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Rockford Files: Season 1

4.2 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos
  • Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Jan. 15 2013
  • Run Time: 2314 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000BGR1B4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,775 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

The world's most unlikely detective comes to DVD for the first time ever in all 23 thrilling Season One episodes of The Rockford Files. Emmy winner James Garner stars as the offbeat Jim Rockford, an ex-con-turned-private-investigator who would rather fish than fight, but whose instinct on closed cases is more golden than his classic Pontiac Firebird. From his mobile home in Malibu, this wisecracking private eye takes on the cases of the lost and the dispossessed, chasing down seemingly long-dead clues in the sun-baked streets and seamy alleys of Los Angeles. Including an interview with James Garner himself, this phenomenal DVD set contains 23 TV hours of classic Rockford action and includes such stellar guest stars as Lindsay Wagner, James Woods, Abe Vigoda, Suzanne Somers and Ned Beatty. The Rockford Files are now open and declassified for mystery fans everywhere!

From the premiere of its first hour-long episode on September 13, 1974, The Rockford Files was a critical and commercial success that gained a large and loyal following. Like other private-eye shows of the 1970s (such as Columbo and David Janssen's Harry O), the series offered smart mystery plots in the hardboiled-sleuth traditions of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Rex Stout, given a sunlit spin in contemporary California. But ex-convict turned private investigator Jim Rockford (who served time for a crime he didn't commit) was anything but a conventional gumshoe; for one thing, he rarely carried a gun, and resorted to violence only when he'd exhausted his options. As played to perfection by James Garner (in what would become his signature role, surpassing his previous success as Maverick), Rockford preferred wisecracks over violence, and his going rate ("$200 a day, plus expenses") was typically applied to cold cases, missing persons, and family disputes, frequently leading to entanglements with organized crime and L.A.P.D. Sergeant Dennis Becker (Joe Santos), whose friendship with Rockford lent the series one of its pivotal character relationships. As Rockford pursued the truth from his rusty trailer-home on the Pacific Coast Highway, his inherent warmth and compassionate sleuthing were further enhanced by engaging interplay with his retired ex-trucker father "Rocky" (Noah Beery, Jr.), his lawyer and on-and-off girlfriend Beth Davenport (Gretchen Corbett), and his weasely former cell-mate "Angel" Martin (Stuart Margolin), a trio of supporting players as memorably appealing as any in '70s television. As a loose-knit ensemble, they followed Garner's capable lead with intelligent dialogue (the best of it written by series cocreator Stephen J. Cannell and frequent contributor Juanita Bartlett) and occasionally burst of stunt-laden action, typically involving Rockford's expert driving of a versatile Pontiac Firebird. (As Garner fondly recalls in the disc 1 bonus interview, "That car could do anything.")

With a catchy Mike Post theme song, The Rockford Files began each week with a new message on Rockford's telephone answering machine, usually a humorous indication that Rockford's life was always in some kind of financial disarray. Garner played this angle to the hilt, portraying Rockford as a nice guy who knew all the scams and wasn't above using them if it aided his case. His portrayal, and the show's excellent writing, attracted a wide variety of new and established guest stars, and these 23 episodes (24 if you count the two-part "This Case Is Closed," originally broadcast as one 90-minute episode) feature appearances by Joseph Cotten, James Woods, Sharon Gless, Lindsay Wagner, James Cromwell, Suzanne Somers, Ned Beatty, and others, along with lesser-known but familiar TV regulars like Sian Barbara Allen and Mills Watson, all adding flavor to a series that was routinely hailed by mystery writers as one of the best private-eye shows in TV history. Speaking of mysteries, one can only wonder why Universal failed to include the series' 90-minute pilot (originally aired in March 1974), and while this reviewer experienced no playback problems with these three double-sided DVDs (four episodes per side), many consumers have reported DVD freeze-ups likely resulting from lower-quality players less capable of handling high-compression DVDs. These caveats aside, season 1 of The Rockford Files is a bona fide treat, setting the tone for even better episodes that followed in subsequent seasons. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I have been a fan of The Rockford Files ever since it first aired on NBC in the 1970s. I loved the car action, the great L.A. scenes in the background, and of course, Jim Rockford as played by James Garner, along with the supporting players such as Noah Beery Jr., Stuart Margolin and Joe Santos. I think it might be the best detective series of all time and I have long looked forward to its release on DVD.
I bought the box set as soon as I could get my hands on it, and almost immediately experienced disappointment. Several episodes experienced freezing, skipping, or picture breakup, and one ("Just By Accident") refused to play at all. I returned the set and got a substitute, only to experience exactly the same problems.
A word of comment on the editorial review above -- the reviewer mentions cheap DVD players as being the cause of this problem. My player is only a year old and certainly was not cheap. It never has had a problem with any discs prior to this. Just to double-check, I tried the discs in a second player, and that was a total disaster. For all intents and purposes, virtually none of the discs were playable in that. It is all well and good to suggest that a new, expensive player would make these discs watchable, but that ignores the reality that the majority of players in peoples homes are neither, and in such cases these discs will not be watchable. Univeral Home Entertainment must take the responsibility for releasing a product that the majority of buyers will have problems with. It is simply unacceptable.
For the episodes I was able to watch, I have only good things to say. The images are crisp and clean, the sound is as good as you could expect from a series of this vintage, and the colors are rendered properly. The L.A.
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Format: DVD
A great show & James Garner is truly a perfect "Jim Rockford". Actually he pretty much was perfect in every role he did.
My only complaint is, like the other viewer, the DVD's are crap. I've so far been able to only watch a maximum of 2 episodes per disc. If I'm lucky. THe rest freeze, skip, stutter and quit. I have a Bose system which usually manages to override any disc problems, but not here. I'm terribly disapointed & hope the other seasons I bought don't have the same problem.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was able to watch all epidodes on side A of the first DVD, then, on the 3rd episode on side B, the image freezes, then skip a whole chapter! Just when I was getting really getting into this show!

Yes, even after all the negative reviews about the quality of the DVD, Amazon still continues to sell those krappy double-sided dvd!
They should have returned the whole batch to the company, not trying to dump them on customers with cheap prices as bait!

It is really too bad, because I just love watching James Garner on the screen and somehow missed this show when it originally aired. Another TV series killed on dvd by Universal because they are too cheap to manufacture single sided DVDs. If this was an isolated case, i would ask for a replacement set, but why bother?!!?, with all the other negative reviews about the quality of the poor quality of the product, I will just waste my time and get more frustration
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Format: DVD
Rockford Files is simply one of the best American TV series from the 70s.

James Garner definitely helps to put the series in this class but other factors contribute. (1) The scripts are generally so very good. Listening to the dialogue, watching the characters play cat-and-mouse, untangling the plot twists, sitting on the edge of your seat through the car chases (nearly every show) is so pleasurable that you wonder why more series can not be this good. (2) The cinematography is superb. Watching this series is a blast. Everything that made 70s movie making distinct is found here. The off-kilter framing, the swoosh pan, the fast zoom, the burst of light that occurs when headlights flash into the camera--all that cool stuff that characterized the 1970s 'look' appears in Rockford. My wife said it was cheesy, but it only has that feel because it is a real slice of the 70s pie. At the time it was cutting-edge TV. It's only looks cliche now because of the many imitators who came after it. (3) The soundtrack. Some of the music was standard throughout the series, but other parts sound as though they were composed for specific episodes. This gives those episodes a fresh, unique quality. There is some bluegrass banjo music in one episode that beautifully brings out the flavour of the scene: Jim is bombing along a dirt road in pursuit of a bad guy. We get the sense that this is a small-town, backwoods caper.

I said before that Garner makes the show; and its true. He was such a good close-up actor. His facial expressions are great fun. And the twinkle he was able to conjure in his eye when he was devising a plot or the steely gaze he leveled at a bad guy is terrific to catch. Plus he did many of his own car stunts. The guy knew how to drive.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I ordered the first 5 seasons @ $12.99 each to replace VHS copies made over 20 years ago that are no longer of great quality. I have finished watching most of Season 1 and have really re-enjoyed the show. There have been no issues so far with the season 1 double-sided DVD's not playing as mentioned in some prior reviews. Shows made in the 1970's were a lot slower than todays cop shows and at times the pace of the episodes are slow....but overall well worth viewing. Seeing Rockford work his con's in some episodes are always enjoyable. As well I had forgotten how many pay phones existed back then...he is on at least one in almost every episode!
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