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All the Pretty Horses [DVD] [2001]

Matt Damon , Penélope Cruz , Billy Bob Thornton    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
Price: £18.97
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Product details

  • Actors: Matt Damon, Penélope Cruz, Henry Thomas, Angelina Torres, J.D. Young
  • Directors: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Writers: Cormac McCarthy, Ted Tally
  • Producers: Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Heller, Jonathan Gordon, Mary Ann Madden, Robert Salerno
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German, English, French
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Arabic, Turkish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Columbia
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RZP6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 441,615 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



On the face of it, All the Pretty Horses should have everything going for it as a movie, taken from the novel by Cormac McCarthy acclaimed as one of the finest pieces of American writing of the past 20 years. The intuitive, up-and-coming actor-director Billy Bob Thornton, with a deep love of McCarthy's novels, takes the helm directing two hot young stars (Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz) and backed by some seasoned veterans (Sam Shepherd, Bruce Dern, Rubén Blades et al) along with first-rate technical support.

The plot seems tailor-made for landmark-movie status too. A downbeat, resonant tale that would have intrigued Sam Peckinpah, it tells of two young cowboys from post-WWII Texas, who cross the Rio Grande in search of the rugged adventurous life modern America can no longer offer them. And south of the border they find just what they're looking for--but in harsher, darker and far more brutal guise than they ever dreamt of.

All the ingredients point towards the makings of a classic Western. Yet somehow they never quite jell. Powerfully photographed by Barry Markowitz, All the Pretty Horses looks unfailingly superb, and Ted Tally's screenplay draws on much of the novel's spare, trenchant dialogue. Thornton handles the action sequences with assurance, especially the marathon horse-breaking episode. But it all feels distanced, and never dark or bleak enough for McCarthy's savage vision. Maybe Damon is as yet too young and bland for his character's agonised trajectory. There were rumours of script problems, of scenes ruthlessly excised; Thornton claims that Miramax cut the film. Whatever the causes, the film is handsome to look at, absorbing to watch, but casts few shadows in the mind.

On the DVD: Filmographies for Thornton and half-a-dozen leading players; the theatrical trailer (plus trailers for two other Miramax releases, Finding Forrester and Almost Famous); subtitles and a menu. In something of a missed opportunity the DVD lacks a commentary from Billy Bob could have been illuminating. But at least the crisp print, full-width ratio (1:2.35) and the Dolby 5.1 sound do the film's technical achievements proud. --Philip Kemp

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An honourable effort 3 Jan 2009
I am surprised that at this time of writing no one has taken the time to review this film. It is based on the much acclaimed novel of the same title by Cormac McCarthy. The book was the first in his monumental border trilogy. A body of work that helped propel McCarthy to his richly deserved Pulitzer prize.

The story is about two young cowboys John Grady Cole and Lacey Rawlings who travel South of the border to Mexico in the late 1940s. In Coles case it is to escape family problems. These young men are the best of American manhood. The spirit of the old frontiersman still burns brightly in them. On their journey they meet a youth called Blevins who looks like trouble and sure enough turns out to be trouble with a capital T. After a few scrapes they end up working on a hacienda where Cole falls for the daughter of the his new boss. This leads to further problems and after another traumatic meeting with Blevins they spend time in a Mexican prison. Prisons in Mexico then as now were not noted for their five star treatment of inmates. I will not spoil the rest for you.

Matt Damon plays John Grady Cole and is a little wooden in the part. Leonardo DeCaprio and Brad Pitt were the first choices but both came a bit expensive. It would have been interesting to see how they would have fared. Penelope Cruz is ravishing in the role of the ranchers daughter but the love affair was not overly convincing. Bruce Dern also threw in a good cameo.

The original directors cut was four hours long so Billy Bob Thornton the director was sent back to the cutting room. You have to admire his efforts for art but wonder just how much of his vision was lost in the cut footage. The film is still quite long at over two hours. What remains is still a good film.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
All the Pretty Horses is directed by Billy Bob Thornton and adapted from Cormac McCarthy's novel of the name name by Ted Tally. It stars Matt Damon, Penélope Cruz, Henry Thomas & Lucas Black. Marty Stuart scores the music and Barry Markowitz photographs it. Plot finds Damon as John Grady Cole, a young cowboy who travels with his best friend, Lacey Rawlings, from Texas across the border into Mexico. It's a journey that sees acquaintances come and go, love blossom and the harshness of the world become all too real to such young eyes.

