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The Last Detail [DVD] [2002]

Jack Nicholson , Randy Quaid , Hal Ashby    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
Price: 4.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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The Last Detail [DVD] [2002] + Five Easy Pieces [DVD] + The Passenger [DVD] [2006]
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Product details

  • Actors: Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Otis Young, Clifton James, Carol Kane
  • Directors: Hal Ashby
  • Writers: Darryl Ponicsan, Robert Towne
  • Producers: Charles Mulvehill, Gerald Ayres, Joel Chernoff
  • Format: Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Greek, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Aug 2002
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000695JW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,793 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The Last Detail nearly didn't get a release. Columbia, for whom it was made, was alarmed by the movie's barrage of profanity and resented the unorthodox working style of its director, Hal Ashby, who loathed producers and made no secret of it. Only when the film picked up a Best Actor Award for Jack Nicholson at Cannes did the studio reluctantly grant it a release--with minimal promotion--to widespread critical acclaim. Nicholson, in one of his best roles, plays "Bad-ass" Buddusky, a naval petty officer detailed, along with his black colleague "Mule" Mulhall (Otis Young), to escort an offender from Virginia to the harsh naval prison at Portsmouth, NH. The miscreant is a naïve youngster, Meadows (Randy Quaid), who's been given eight years for stealing $40 from his CO's wife's favourite charity. The escorts, at first cynically detached, soon start feeling sorry for Meadows and decide to show him a good time in his last few days of freedom.

Ashby, a true son of 60s counterculture, avidly abets the anti-authoritarian tone of Robert Towne's script. Meadows is a sad victim of the system--but so too are Buddusky and Mulhall, as they gradually come to realise. A lot of the film is very funny. Nicholson gets to do one of his classic psychotic outbursts--"I am the fucking shore patrol!"--and there are some pungent scenes of male bonding pushed to the verge of desperation. But the overall tone is melancholy, pointed up by the jaunty military marches on the soundtrack. Shot amid bleak, wintry landscapes, in buses and trains and grey urban streets, The Last Detail is a film of constant, compulsive movement going nowhere--a powerful, finely acted study of institutional claustrophobia.

On the DVD: The Last Detail disc doesn't have much in the way of extras. There are abbreviated filmographies for Ashby, Nicholson and Quaid (though not for Young) and a trailer for A Few Good Men (1992). The mono sound comes up well in Dolby Digital, and the transfer preserves DoP Michael Chapman's subtle, subfusc palette and the 1.85:1 ratio of the original. --Philip Kemp

Product Description

Jack Nicholson is at his very best in this highly-acclaimed dramatic comedy about three sailors on the loose. Two hard-boiled career petty officers, Buddusky (Nicholson) and Mulhall (Otis Young), aredetailed to take a young sailor, Meadows (Randy Quaid), from a Virginia Naval Base to a New Hampshire Naval Prison to serve an eight-year sentence for a trivial offense. Buddusky and Mulhall take a liking to Meadows and are determined to show him a good time on their journey north. Their escapades begin in Washington where they narrowly escape a bar fight, then get blind drunk in their hotel room. In New York, they tangle with some Marines, and in Boston, Buddusky takes Meadows to a brothel forhis first sexual experience. Finally, after reluctantly turning in Meadows, Buddusky and Mulhall realize they are as much prisoners of their own world as Meadows now is of his.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest film I've ever seen 20 Oct 2003
By A Customer
'We ain't leaving this town until we've got ourselves a belly-full of beer!' Jack Nicholson's smile seems to spread halfway across the screen. This film's like the canal near my old house: it seems a lot shallower than it actually is. It's about lots of things - the way men bond; the effects of a broken home; America after Vietnam - but they're all wrapped up subtly in humourous scenes which could easily be misunderstood as merely 'laddish'. Fantastic script, fantastic editing, and all put together perfectly by Hal Ashby. In my opinion, this is an overlooked New Hollywood classic.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an excellent film 23 Sep 2006
I watched this film for the first time ever last night and I thought it was outstanding. 2 US Navy Petty Officers have to escort a young rating who has been sentenced to eight years for stealing a $40 (which he never actually got). This seems harsh. well the money was destined for the rating's CO's wife's favourite charity! The PO's feel sorry for the 18 year old rating and decide to show him some of life before he serves his sentence, after which he was to be thrown out of the Navy anyway. They get him drunk, start a fight with some Marines, get him laid, teach him to stand up for himself, even stumble across a Hare Krisna prayer meeting! But this film isn't some buddy road movie. To me it's all about being caught up in something where you feel helpless and trying to beat the system, set as it is just at the end of the Vietnam War. Where there is injustice but everybody opts to do nothing. I can't wait to get my own copy of this DVD and share it with friends
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This Jack Nicholson road movie made when he was pretty much still typecast as the anti hero drifter rebel type he played so convincingly, is choc full of those Kerouac type one liners he loved. A crackling screenplay with some good scenes gives the man real opportunities to do his party pieces, as well as show a real gift for world worn cynicism. His acting is just so natural, yet very, very powerful. Has there ever been another movie actor like him, I ask.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buddhist 18 Oct 2007
Format:VHS Tape
To the reviewer who said they stumbled across a hare krishna prayer meeting, they stumbled across a SGI Buddhist meeting. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

