A milestone film from 1971 and winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, The French Connection transformed the crime thriller with its gritty, authentic story about New York City police detectives on the trail of a large shipment of heroin. Based on an actual police case and the illustrious career of New York cop Eddie Egan, the film stars Gene Hackman as Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle, whose unorthodox methods of crime fighting are anything but diplomatic. With his partner (Roy Scheider), Popeye investigates the international shipment of heroin masterminded by the suave Frenchman (Fernando Rey) who eludes Popeye throughout an escalating series of pursuits. The obsessive tension of Doyle's investigation reaches peak intensity during the film's breathtaking car chase, in which Doyle races under New York's elevated train tracks in a borrowed sedan--a sequence that earned an Oscar for editing and was instantly hailed as one of the greatest chase scenes ever filmed. Produced on location, The French Connection had an immediate influence on dozens of movies and TV shows to follow, virtually redefining the crime thriller with its combination of brutal realism and high-octane craftsmanship. Boosted by the film's phenomenal success, director William Friedkin gained even more attention with his follow-up film, The Exorcist. --Jeff Shannon
Modern blockbuster cinema came of age with the release of three huge science fiction/fantasy extravaganzas in the late 1970s. In 1978 Superman was the last of these, a gigantic hit unfairly overshadowed by Star Wars (1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Christopher Reeve is completely convincing as both Superman and mild-mannered alter ego Clarke Kent, sparking real chemistry with Margot Kidder's fellow reporter Lois Lane. Very much a film of two halves, the opening tells the origin of Superman from the apocalyptic fate of Krypton to his nostalgically rendered boyhood in the mid-West. After a wonderful sequence introducing the Fortress of Solitude the film changes gear as the adult Clarke Kent arrives in Metropolis and Superman battles arch-nemesis Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman). Though the tone becomes lighter and introduces comedy, Superman succeeds because Donner plays the titular character straight. From Marlon Brando's heavyweight cameo to the surprisingly wrenching finale, Superman unfolds as an epic modern myth, a spiritual fable for a secular age and a fantastic entertainment for the young at heart. With breathtaking production design, still special effects, gorgeous cinematography, thrilling set-pieces, wit, romance and John Williams' extraordinarily rich music score, Superman has the power to make you believe a man can fly.On the DVD: Superman is presented in an extended director's cut which adds eight minutes to the theatrical original. The restored material is so artfully integrated many viewers may not even notice, but it would have been nice to at least have the opportunity to watch the original via seamless branching. The sound has been remixed into extraordinarily powerful Dolby Digital 5.1--the superb main title sequence is worth the price alone--and the anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 image is, except for some unavoidably grainy effects shots, pristine. The commentary by Richard Donner and writer Tom Mankiewicz reveals more about the background than all but the most dedicated fan will ever need to know, while film music aficionados will revel in the opportunity to listen to John Williams' score isolated in Dolby Digital 5.1. On the second side of the disc are a eight alternate John Williams music cues, a selection of deleted scenes and the screen tests of a variety of would-be Lois Lanes, introduced and with optional commentary by casting director Lynn Stalmaster. These are fascinating, and show how right for the part Margot Kidder really was. A DVD-ROM only feature presents the storyboards plus various Web features, while the real highlight is a 90-minute documentary divided into three sections covering pre-production, filming and special effects. The picture quality on all the extras is very good indeed. An enthralling package, DVD doesn't get much better than this. --Gary S Dalkin
Royal Tenenbaum is a man who left his family twenty years earlier. All three of his children were young geniuses, but by the time they reach adulthood all talent seems gone. When the family finds itself unexpectedly reunited old animosities also return.
