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Straw Dogs [1971] [DVD]

Dustin Hoffman , Susan George , Sam Peckinpah    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna, Del Henney
  • Directors: Sam Peckinpah
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Fremantle
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Oct 2002
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006JI4P
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,786 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



According to critic Pauline Kael Straw Dogs was "the first American film that is a fascist work of art". Sam Peckinpah's only film shot in Britain is adapted from a novel by Gordon M Williams called The Siege of Trencher's Farm which Peckinpah described as a "lousy book with one good action-adventure sequence". The setting is Cornwall, where mild-mannered US academic David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) has bought a house with his young English wife Amy (Susan George) in the village where she grew up. David is mocked by the locals (one of whom is Amy's ex-boyfriend) and treated with growing contempt by his frustrated wife, but when his house comes under violent siege he finds unexpected reserves of resourcefulness and aggression.

The movie, Peckinpah noted, was much influenced by Robert Ardrey's macho-anthropological tract, The Territorial Imperative. Its take on Cornish village life is fairly bizarre--this is a Western in all but name--and many critics balked at the transposition of Peckinpah's trademark blood-and-guts to the supposed peace of the British countryside. A scene where Amy is raped caused particular outrage, not least since it's hinted she consents to it. Not for the first time in Peckinpah's movies there are disquieting elements of misogyny, and it doesn't help that the chemistry between Hoffman and George is non-existent. (Impossible to believe these two would ever have clicked, let alone married.) But taken as a vision of irrational violence irrupting into a civilised way of life Straw Dogs is powerful and unsettling, and the action sequences are executed with all Peckinpah's unfailing flair and venom. Oh, and that title? A quote from Chinese sage Lao-Tze, it seems, "The wise man is ruthless and treats the people as straw dogs." The film was long withheld from home viewing in Britain by nervous censors, but this release presents it complete and uncut. --Philip Kemp

On the DVD: Straw Dogs is as jam-packed a disc as is possible for a film made before the days of obligatory "making of" features. Both the sound and visuals have transferred well, and, like the script, have aged well. There's a bumbling original interview in the style of Harry Enfield's Mr. Cholmondley-Warner, along with stills and original trailers. The new material includes a feature on the history of the film's censorship and commentaries by Peckinpah's biographers musing over interesting fan-facts (though none of the speakers have any first-hand experience of the making of the film). However, Katy Haber's commentary, and interviews with Susan George and Dan Melnick, offer a much more in-depth and intimate portrayal of the man and the making of the film. --Nikki Disney

Product Description

DVD Special Features:

Expert commentary with Peckinpah biographers Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons & David Weddle
Commentary with Katy Haber, dialogue director and Peckinpah's assistant
Isolated Oscar-nominated Jerry Fielding score in stereo featuring additonal scores
Interview with Peckinpah's biographer Garner Simmons
Interview with Susan George
Info on deleted scenes (via shooting script & stills)
History of Straw Dogs and the Censor
Behind the B&W scenes/on location stills
Original B&W publicity stills
Original colour publicity stills
Original colour lobby cards
Original 1971 film posters from around the world
Reviews, views & correspondence (including Peckinpah letters and BBFC rejection letters)
1971 Television South West on location documentary
1971 Original US Theatrical Trailer
1971 Original US TV and Radio ad spots

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible blu-ray picture quality 16 Nov 2011
By Mr. J. C. Kent VINE VOICE
Format:Blu-ray|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a great film. It isn't going to be everybody's cup of tea due to its graphic scenes, but it is intelligent and has stood the test of time well. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for this new blu-ray 'remaster'. The picture quality is appalling, with contrast pushed up so high that whites are bleached out and blacks lose all detail. And colours have been changed too, with unnatural greens and the sky almost white rather than blue. Watch the 'Before & After' feature and you can see how natural the colours were BEFORE the restoration. They have completely ruined it. There are quite a lot of good bonus features, particularly the extended interviews, but very little that hasn't been available before. The poor picture quality means that i cannot recommend this disc.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 5 star movie. 1 star Blu ray. 1 Nov 2011
Don't be fooled by the "Fully Restored" claim on the cover of this monstrosity. The transfer is poor with very bright whites and overbearing contrast. I may have to keep the disc for the extras as I don't think I could handle the guilt of selling this disc to some poor unsuspecting soul. The most fascinating extra is the before and after "restoration" comparison where Freemantle tries to convince us that they actually improved the image of this film. Whether the source print or Freemantle's tinkering is to blame for the poor transfer, I could not say. I'm just sorry that I rewarded them with my purchase, but I hope I can prevent others from making the same mistake. I agree with the other reviewers that suggest the region free US Blu ray or get the region 1 Criterion DVD. I will never preorder another Freemantle release. The movie itself is excellent and deserves better representation than this on Blu ray. My most dissapointing Blu ray purchase yet.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Would it work better with whiskey, Vicar? 10 Dec 2011
A great film, so I was really looking forward to the ''Fully Restored'' 40th Anniversary Edition Blu ray from Fremantle.
I wish I'd checked the reviews out on here first, though.
Quite simply a dreadful picture, the worst I've ever seen on Blu ray. My old DVD was far better!
One star for the extras.
Avoid this release!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The VHS version 19 April 2012
By Mr. F. E. Marioni VINE VOICE
Format:Blu-ray|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Apparently the makers of this transfer to crystal clear bluray decided to put a VHS quality print on a disc, the picture is awful and easily the worst bluray I have seen. Eureka and BFI have done wondrous transfers to films by OZU and Imamura so there really isn't any excuse for this travesty.
The film is for all its faults iconic and well worth any cineasts time but you are better off getting the DVD version of the film. The extras and commentaries on this are fascinating though
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and essential film... 24 July 2006
Sam Peckinpah's Cornish western has a heritage of controversy trailing in its wake. Perceived by turns as being misogynistic, exploitative, pornographic and gratuitously violent, it was labelled a "video nasty" in the 1980's and was consequently banned from view in the UK until the tail end of the nineties. An intriguing pedigree.

