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4.3 23
Director: Gary Ross, Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen

Cast: Gary Ross, Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen


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Gary Ross, Oscar nominated for his Dave and Big screenplays, made his directorial debut with this comedy. The cheerful '50s TV sitcom "Pleasantville" is revived in the '90s for a loyal cable audience. One devoted fan is shy suburban teen David Wagner (Tobey Maguire), who has an almost obsessive interest in the series. Living with his divorced mother


Gary Ross, Oscar nominated for his Dave and Big screenplays, made his directorial debut with this comedy. The cheerful '50s TV sitcom "Pleasantville" is revived in the '90s for a loyal cable audience. One devoted fan is shy suburban teen David Wagner (Tobey Maguire), who has an almost obsessive interest in the series. Living with his divorced mother (Jane Kaczmarek), David sometimes has disputes with his ultra-hip twin sister Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon). She wants to watch MTV just when a Pleasantville marathon is about to begin. They struggle over the remote control, and it breaks. A strange TV repairman (Don Knotts) supplies their new remote, a potent high-tech device which zaps David and Jennifer inside Pleasantville, where their new sitcom parents are businessman George Parker (William H. Macy) and wife Betty (Joan Allen). As "Bud" and "Mary Sue," the teens take up residence in a black-and-white suburbia where sex does not exist and the temperature is always 72 degrees. Life is always pleasant, books have no words, bathrooms have no toilets, married couples sleep in twin beds, the high school basketball team always wins, and nobody ever questions "The Good Life." David revels in Pleasantville's Prozac-styled peacefulness. He fits right in, but Jennifer's 1990s attitude upsets the blandness balance, painting parts of Pleasantville in "living color." Repressed desires surface, cracks appear in the '50s lifestyles, and the Pleasantville populace finds their lives changing in strange, wonderful ways. It's liberating -- but there's also a darker side. This film breaks an all-time record with more than 1700 special effects shots. Shown at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
The directorial debut of notable screenwriter Gary Ross, this whimsical take on television, modernism, and traditional values often tells its tale with a heavy hand (especially in vignettes involving racism and infidelity), but its strikingly-realized mise en scene compensates for the script's meandering. Armed with some of the late-90s' most outstanding acting talent, Pleasantville resonates with noble intentions: one cannot fault the film for lack of ambition, even if it's never as satisfying as it should be dramatically. Ross utilizes truly innovative special effects, combining vibrant color with rich black-and-white, often in the same scene, mirroring the personalities of the characters and their feelings. The second of two high-profile films in 1998 (the other being The Truman Show to address television's relation to society, especially pertaining to spectatorship, Pleasantville also marked the final big-screen appearance of beloved character actor J.T. Walsh, who shines as an old-school values family man.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
New Line Home Video
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Commentary with Writer/Director Gary Ross; Isolated Score Track with Commentary by Composer Randy Newman; Featurette The Art Of Pleasantville; Fiona Apple Across the Universe Music Video Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson; Theatrical Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tobey Maguire David/Bud
Jeff Daniels Mr. Johnson
Joan Allen Betty
William H. Macy George
J.T. Walsh Big Bob
Reese Witherspoon Jennifer/Mary Sue
Don Knotts TV Repairman
Paul Walker Skip
Marley Shelton Margaret
Jane Kaczmarek David and Jennifer's Mom
Giuseppe Andrews Howard
Jenny Lewis Christin
Marissa Ribisi Actor

Technical Credits
Gary Ross Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Allen Alsobrook Co-producer
Robert Anderson Sound/Sound Designer
Andy Borowitz Co-producer
Susan Borowitz Co-producer
Michael De Luca Executive Producer
Robert J. Degus Producer
William C. Goldenberg Editor
Bonnie Greenberg Musical Direction/Supervision
Jon Kilik Producer
Ellen Lewis Casting
John Lindley Cinematographer
Edward Lynn Co-producer
Judianna Makovsky Costumes/Costume Designer
Randy Newman Score Composer
Jeannine Oppewall Production Designer
Mary Parent Executive Producer
Steven Soderbergh Producer
Allison Thomas Co-producer
Dianne I. Wager Art Director
Chris Watts Special Effects Supervisor
Debra Zane Casting


