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4.0 out of 5 stars15
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 11 October 2012
This movie is not for those of us who do not like movies about reality and the extremes that one will go to to survive.
The backdrop of the movie is a dance marathon in the depression years. The characters are mostly desperate to earn money to survive. The idea is that the contestants are to dance until only one couple remains. they will take away the monetary reward.
Well of course the stage is set for a heart wrenching saga in which the extremes that desperation brings out in survival mode are graphically illustrated. Behind it all hangs the motto, that when a horse is critically injured it is shot! As the movie rolls out the impact of this message becomes very clear.
Not a happy movie, but the acting is excellent, the supporting cast good and the message is certainly one that will remain in your mind for a great deal of time.
For those of you who enjoy human drama in its extreme, this is a fine one to add to your collection.
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on 21 February 2009
The film really deserves 5 stars. I think it should be right up there among the great classics. It's a great story with great actors about a dance contest that doesn't exactly end happy. The film is set in the thirties, but today when half of the programs on TV are "reality-TV" contests I think this film is more "real" than ever.
This release on the other hand deserves no stars at all. There is no bonus material, no subtitles, the format is 4:3 (no widescreen). The picture and sound quality is about the same you get when you copy an old VHS video to DVD (which is probably what they have done).
So until someone releases this film in the way it really deserves I suggest you read the book by Horace McCoy that it is based on instead.
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on 1 February 2011
Quite frankly, this is one of the best films ever made. Gig Young won an academy award but Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin and Suzannah York should have done so also. In addition to these, Red Buttons, Bruce Dern and Bonnie Bodelia were also exceptional as were all the rest of the cast.
This was an absolute masterpiece of a film and as someone once said, it is one of the few films that you will remember every scene from seeing it, till the day you die. Yes, it has that effect on you!
It would be remiss of me not to mention the directorial work of Sidney Pollack also, it was fantastic. I rate it five stars and would give it even more if it was possible. I can't think of any other film I have seen that has such a profound effect on you. Simply brilliant.
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on 11 November 2013
I wish we would make films like this in the UK.
This one is a keeper for my collection.
Again in good condition
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on 11 July 2014
I've waited a long time to see this film again. Whilst watching you should remember that it is set in the 1930's US when people would do anything for money. Beautifully casted and directed.
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on 12 January 2011
For anyone interested in the Great depression in the united states this is a relevent, sad and compeling story. It gives you a glimpse of the desperation of people at that time. The acting is superb. I would recommend it.
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The tragic tale is set in the "Great AMERICAN Depression" by director Sydney Pollack , who delves beneath the superficial veneer of the 'american dream 'to discover a bitter emotional truth in all it's glory,and the result is more than a test of the traditional human values as it clearly represents the misery of an 'entire generation' caught and lost in a materialistic warp and trapped like mice on a sinking ship, which gives a dreadful and pessimistic message filled with desperate metaphors, but it also is replenished with humane wistfulness and also evokes obscure and unknown emotions in both the viewer's heart and psyche .

It centres on the tyrannical anchor of a dance marathon where desperate competitors are vying with each other to win during the gret american depression and they will scoop to any level to win the cash prize offered,and the contestants are both intriguingly diverse and vary from aspiring young wannabe actresses ,pregnant mothers to male hustlers and handsome western country drifters ,played with a realistic flourish and poignant aplomb by Jane Fonda, Susannah york ,Bruce Dern and Micheal Sarazzin .

This metaphorical satire on the great "American dream" is simultaneously shocking, unpretentiously artistic and supremely well acted with some truly ingeniously moulded psychological characters and dramatic moments which will embed in your memory forever ,the competition is a "karaoke dance " with couples dancing akin to a horse circus where they shoot the redundant animal, after it has served the purpose of entertaining it's audience ,is a "cut-throat materialist allegory" for the unfortunate loser and is extremely poignant ,but also a bitter truth in a human social order almost collapsing ,where the deprived are desperate competitors are clinging to become the winners as that is the only hope afloat ,the director moulds a pessimistic and tragic drama where the human morality is reduced to the primordial survival instincts of the human morass he is examining .

The protagonists are all opportunistic vultures who turn virtue to vice,the intelligence of the script is obvious in the superb lines and walks hand in hand with the technical genius of mister pollack ,as it evolves from a simple tale of ordinary americans turning into vile and vicious characters for greed and power in a social milieu where survival is dependent on their winnings ,and as the desperados suffer in an unmitigated manner with the rather insensitive audience cheering their torture akin to the ''roman gladiators ''of yesteryears ; the desperation of the dispossessed is turned into a despicable "entertainment spectacle "for the heartless audience .

It is ample proof that civilisation even today is still in the primitive barbaric mode only and just the superficial veneer has changed,kudos to the mr.Pollack for a work of sheer artistic genius,neo realist and deeply moving and immersive simultaneously as he keeps his profound criticism of human greed free from any hints of melodra or a sermon .

The Jane Fonda and Michael Sarazzin relationship is doomed from the start and yet it is heartbreaking to see the two trying to redeem some optimisism out of this fray and they both steal this movie with their indepth performances and pollack and the script help their characters with a dark menacing ambiance that emphasizes the harrowing tragic overtones, it almost at times becomes an eye opener for the living and Susannah York is superb , as the young actress ,both moody and totally impassive who can wrench your heart and guts with her terrific histrionics .

This is a neo realistic and nihilistic drama which is modelled after the italian cinema from fifties and it fulfills it's premises by making you involved in the very entrails of this emotionally divulging epic and yet surprisingly satiates you psychologically and intellectually in a rare turn which defies the staple fare from hollywood factory .
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on 1 January 2012
The one star I give this product is not for the film, which I haven't seen but hear is great, but for the terrible DVD. It does not show the film in its original widescreen aspect ratio, but in 4:3! In this day and age, that is simply unacceptable. In order to avoid such letdowns in the future, Amazon really should provide the necessary technical data by showing not just the front but also back cover of all DVDs and Blurays. Don't waste your money on this!
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on 7 April 2009
The Fremantle Media release is in some strange format not of this earth - no matter what widescreen setting we tried, it ends up in the wrong shape.
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on 22 May 2015
Great film with standout performances by all
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