Essentially, what we have is a movie that uproots some of the values, morality and themes governing the mythic cinematic western and transplants them into an English backwater community. The locals are restless, being envious of and despising the American strangers (Dustin Hoffman and wife Susan George) who intrude on their redneck world. The fact that Hoffman's wife used to be one of their own serves to make matters worse, increasing both tension and conflict.

Hoffman wants to avoid trouble and remain peaceable, but ultimately is pushed too far when his cat is killed, wife is raped and his homestead is laid siege to by his tormentors. He stubbornly offers shelter to Niles, the village idiot, who has just inadvertently killed a young girl. His refusal to surrender the man to the (lynch) mob initiates the violent finale. The stage is set for a man doing what a man's gotta do, and this translates as holding the fort whilst killing and maiming as many of the attacking natives as possible.

The controversy surrounding the film stems primarily from the issues of sex and violence. When Amy (Susan George) is raped by one villager she responds ambiguously by first seeming resistant and naturally unwilling to participate and then appearing to enjoy the experience, encouraging her attacker (who is also an ex-boyfriend).
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When the going gets tough... 11 Dec 2008
A great example of how a film might not be easy or pleasant to watch - but it can still be a great film.

Throughout this story of a young couple moving into a home in the sticks, there is an amazing feeling of claustrophobia. The content of the film is now infamous, and chances are you're watching with some knowledge of what is going to happen - but even if you haven't a clue, Peckinpah manages to create an uneasy feeling that something is going to take a turn for the worse.

I watched this constantly on edge, Dustin Hoffman perfectly plays David Sumner as a vulnerable academic whose masculinity is challenged by laddish manual workers who flirt with his missus. His exchanges with the guys are always awkward. He sticks out because there's the American accent, the middle class manners, and his comparative physical weakness. They laugh at him which adds to the tension between him, them, and his wife - with whom there is already a tense relationship.

There is a famous scene which I don't want to detail in case I spoil the film for others, but it has been the subject of much debate as to how it should be interpreted. Either way, it's a scene of violation and I found it very difficult to watch. The film cuts to scenes of David alone and humiliated on the moors, feeling the victim of a prank - when it's actually something far more sinister. Though I felt uncomfortable at this moment in the film, it is a crucial moment which depicts the helplessness of a woman, and the perceived hopelessness of a man - and sets you in the frame of mind for revenge.

From dark, unbearably tense drama - to ultra-violent action, we get to see a man dismissed as a wet lettuce become the king of his castle.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A great film. stopped in picture house and watched it ...
A great film.stopped in picture house and watched it again when it fist came out.great performances.
Published 3 days ago by john carradice
4.0 out of 5 stars good quality, satisfactory purchase
came on time, good quality, satisfactory purchase.
Published 7 days ago by phillip iball
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece ahead of it's time!
Note: This review is for this DVD edition of 'Straw Dogs': Straw Dogs [1971] [DVD], which has the full movie uncut, it has been digitally remastered and can be watched in... Read more
Published 22 days ago by ReviewBlog51
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 Star Movie, 0 Stars for Extras, 3 Star Rating
To the quick - While the listing and the disc packaging promise us a dream of Extras (commentaries, interviews, documentaries, etc.) there is in reality... not even a trailer. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sofia L
1.0 out of 5 stars Stay away from this edition.
This is a truly awful transfer, I can't believe they did such a terrible job with such an amazing, classic movie. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Daniel Garcia
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy the 1971 Version for Goodness Sake
Such a lot of negative reviews and all for the 40th Anniversary "Fully Restored" version!! Forget that and buy the 1971 version for 0.01 plus P & P! It is a great film. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Cameo Boy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This being the original edition was by far the better- with Susan George playing a Stunning role. Well worth keeping in my collection
Published 7 months ago by P.D.E. ATTWELL
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film!
Does not loose any of its drama with age, and performances by Susan George and Dustin Hoffman are great, why dont they make more films like this?
Published 7 months ago by mrs.j.keith-morris
5.0 out of 5 stars straw dogs
I bought this for my husband, although it's quite violent and gory, it's a classic tale of how the worm turns.
Published 8 months ago by margaret m nolan
Published 8 months ago by ANTHONY HOULTON
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