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Ordinary People

Ordinary People

5.0 6
Director: Robert Redford, Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch

Cast: Robert Redford, Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch


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The word "ordinary" could easily describe this Paramount DVD edition of the Oscar-winning film Ordinary People. Starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Timothy Hutton, the Academy Awards were much kinder to this family drama than Paramount is to this disc. Sporting a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, this title suffers from excessive grain,


The word "ordinary" could easily describe this Paramount DVD edition of the Oscar-winning film Ordinary People. Starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Timothy Hutton, the Academy Awards were much kinder to this family drama than Paramount is to this disc. Sporting a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, this title suffers from excessive grain, imperfections, and age. The images often look very flat and dull, with colors suffering from bleeding and fading. Considering this title is over 20 years old, some flaws can be forgiven, but this transfer could easily have been cleaned up to look more presentable. Most black levels are even, though some edge enhancement is noticeable. Audio for Ordinary People is presented in Dolby Digital Mono 1.0 (in both English and French) and is adequate, though definitely nothing impressive. Since this is a dialogue-driven film, the mono track suffices just fine. The dialogue, musical score, and minimal effects are usually clear and concise with no distortion present. Hiss is heard in some spots during the film, but once again age has more to do with this imperfection than the audio transfer. Also included on the disc are English subtitles. For a movie that won four coveted Oscars, it's baffling that Paramount has decided not to include any real substantial bonus material on the disc. Besides an anamorphic theatrical trailer, Ordinary People is as bare as they come. Someday down the road this acclaimed drama deserves better treatment than what Paramount has dished out this time around.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
There's nothing ordinary about Ordinary People, Robert Redford's powerful, Oscar-winning adaptation of Judith Guest's novel about the deterioration of an upper-middle-class family. For his first directorial effort, Redford chose a piece with sharply delineated characters, brought to life impeccably by a gifted cast. Timothy Hutton won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of a guilt-ridden teenager who attempts suicide after failing to save his brother from drowning. Erstwhile sitcom star Mary Tyler Moore has never equaled her performance as the stern, embittered mother who withholds love from her surviving son following the death of her firstborn. Also superb are Donald Sutherland, playing Hutton's sympathetic but ineffectual father, and "Taxi" star Judd Hirsch as the charismatic psychiatrist who attempts to rouse Hutton from his melancholia. Named 1980's Best Picture, Ordinary People hasn't dated a bit: 20 years later, it remains a compelling, emotionally powerful viewing experience.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
Ordinary People deals with the aftermath of a family tragedy. An upscale married couple (Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore) are overwhelmingly unhappy, though their social standing and repressed emotions dictate that they must not admit it to each other. They have lost one son in a boating accident, and the film focuses on their surviving teenage son (Oscar-winner Timothy Hutton) who himself is recovering from a suicide attempt. What distinguishes Ordinary People is the uncommonly convincing way in which it depicts its characters, and the superb performance of Moore. First-time director Robert Redford took home an Oscar, as did the film for Best Picture, as well as Hutton and screenwriter Alvin Sargent. Ordinary People won its Oscars over Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull, often voted the best film of the 1980s. As a result, Ordinary People has often been critically ignored despite its many outstanding qualities.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital, monaural]

Special Features

Widescreen version enhanced for 16x9 TVs; Dolby Digital: English mono; French mono; English subtitles; Interactive menus; Scene selection; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Donald Sutherland Calvin
Mary Tyler Moore Beth
Judd Hirsch Dr. Berger
Timothy Hutton Conrad
Elizabeth McGovern Jeannine
M. Emmet Walsh Swim Coach
Dinah Manoff Karen
Fredric Lehne Lazenby
James B. Sikking Ray
Basil Hoffman Sloan
Quinn K. Redeker Ward
Mariclare Costello Audrey
Meg Mundy Grandmother
Elizabeth Hubbard Ruth
Adam Baldwin Stillman
Richard Whiting Grandfather
Scott Doebter Bucky
Randall Robbins Bryce
Jane Alderman Linda
Marilyn Rockafellow Sarah
Don Billett Philip
Allison Caine Voice Only

Technical Credits
Robert Redford Director
John Bailey Cinematographer
Phillip Bennett Art Director
William Fosser Set Decoration/Design
James Glennon Cinematographer
Marvin Hamlisch Score Composer
Jeff Kanew Editor
Gary D. Liddiard Makeup
Patrick Markey Set Decoration/Design
Steve Maslow Sound/Sound Designer
Bernie Pollack Costumes/Costume Designer
J. Michael Riva Art Director
Kay Rose Sound Editor
Rita Salazar Costumes/Costume Designer
Alvin Sargent Screenwriter
Ronald L. Schwary Producer
Charles Wilborn Sound/Sound Designer
Jerry Wunderlich Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selection
1. "Canon In D" [:12]
2. Passing Thoughts [3:28]
3. In Control [:05]
4. Friends [8:05]
5. Holding Back [3:20]
6. Mother & Son [4:35]
7. That Which Matters [8:10]
8. Vacancy And The Dead [7:31]
9. What To Do Without Love [:31]
10. Credits [4:47]


