Hamburger Hill on VHS video. Starring Anthony Barrile, Michael Boatman, Don Cheadle, Dylan McDermott. Directed by John Irvin. 1987.
From the VHS box cover:
War at its worst. Men at their best.
Vietnam. 1969. Hill 937. 10 days. 70% casualties. Those are the facts — this is the story.
The men of Bravo company are facing a battle that’s all uphill… up Hamburger Hill. Fourteen war-weary soldiers are battling for a mud-covered mound of earth so named because it chews up soldiers like chopped meat. They are fighting for their country, their fellow soldiers and their lives. War is hell, but this is worse.
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Samuel Fuller’s The Big Red One on VHS. Starring Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Bobby Di Cicco, Kelly Ward, Siegfried Rauch, Stephane Audran. Directed by Samuel Fuller. 1980.
From the VHS cover:
The real glory of war is surviving.
The combat-hardened sergeant squints at the members of his rifle squad. His face is lined and stubbled. The faces that look back are as smooth as summer peaches. They belong to kids right out of high school. And it’s the sergeant’s job to keep those kids alive.
The Big Red One, named for the insignia of the First Infantry Division, is the unsparing story of a handful of GIs battling their way from North Africa through Sicily, Omaha Beach and Belgium to the ultimate horror of the Nazi death camps. Academy Award winner Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou, The Dirty Dozen) plays the sergeant, and he’s joined by a talented young cast including Star Wars veteran Mark Hamill and Revenge of the Nerds alumnus Robert Carradine.
The writer/director is Samuel Fuller (Pickup on South Street, Merrill’s Marauders), one of the most influential filmmakers in Hollywood history. Fuller was actually in the Fighting First during World War II. He knows that to a soldier, war is no bigger than a single foxhole or a desperate 20-yard run up a beach — and that while generals ask “Will we win?,” the dogface asks “Will I survive?” And that means The Big Red One may be the most immediate, truest war movie you’ve ever seen.
“The real glory of war,” Fuller says, “is surviving.” And the real glory of The Big Red One is how powerfully it captures that idea.
DVD upgrade: The Big Red One: The Reconstruction
Casablanca on VHS. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid. With Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre. Directed by Michael Curtiz. 1942.
From the box:
50th Anniversary Celebration
Remastered Collector’s Edition
The time: World War II. The place: Morocco, seething with European refugees desperate for passage to neutral Lisbon. The film: Casablanca, “the best Hollywood movie of all time” (Leonard Maltin).
The legends loom larger as time goes by. In the 45th film of his career, tough guy Humphrey Bogart at last becomes a romantic leading man (in a role originally intended for Ronald Reagan). He and luminous Ingrid Bergman portray former lovers briefly reunited in the chaos of war. They’ll “always have Paris.” And we’ll always have their incomparable on-screen magic. Bogart is Rick, a world-weary nightclub owner who claims, “I stick my neck out for nobody.” Bergman is Ilsa, fleeing the Nazis with her Resistance-hero husband. Only Rick can help the pair escape, but he refuses… until Ilsa reawakens his idealism.
This 50th anniversary limited edition of Casablanca has been restored and digitally remastered, and includes a “making of” documentary narrated by Lauren Bacall plus the original theatrical trailer. Here’s lookin’ at you, Casablanca.
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Apocalypse Now on VHS. Starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Laurence Fishburne, Harrison Ford, Dennis Hopper, Sam Bottoms, Albert Hall. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 1979.
From the box:
Francis Ford Coppola Presents
Francis Ford Coppola’s stunning vision of man’s heart of darkness revealed through the madness of the Vietnam War. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) receives orders to seek out a renegade military outpost led by the mysterious Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Willard’s mission: “Terminate with extreme prejudice.”
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Platoon on VHS. Starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen. With Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, John C. McGinley, Johnny Depp. Written and directed by Oliver Stone. 1986.
From the box:
The first casualty of war is innocence.
Seen through the eyes of college drop-out, Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), the war is a real nightmare — a private hell of fears from outside and in — with enemies on both sides of the line. His platoon’s allegiance is split between leaders Sergeant Barnes and Sergeant Elias portrayed by Tom Berenger and Wilem Dafoe in their powerful Oscar-nominated performances. Barnes is a scar-faced, gung-ho fanatic bent on destroying the elusive Viet Cong. Elias is a different type of soldier — he has lost faith in the war, but not in man. Friction between the two sergeants leads to a second war, in every way as deadly as the one being waged against the enemy.
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