Fab film by the way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sadly funny journey to nowhere 26 Mar 2012
By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a surprisingly powerful film about two grunts who are charged to deliver a man across country to jail. They are sailors waiting for reassignment, given a regretful task that no one else would want; they are limited men, getting by, if barely. The prisoner, Randy Quaid in one of his first major roles, is a complete loser in life - inhibited, stupid, a compulsive thief, simply clueless about what is facing him. That this motley crew can not only get on, but actually communicate some caring and enjoy eachothers' company is an amazing journey in itself.

Nicholson is the leader, an alcoholic party man who wants to turn their time into fun. His colleague is a scared yes-man, without options and wary of any deviation from plan. They plan to go quickly and split the per diem, going their separate ways before reporting for duty. The 2 of them, as they continually fail to meet their schedule, are wonderfully believable, hilarious to watch, and yet you know they would be awful to deal with in real life. Quaid is painful to watch, yet also extremely sympathetic, a naif who is headed to what is sure to be degradation and horror in prison. Their chemistry is palpable, their empathy grows to the extent it can, and their misadventures will provide Quaid with a minimum of solace. It is extremely sad, touching, and quirky.

Recommended. You will not forget this film. It is truly a classic and one of Nicholson's best films.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching, well-acted film 18 May 2011
By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER
Two older, grizzled sailors, transport a baby faced, vulnerable
young sailor to 8 years in prison for a pathetic, petty theft.

The acting is very good, especially Jack Nicholson
and Randy Quaid, and the film has lots of wonderful
moments and details.

That said, I've never loved it quite as much as many others
do. It feels a bit sappy at times, 'cute' at others, and the
story feels a bit too predicable.

We know from the start the two old salts will soften and
come to care for their charge, and they will all bond before
the journey ends.

Without the high level of talents involved, that predictability
could have sunk the film, but the brio of Nicholson, the sure
hand of director Hal Ashby, and Robert Towne's salty, idiosyncratic
script keep it afloat and always worth watching, if not quite rising
to 'great film' level for me
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of jack's best 4 July 2002
By Syd
this film is one of jack nicholson's best movies,made when he was at the top of the pile of box office hollywood actors-chinatown,one flew over the cookoos nest,five easy pieces.
the film is a "buddy" movie and has some memerable scenes- its the story of 2 navy officers taking a navy prisoner to jail but along the way they feel sorry for this guy and treat him to good time before he is jailed.a funny movie with a thought provoking scene at the end. great performances by otis young and a very young randy quaid add to jack's bullish,and foul mouth, but sympathatic character.
all in all a great movie to watch with couple of cans o' beer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of those great "little" movies thar always win you over with reletable and sympathetic characters
Published 1 month ago by tero mikkonen
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely Subtle And Touching
This 1973 'road movie' directed by maverick (and frequently 'out of control' - see Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls for details) film-maker Hal Ashby, with a script by... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Keith M
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to get the beers in!
I had this little known film on VHS,and had ti get it on DVD,as it never fails to make me laugh! Nicholson as Buddusky is a must see! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. M. K. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars New DVD
Not well known early Jack Nicholson drama all filmed on location and well worth watching. Excellent copy and good value.
Published 17 months ago by trustmaxx
5.0 out of 5 stars Jack at his best, again
Jack is probably the best loved actor of his generation and many would say he is always himself, and in that vain, this film won't disappoint. Another cracker Jack performance.
Published 17 months ago by C Browne
3.0 out of 5 stars Back in the day
A watchable film with a couple of laugh out loud moments
but sadly not a touch on 'One flew over......
Published 17 months ago by 'G' man
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Detail
This film is Jack Nicholson at his best. The transformation of a cynical sailor nearing the end of his service [ hence the title] into a man who cares enough for his charge to... Read more
Published 23 months ago by tvophile
5.0 out of 5 stars A very underrated film one of Nicholson's best
When you hear the name Jack Nicholson people always mention the obvious, Batman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, As Good as it Gets etc. Read more
Published 24 months ago by sbboxing fan
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Detail
As a Jack fan I love this film. Do not be fooled by the picture on the cover which makes it look rather camp (not that I have a problem with camp of course). Read more
Published on 22 Aug 2011 by jotrala
2.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly sad movie
This looks like a dream to me- putting Nicholson and Randy Quaid togther in a movie written by Robert Towne and directed by the great Hal AShby. I was disappointed. Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2009 by Billy Ray Cyrus
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