Starring Kris Kristofferson (The Last Movie) in his first leading role, and boasting an impressive supporting cast including Gene Hackman (The Conversation), Karen Black (Five Easy Pieces), Harry Dean Stanton (Christine) and Warhol superstar Viva (Necropolis) Cisco Pike follows the fortunes of a musician who turns to drug dealing to make ends meet. Extras High Definition presentation Audio commentary with writer-director Bill L Norton and film historian Elijah Drenner (2020) Cisco Pike': Then and Now (2020): documentary revisiting the film's Los Angeles locations Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography Original theatrical trailer TV spot New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Christina Newland, the original soundtrack EP liner notes, an archival interview with Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Farber's 1972 article on Cisco Pike, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits World premiere on Blu-ray Limited edition of 3,000 copies Extras subject to change
This massive 1977 adaptation by director Richard Attenborough (Gandhi) of Cornelius Ryan's novel features an all-star cast in an epic rendering of a daring but ultimately disastrous raid behind enemy lines in Holland during the Second World War. A lengthy and exhaustive look at the mechanics of warfare and the price and futility of war, the film is almost too large for its aims but manages to be both picaresque and affecting, particularly in the performance of James Caan. The impressive cast includes Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Dirk Bogarde, Sean Connery, and Liv Ullmann among others. While not a classic war film, it nevertheless manages to be a consistently interesting and exciting adventure. --Robert Lane, Amazon.com
Winner of four Academy Awards, including best picture, director, supporting actor and best editing, Clint Eastwood's 1992 masterpiece stands as one of the greatest and most thematically compelling Westerns ever made. "The movie summarised everything I feel about the Western," said Eastwood at the time of the film's release. "The moral is the concern with gunplay." To illustrate that theme, Eastwood stars as a retired, once-ruthless killer-turned-gentle-widower and hog farmer. He accepts one last bounty-hunter mission--to find the men who brutalised a prostitute--to help support his two motherless children. Joined by his former partner (Morgan Freeman) and a cocky greenhorn (Jaimz Woolvett), he takes on a corrupt sheriff (Oscar winner Gene Hackman) in a showdown that makes the viewer feel the full impact of violence and its corruption of the soul. Dedicated to Eastwood's mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel and featuring a colourful role for Richard Harris, Unforgiven is arguably Eastwood's crowning directorial achievement. --Jeff Shannon
Hands down, this is the best movie (and was one of the first) to come out of the seemingly endless cycle of disaster movies that dominated box offices during the 1970s. It could even be argued that Titanic owes some of its success to the precedent set by this 1972 blockbuster starring Gene Hackman as a priest who leads a small group of survivors to safety from the bowels of a capsized luxury liner. From its stellar cast to its cheesy, Oscar-winning theme song, The Morning After, the movie has all the ingredients of a popular classic, beginning with a New Year's Eve celebration aboard the ill-fated Poseidon and ending as a pop allegory when the Hackman character becomes a Christ-like martyr. Filmed on spectacular sets where everything down is up and the ship's thick hull points in the direction of salvation, this is "a waterlogged Grand Hotel" (in the words of New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael) that is as entertaining as it is unabashedly brainless. The Poseidon Adventure is filled with performances that rise above the limits of the screenplay. It's also the only movie--unless you count her underwater corpse in Night of the Hunter--that lets Shelley Winters strut her stuff as an aquatic heroine. Who could ask for anything more? --Jeff Shannon
Royal Tenenbaum (Unforgiven's GENE HACKMAN) and his wife, Etheline (Prizzi's Honor's ANJELICA HUSTON) had three childrenChas, Margot, and Richieand then they separated. Chas (Meet the Parents' BEN STILLER) started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have an almost preternatural understanding of international finance. Margot (Shakespeare in Love's GWYNETH PALTROW) was a playwright and received a Braverman Grant of $50,000 in the ninth grade. Richie (Rushmore's LUKE WILSON) was a junior champion tennis player and won the U.S. Nationals three years in a row. Virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal, failure, and disaster. The Royal Tenenbaums is a hilarious, touching, and brilliantly stylized study of melancholy and redemption from WES ANDERSON (The Darjeeling Limited). DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES: Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director Wes Anderson, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack Audio commentary by Wes Anderson With the Filmmaker: Portraits by Albert Maysles, featuring Wes Anderson Interviews with and behind-the-scenes footage of actors Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, and Danny Glover Outtakes The Peter Bradley Show, featuring interviews with additional cast members Scrapbook featuring young Richie's murals and paintings, still photographs by set photographer James Hamilton, book and magazine covers, and storyboards Studio 360 radio segment on painter Miguel CalderÃ³n, along with examples of his work Trailers Insert with Eric Anderson's drawings of the Tenenbaum house PLUS: An essay by film critic Kent Jones
Surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) values his personal privacy and anonymity above all else. When he and partner Stan (John Cazale) are hired by a mysterious client known only as 'the director' (Robert Duvall) to follow a young couple, Harry deduces that the woman, Mary, is the director's wife, and the man an employee with whom she is conducting an affair. Harry becomes convinced that the director intends to murder the pair and, haunted by guilt from a previous assignment where the information he provided resulted in loss of human life, sets out to prevent the killing himself.
