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Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story [DVD] [2006] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Steve Coogan , Jeremy Northam , Michael Winterbottom    DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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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: Steve Coogan, Jeremy Northam, Rob Brydon, Keeley Hawes, Shirley Henderson
  • Directors: Michael Winterbottom
  • Writers: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Laurence Sterne
  • Producers: Andrew Eaton, Anita Overland, David M. Thompson, Henry Normal, Jeff Abberley
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Hbo Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 11 July 2006
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,277 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Michael Winterbottom is no stranger to literary adaptation. Both Jude and The Claim were drawn from works by Thomas Hardy. Nor is the versatile filmmaker a stranger to the post-modern romp, like 24 Hour Party People. In that peon to Manchester's music scene, Steve Coogan was Factory honcho Tony Wilson. In Winterbottom's take on Laurence Sterne's digressive The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, the prolific helmer combines literature with lunacy and brings Coogan back as the titular character--and then some. Coogan doesn't just portray the 18th century squire, but his father Walter and insecure actor "Steve Coogan." It's a film about the making of a film, effortlessly shifting between Tristram's tumultuous birth and his frustrated adulthood--bogged down in the writing of his life story--and between fiction and (what appears to be) fact. There are no end to the worries on and off the set: Coogan worries his heels aren't high enough, Rob Brydon worries his teeth are too yellow, and Coogan's girlfriend (Kelly Macdonald) worries she isn't seeing enough of him. It may sound like Spike Jonze's Adaptation, but in spirit, it more closely resembles Tony Richardson's Tom Jones. Coogan and his co-stars, particularly Naomie Harris as the ultimate film nut, Gillian Anderson as the American brought in to boost the project's profile, and Brydon as Tristram's Uncle Toby are as game for the challenge as their fearless leader. Consequently, Tristram Shandy isn't just one of Winterbottom's best films--it's one of the year's best. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cock and Bull Story. 6 Aug 2011
Odd. Slightly confusing. Lacking in traditional structure...yes.
Intelligent. Chuckle-worthy. Original... Definitely.
A film, about a film about an unfilmable book.

A strange movie, undoubtedly and at first I didn't know how to take it. Was it a love story? Was it a mockumentary? One thing was was definitely a comedy. Quirky, off-the-wall jokes typical of Steve Coogan's works were a constant in this film.

My favourite aspect of this film was its combination of realism and surrealism making the movie delightful to watch. But another outstanding aspect was its portrayal of relationships; be it the clashing single-sided friendship of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, Steve's clashing relationship with the entire crew, Steve's failing relationship with his girlfriend and his sucessful relationship with his new mistress it was all delightful.

The "actors", or the actors portrayal of the actors,'s view of the film at the end of the film was a definite favourite scene.

They say that "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy" is the unfilmable novel, and similarly this film is the unreviewable film.
I cannot guarantee you'll love it, but it's definitely a one-of-a-kind and definitely worth the risk.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cock and Bull story 28 July 2013
By ssouth
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I watched this a couple of years back and wasn't that impressed. I've just read Tristram Shandy and that made the world or difference! I loved it. Great fun.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast, Well Crafted and Imaginative 24 July 2011
This is almost unique. A Comedy period drama that interacts cleverly with the pseudo 'real life' of the actors as they make it and draws subtle parallels with the Novel. It has a slightly dark feel to it, together with fast well crafted scenes that merge seemelessly. Constantly surprising, often surreal - well written/acted. It is one that will grow in depth and appreciation the 2nd time you watch it, as the first viewing will leave your mind reeling.

If thats put people off - basically, If you liked 'The Trip' - you will love this.
Its a brilliant piece of work. Congratulations to all concerned.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars By cock and bull 19 Mar 2007
The classic novel by Laurence Sterne is best described in this movie: "This is a postmodern novel before there was any modernism to be post about."

So it sounded pretty disastrous that a film was being adapted from it. Actually, half a film -- the other film is a mockumentary about a film crew desperaately trying to make some kind of movie, out of a book with way too much material. It's wickedly clever, but there's too little Tristram Shandy and too much about the shoes.

