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5.0 out of 5 stars Intense and uplifting
Frank Marshall's celluloid recreation of Andes tragedy and the stupendous will of the survivors is intensely gripping and moving. As one of the reviewers remarked that if one wants to see a demonstration of human will and spirit, just watch this movie. I watched this movie on HBO and during the entire length was absolutely seized by it. I kind of felt myself going through...
Published on Jan. 27 2004 by Bala

3.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, but no where near the power of the book.
Solid movie. For fans of the book however, this picture does not come close to evoking the emotions felt in type. A much better job could have been done, not by the actors, but by the director, in capturing the sheer weight of the undertaking, and especially the expedition. I did not have the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment at the end that I did when reading...
Published on April 2 2004

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5.0 out of 5 stars Intense and uplifting, Jan. 27 2004
Bala (Hyderabad, India) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alive (30th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
Frank Marshall's celluloid recreation of Andes tragedy and the stupendous will of the survivors is intensely gripping and moving. As one of the reviewers remarked that if one wants to see a demonstration of human will and spirit, just watch this movie. I watched this movie on HBO and during the entire length was absolutely seized by it. I kind of felt myself going through the horrendous ordeal and was crying uncontrollably in second half. I was so stricken and moved by the tremendous ordeal(there's no stronger word than this)my heart pleaded for their rescue every second of the movie. Kudos to Frank Marshall for managing to create such a masterpiece....few movies manage to seize viewers....this belongs to that elite category.
The cast is uniformly excellent in performances and special praise for the Latino looking guy and Eathen Hawke. Cinematography is absolutely stunning right from the plane crash, avalanches, majestic sunrises to seatsledge rides.Watching the movie was so emotionally stirring and I wonder how the real survivors managed to stay alive under horrific odds. Truly a tale of indestructible human spirit, strength of will to survive, courage to face the meanest of hardships.
The basic plot is explained by other reviewers so I won't go into it. Please, please watch it and marvel at the strength of human Spirit. Hope Frank Marshall makes more such movies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie - great story, Dec 31 2003
K. Gittins (CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alive (30th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
The plot has been described in other reviews. Well acted and directed, this movie recounts a great survival story, comparable to Captain Bligh leading all but one of his crew to safety after about 3500 or so miles in a small open boat (book "Men Against The Sea"), or Richard Byrd surviving the Antarctic while seriously sick and injured (book "Alone").
The fact that anyone even made it through the initial crash, then tobogganing at about 200 MPH down a mountain in a portion of airplane fuselage is unbelievable by itself. Add the fact that many people, prepared about as well as you or I in our living rooms, lived for 70 days way up on a frozen mountainside, makes it even more fantastic.
To top it off, after weeks of planning and preparation, two of the fittest members hike around and down a 13,500 ft mountain, then trek 50 or 60 miles in 10 days through utter exhaustion, to finally reach help.
It is difficult to really imagine the hardship they went through, even though it is essentially laid out on screen. The days or weeks of planning seemingly small events, and meeting with disaster on most accounts (finding the tail portion with the radio batteries, then having to go back to get the radio because the batteries were too heavy to carry, then not being able to fix the radio, etc.) is bad enough. I can not think of anything worse than having to eat your dead friends, for 50 days in a row, to just get through another day.
I'm going to finish the last 20 pages of the book tonight. It has a few more grisly details than the movie, and some failed search-and-rescue details, and maybe a bit more character depth as well, but this is one instance where the movie is nearly as good as the book.
If you think YOU have it bad, watch this movie or read the book. Even athiests will thank God it never happened to them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Nov. 17 2003
Rivkah Maccaby "Rivkah Maccaby" (Bloomington, IN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alive (VHS Tape)
The plane carrying the Uruguayan rugby team crashes in the Andes, and the survivors have to turn to cannibalism to continue to survive.
I'm going to begin by saying, if you want to see cannibalism, get Night of the Living Dead, or Motel Hell. This is not a film about cannibalism. The few scenes that explore this part of the group's survival, focus on the moral dilemma of cannibalism vs. starvation and death. The film doesn't gloss over this portion of the story, but handles it forthrightly and with dignity.
