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Paper Chase, The (Bilingual)

James Bridges , Timothy Bottoms    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 91.61
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Product Description

Expecting only the basic pressures of attending Harvard Law School, a serious, hard-working student (Timothy Bottoms) finds himself the fearful adversary of the school's most imperious, sarcastic professor (John Houseman). Their relationship grows even more complex when the boy discovers that the girl he's in love with is the professor's daughter (Lindsay Wagner). Edward Herrmann and James Naughton co-star in this moving, intelligent drama.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Educational Experience May 7 2001
Format:VHS Tape
The closest I ever got to Harvard Law School was a graduate class in education law at UC Berkeley. The class was taught by a silver-haired Jesuit, who stood ramrod straight behind his podium at the front of the class and proceded in a manner not unlike John Houseman's Professor Kingsfield. It was only a pale shadow of what is depicted in "The Paper Chase", but it was very enlightening. The way this movie vividly brings back my student days, both the fun and the hard work, is one of the reasons I like it so much. It also shows what people can accomplish.
The plot involves a love affair between Hart, a student who idolizes Kingsfield, and Kingsfield's daughter. It has its funny moments, but is somewhat predictable. What elevates this movie is the psychological study of how the different students respond to their situation, some finding it within themselves to persevere while others fall by the wayside. The film also benefits from strong acting, particularly by John Houseman, who is the quintessential Professor Kingsfield. He is outstanding.
This is an excellent flick. It delivers a dramatic portrayal of an intense academic experience, while delivering some very funny moments along the way. Sort of like real life, sometimes. The TV series spawned by this movie was also quite good, and it's too bad it didn't last longer on its major network. Anyway, both college students and former college students will find a lot to relate to here. Those whose background isn't academic, though, will also find "The Paper Chase" quite entertaining. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:VHS Tape
I always warned students at the beginning of each year that I had screened "The Paper Chase" once again and was interested in using the Socratic method to spin the little tumblers of their minds. Certainly this was the film that made me want to curb my innate desire to stand up in the classroom and pontificate on every subject under the sun.
Ostensibly the film is about the pressures of first year students at Harvard Law School, but since most of us do not want to become lawyers, know any lawyers, have any dealings with lawyers or even watch television programs with lawyers, "The Paper Chase" ultimately succeeds as a film about wanting to learn and learning to think. At the heart of the film is James Hart (Timothy Bottoms), come from Minnesota to learn at the feet of the great Professor Charles Kingsfield. Despite some painful moments of confrontation in the classroom with his would be mentor-my favorite: "Mr. Hart, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer"-Hart finds he can play the game and play it well. Having given his mind over to Kingsfield, the question then becomes whether his heart and soul will follow as well. The other members of his study group (which includes Edward Herrmann and James Naughton), make different choices and take different paths in order to survive the year. By the end of the film Hart is more alone than he was at the beginning.
As Kingsfield, John Houseman is the powerful center of the film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone who's been to law school should watch. March 2 2001
Format:VHS Tape
The amazing thing about this movie is that every single character reminds you of a student in your 1L class, no matter where you went to law school. There's always one guy who is a rote genius but can't hack it as an analyst. There's always some guy who writes a 200-page outline. There's always some guy who thinks his study group is too special to let academic pedestrians get a free ride. And then there's you in the middle. I'm in law school, but I don't think I would know that without this movie.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bogus Hollywood Moment: Throwing Grades into Sea Nov. 5 2003
Yeah, great film, holds up well over the years. But no Harvard law student would have thrown his unopened grades into the ocean. Particularly one that was as dedicated and competitive as Hart. It would be like a lawyer trying a case and leaving the courtroom before hearing the verdict. One can understand and, in a mercenary way, perhaps admire Hart if he pretended not to care about the grades for the sake of impressing his erratic, anti-establishment/anti-hippy girlfriend. She doesn't make much sense, but she is cute and alluring. But to actually throw the grades into the sea? No.
Apart from that, the scenes of the workings of law school are pretty terrific. The characters of the study group are, for good and bad, very similar to people you actually find at law school. Particularly Bell. (By the way, did anyone notice that Hart's 3rd year advisor was Thirtysomething's Miles Drentell? He is exactly the type that would say, "Grades matter.") Yet, like lawyers themselves, they're not on the whole really awful people. Ford, the quintessential Harvard prepster, bails out James Naughton's character in class and even goes so far as to say that the subject is very difficult to understand. Hart himself is obviously very decent. And Kingsfield is meant to be feared, but moreover respected and admired.
So the romance is a bit unrealistic, but nothing approaching Ally McBeal silliness. That aside, it's a solid film worth seeing more than once.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 months ago by Susan Ennis
3.0 out of 5 stars In Law School? Consider watching this movie
I watched this after a law professor suggested to our class that we should see it, and although it was entertaining it didn't add a lot of value to my life.
Published 11 months ago by Chikivivi
3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely slow but good product
While I was very satisfied with the price of the item purchased, the wait time for it was abysmal. Amazon gives a range as to when to expect the item to arrive. Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2012 by BwayBaby
3.0 out of 5 stars Reminded me of my time at university. . .
This film reminded me of my days at university in the late 60's and early 70's. I had seen the film when it came out in the 70's and thought is was an extraordinary film but seen... Read more
Published on March 17 2010 by Lise Pigeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 70s drop-out culture clashes with law school discipline
If you want to be inspired to go to Harvard Law School or Harvard Business School (they both use the same intimidating case study technique), this is the film to watch. Read more
Published on April 13 2004 by Gavin Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars The most accurate law school movie ever!
This movie shows the brutal truth about law school more accurately than any other movie made to this date. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2003 by "rainpaw"
4.0 out of 5 stars The Paper Chase
I guess the first thing I should mention is that this movie is thirty years old. Today's graduate and professional schools including law school are more diverse than depicted in... Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2003 by Richard Cunningham
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie with a plot!
It so rare to come across movies with an actual plot these days. If you are in the mood for a legal drama without the courtroom battles, this is for you. Read more
Published on July 3 2003 by D. de Gruchy
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, but...
What's the deal with the description on the back of the DVD package that twice (!) lists John Houseman's character as Professor "Knightsfield" (not "Kingsfield", as anyone who's... Read more
Published on June 8 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but NOTHING like real law school
"The Paper Chase" is that movie that terrifies future law students with visions of cut-throat competition and horribly stressful conditions. Read more
Published on May 13 2003 by Bobak Haeri
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