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Pleasantville 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
goodgirl2 More than 1 year ago
espically the fact that it has Paul Walker cause he is so goureous i enjoy this movie i really do the charcters did an amazing job its a movie where you have to reliaze nothing can always be perfect and its my kind of movie it really is!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pleasantville is a movie about a guy who wants to escape his world through the TV. He has a sister who is very different from him. They want to see the TV at the same time but different shows. They start to fight for the control so they break it. Then an oldman came with a new remote control. Then they were on Pleasantville they change many things. Everything was black and white, then everything started to get colors and people started to change their lives. I think it was a good movie because the people change. The theme is about how the people are if they are perfect, because they can'tbe normal people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I happened to catch Pleasantville on Cable TV, not having heard of it before. It was more than a cute movie about two teen-agers from a somewhat dysfunctional family who traveled into the past -- it was a movie that showed us the good and bad in every generation. Though life in the '50s may have seemed pure and idyllic, ''Bud'' and ''Mary Sue'' found that there were tremendous barriers of prejudice and narrow-mindedness that made life seem black-and-white. When they began to break through these barriers -- bringing the beauty of art and literature and independent thought to the citizens of Pleasantville -- ''color'' entered their lives, along with the need to make difficult choices. It is a story of society growing up, but apparently its message was too subtle for many of your other reviewers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great movie including the coming of age new actors Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire. These two make an unlikly pair who travel through their television set into Maguires favorite show Pleasantville. There they must learn many lessons until they can return home. If you enjoy any of reeses films you'll love this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The movie was about going to a different place that is very different from where you are. Pleasantville is about two teenagers. David and his sister Jen. They are very different person. They are very different from each other. She likes to do bad things, but he is a nice boy. But she goes to Pleasantville she changes and she make a decision to stay there. She begins doing bad things but at the end she do good things that she have never done before where she live. And at the other side David love Pleasantville and he always watch the show of Pleasantville. The movie starts that they are two different persons Jen and David. They do not get alone. They had problems with their parents. The parents are not together. David is the one who is the most affected. Jen does not care much about anything. David is a shy boy; he is scaring to talk to girls. One night David was going to watch the Pleasantville show and Jen was going to watch a different show. And they flight over the control remote and without them call the TV repairs he came and he fixed the control and David press something on the control and he and Jen go to a different places. The place of Pleasantville and there they aren¿t not more Jen and David they are Mary Sue and Bud. They discovered that everything is perfect in Pleasantville. But went they have lived there for a time things start changing in Pleasantville. The people always do the same thing but they start doing new things thanks to Mary sue and Bud and the people were not in color but they changed to color and they do things that they never had done before and Pleasantville is not perfect any more. This movie is for all ages is fun to watch. The director of this movie make this movie for the purpose that things can change and people can change to. Gladys Mejia
Guest More than 1 year ago
Movie Review We saw a movie that was call Pleasantville because every thing was good and pleasant and no body make no mistakes they do not have no fire the firemen save cat in Pleasantville this story take place in the present but the boy and the girl go to the past because of control and because the where fighting. The story begin in the present
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film serves chiefly as a metaphor for the changing values of latter 20th century American life. The seemingly-utopian contentedness portrayed in 50s shows is contrasted with the dysfunctional, sexually and personally liberated family unit of today. The 50s, with the onset of TV, the growth of rock'n'roll, feminism, the rise of the modern novel (note The Catcher in the Rye references) and the decline of McCarthyism. The book-burning, Lynch mobs, kangaroo-courts, rejection of literature and anti-progress sentiment were features of the McCarthy period. The 2 kids bring a level of liberation and self-awareness to the town, exposing the repressed emotions beneath the placidity of everyday life, and guiding the characters towards more fulfilling and sustainable existence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The importance of one's lifestyle is relevant only to the beholder, but in this film many things are brought about.. Pleasantville's monotonous lifestyle was anything but arduous or complex. When David (Toby Maguire) and Jennifer (Reece Witherspoon) are accidently thrown into the TV world of Pleasantville, things start to change. The functioning utopia begins to disspate. Authority is questioned, materialism is emphasized, and the comforting phrase to so many, ''ignorence is bliss'', is suddenly a dream once more. Although David liked the utopia, Jennifer saw the potential of variety in the lives of the Pleasantville citizins. This is a great movie. Once someone can see past the simple things, a film can really shine as this one does.