson as brothers Lyle and Tector Gorch, and Jaime Sanchez as Angel. Emilio Fernandez plays Mapache, the Mexican general who pays the bunch to steal a shipment of guns. Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones are great as Coffer and TC, members of the posse. What is surprising about these characters is that as despicable as they are, they are still likable. The Restored Director's Cut DVD includes about ten minutes cut from the original version, a theatrical trailer, production notes, an excellent making of documentary, "The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage", and a great-looking widescreen presentation. For a great western with incredible gunfights, a terrific cast, and a great story, check out the truly classic western, The Wild Bunch!

4-0 out of 5 stars NOT ONE OF YOUR GRANDPA'S WESTERNS.
"The Wild Bunch" is not the typical western that tells the story of a bunch of good ol' cowboys versus the mean ol' Indians, this movie goes beyond the cliches of the earlier westerns, so in some way "The Wild Bunch" resembles more to a Spaghetti Western than a John Wayne-versus-the-indians western.

Sam Peckinpah took two steps forward the use of violence in the movies, he show the world how to use violence in a movie to produce visual art. Of course, some might complain about the cruel scenes in "The Wild Bunch", but open minded people know that the violence in the movies is not even close to the cruelty of the real world violence, plus, the violence in a movie can produce visual art if it's used in the right way, like Sam Peckinpah or Sergio Leone did in their movies.

"The Wild Bunch" has an excellent cast: the always efficient William Holden and Ernest Borgnine plus a great supporting cast that includes names like Robert Ryan, Warren Oates and Emilio Fernández. Also, the director Sam Peckinpah gave importance to each character, and that contributed to form a solid story. The cinematography is spectacular, "The Wild Bunch" has a lot of impressive camera angles that show the cruelty of the bullets and explosions, and the movie has some of the most impressive scenes ever put to film.

"The Wild Bunch" is in a very selected group of westerns. That list includes movies like "High Noon". "The Searchers", "Stagecoach", "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" and "Once Upon A Time In The West", among few others. That list includes the best westerns, and "The Wild Bunch" belongs in the list.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Grand Finale to the Old West - An American Classic
This is simply a rich, masterful, nostalgic story of the Old West, in all of its fading glory.

The charaters too, are fading in their own time - pursued relentlessly by forces reshaping the country, lives and landscape they ravaged, shared, and loved.

A long-in-the-tooth band of outlaws set out on one last job - to lighten the rich railroad barons of a few sacks of gold. Doublecross meets disaster and they're thrown back on their heels in a narrow escape. Then on to Mexico to trade a stolen shipment of rifles, stolen from under the government's nose, to a Mexican general who is a ruthless hombre in his own right.

Good guys and bad guys change roles and the moral lines of right and wrong shift beneath their feet as they make a last stand for honor among men.

This is a fun, exciting, warm movie which is excellent in every respect. Beautifully filmed, extraordinarily acted, and a terrific story, wonderfully told.

Five stars for a truly American Classic. ... Read more


17. In the Heat of the Night
Director: Norman Jewison
list price: $14.98
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Asin: B000006N70
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 22522
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Explosive Mystery-Drama
In The Heat Of The Night is an explosively powerful murder mystery that at the time of its release in 1967 was quite controversial. It deals with a black detective, Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) going to a small southern town to investigate a murder. At first he meets the usually hatred and racism from the local cops led by the gruff and racist sheriff, Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) He is arrested and accused of the murder, but when discovered innocent, he goes on to solve the mystery and gain the respect of the sheriff. Both Mr. Poitier and Mr. Steiger are brilliant in the film. Although they do sometimes plays things over the top, the acting fits the mood. The actors make a fine team and they push one another to excellence. The supporting cast is quite strong with Lee Grant, Warren Oates and William Schallert and Norman Jewison guides the movie with his deft hand. Haskell Wexler's cinematography is sharp and Quincy Jones' soundtrack is right on. The film went on to win the Best Picture Oscar and Mr. Steiger took home the Best Actor prize.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cinema's all-time best detective thriller.
Between the dark film noir of "The Maltese Falcon" and the creepy gorefests inspired by "The Silence of the Lambs," the detective film wasn't exactly a vital film genre. But at least one entry into the genre made a major impact during those years, and that was 1967's "In the Heat of the Night." Since it was released, much has been made of the movie's status as a powerful story of race relations during the time of segregation, but the fact is, these elements are somewhat secondary to its brilliant character studies and expertly-handled mystery investigation. This is THE detective film, and quite possibly THE police film as well.

