Please note that I saw this movie on HBO so I can't comment on the quality of the video transfer or its features.
This movie, based on the Pulitzer winning novel by Thornton Wilder, has its moments, and also its share of problems. I'll try to detail them here fairly enough so that you can decide if it's really for you or not.
First of all, the movie's greatest strengths are the wonderful sound track, the exquisite costumes, and the very authentic looking sets and interiors. The music, with its distinctive South American flutes and pipes often getting full play in many of the scenes, perfectly sets the tone of the movie. The second major strength is the amazing period costumes and wardrobe, which seem very complete and accurate to the time. Third, the architecture and the building interiors also seem very authentic, possibly true to the Spanish colonial style itself, although I'm not an expert on this period of architecture. I would have liked to know where it was shot.
Now comes the mixed part. The casting, despite the stellar cast, is very uneven, ranging from excellent to wildly miscast. John Lynch as the military captain and Geraldine Chaplin as the mother superior are both superb although they have relatively small supporting roles. Pilar Lopez de Ayala is also quite convincing in her role as the actress, La Perichole.
I'm big admirers of the next three actors, but they're just not well cast in their roles. Harvey Keitel, as the uncle and go-fer for the court of the Peruvian Viceroy, is actually okay, but I think historical movies just aren't his venue. The same goes for Kathy Bates as the Marquesa. But Robert de Niro, as much as I admire his work in general, is just miscast as the Archbishop who prosecutes Gabriel Byrne's case. Byrne himself, though, is excellent in his role as father Juniper. And F. Murray Abraham is very convincing in his role, and here he has a part not that different from the role of Antonio Salieri which he played in Amadeus or the Grand Inquisitor from In the Name of the Rose. If there's anyone who can project aristocratic hauteur better than he I'd like to see it.
The pacing of the movie is quite stately, although certainly not glacial, requiring some patience from the viewer. However, the movie timeline might be a source of confusion to some people, which involves the use of flashbacks, although it's actually done well here. But if you don't know the original story it could be difficult to follow, or to understand why the main characters get the coverage they do, since that's not really revealed until the very end. The movie progresses by this series of flashback-like vignettes or substories, until we reach the very final scene in the courtroom where it all finally comes together.
The dialogue comes off as stilted at times but that isn't the fault of the movie since the dialog in the book was highly stylized also as per the period. The over-arching theme of the book--how love can be a two edged sword in people's lives--either transforming it for good or for evil--makes an interesting idea around which to build the story. That part at least comes off well in the movie.
So there you have it--a very mixed bag of a movie with uneven casting, a complicated, possibly hard to follow story, the slow pace--but based on an interesting idea and with a strong sound track, costumes, and settings. Whether you decide to see it or not depends on how you weigh the good and bad points I discuss here. Whichever way you decide, good luck!