While his mother is in labor, a grown Tristram Shandy (Steve Coogan) narrates the backdrop of his life -- his awkward conception, the farcical circumstances of his birth, early penile injury, his uncle's obsessions and (ahem) war wounds, and the circumstances of being named Tristram (and not Trismegistus, which is even worse).

But then we cut to the real world, where a film crew is filming the whole thing. Star Steve Coogan (himself) and director Michael Winterbottom (Jeremy Northam) are struggling to make this novel as true to the spirit of Stern's book as possible. The problem is, there's WAY too much material, and everyone wants different aspects -- love story, battle, his own character -- to stand out as the MAIN part of the story. Will the movie be funny? A sell-out? A big confusing mess?

Filming an unfilmable book is usually either going to be a disaster or a masterpiece -- for the latter, look at "Lord of the Rings." But "Tristram Shandy" hovers somewhere in the middle, courtesy of its mockumentary storyline, and some pointed mockery of the studio bigwigs.

Basically, the bigwigs interfere and insist on stars -- such as Gillian Anderson, who barely makes it to the final cut -- and hoard money, because the movie is too quirky for their tastes.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film of two halves and too many half-measures 11 Feb 2007
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
True to the style of the novel until it becomes sidetracked, prolific underachiever Michael Winterbottom's riff on Tristram Shandy, A Cock and Bull Story is a half-decent attempt to film an allegedly unfilmable novel, something it does surprisingly well for about half an hour until it gives up and concentrates instead on the travails of making the movie and the growing paranoia of leading man Steve Coogan as he is increasingly upstaged by Rob Brydon. Unfortunately, as so often on the big screen, Coogan is decidedly awkward at first, and the comedy isn't as biting or funny as you'd like, relying a little too awkwardly on injokes. All too obviously a film of two halves, with the backstage story taking over the movie completely for the best part of an hour before returning to the narrative briefly, it's hard not to feel it would have benefited more from dipping in and out of the novel rather than abandoning it for so long. But there's still much to enjoy, not least Rob Brydon playing a love scene in the style of Roger Moore, though it falls far short of Coogan and Winterbottom's previous collaboration, the excellent 24 Hour Party People.

Although at first sight fairly skimpy on the extras, the DVD offers surprisingly good value - not only does the full interview with Tony Wilson (who Coogan played in 24 Hour Party People) appear as promised in the film, but the deleted and extended sequences, though few in number, are longer than expected.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Quite Do It For Me...
Eclectic British film-maker Michael Winterbottom's 2005 'pseudo-documentary' about the making of a film based on Laurence Sterne's ground-breaking 18th century novel The Life And... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Keith M
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious
Tristram Shandy is merely a platform for the overweening vanity of Steve Coogan. Don't bother with film. Boring boring boring.
Published 1 month ago by glassman
1.0 out of 5 stars ... Seriously, what?!
Didn't even make it to the end of the film. Turned it off and on again 4 times over the course of the rental and still decided we were happy to not find out how it ended. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rachael Ling
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cock and Bull Story
How does one even begin to approach the writing of a review for a film based - ostensibly - upon a book, when the source text is so self-consciously obscure and non-linear, and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by R.B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a great film and very funny. From the onset with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan taking the mick out of each other . Read more
Published 5 months ago by Neil Rogers
4.0 out of 5 stars The Trip meets Black Swan
I think in many ways this film was always going to provoke some excessively negative reviews. It's a combination of Steve Coogan's brand of comedy (which I know many people outside... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. S. A. Brown
1.0 out of 5 stars Admirable undertaking ruined by obnoxious actors
Although I admire the intention of this movie, its execution is ruined for me by its very annoying stars and a director who indulges their excesses. Read more
Published 7 months ago by J. Martin
1.0 out of 5 stars Intolerable
This was on the telly recently and I could only tolerate about half an hour before an increasing sense of losing the will to live became so great that I had to press the 'off'... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Johns
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your run of the mill film
Wry sort of humour and OK if you like Steve Coogan. Gives the lowdown on the TV and film industry in a comical way.
Published 15 months ago by dryad
2.0 out of 5 stars Strange
Sort of funny in a weird way, but barely. Very odd. Not one of Steve Coogan's best by any means. I think it was his attempt at producing an "art-y" film.
Published 19 months ago by klsnc
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