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Review of Pleasantville The movie Pleasantville is about a supposed perfect place to live. The story is about a brother and a sister that are totally different. They are taken to a place where everything seems to be perfect, but they find out that not all the things that look good are good. David is a boy who is little disappointed about life. He is not good with the girls and he doesn¿t have a big personality. Jen is a girl that likes to enjoy life. She goes out with guys and has a lot of friends. In the story, David and Jen are taken to Pleasantville, a TV program where everything is supposed to be perfect. Once there, they start to change things, and teach the people how to be real people. They also learn the importance of certain things and feelings while they are in Pleasantville. In my opinion it was a good movie, because it was interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is awesome you have to understand the meaning of their ignorance of believing the government without doubt. They needed to understand that they need to think for themselves
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story start when a young man likes to watch the program named ¿Pleasantville¿ The name of the man is David. David has some problems with his family David has a sister named Jen. Jen has invited her boyfriend to see a concert on her house. The concert is about the MTV program. Then when it¿s time to see David¿s program and it¿s time to see the concert on MTV than they start fighting for the remote control, than they break the remote control. After than a TV repairman gave then a remote control and then they get into ¿Pleasantville¿. When there are in Pleasantville Jen or Mary Sue discovers that everything in Pleasantville it¿s always correct. Then Mary Sue start to turning everything good to bad because she start to have sex with her boyfriend then the people start to be on color, or the basketball team loss there game and they never have lose a game before. When her mom on the program start to turning on color her husband was elected as City Hall Councel and there against the persons that are in color.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One time on T.V. channel is show about Pleasantville Marathon. David wants to escape from his life by watching tv because he is not cool with the girls. Jen is planning to watch t.v. with her boyfriend A NTV Concert. They fight over the remote control because they want to watch different tv shows. With a magnic remote control David and Jen get in Pleasantville. Their names are David, Bud, and Marysue. They have blanke books in Pleasantville. Bud works in a IceCream shop. Pleasantville is a perfect world. They have basketball games and they never loose. They always win. But one time they lost a game they thought something was wrong. Pleasantville started changing. Skip is driving home and he sees one rose in color. Pleasantville is changing a little bit of color is starting to come out. This movie gives us a lesson that first it was a perfect world but then it changes at the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a movie about a town name Pleasantville that every thing is perfect and they not even noon about fire or sex. They don¿t not have colors in Pleasantville they oly have black and white. But one day Mary Sue had a date with Skip and they had sex and every thing began to change because the things began to have colors and some people change to colors they were not happy. Many people did not liked color and they discriminate others because they had colors. They even had a curt to separate from colors and white and black but bud new how to turn to colors and every body in the curt became in colors. Mary sue decided to stay in Pleasantville to go to college and Bud went back to his house and lives happy ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pleasantville David Bud and Jennifer there were brothers. There was a TV show named The TV time that shows Pleasantville. David was not to cool with the girls. And Jennifer doesn¿t care anything she was planning to watch a show with his boyfriend. And David was planning to watch Pleasantville so they start fighting for the control remote. Than for some reason a old guy appears it was the one that presents Pleasantville program. He appears an gave them a magic control so they can get into the Pleasantville. When they get in the appear in a home were there parents lived. Jennifer name in Pleasantville was Mary Sue in this place everything was perfect. and the wearied thing is that they don¿t have restrooms and the books are blanked. When Pleasantville start changing was because David and Mary Sue made a mistake. When almost all Pleasantville start changing colors some people get mad at Bud and Mary Sue. Another wearied thing is when Mary Sue start changing color she was a good girl. She was always studying so she could go to the university. Bud return with his mother Mary Sue went to the university. Now all the people was all change into color.
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