The film begins with Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) -- sheriff of the small town of Sparta, Mississippi -- investigating the scene where a powerful businessman has been murdered. Gillespie's deputies arrest a traveller named Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) for the murder simply on the grounds that he is black, but he turns out to be a homicide detective from Philadelphia who was just passing through. After being cleared, Tibbs is anxious to leave Sparta, but Gillespie -- in need of such an expert -- convinces him to stay and help solve the case. And from there, we have our movie.

Besides the story, the main thing "In the Heat of the Night" has going for it are the performances of its lead actors. It would have been incredibly easy to portray Tibbs as a noble black crusader, forced by his innate nobility to offer his help in the face of hatred (Poitier had played this type of good-natured gentleman in many of his other films). It would have been even easier for Gillespie to come off as a mindless racist redneck. Neither description comes anywhere close to describing the characters in this film. Virgil Tibbs is arrogant and aloof when we first meet him. He's no hero; he's a real human being who reacts to the way the Sparta police have treated him in the understandable manner of trying to get out of town as quickly as possible. He doesn't want to help them, and even when he's forced to, he lets his prejudices against Southern whites cloud his investigation (Tibbs spends the majority of the film believing one of the victim's business rivals -- a detestable racist -- to be the murderer, only to be proven wrong).

If Poitier's portrayal of Tibbs as a realistic human being rather than a flawless screen hero is admirable, then Rod Steiger's handling of the Sheriff Gillespie character is downright masterful. Bill Gillespie does not like or trust African-Americans, and he makes no secret of this. And yet the filmmakers didn't fall into a cliche trap and take care to show that even though Gillespie is a bigot, he's also a good cop. Unlike certain similar characters (and even some of his deputies in this film), Gillespie doesn't allow his prejudices to stand in the way of his investigation (a character flaw that, oddly enough, Tibbs gives in to while Gillespie does not). This is no "Bull Connor" character; this is a man who knows his job, and does it well. Tibbs and Gillespie begin the movie as two prejudiced men who begrudgingly admit to needing each other's help due to the circumstances (Gillespie's lack of a homicide expert; Tibbs' being forced to remain in an unfamiliar and hostile environment), and end it with a powerful respect for one another.

"In the Heat of the Night" won Best Picture at the 1968 Academy Awards (the first detective film to do so), and Steiger took home the Best Actor award for his career-best portrayal of Gillespie. (Because this, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," and "To Sir, With Love" were all released in the same year, Poitier was unable to consolidate enough votes for any one film and thus failed to be nominated; Norman Jewison lost Best Director to "The Graduate"'s Mike Nichols.) That perfectly sums up this film's legacy: a brilliant film with two powerful lead performances, and an all-time classic of the detective genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just About as Good as a Movie Gets
In 1967 Poitier made this movie and Look Who's Coming to Dinner. Both were extremely well received and this won academy awards for best picture and best actor. Poitier's career slid downhill from here almost immediately. That his status as The Greatest Black Actor Ever hasn't diminished nearly 40 years later is a testament to his excellence and influence in the late 50's and the 60's up until '67. The movie is nearly perfect. Rod Steiger gives the performance of his career. Poitier is excellent, of course. The story is good but the movie is really about the racial tensions and two men forced to work together despite their desire not to be in the same room together. Also at hand is a backward and archaic South being slowly dragged kicking and screaming into postwar 20th century.

2-0 out of 5 stars TENSIONS FLAIR IN THE HEAT OF THIS NIGHT!
"In The Heat of the Night" is the racially charged melodrama that made Sidney Poitier a star. Poitier is Det. Virgil Tibbs, an out of state detective assigned to investigate a racially motivated crime in the deep South. Tibbs' initial congenial good nature immediate brand him a push over by both his fellow officers and the populous. But Tibbs is a man of conviction. He immediately runs into interference from Police Chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), a bigoted and pompous law man who begins to change his ways when it turns out that Virgil's hunch on the case might just turn out to be true. Both the central performances of Poitier and Steiger, and the unlikely bond and ultimate friendship that ensue, are electrifying reasons to revisit this powerful drama of the 1960s. Lee Grant, Beah Richards and Warren Oates costar. In the late 80s "In The Heat of the Night" became a prime time television series starring Caroll O'Connor. But by then much of the tempestuous and confrontational aspects of its subplot had been removed.

MGM/UA gives us a non-anamorphic widescreen DVD. Colors are severely dated with a lot of fading present throughout the print. Age related artifacts are everywhere and sometimes distract. Black levels are often weak. Pixelization is primarily responsible for an unstable image. The audio is mono and badly dated as well, strident and poorly balanced. There are no extras.

5-0 out of 5 stars STEIGER AND POITIER AT THEIR HEIGHTS OF POWER
In 1967, Sidney Poitier again stirred the red-necks with "In the Heat of the Night", where he plays Virgil Tibbs, a competent Philadelphia cop stuck overnight in a Mississippi town. It must be 110 degrees at night. The white boys sweat like stuck pigs while Virgil is as cool as a cucumber in a Savoy Row suit. The sheriff, Rod Steiger, is discomfited by circumstances in which Tibbs is "lent" to him to solve a murder that happens to occur when he is there. In working together, layer after layer of characterization is stripped away in marvelous fashion, through the skill of director Norman Jewison (who tells everybody he is not a Jew, he is Methodist), until understanding between the two men become a metaphor for the healing of a divided America. Very good stuff.

STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM ... Read more


18. Two-Lane Blacktop
Director: Monte Hellman
list price: $39.98
our price: $39.98
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Asin: B00001ODI2
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 13600
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (70)

5-0 out of 5 stars Color me gone, baby!
I've just made my fourth trip down the two-lane blacktop, having recently caught this film on the Big Screen. (Do not--repeat, DO NOT--miss a chance to see this in a theatre.) This film gets better ever time I see it. Part road movie, part travelogue of America circa 1970, part existentialist tragedy, it's a strange, fascinating hodgepodge with no real precedent--not even "Easy Rider"--that I'm aware of. "Two-Lane Blacktop" is what it is; if you're expecting just another car chase movie, you will likely be disappointed. It's a movie for anyone fascinated by the mystique of lonely gas stations in the middle of nowhere, of long, quiet rides down the highway with nary another soul in sight.... I've never seen a movie that has so effectively communicated the extraordinary vastness of America. It manages to be sad, pathetic, funny, and haunting all at once. You can criticize it for its sometimes shaky acting (Warren Oates, at least, is fabulous), but I think the sum effect of the movie precludes serious complaint. And what an amazing ending....

5-0 out of 5 stars Existential Road Trip
Less dated than Easy Rider, this early 70's time capsule is an existential masterpiece. What the hell does that mean? It means the film is full of space. It's about absolute nothing, or everything, or somewhere in between. It's a poem that doesn't deliver what an audience expects but is utterly faithful to it's idea. It doesn't have an emotional pay-off, but instead finds a stylish way to cinematically burn rubber and fade away. It's characters are called Driver, Mechanic, GTO and Girl. Its stars are James Taylor (yeah the pop singer), Dennis Wilson (yeah the late Beach Boy), Warren Oates (in perhaps his finest performances) and Laura Bird (most won't know her, she's good).

Driver and Mechanic are the original slackers. They love racing, and hustling people to keep racing and their supercharged '55 Chevy. They are not hippies, but car junkies. The meet a loud mouth middle aged guy driving a newer sportier GTO who wants to race them for pink slips. Eventually they agree to what amounts to a gentlemen's type race from New Mexico to the East Coast. There's not a lot of suspense to the race, and the film is about. . . well whatever you want it to be about. GTO pretends to be someone else everytime he picks up a new hitch-hiker. He's amusing himself with his creative imagination and re-inventing himself to escape the middle age blues. Eventually there's a little bit of a competition over a young female hitchhiker.

The film was filmed on location as cast and crew drove across the country. The bare-bones script is by Rudolph Wurlitzer and Will Curry.

The film becomes more and more abstract as it moves along. The story matters less and less. A circle eventually forms and we realize we've been riding along on a very unique, one of a kind film. There's a wonderful example of an utterly open ended final shot.

Some are going to find this film very dull and wonder what there is to admire and respect about it. Others are going to 'discover' all sorts of things that are of course not actually present in the film itself, but are thoughts and reactions the film has sparked and triggered within them as they watched the film. Other's will enjoy the muscle cars, and late 60's cars that make sporadic appearances or rev up their engines on occassion.

