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Hard Times (Full Screen)

Charles Bronson , James Coburn , Walter Hill    DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Walter Hill's colorful directorial debut has quite a cult following for its toughness and violence; it may well be his best film, in fact. Charles Bronson plays a silent street fighter in New Orleans in the '30s managed by the cool James Coburn. Jill Ireland, Strother Martin, and Michael McGuire costar in this spare existential Depression dirge. It owes a lot to its noir origins that Hill adores so much, yet there's something very fresh and vital about its subject and approach. That's really what made so many of these films from the '70s so endearing. An added bonus is the love and affection displayed by the real-life husband and wife team of Bronson and Ireland. --Bill Desowitz

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Films Greatest non pretty-boy leading men July 5 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Charles Bronson as a Bare-Knuckle Boxer in the early 20th Century, this should please fans of cage matches.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Fights Dec 18 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed it, the fights were all very well done, for a film pushing 40 years old, I still found it entertaining, liked the costumes and cars it really looked like what I would think the 30,s would be like.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies, period. July 15 2009
This movie was made in the 70's and set in the 30's. It is a simple plot about redemption, from the point of view of a streetfighter (Chaney, played by Bronson) who makes money off bets, and his manager (Speed, played by Coburn). The sets are perfect, the casting superb, the acting great and the fight scenes absolutely real. The fight in a factory in which the fighters are surrounded by chain -link fence inspired the Gracies when developing the UFC octogon. The fight scenes alone make this movie far superior to Rocky. In Hard Times you'll thimk the fights are real. In Rocky the fights look so fake and terrible in comparison it's hard to believe Hard Times is hardly known. Bronson's best movie ever. In my view this is the hidden gem of movies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Charles Bronson's Best Film Nov. 8 2008
By Moodywoody TOP 500 REVIEWER
Hard Times is not only a supremely entertaining film, but a true artistic achievement. The director, Walter Hill, took a simple story and turned it into a cinematic masterpiece. The mood and atmosphere is truly astounding, and the acting performances of all the players absolutely excellent.

Set during the depression era, this bare knuckle story of a down and out drifter, played by Bronson, who street fights to earn some money is never slow. The fight choreography is breathtaking, and to the director's and screenwriters credit (Walter Hill, Bryan Gindorf, and Bruce Henstell) they manage to not only write an entertaining story, but actually manage to create a variety of characters with interesting depth, highly unusual for a film of this genre.

In my opinion, and I am a Charles Bronson fan, this is his best film. He gives us not only great action sequences, but develops a character of intersting complexity and emotion. A true gritty hero during hard times!!

Also, special kudos have to go out to an exceptionally strong supporting cast. Great performances all around, from James Coburn and Strother Martin to Jill Ireland and Michael McGuire. However, special mention has to go out to Robert Tessier and Nick Dimitri, who not only conveyed scary and tough opponents to Bronson's character, but also showed impressive acting strength in being able to show their characters in more than a one dimensional framework. Especially in respect to Robert Tessier, whom I believe in this film, developed one of the most charismatic and memorable tough guys in cinematic history. A performance he should always be remembered for.

A truly great film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bronson's Best Feb. 12 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Hard Times is definitely Charles Bronson's greatest movie IMO. In fact it's one of my all time favorites overall. Some movies can be viewed and enjoyed several times. Hard times falls into this category. The only fault in this transfer is the format. Unfortunately it's 1.33 full screen, instead of widescreen as originally produced. However the transfer is very good. There are no extras but the movie itself is great entertainment value. An all time classic that should be part of your DVD collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bare Knuckle Action in the Big Easy May 28 2004
By A Customer
This movie is a classic tribute to the subject of "prize fighting". Released in 1975 and directed by Walter Hill, it centers around a 1930's depression drifter named Chaney (Bronson). Chaney is the consummate drifter ---- indifferent and reluctant to commit. However, he ends up in New Orleans and stumbles upon the local subculture of bare knuckle fighting. He then convinces a local hustler by the name of Speed Weed (Coburn) to let him be his next "hitter". Chaney's silent, strong presence brilliantly complements Speed's enormously extroverted style ---- Chaney is the soft-spoken, rugged fighter and Speed is the colorful, manager promoter. However, Chaney's reluctance to commit proves to be a reoccurring test for Speed Weed. Even with his girlfriend Lucy, played by Bronson's wife Jill Ireland, Chaney is emotionally detached and shows an easy comes, easy goes attitude.
Chaney wins a few tough illegal fights bare-fisted but Speed falls victim to his own careless wheeling and dealing and is unable to pay his debt to a gang of thugs. As a result, Chaney is forced to fight one last fight with Street ---- a big bear of a man played by Nick Dimitri. This is a climatic event in the movie with both fighters waging one of the most gripping fight scenes this side of Hong Kong. Even better ---- the fight scenes are choreographed the old-fashioned way without relying on special effects
Strother Martin provides a great supporting role as the languid and shady character known as Poe ---- he provides medical advice despite an opium addiction and his failure to finish medical school. Martin also played the prison warden in the movie, "Cool Hand Luke".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Hitting Action !!! May 11 2004
Format:VHS Tape
A real gem ! Contrary to another review (14JAN04)- 'Hard Times' stands-out as Bronson's finest action film. A former boxer (amateur)himself; Bronson is in top form (and top shape at 52 years old !). Patrick Swayze's attempt ('Roadhouse'), to emulate Bronson never worked - simply because Mr. Bronson was an original. See this film !!!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Bronson DVD
This film is, in my opinion, one of the best Bronson films along with Honor Among Thieves, Rider on the Rain, Red Sun, and From Noon Till Three. Read more
Published on May 3 2004 by Lewis Brague
5.0 out of 5 stars "I knock people Down"
Charles Bronson is the archetypal loner/depression-era knight, riding into town on that fraight-train named poverty. And this guy can fight! Read more
Published on March 10 2004 by lawrence m schloss
5.0 out of 5 stars "It makes me feel a hell of a lot better than it does him."
Bronson was a man's man. No question about that.
Great period piece with fantastic action fight scenes and terrific finale. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2004 by Ghenghis
4.0 out of 5 stars Repeat viewability, good reason to add to your collection!
No this is hardly a genuine classic film. The performances are decent, but nothing special. Still, this is one of those films; you just want to see again. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2004 by Courtland J. Carpenter
5.0 out of 5 stars A Knockout
Many like to laugh at Charles Bronson(myself included) because of his typecasting in 80s vigilante style action flick where he's usually portrayed as a senior citizen taking out... Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2003 by Stanley Runk
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Bronson in Hard Times
"Hard Times" stars Charles Bronson as Chaney a down and out bare knuckle boxer trying to get by in the middle of the depression. Read more
Published on Sept. 23 2003 by Tim Glover
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