Director Richard Lester (A Hard Day's Night) took over the franchise with this first sequel in the series, though the film doesn't look much like his usual stylish work. (Superman III is far more Lesteresque.) Still, there is a lot to like about this film, which finds Superman grappling with the conflict between his responsibilities as Earth's saviour and his own needs of the heart. Choosing the latter, he gives up his powers to be with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), but the timing is awful: three renegades from his home planet, Krypton, are smashing up the White House, aided by the mocking Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman). The film isn't nearly as ambitious as its predecessor, but the accent on relationships over special effects (not that there aren't plenty of them) is very satisfying. --Tom Keogh
A drama about a pilot and a naval flight officer (Owen Wilson and Gabriel Macht) shot down behind enemy lines in Bosnia, and the clandestine mission their commanding officer (Gene Hackman) sets up to rescue them.
Titles comprise: Pale Rider: In Pale Rider Clint Eastwood returned to the saddle after nine years and Western movies were riding high again. After corporate mining boss Coy LaHood (Richard Dysart) begins a campaign of terror to drive independent pan miners out of the area a nameless stranger called Preacher (Eastwood) rides into the underdog's camp. He becomes their avenger. The tycoon then hires a badge-wearing killer and his duster-shrouded deputies men loyal to whoever pays the most. LaHood pays gold. But in a climactic shootout to remember Preacher pays in lead. The Outlaw Josey Wales: As the Outlaw Josey Wales Clint Eastwood is ideal as a wary fast drawing loner akin to the Man with No Name from his European Westerns. But unlike that other mythic outlaw Josey Wales has a name and a heart. That heart open up as the action unfolds. After avenging his family's brutal murder Wales is pursued by a pack of killers. He prefers to travel alone but ragtag outcasts are drawn to him - and Wales can't bring himself to leave them unprotected. One of the top Westerns ever. Unforgiven Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman play retired down-on-their-luck outlaws who pick up their guns one last time to collect a bounty offered by the vengeful prostitutes of the remote Wyoming town of Big Whiskey: Richard Harris is an ill-fated interloper a colourful killer-for-hire called English Bob. Gene Hackman is the sly and brutal local sheriff whose brand of Law enforcement ranges from unconventional to ruthless. Big trouble is coming to Big Whiskey...
Woody Allen as a worker ant with an inferiority complex? Sylvester Stallone as an affable soldier ant who discovers that digging tunnels is cool? The animation playground we all knew so well is turning into a theme park full of in-jokes for grownups. Antz explores age-old topics (one person--err, insect--can make a difference, individuality and social responsibility must exist side by side, war is hell) with comic asides and Woody Allen's funniest quips this side of PG (adults will chuckle at the socialist slogans bandied about as he campaigns for workers' rights). Sharon Stone voices the rebellious princess with a fun-loving streak that doesn't quite overcome her royal bearing and court training, but she can learn. Gene Hackman is all teeth (ants have teeth?) and menacing grins as the Army general plotting insect-icide. This bug's-eye view of life on Earth gives Allen's neurotic nonconformist an epic adventure of microscopic proportions: a devastating war with a termite colony, an odyssey to the fabled land of plenty (a picnic ground), and a race to save his fellow workers from certain death. Other voices include Anne Bancroft as the Queen, Christopher Walken, Jennifer Lopez, Danny Glover, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin and John Mahoney. The computer animation isn't exactly realistic but feels as solid and contoured as puppet animation with the smoothness and slickness of traditional cell cartoons, and the character designs and animation offer a marvellous range of expressions. The PG rating includes a gritty battle sequence that may frighten youngsters. --Sean Axmaker
The Superman Movie Anthology [DVD] [DVD] (2012) Christopher Reeve; Brandon Routh
Robin Williams and Nathan Lane team up with a top-notch cast in this hilarious comedy. Williams is Armand a gay cabaret owner whose son announces he's marrying the daughter of a right-wing politician (Gene Hackman). It's an outrageously funny culture clash as Armand and his drag-queen partner Albert (Lane) try to transform themselves into straight shooters at a dinner party and pull the chiffon over the eyes of the uptight senator and his wife (Dianne Wiest).