It's a film you watch many times and find different subtexts, moods, ideas and space within. It's a film that requires the viewer to both observe, accept and participate in, like one would a living sculpture.

It's the kind of art film you would never expect from a director who made two quirky Westerns for Roger Corman in the mid 60's (The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind --with Nicholson right before Jack became a star with Easy Rider). Hellman also went on to make the very interesting Cockfigher with Warren Oates. He's appreciated by a small, growing cult of afficianado's and you'll find Hellman's name more recently as executive producer of Reservoir Dogs.

For something really unique I suggest you find a way to watch the DVD of Two-Lane Blacktop.

The film was long out of circulation because of disputes over music rights. They were resolved and the film has been beautifully transferred to DVD and actually looks better than it ever did since the contrasts in light were carefully boosted during the DVD transfer.

Chris Jarmick Author of The Glass Cocoon with Serena F. Holder - A steamy cyber thriller available January 2001. Please order it today. Thank You

5-0 out of 5 stars A RESPONSE TO REVIEWER "CORREIA"
Hey Correia,
Everyone's entitled to their opinions, but you're in the minority here. Two-Lane Blacktop is worshipped by film-lovers around the world and is regularly cited as one of the best pop-art flicks of the 70's, one of the most exciting periods in American cinema.

The reviewer's two complaints (little dialogue, couldn't understand what it was about) reveal the shortcomings of the reviewer, not the film. I mean really: "no dialogue?" Is he serious? Has he never seen a Western? A film noir? Charlie Chaplin? Keaton? Bresson? Wong Kar Wai?

In order to get Reservoir Dogs made, Quentin Tarantino got Two-Lane Blacktop director Monte Hellman to co-produce. I'm not a big Tarantino fan, but he DOES have great taste in other people's movies [his film company A Band Aparte is named after a Jean-Luc Godard film (paucity of dialogue, anyone?), he helped get Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express distributed, and idolizes Monte Hellman as one of the great American directors].

Based on the fact that Correia would critique a movie because it has little dialogue, it is no surprise that he "had absolutely no idea what the movie is about." Surely he can't mean the plot? Two muscle-car drivers race across country for their cars' pink slips? Most Schwarzenegger movies are less "high concept" (i.e. easy to sum up in a sentence).

Or is Correia admitting that he couldn't identify any Grand Themes or Social Issues? It's true, Hellman doesn't hit his viewers over the head with Deep Meanings. Like most of the greatest works of art, Hellman allows the meaning to be porous, letting each viewer read a certain amount of their own lives and themes into the characters.

TLB bears analysis, and is in fact deeply philosophical, but it is first a riveting aesthetic and emotional experience. Like a great landscape painting (or a David Lynch film?), it is primarily meditative, spiritual, and even deeply religious, rather than intellectual.

While watching it one re-experiences and understands many of the best things 'about' America-- the Road, movement, freedom-- and some of the worst-- rootlessness, restlessness, alienation. It can be read as a portrait of the modern, secularist, existential journey through life; in the lack of dialogue one could feel alienation and aloneness, or a comfortable silence expressing the deep bond between the driver and mechanic (we never hear the character's names, nor do the credits give them any).

TLB traffics in pop iconography, in quintessentially American images. We travel with the perfect embodiment of the Self-Reliant American Male, through rugged, iconic American landscapes, until the landscape and the travellers (and the audience?) become one.

Have these two men achieved a level of self-reliance that has freed them from the constraints of civilization? Or has their laconic independence imprisoned them, dooming them to ride alone, ala John Wayne in The Searchers? Hurtling through a Godless universe with only the most ill-defined of goals to guide them, and so on? Undergrad term paper, anyone?

The value of any creative expression is in the effort you expend, the distance you travel, to explore its meaning. Movies and books should pull us out of what we know, force us to expand to incorporate new ways of seeing and thinking. It ain't always easy but it's almost always rewarding. I applaud Correia for trying, but just because TLB isn't immediately easy to 'get' doesn't mean it isn't a great work of art.