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Ordinary People 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ordinary People is, without a doubt, one of the best films ever made, and truly deserved the 1980 Academy Award for best picture. Timothy Hutton especially gives a powerful performance as a young man who's overcome with guilt after the death of his older brother. And Mary Tyler Moore is outstanding as well, as is the always wonderful Donald Sutherland. As someone who went through the sadness of my father's death several years ago, I couldn't help but feel that, as I was watching Timothy Hutton's anguish and heartbreak on-screen, I was really watching me (different family scenario, but same feelings). That is why Ordinary People and it's cast and director will always have a special place in my heart. And why it hasn't been on all these ''best films ever'' lists that have popped up in the last few years is beyond me. Ordinary People is a must-see for anyone who feels they need to communicate with their family or wants to see one of the best dramas ever made. God bless Robert Redford, Timothy Hutton, and all involved with making this brilliant film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I pride myself on not crying in movies, but in this one if you don't, then it would be hard to call yourself human. Robert Redford's great and sympathetic look at a family detoriating because of a crisis after a death in the family. Calvin Jarrett (Donald Sutherland) is the father who is desperately trying to keep the family together. Beth (Mary Tyler Moore) is the cold-hearted wife and mother who seems intent only on her own social standing and herself and her self-serving memories. Conrad is the tortured, intelligent and depressed survivor of a boat accident in which his brother Buck died and he lived. He tries suicide and his mother hates him. As the family corrodes from within, the death is the harbringer of all things bad between him and his mother, as his sympathetic father tries to keep the family in tatters. As he is introduced to the psychiatrist, things only get worst between Conrad and his mother. Conrad sees the egomaniacal ways of his mothe r and comes to the realization that his mother does not care about him and vice versa. The end is phenomenal, with the nervous breakdown and the fight with Sutherland and Moore. Also the aftermath where Sutherland tells Moore that he does not love her was a terjerker (yes, men you can cry). I love Pachelbel's Canon as it brings a peaceful end to a life of strife.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is nothing that breaks my heart more than attractive WASPs who are unhappy. So it goes with Ordinary People, a great weeper that requires the viewer to hypohydrate themselves in preparation for what amounts to a lacrymal cascade. Buck, the handsome, wonderful, perfect, first-born is killed in a boating accident. His brother Conrad survives and is so saddened he tries to kill himself. Mary Tyler Moore is a tightly wound mother who can shatter whole walnuts with her clenched butt-cheeks and Donald Sutherland is the dad who wants to make everything happy. Schtick is provided by the Jewish psychiatrist and mensch Judd Hirsch. The weeping begins when Conrad sees the shrink. He is so sad and so attractive your heart just breaks. His mom just doesn't get it. And that breaks your heart too. This movie is perfect when you need a good cry and don't want to have your life be the reason. I use it instead of therapy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The subtle masterpiece and academy award winner for Best Picture of 1980, ¿Ordinary People¿, is Robert Redford¿s surprising directorial debut. Perhaps it shouldn¿t be surprising though, when recognizing how Redford¿s delicacy and quiet appeal on screen greatly reflects and triumphs in ¿Ordinary People.¿ This heart-wrenching, character-driven film, based on Judith Guest¿s novel, evolves around the lives of an upper-class suburban family in Chicago. The story centers on the troubled son¿s perspective, Conrad Jarrett (played astoundingly by Timothy Hutton), who is painfully struggling to assimilate into high school and home life after months in a mental institution for attempted suicide. His transition is awkward and difficult as desperate and agonizing efforts to connect with his heartbreakingly distant and broken mother, Beth, (played by Mary Tyler Moore) seem tragically hopeless. His father, Calvin (Donald Sutherland) tries desperately to assure his son, but is hindered with denial. Conrad¿s lonely quest is an endless search for belonging and normalcy at school and at home, which appears unachievable in the shadow of his recently dead older brother whom his mother deeply favored and his grave depression and self-conscience recovery. However, his helplessness is lessened as he begins to attend weekly therapy sessions with Dr. Berger, (Judd Hirsch) who slowly unlocks the boy¿s mysteries and inner torment. ¿Ordinary People¿ is carefully crafted and refreshingly raw, yet thoughtful study of an `ordinary¿ type of family falling apart at the seams. The plot may appear classic ¿ the troubled teenager who can¿t live up their parent¿s standards, set by another more favored child (I might add though that the film is much more than this) ¿ and perhaps it is, certainly told more than once ¿ as illustrated in great coming-of-age movies like ¿Stand By Me.¿ However, this is an absolutely original endeavor ¿ revolutionizing the `family drama.¿ For ¿Ordinary People¿ is truly about ordinary people, portraying the downward spiral of the Jarrett family with such honesty. Now, when you read the word honesty, you probably imagine people losing control and you probably imagine harsh reality ¿ perhaps you are under the impression that ¿Ordinary People¿ is an `in your face¿ portrait of rampant emotion. And it is to some extent ¿ except you, the observer, may not pick up on that. And that¿s what distinguishes this film from its peers. And that¿s why I¿m going to let you, the intelligent viewer, decide what you can get from watching it, instead of pointing out to you what my interpretations are of the various themes. The melancholy and subdued, yet suspenseful and heartrending approach is un-comparable and so well tackled by Redford. He certainly accomplished the task of gradually developing so many layers to each character without unrealistically shoving it down the audience¿s throats. And the ensemble cast each gave memorable performances, Timothy Hutton at times revealing more through body language than words, Mary Tyler Moore giving an un-characteristic, almost chilling portrayal, and Donald Sutherland and Judd Hirsch also incredibly engaging. So often, we as movie-goers begin to label certain characters on the huge cinema screen as like us, when in fact it is very rare that a film comes along in which the characters are so truly like us that it is almost as if one is experiencing rather than just watching. And fortunately, this is one of those very rare films and I STRONGLY recommend adding this powerful, touching story to your video collection! Because it is art like this that makes you realize that less really can be much, much more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago