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The Bonfire of the Vanities


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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, Kim Cattrall, Saul Rubinek
  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Writers: Michael Cristofer, Tom Wolfe
  • Producers: Brian De Palma, Chris F. Woods, Fred C. Caruso, Jon Peters, Monica Goldstein
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: Nov. 23 1999
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0790742446
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,986 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

The 1980s were wearing thin when Tom Wolfe delivered this biting commentary about the shallowness of an investment banker in a messed-up place called New York City. Sherman McCoy knows how to make a lot of money. But that's about it. He is oblivious to his wife, his daughter, even his mistress, and shows little interest even in the deeper machinations of business. His focus is on the surface, and when he makes a mistake, it seems that all the dark forces he was so ignorant about circle like a pack of wolves. As usual, Wolfe writes ferociously, showing no favorites among the rich, the poor, the black,or the white and painting each with at least one absurd stroke. The novel is both hilarious and telling, delivered in a distinctive voice by Wolfe, one of our top stylists.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER on Feb. 7 2008
Format: DVD
Personally, I watched the movie without having read the book, which could be seen as both a good and a bad thing. On one hand, it allows me to judge the film as exactly that - a film, with no other conflicting point of reference to cloud my opinions. On the other, it means I'm pretty much ignorant as to whether or not the screen version succeeds or fails in living up to its story's potential. 'The Bonfire Of The Vanities' is a good film: nothing more, nothing less. So why, then, was it so universally slated by critics at the time of its big screen release? The answer, it would seem, is the overwhelming popularity of the piece of literature it was based on, Tom Wolfe's novel of the same name.

This movie is played on the borderline "tragedy and comic" the result, in my opinion, is a very interesting mix of ironic situations. Sherman McCoy (Tom Hanks) is on top of his game and is the top dog in one of the top financial firms in the city. He has money in spades, a socialite wife, a Park Avenue apartment, a mistress and a very nice car. While out with that same mistress Maria (Griffith) in that same expensive car, Sherman takes a wrong turn and ends up in the Bronx where, in a moment of panic at being confronted by crowds of African Americans, Maria suddenly hits a black man and they drive off back to normal white society. Sadly for Sherman, this minor incident escalates when the boy goes into a coma and his car is identified as the one involved, Add to this a DA who desperately needs to win the ethnic vote by prosecuting a rich white person and a journalist who, desperate to get off skid row, talks up the story with a series of sensationalist headlines that twist the truth. As these factors all come into play, Sherman's tidy, rich, world starts to crumble.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Canning on Sept. 20 2002
Format: DVD
I too must get on the bandwagon and say THIS IS NOT A BAD MOVIE. Not great, certainly, but a very entertaining one. When this movie first came out, I think too many people (critics) compared it to the book which was a disservice to the film. Seeing it now, we thought it was quite entertaining (two friends joined me) and Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith were a good match. I would recommend this film to anyone. Maybe time is on its side.
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Format: VHS Tape
A few people have attempted to exonerate this rather tragic adaptation of Tom Wolfe's classic novel of 1980s New York and have explained their reasons.

Firstly, one reviewer stated, "Melanie Griffith is perfect as Maria and the rest of the cast does just fine." Three words: Good... God... no. And another two: Just no. Allow me to explain. Firstly it's not just that Griffith is such a far cry from the rather more refined (if supremely vapid and "no Comp. Lit. scholar") Maria Ruskin of the book (who is described as appearing somewhat Italian), though there certainly is that, rather it's that casting Griffith in any role, in any movie is miscasting, in my humble opinion. It's hard not to be annoyed by her in this movie especially... and of course there's the issue of her rather spontaneous breast enlargement halfway through filming leading to some rather unusual continuity issues.

Another reviewer said it is "funny and tragic at the same time". Much of the tragic - the inexorable decline of Sherman McCoy - in the novel is lost here because of the clear desire to make it more light-hearted and over-the-top than the book was. Whereas in the book the reader feels an almost palpable fear as Sherman lies awake in the long hours of the night before his arrest, all that is gone from the movie, replaced by scenes that can only be described as silly - such as Tom Hanks' rather clumsily executed discussion with Pollard about leaving his apartment wherein he draws a shotgun from the closet and threatens Pollard and the rest of his party guests with it. Utterly ridiculous. Furthermore there's the fact that all the cold, arrogant, pure Wasp mannerisms of Sherman McCoy (not to mention his 'Yale chin') have vanished to be replaced with the altogether different idiosyncrasies of Hanks.
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Format: DVD
This is a good movie! Forget about the miscasting quibbles about Tom Hanks. He does an amiable job with Sherman McCoy. If one wants to nit-pick, Bruce Willis was the odder casting choice for the drunken british journalist Peter Farrow. Melanie Griffith is perfect as Maria and the rest of the cast does just fine. The directing is handled with De Palma's usual blend of exellence and professionalism. The movie looks like a million dollars with fantastic cinematoghraphy by Vilmos Zsigmond (The opening title sequence is breathtaking!) It seems to me that the problem is that this is based on a beloved book that was on everybody's coffee table and book shelf in the 1980's and everyone had thier own preconceived notions about who should star. Maybe Hanks is too likable in the film as Sherman but having not read the book until after I saw the movie, I was thoroughly swept away by the plot and it's cast. It seems that critics were all set to destroy this film based on the casting announcements alone and De Palma could have made any variation of the book and it still would have taken a beating. Watch it with an open mind and enjoy. For crying out loud gang, it's only a movie. And a fine one at that. Give it a chance.
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