2-0 out of 5 stars Two Lane Dead End
I watched the movie after purchasing it for a freind who is a big James Taylor music fan. I was disapointed in the character writing, as J.T. (The Driver)and Dennis Wilson (The Mechanic) both play the "straight" role, and it causes the scenes to drag. Upon more in depth analysis, Wilson's character is supposed to be aloof, and J.T.'s intense. Unfortunately, bad acting and poor character developement defused this combination.
Warren Oates does contribute to some of the best scenes in the film, as the mixed-up "GTO". A chameleon-like persona, ever-changing to adapt to and impress each hitch-hiker he picks up.
The scene with Harry Dean Stanton is particularly amusing in its context.
In all, "Two Lane Blacktop" was interesting, easy to watch, but the ending, if you can call it that (I find it hard to believe that the original theatrical ending is what I viewed on DVD) left me cold and wanting.

5-0 out of 5 stars DENNIS WILSON IN HIS ONE AND ONLY
THE REASON I GOT THIS MOVIE WAS BECAUSE OF DENNIS IT DID NOT HAVE A BIG BUGET BUT IT HAD FAST CARS AND THE ACTING WAS COOL PLUS THEY HAD A DOORS SONG IN IT SO YOU CANT GO WRONG WITH THAT SO FOR ALL THAT STUFF I GIVE IT 5 STARS BUY WHY YOU STILL CAN. ... Read more


19. The Wild Bunch - 30th Anniversary Edition
Director: Sam Peckinpah
list price: $12.94
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Asin: 6305237085
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 16456
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

Here's how director Sam Peckinpah described his motivation behind The Wild Bunch at the time of the film's 1969 release: "I was trying to tell a simple story about bad men in changing times. The Wild Bunch is simply what happens when killers go to Mexico. The strange thing is you feel a great sense of loss when these killers reach the end of the line."All of these statements are true, but they don't begin to cover the impact that Peckinpah's film had on the evolution of American movies. Now the film is most widely recognized as a milestone event in the escalation of screen violence, but that's a label of limited perspective. Of course, Peckinpah's bloody climactic gunfight became a masterfully directed, photographed, and edited ballet of graphic violence that transcended the conventional Western and moved into a slow-motion realm of pure cinematic intensity. But the film--surely one of the greatest Westerns ever made--is also a richly thematic tale of, as Peckinpah said, "bad men in changing times." The year is 1913 and the fading band of thieves known as the Wild Bunch (led by William Holden as Pike) decide to pull one last job before retirement. But an ambush foils their plans, and Peckinpah's film becomes an epic yet intimate tale of betrayed loyalties, tenacious rivalry, and the bunch's dogged determination to maintain their fading code of honor among thieves. The 144-minute director's cut enhances the theme of male bonding that recurs in many of Peckinpah's films, restoring deleted scenes to deepen the viewer's understanding of the friendship turned rivalry between Pike and his former friend Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan), who now leads a posse in pursuit of the bunch, a dimension that adds resonance to an already classic American film. The Wild Bunch is a masterpiece that should not be defined strictly in terms of its violence, but as a story of mythic proportion, brimming with rich characters and dialogue and the bittersweet irony of outlaw traditions on the wane. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (139)

5-0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's ode to the closing of the American West.....
It would be impossible for film fans to have a conversation about controversial movies throughout the years, and for the epic western, "The Wild Bunch" not to get a solid mention.

Since I first saw this film over twenty years ago, I have owned numerous versions on VHS and laser disc, and it is particularly satisfying to finally have the restored directors version, with the accompanying documentary "The Wild Bunch : An album in montage" available on DVD in true widescreen format.

Sam Peckinpah's blood and thunder tale of outlaws on the Texas/Mexican border with their own set of unique morals has been such a dynamic influence on many directors and future films since it's release way back in 1969. But what sets "The Wild Bunch" apart from it's many imitators is it's deep, almost mythical storytelling, the complex moral nature of the characters peopling the tale and the gritty passion & energy that Peckinpah infused into the entire production. William Holden and Ernest Borgnine are simply tremendous as Pike & Dutch, the leaders of the Bunch...each man with his own individuality. Ben Johnson & Warren Oates portray the crazy Gorch Brothers, Jaime Sanchez is the arrogant and fiercely partiotic Mexican, Angel...and Edmond O'Brien is the grizzly, old timer Sykes.