The rest of the film is beautiful. It could have easily descended into a made-for-TV maudlin tale of brave survivors fighting the odds, but it doesn't. It is a story about bravery, perseverance, and teamwork, and it addresses these things so eloquently, that I'm left feeling no one should make another film about "the human spirit," because this film says it all, and does it so well. In fact, I'd like to erase all the cloying films about personal triumph, and make this film the sole bearer of that theme.
Part of the film's brilliance is the cinematography. The camera takes an active part in telling the story, with inspired shots and angles.
The ensemble cast gets credit for the rest of it. Films with ensemble casts often sink under the weight of all the actors, but this film does not. This is one of the best films that doesn't have a star, but relies on the totality of talent available. With so many characters, you might think you'll need a scorecard to keep track, but you don't. Each of the more than 20 actors here plays a fully developed character.
This is one of those movies that seems to step off the screen. The viewer feels like one of the castaways. The tension and drama are that real.
And it made me cry. Few films can accomplish that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy In the Andes, June 15 2003
By (San Francisco, California, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alive (30th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
Based on a real story of a plane crash high in the Andes, this film portrays the story of the survivors who managed to stay alive for months in the grueling winter atop the mountains. I expect that the actual event was more frightening and difficult than what was portrayed in the film, of course, but it is still a compelling story. The acting is a little less than first rate, but the story here is the reason to watch as these people struggle to stay alive despite unbelievable hardship, forced to make decisions that no one should ever have to consider just to make it back to civilization. I could feel the icy coldness and the gnawing hunger and found myself wondering if I could do what these people did to survive. I found some of it hard to believe, but it is all true. A real testament to the will of man to survive despite the odds.
I've seen this movie three times already, but I had to buy this DVD so I could watch it again. A compelling, heartwrenching, courageous and inspirational film, not to be missed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "HUMAN SPIRIT- The innate desire to triumph, Dec 14 2002
This review is from: Alive (30th Anniversary Edition) (DVD) the face of adversity."
ALIVE is one of my top favorite movies. It's about the power of the human spirit to overcome anything. I love movies dealing with this topic. The movie begins with: "1972, A South American rugby team, together with some friends and relatives crosses the Andes to play a game in neighboring Chile."
They never arrive at their destination...or do they?
The anthropography (a branch of anthropology dealing with the distribution of man as distinguished by physical character, language, institutions, and customs) is one of the best developed I have ever seen in a movie. (Bravo to Frank Marshall!) This is one of the things I love most about the movie--watching the interactions with each other. I feel as if I know each one. All emotion and soul is bared here, from the deep love and brotherhood to the frustration and anger they feel. They survived many trials besides the plane crash and starvation which I will save for you to see. What impresses me most besides their will to fight and survive, is how, through it all, they kept God with them--through prayer and in their hearts.
I have watched ALIVE countless times and wondered if I were one of them who would I have been? Obviously Nando (Hawke) I considered first, as well as the medical student and his fellow climber, Roberto Canessa. But I must say that Carlitos, is my favorite character and the one closest to my heart. With his remorse ("I yelled at her...God forgive me!") prayers (he led the group each night in Hail Mary), his humor ("Hey, I'll pay for the pizza if you go and get it!"), his spirituality ("Do you feel it?" What? "God. God is everywhere today.") his love ("I love you all so much."/"God bless you all.") and hope ("I had a dream last night, a tremendous premonition. I saw green fields and flowers--I could smell the grass. Your expedition WILL SUCCEED.")
There is so much to learn and take with you watching this movie. Alive is a story that was destined to be told. My highest recommendation and 10/10 stars.
Additional comments: "This film is dedicated to the 29 who died and the 16 who survived."
The music by James Newton Howard is the closest to perfect there can be for this movie. I especially love "Ava Maria" playing on the end credits. I must have this score. If anyone can help, please email me.