This first film adaptation of a John Grisham novel is a crackerjack popcorn movie that satisfies even though it radically changes the last half of the book. The novel's dynamic setup is intact: Mitch McDeere, a hot law graduate (a well-suited Tom Cruise), finds a dream job in a luxurious Memphis law firm. His superiors (Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook) provide Mitch and his young wife, Abby (Jeanne Tripplehorn), with a house and plenty of money in exchange for lots of work, and maybe something more. Soon FBI agents (including a bald Ed Harris) encircle Mitch, telling him his firm has a sinister secret, forcing Mitch into a heck of a pickle. How Mitch deals with his situation is where the book and movie differ, yet by the time Mitch is running from bad guys with suitcase in hand, the movie delivers Grisham's goods. For Sydney Pollack's film, Mitch is more confrontational and heroic. Plot aside, the care Pollack put into this fair-weather thriller is unimpeachable, as is his cast. There is hardly a better all-star cast in any 1990s thriller, from Hackman and Harris in key roles to actors in smaller parts, sometimes with only a scene or two. Standouts include David Strathairn as Mitch's wayward brother, Wilford Brimley as the head of security, film producer Jerry Weintraub as an angry client, Gary Busey as a private investigator and Holly Hunter in a delicious, Oscar-nominated supporting role as Busey's most loyal of secretaries. The cast seems to have had as much fun making the film as we do watching it. It's slick Hollywood product, but first-rate all the way. --Doug Thomas
At the end of World War I a division of the French Foreign Legion led by Major Foster (Gene Hackman) has been ordered to protect an archaeological expedition led by Marneau (Max Von Sydow) The last expedition was destroyed along with its Legionnaire guards but Foster must follow orders despite his opposition to what he believes is ""grave robbing"". The excavation incites the wrath of El Krim (Ian Holm) a powerful Arab leader who uses it to arouse religious fanaticism amongst his tribes and lead an attack on the foreigners.
One of the landmark films of the 1960s, Bonnie and Clyde changed the course of American cinema. Setting a milestone for screen violence that paved the way for Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, this exercise in mythologized biography should not be labelled as a bloodbath; as critic Pauline Kael wrote in her rave review, "it's the absence of sadism that throws the audience off balance". The film is more of a poetic ode to the Great Depression, starring the dream team of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the titular antiheroes, who barrel across the South and Midwest robbing banks with Clyde's brother Buck (Gene Hackman), Buck's frantic wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons) and their faithful accomplice C W Moss (the inimitable Michael J. Pollard). Bonnie and Clyde is an unforgettable classic that has lost none of its power since the 1967 release. --Jeff Shannon
Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman star in this crime mystery about a police captain investigating an attorneys claim that he stumbled across the body of a twelve year old girl while walking his dog.
Two narcotics detectives Popeye Doyle and his partner Buddy Russo (Gene Hackman Roy Scheider) start to close in on a vast international narcotics ring when the smugglers unexpectedly strike back. Following an attempt on his life by one of the smugglers Doyle sets off a deadly pursuit that ultimately takes him far beyond mere New York City limits. Based on a true story this action-filled thriller with its renowned chase scene won five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Gene Hackman.
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