Additionally, Peckinpah's film features Emilio Fernandez as the bloated, evil dictator Mapache...Albert Dekker as the manipulative and remorseless railroad man, Harrigan....and Robert Ryan putting in another one of his strong performances as the ex-gang member turned reluctant bounty hunter, Deke Thornton. And a Peckinpah movie almost wouldn't be complete without the appearance of LQ Jones and Strother Martin as a pair of filthy, grave robbing bounty hunters out for the reward on the heads of the Wild Bunch.

The Wild Bunch pulls no punches in it's tale of desperado's who they themselves are desperately running out of time...as Holden reflects in the film "We've got to start thinking beyond our guns...those days are closing fast". Whilst "The Wild Bunch" is most notorious for it's two bloody shootouts that book end the film's 144 minute running time...there is so much excitement, passion, adventure and personal conflict within the movie that can be found upon each repeated viewing of this stunning work.

A film that can be treasured and enjoyed by any true film fan....The Wild Bunch will be continually looked upon as one of the most important contributions to American cinema.

4-0 out of 5 stars Director's cut not needed, but great moments still abundant
The Wild Bunch is, without a doubt, one of the greatest westerns that has ever been thought up, but it is also quite controversial. The romantic view of the Old West is shattered in this 1969 film; no sign of John Wayne anywhere, and most of the cliches found in a typical western are nonexistant(not that I dislike typical western movies, they're actually quite entertaining). Sam Peckinpah, a master of improvisation, creates an unforgettable movie that is not only responsible for redefining cinematic violence, but also carries with it an engrossing story of friendship, betrayal, and the dying west. I didn't feel a Director's cut was needed for this film though, because the original version moved at such a lightning-fast pace. The restored scenes may interest some viewers, but I just wasn't interested. That is probably why I don't own this version of the movie. I'd prefer that other Sam Peckinpah flicks be restored, preferrably Major Dundee. Besides that, the DVD still captures all the explosive action and catchy dialogue. I particularly enjoyed the presentation of the credits, and Jerry Fielding's music adds to the realistic atmosphere, and that's not a bad thing. If you're looking for a great action flick with a plot, The Wild Bunch is a winner for a weekend rental, but RENT this version before you buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best westerns of all-time
The Wild Bunch-Restored Director's Cut is one of the best westerns ever made and also one of the best movies ever. In 1913 during the Mexican Revolution, times are changing as the Old West disappears into oblivion. After a botched robbery in the town of Starbuck, the Wild Bunch, a gang of aging outlaws must decide what their next move is. The remaining members of the gang decide to head south into Mexico where their services may be needed. The bunch robs a gun shipment for a Mexican general, hoping this will be their last job. At the same time, a posse is hunting them down with a former gang member at the posse's head. While this movie is most well known for its violence, it is ultimately a story about honor among men in a changing time. Knowing that the world they knew is changing, the bunch has to try and survive as their end closes in. Nonetheless, director Sam Peckinpah knows how to construct an action sequence. The Battle of Bloody Porch is a balletic, slow-motion, masterpiece of blood and guts as the Wild Bunch meets their end. Just as good is their final march through the streets knowing what awaits them. One of the best westerns, if not the best, ever made and highly recommended.

What makes this movie special, along with the groundbreaking filmmaking of Sam Peckinpah, is the cast. The whole cast gives excellent performances. William Holden stars as Pike Bishop, the leader of the Wild Bunch who knows time is running out for the bunch. His right hand man, Dutch Engstrom, is played by Ernest Borgnine in a perfect part for him. Robert Ryan plays Deke Thornton, a former member of the Wild Bunch and the unwilling leader of the posses following the gang. The rest of the gang includes Edmond O'Brien as Freddie Sykes, Warren Oates and Ben Johnson as brothers Lyle and Tector Gorch, and Jaime Sanchez as Angel. Emilio Fernandez plays Mapache, the Mexican general who pays the bunch to steal a shipment of guns. Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones are great as Coffer and TC, members of the posse. What is surprising about these characters is that as despicable as they are, they are still likable. The Restored Director's Cut DVD includes about ten minutes cut from the original version, a theatrical trailer, production notes, an excellent making of documentary, "The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage", and a great-looking widescreen presentation. For a great western with incredible gunfights, a terrific cast, and a great story, check out the truly classic western, The Wild Bunch!