A big financial disaster for Columbia Pictures and Miramax Films who lost nearly $40 million on the film. Serves them right I say, for Thornton's original cut was a long epic piece thought to be around three and a half hours in length. But good old Harvey Weinstein demanded drastic cuts to be made and Thornton had to trim it to just nearly two hours in running time. That's a lot of story gone astray, and boy does it show, no wonder Damon himself bitterly commented that to lose 35% of your movie ultimately leaves you with a completely different film. It's such a shame because although it's now a film chocked with flaws and flow problems, one can see that in its original cut there had to be at worst an involving rites-of-passage story.

So what are we left with? Well it's certainly not a donkey. It drips with period atmosphere and comes resplendent with a poetic beauty thanks to Markowitz's photography.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Under rated, globally badmouthed western 20 May 2004
By A Customer
A supremely ambitious effort by Billy Bob Thornton in attempting to film an astonishing book that endures mainly due to Cormac McCarthy's uniquely beautiful prose, All the Pretty Horses was shot down on release due mainly to appallingly bad word of mouth.
Initially slated to star DiCaprio, the film ended up with Matt Damon as John Grady Cole. Damon is excellent and when you consider the flexibility he has demonstrated in his acting (Talented Mr Ripley, Good Will Hunting, Bourne Identity, Stuck on You), the man deserves more praise than he receives. His performance in this film is excellent, and should prove recognisable to people who have read the book first.
Thornton's direction is, in my opinion, truly epic, full of meandering shots of the harsh landscape and giving a real sense of how life as a cowboy must have been at that particular, post WWII time of heightened uncertainty.
The two huge bonuses the film version of All the Pretty Horses present are however Lucas Black (as the brash Blevins) and the soundtrack. In my view, there has not been a better 'original soundtrack' in my lifetime (age 27). As far as westerns go, it is pitch perfect. The negative reaction to the film undoubtedly prevented this haunting, evocative soundtrack winning an Oscar. While the music doesn't need that validation, it would certainly have helped it sell more!
A quick note on Lucas Black (ably assisted by ET's Henry Thomas), whose performance certainly rated amongst the best of that particular year, but who was again brushed aside when it came to awards. Why we haven't seen more of him on the big (or small screen - American Gothic launched Black) is both confusing and irritating.
Highly recommended - and you should make every effort to seek out the soundtrack too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 29 days ago by Mrs Eileen Machon
5.0 out of 5 stars ALL THE PRETTY HORSES
I read the book of this title and found it so engrossing that I could not wait to view the DVD. It does not disappoint. True to the book and fantastically acted. Read more
Published 2 months ago by TRENDYWENDY
4.0 out of 5 stars Matt DAMON was A GREAT ACTOR
Its one of those films whereby,ion you need to see it a second time to give a good opinion ok
Published 10 months ago by Keith kimberley
5.0 out of 5 stars All the Pretty Horses
We really enjoyed this movie. A really sound cast, and very well acted. I am glad to have purchased It, as we'll watch it again, I'm sure.
Published 10 months ago by Alma J
4.0 out of 5 stars Cormac McCarthy's superb novel is unexpectedly delivered in a solid...
This author doesn't do happy endings but he captures the life and times of his subjects brilliantly. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Bernard Grimshaw
4.0 out of 5 stars All the pretty horses
The beginning and end were very good but the middle section was a bit slow. The horses were only in the first portion of the film, then the film became a love story.
Published 21 months ago by Lucy Lesley
3.0 out of 5 stars All rhe Pretty Horses
This is not one of my most favourite films but it would pass the time on a rainy day. The acting was good as was the scenery but not really my type of film.
Published 22 months ago by Ewess
1.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity
All the Pretty Horses is one of my favourite novels. I was keen to see the film when it first came out, but I came away bitterly disappointed. Read more
Published 23 months ago by amantedofado
5.0 out of 5 stars family film
The films I buy have to be suitable for my grandchildren, and animal films are normally good for family viewing,
Published on 30 April 2012 by Jean Nancy Burrows
2.0 out of 5 stars Could do better
A business-like retelling of the plot of McCarthy's book, but misses the nuances and the morality. Could have been much better; I understand Billy-Bob's cut was much longer. Read more
Published on 2 July 2011 by Charlie
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