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Angela's Ashes [DVD] [2000] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Actors: Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, Joe Breen, Ciaran Owens, Michael Legge
  • Directors: Alan Parker
  • Writers: Alan Parker, Frank McCourt, Laura Jones
  • Producers: Alan Parker, Adam Schroeder, David Brown, David Wimbury
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Paramount Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 18 July 2000
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305872058
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 291,265 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Because Frank McCourt's bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes was dearly embraced by millions of readers, it was perhaps inevitable that Alan Parker's film version would prove somewhat disappointing. McCourt's book is blessed with subtleties of language and detailed observation that do not easily lend themselves to screen interpretation, and Parker's film suffers from an overly literal, reverently sombre approach that lacks the cumulative emotions of McCourt's account of impoverished youth in Ireland. And where McCourt was able to enliven his family's suffering with tenacious humour and fighting Irish spirit, Parker's film provides precious little uplift in the course of 145 minutes.

The film is by no means an artistic failure. While admirably avoiding sentiment, Parker is nearly peerless in his direction of children, and the three actors playing Frank at ages 7, 11, and 15 are uniformly superb. As photographed by Michael Seresin, the re-created lanes of Limerick, Ireland are almost painfully authentic in the cold, grey dampness that permeates nearly every scene (this is surely one of the wettest films ever made). As the McCourt parents--chronically depressed Angela and recklessly drunken Malachy--Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle successfully bypass the pitfalls of melodrama in a film that could have wallowed in bathos. And while Parker's anecdotal approach falls short in conveying the fullness of McCourt's experience (the director fared better with the Irish rockers of The Commitments), Angela's Ashes captures a specific time and place with vivid force, remaining loyal to the spirit of Frank McCourt's beloved tale of survival. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr Baz #1 REVIEWER#1 HALL OF FAME on 15 July 2014
Format: DVD
The film adaptation of Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize winning book was never going to be an easy task for any cast or director. It's also true to say that the book's many fans would never warm to such a production, and it could never hit celluloid and have the same impact. Frank's story is one which is raw, and pulls no punches in it's portrayal of poverty and social deprivation in Limerick, Ireland in the 1930's and periods beyond that.

But on balance, the film does somewhat better than the hard core film critic's would give it credit for. Alan Parker directs with his usual attention to detail, the bleak and gloomy surroundings are very well captured as is the atmosphere and time period. A narration is provided by Andrew Bennett throughout the running time, and it adds to the story telling aspect quite well.

Cast wise Robert Carlyle plays Malachy McCourt, with the ever reliable Emily Watson taking on the role of Angela McCourt, both fine actors in their own right, I have no complaints with the cast and feel they do the roles justice. Three actors take the role of Frank McCourt, during his time growing up. Story wise it's quite a grim and depressing film, we see Frank's father Malachy and his alcohol addiction, the pressures and strains that are placed on his family and Wife in both financial and emotional ways.

It could be argued the script isn't ground breaking (it's good but doesn't take any risks), or that the screen play isn't top tier. The film wasn't a success and failed to live up to the earnings expectations of a prize winning book, but it's in no way deserving of the panning some critics gave it. Maybe the strength of the book wasn't quite reached in this production, but it's Frank's story and it is well worth a viewing.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Andy Millward VINE VOICE on 27 Feb 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Over the years, there have been many books and films portraying survival through the extremes of poverty and tragedy, alcohol and death, but few manage to achieve it with such grace and lack of sentimentality. Full credit to Frank McCourt and Alan Parker for avoiding the cliches of Hollywood tearjerkers, but in particular for a vivid reconstruction of life in Limerick in the 30s and 40s, populated by humorous, complex and finely-drawn characters. In particular, Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle and the three actors playing McCourt himself emerge with tremendous credit.
In fact, I managed to avoid any tears but felt uplifted by the whole experience, not least by hearing McCourt himself commenting on the film and his memories. Watch, and be grateful for your own life.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Mar 2002
Format: DVD
having read the book and not wanting to get to the end of it, I bought the movie and it was as true to the book as a movie can get. the actors especially the children were excellent. well worth the money. Maura.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By muttmummy on 5 Oct 2003
Format: DVD
What a dream of a film is Angela's Ashes - magical.
I saw the film BEFORE I read the wonderful book (get it now!!!) and was prepared for what you almost always get - something completely different. Not so. As the other reviewer said, the film is amazingly loyal to the book - save for the odd thing here and there, which detracts so very little from the general feel of the book which has translated so well onto the screen in this case.
Frank is just the same in the book - and the atmosphere of constant hunger, cold, damp and desperation is brought to life just as it feels in the book.
The book is more humourous in tone than the film, BUT the film still strikes a good balance I think.
In the book, you get more background into Frank's father which will help explain his actions and eventual abandonment of his family. That was the only thing with the movie - that you were left a bit unclear why or how Malachy Snr could have walked away like that. It is something of a loose end. That aside, I was captivated from the first frame to the last and this must be one of the best films I have seen in a long time.
The result is a tender, bitter-sweet, nostalogic, heartrending tale of a wee lad from Limerick caught up in shocking poverty, and such trying circumstances. How the poor lamb soldiers through it is a wonder, and you cannot get through the film (or the book) without real admiration for Frank and his family and how hard they strive to cope together.
The locations really do give the right feel to the places Frank lived and played in, and the casting is superb - especially the little guy that plays "little" Frank. Oh, he's a treasure to watch.
A must see - a must have: as is the book which you simply cannot go without reading.
Truly touching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jay on 10 Sep 2007
Format: DVD
The trouble with making a movie out of a Pulitzer Prize winning book is that no matter how good and true to the book it is, it will usually be a disappointment. This has a lot to do with the difference between reading a story and seeing one. When one reads a book, it is usually done over time, perhaps a week or two. The words stir the imagination and the scenes described become images, usually more illusory than real. There is plenty of time for this process to work. A film, in contrast, is viewed over a period of about two hours, where the viewer is perceiving rather than imagining. The portrayals are well defined and no matter how creative the director, it is very difficult to create scenes that equal those of readers who have previously conjured fantastic images in their heads.

I believe this is the reason this film was such a disappointment to so many viewers who had read the book. Thankfully, I saw the film first, so I had no preconceived notions. With that fresh perspective, I must say that it was outstanding.
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