4-0 out of 5 stars NOT ONE OF YOUR GRANDPA'S WESTERNS.
"The Wild Bunch" is not the typical western that tells the story of a bunch of good ol' cowboys versus the mean ol' Indians, this movie goes beyond the cliches of the earlier westerns, so in some way "The Wild Bunch" resembles more to a Spaghetti Western than a John Wayne-versus-the-indians western.

Sam Peckinpah took two steps forward the use of violence in the movies, he show the world how to use violence in a movie to produce visual art. Of course, some might complain about the cruel scenes in "The Wild Bunch", but open minded people know that the violence in the movies is not even close to the cruelty of the real world violence, plus, the violence in a movie can produce visual art if it's used in the right way, like Sam Peckinpah or Sergio Leone did in their movies.

"The Wild Bunch" has an excellent cast: the always efficient William Holden and Ernest Borgnine plus a great supporting cast that includes names like Robert Ryan, Warren Oates and Emilio Fernández. Also, the director Sam Peckinpah gave importance to each character, and that contributed to form a solid story. The cinematography is spectacular, "The Wild Bunch" has a lot of impressive camera angles that show the cruelty of the bullets and explosions, and the movie has some of the most impressive scenes ever put to film.

"The Wild Bunch" is in a very selected group of westerns. That list includes movies like "High Noon". "The Searchers", "Stagecoach", "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" and "Once Upon A Time In The West", among few others. That list includes the best westerns, and "The Wild Bunch" belongs in the list.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Grand Finale to the Old West - An American Classic
This is simply a rich, masterful, nostalgic story of the Old West, in all of its fading glory.

The charaters too, are fading in their own time - pursued relentlessly by forces reshaping the country, lives and landscape they ravaged, shared, and loved.

A long-in-the-tooth band of outlaws set out on one last job - to lighten the rich railroad barons of a few sacks of gold. Doublecross meets disaster and they're thrown back on their heels in a narrow escape. Then on to Mexico to trade a stolen shipment of rifles, stolen from under the government's nose, to a Mexican general who is a ruthless hombre in his own right.

Good guys and bad guys change roles and the moral lines of right and wrong shift beneath their feet as they make a last stand for honor among men.

This is a fun, exciting, warm movie which is excellent in every respect. Beautifully filmed, extraordinarily acted, and a terrific story, wonderfully told.

Five stars for a truly American Classic. ... Read more


20. Drum
list price: $69.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00000I4RY
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 27895
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Follow Up To Mandingo
This is the way it really was in the South contrary to what many would like to believe or think. Warren Oates gives a great performance in the role of the slave owner and Ken Orton, Pam Grier and Yaphett Kotto deliver as expected. From reading most of the reviews of this film people write it off as being silly and exploitation (and that may very well have been the intention) but between this and Mandingo these interpretations of the old south are far more truthful than anything seen in Roots.

2-0 out of 5 stars Almost Funny if Not so Offensive
Given how appalling "Mandingo" was, it's amazing the studio dared make a sequel. Apparently, though, the predecessor made enough money to justify making "Drum," which promised to "out-Mandingo 'Mandingo'" in its promo posters when released in 1976. Alarmingly, it almost succeeds, managing to be offensive to African-Americans, women, homosexuals, the French and history buffs. There's some choice dialog in this one, none of which can be quoted here. Suffice to say, you'll laugh and wince simultaneously when its uttered (like during a toast to castration--I'm not making this up--given by a New Orleans madame at a dinner party). With the exception of Ken Norton (as Drum) and Pam Grier, most of the acting is over the top, with overbaked accents galore. About the only thing toned-down in this movie in comparison to "Mandingo" is the sex. There's still plenty of it, but it's handled rather chastely in comparison to "Mandingo"'s softcore humping. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this movie is that it didn't spark riots upon its release. Only recommended for collectors of exploitation cinema.

2-0 out of 5 stars white trash roots
"Drum":Warren Oates, Ken Norton (1976) A slaver buys Drum, (a black slave)a bordello queen's son, in 1860s New Orleans (110 minutes) -- ok , thats the caption, now my opinion (some of the best white trailer trash viewin you will ever want to see, this is purely for the uneducated who doesn't need to think. It's totally 70's. Put Blazzing Saddles into a serious drama and you got Drum. It's even more funny they would even classify this as a genre drama. If you have heard of "Roots" and not "Drum" there is a good reason why. If one is sensitive to racial slurs, this movie is not for you. ... Read more


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