Do watch the all special features such as "Alive 20 Years Later" and two others. I deeply respect the actual survivors sharing their story with us and wish to say a heartfelt thank you. You all have touched me more than words can say.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Survial in the Andes Mouintains, Sept. 28 2002
This review is from: Alive (VHS Tape)
At any point in a person's life they might have to decide just to live despite what they see as an impossible situation. Somewhere in-between a terrible tragedy and a realization of the temporal nature of life comes an awareness that you may just learn to live for the pure joy of staying alive.
At what point would you lose your will to live? Would you face tragedy head on with an inner confidence and unstoppable will to live? Or would you give up in the face of impossible circumstance?
Could it be said that tragedy enters a person's life in order to make them more aware of God. In those quiet moments when you cry out to God to give you the strength to go on one more day, are those the most beautiful moments in a person's life? That connection with the universe, that beautiful space of quiet where you are alone with yourself in the arms of God.
This movie was intriguing to me for many reasons. For one, the impossibility of the situation is immense. The courage inspirational and the testing of human tolerance, tenacious.
This is a true-life adventure which will challenge all your beliefs about survival, yet reinforce some of your beliefs about the survival of the fittest in body and spirit.
When a plane crashes in the Andes mountains in October 1972. The horror of the crash is magnified by a avalanche and having to make the decision to become cannibalistic in a attempt just to stay alive. This is the part of the movie many may prefer not to see or accept. It is not graphic, but it is just the thought.
There are moments where you think the actors should have been more serious in moments of "horror." They seem at times to take a very nonchalant view of their situation while the dialogue calls for a much more serious approach.
The moments of fear, anger and selfishness are balanced by
the moments of caring and courage.
Watch this when you think your life is going downhill and you will soon realize you haven't a problem in the world.
Incredible Story of Survival that will make you rethink your own concept of life.
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Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alive (30th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
This 1993 docudrama capably illustrates the plight of those who were on the plane that crashed in the Andes mountains in October 1972. A Uruguayan rugby team, their friends, and relatives had chartered a plane to fly them from Montevideo, Uruguay to Santiago, Chile for a rugby match. Forty five people went down with the plane, high up in the Andes mountains. Seventy days later, only sixteen of them were still alive. This film is the story of their struggle to survive and the lengths to which they went to ensure that they would.
The film was done in collaboration with some of the original survivors in order to lend authenticity of detail to the film. The filmmakers tried to recreate the experiences of those who were trapped in the mountains and were forced to resort to anthropophagy in order to survive. It is a well made film, which attempts to depict the ordeal of those who were on that ill fated flight. It pretty much follows the events outlined in the book of the same name by Piers Paul Read.
The movie has breathtaking scenery of snow capped mountains. The crash of the plane is one of the most harrowing on film. The treatment of the issue of anthropophagy is not sensationalized and is grounded in the context of the faith of those who were on that fateful flight. All in all, the film is a well made and well cast accolade to the endurance and faith of those who were on that ill fated flight and struggled to survive, despite the odds against them. It is certainly well worth watching.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring movie!!!, Aug. 4 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Alive (30th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
I absolutely love this movie!!! One of my all time favorites because it's based on a true story and because the cast did such a wonderful job with the characters!!! Most of the actors are little known, perhaps out of Canada...Ethan Hawke (Gattaca), Josh Hamilton (The '60s), Vincent Spano(???), Bruce Ramsay(Starstruck), David Kriegel (Speed), Christian Meoli (Bongwater), Jake Carpenter (???), Michael DeLorenzo (Resurrection Blvd)and tons of other good actors star as members of a rugby (a kind of football) team from Uruguay, South America. En route to Chile to play a game, their plane encounters rough weather and the pilots are unable to prevent a horrifying crash. The special effects are super!!! It's awful to admit, but I have fun watching this scene because of the effects. They crash in the Andes, some of the tallest, coldest and most forbidding mountains in the world, and they are immediately plunged into a survival oddesey in which they face the rage of the elements, bitter cold, endless snow and blizzards, starvation, and death. Many of the passengers died in the crash, others perished from cold, hunger, and loss of hope. It's interesting to see them at the beginning, clean shaven, handsome, innocent and watch hardship transform them into scruffy, wind burnt, chapped survivors who are determined to save themselves. I read a review by some woman who called this movie "One big bad idea" and proceeded to poke fun at the cannibalism and use tired punchlines about "fava beans and chianti". She along with many others, missed the whole meaning of the movie. I only hope she doesn't find herself in a situation such as this sometime in her life. This movie doesn't wallow in cannibalism and gore. It treats it with respect and sensitivity. There are those who thought the references to God were annoying and redundant. When you are in a situation where you just might die, you are lonely for God's presence. I say, if you don't want to see a movie where God and life and death are the themes, don't watch this. Otherwise, this movie will always be one of the greatest survival dramas of all time. I only wish they'd make a movie about the Donner Party, and no, Ravenous doesn't count!!!
