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The Bonfire of the Vanities

3.0 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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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: 3.0 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 0790742446
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,170 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Satire on the greed of the 80's. A Wall Street bondsman and his mistress become involved with a scheming journalist when they take a wrong turn one night.Genre: Feature Film-ComedyRating: RRelease Date: 1-JUN-2004Media Type: DVD

Handle with care--this one's a bomb! Director Brian De Palma seemed an unlikely choice to transfer Tom Wolfe's mammoth bestseller-- a vibrantly satiric story about race, politics, and greed in 1980s New York--to the screen. In this case, the first impression was correct. Made with a tin ear to everything that made the book so real, the movie gets it wrong every time, starting with casting Tom Hanks in the central role (which, as anyone with brains knew, should have been played by William Hurt). Move along to the choice of Bruce Willis for the sneaky British tabloid journalist and, well, need I say more? As stylish as any De Palma film, this story of a Wall Street broker whose extramarital shenanigans trigger a racial incident that becomes front-page news gets no help from Michael Cristofer's tone-deaf script. After watching it, read Julie Salomon's behind-the-scenes book about its making, The Devil's Candy, which is much more entertaining. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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: DVD
Next to Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate, David Lynch's Dune, and Francis Ford Coppola's One From the Heart, Brian De Palma's Bonfire of the Vanities is a savagely under-rated film. De Palma once again demonstrates he is a master of wit. The film was initially criticized, or rather misinterpreted, for being somehow 'lightweight.' If anything, the film is over-the-top! De Palma's choice for lavish sets and stunning cinematography (by vilmos zsigmond) in wall street upper class New York perfectly match the subject matter and commentary on the 1980s greed infested 'me' decade and Reagan/Bush era, adapted from Thomas Wolfe's popular novel. Critics howled that the film downplayed Wolfe's themes...people act like Tom Wolfe, albeit a talented writer, is somehow as deep as James Joyce or something. The message of the book is pretty darn simple people! and it translates very obviously, perhaps even too obviously, in the film. Not to mention the fact that film is a totally different medium than literature, and one should not expect a film to be exactly like the book. as for the miscasting criticism, it is true Hanks doesnt exactly perfectly fit the role of McCoy, but he doesnt take away from the movie. The supporting cast, however, is better than him. Griffith is fantastic, and Willis gives a performance that practically carries the movie. I think this film was very ambitious and ahead of its time, and will in the future eventually be recognized as a very good film.
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Format: DVD
OK, so it's not exactly the same experience as reading Tom Wolfe's wonderful novel, but who would expect a movie to be a perfect reflection of a book? It certainly was not the bomb that everyone claimed it was, and has held up quite well considering how universally hated it was. Tom Hanks was miscast, but he did the best he could in the role. Bruce Willis took a lot of heat for a supposedly poor performance, mainly because in the book, his character was supposed to be British. Who cares whether his character is British or American? His main job was to serve as a somewhat sporadic narrator, and he did that as well as anyone.
Melanie Griffith gives an excellent performance as Maria, pushing right up to the edge without becoming a caricature. Kim Cattrall is cool and credible as Hanks' vacuous society wife. Morgan Freeman gave perhaps the strongest performance of the entire film, ruling his courtroom with an iron but equitable fist and delivering some of the best lines in the script, as well.
Perhaps the expectations were just too high for this movie at the time of its release, but I enjoyed it as much as many recent films that have received critical accolades. At first I thought that the pacing was going to be a bit slow, but I was sufficiently involved in the film that the time passed very quickly.
The DVD video transfer is good but not spectacular, and the sound is adequate but nothing special. There are no extras, but that is to be expected on a DVD that is sold in some retail outlets for [less money].
I give the film 3 stars, plus an extra "consolation" star for having been excessively and unfairly criticized.
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