Mari Weir
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great film...until you read the book!!, Aug. 28 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Alive (VHS Tape)
I saw the film Alive a while before I read the book, and if you haven't done either I'd suggest you watch the film first. I thought it was a superb but harrowing movie and considered it one of my favourite films of all, but my girlfriend later bought me the book by Piers Paul Read and after reading that many times now I have to say I feel the film could have been so much better. Why?? (1) the subject of the consuming of human flesh in the film is restricted to not much more than the scenes where they discuss the morals of doing it and the initial eating when the flesh is cut from one of the casualties. In the book, Read details throughout his account the nausea-inducing levels to much the survivors went to use this food source, including making clothing from the skin, cooking layers of fat in the sun, eating rotten intestines just to have a new taste, cracking open skulls to consume the brains and keeping limbs in the plane to knaw on during the night. I don't think this should have been included in the film for the sake of gore or effect, but should in some way have been shown as to me it indicates how quickly the mindset of the survivors lurched from utter revulsion at eating the flesh to the systematic consumption or utilisation of the entire body without any hesitation. (2) the trek by Canessa and Parrado to find help was an epic on it's own, but the film dismisses most of it with an aerial shot showing a valley turning from snow to vegetation. (3) the film completely ignores the large portions of the book which deal with the efforts made by parents and friends to find the plane wreck. This is as engrossing as the story of the survivors themselves, especially as the reader knows at the same time which of the boys are alive and which are dead as their families search for them. (4) there is a major shock at the end of the book which turns the whole story on it's head (I won't spoil it for those who haven't read the book, but it regards a hotel!!) which could easily have been included in the film as a piece of onscreen text at the end, but again this is totally ignored when it could have added considerably to the story. In all, I guess really this is a review of the film against the book rather than of the film itself. I still love the film on it's own merits and watch it frequently. I just can't help thinking it could have been so much better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic And True, July 31 2001
Erik North (San Gabriel, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alive (VHS Tape)
The grievously underrated 1993 docudrama ALIVE is based on a tragic but true story involving survival at its most basic in the inhumane and cold wastes of the Andes.
On October 13, 1972, a Uruguayan air force plane carrying forty passengers (most of them members of a rugby squad) and a crew of five crashed 11,000 feet high in the Andes. Twenty-one died either instantly in the plane crash or from injuries they suffered for weeks after. Eight others were killed when a nighttime avalanche all but buried what was left of the fuselage. Sixteen survived after two of their own breached the Andes; all were freed from their ordeal by Christmas Eve. But part of their survival over a ten week period of sub-zero cold and death lay in their having to eat the bodies of the dead.
Like IN COLD BLOOD, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, and (later) APOLLO 13, ALIVE stays true to the well-known facts of this tragic ordeal. Director Frank Marshall shares with his mentor Steven Spielberg a gift for putting the viewer in the shoes of the film's protagonists. Each aspect of the story is explored, including the undeniable fact that cannibalism played a part in it. But unlike the gory 1976 Mexican exploitation flick SURVIVE!, ALIVE does not dwell on that gruesome aspect for too long. The film is excellent on all technical levels (including the plane crash sequence, one of the most horrifying ever depicted on screen), and the cast, including Ethan Hawke and Josh Hamilton, accurately portray the participants in this story.
For those who appreciate films based on real-life events, ALIVE is a definite must-see, despite its unavoidably gruesome subtext.
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Alive (30th Anniversary Edition)
Alive (30th Anniversary Edition) by Frank Marshall (DVD - 2003)
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