4.6 12
Director: Phil Alden Robinson

Cast: Phil Alden Robinson, Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Ben Kingsley


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Phil Alden Robinson's Sneakers finally gets the treatment it deserves on this Collector's Edition release, five years after its first appearance on DVD and 11 years after its original release. The disc comes loaded with so much material that it represents almost a technological jump over the old release -- except that this technology was there, just not used.See more details below


Phil Alden Robinson's Sneakers finally gets the treatment it deserves on this Collector's Edition release, five years after its first appearance on DVD and 11 years after its original release. The disc comes loaded with so much material that it represents almost a technological jump over the old release -- except that this technology was there, just not used. Among the bonus features, the most enjoyable is the 40-minute featurette "The Making of Sneakers," which reveals the movie's origins a decade before its release, during the making of WarGames. Robinson, Lawrence Lasker, and Walter F. Parkes tell of the ten years it took (while working on other movies) to get the film written and then produced, while moving from one studio to another (Paramount lost it, Universal ultimately got it). In the course of getting it made, they all got to be older than the oldest character in the script -- an irony that wasn't lost on them. There are also interviews with various experts in such fields as number theory and telephone hacking (the legendary John Draper (aka "Captain Crunch") who was partly the basis for the Dan Aykroyd character), and cast members Robert Redford, Mary McDonnell, and David Strathairn -- we find out that Carl, the youngest of the hackers, was the character with which the filmmakers most identified. There's a certain sadness in seeing River Phoenix in his interview sequences, but the making-of film is still an unabashed delight. The audio commentary by Robinson, Lasker, and Parkes offers its own enjoyment, although it will be of slightly more interest to professionals -- filmmakers, screenwriters, producers, actors, critics, etc. -- than to the casual viewer. In the first two minutes, we learn that there was a major change made in the plot because the original story had the Redford and Ben Kingsley characters accidentally killing a man, which they realized would make Redford's character irredeemable in the eyes of filmgoers. Instead, they changed his indiscretion to hacking into Richard Nixon's personal bank account and transferring funds to the Black Panthers and other leftist organizations of the late '60s, and that change linked the movie's opening to its finish. The discussion is filled with little bits of information like that, all presented in a lighthearted tone; unlike some writers and directors discussing their work, these guys never fool themselves into thinking they were writing, or even pondering, Hamlet. As for the film-to-video transfer, the newer disc's image does seem to offer a lot more picture information -- and a generally brighter picture -- than the original DVD release; both are letterboxed in the non-anamorphic ratio of 1.85:1. There is also a trailer. The only thing missing from this new edition is some acknowledgement of James Horner's excellent score. The producers have used the same 16-chapter breakdown that was utilized for the 1998 edition.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Ackroyd, and Ben Kingsley headline a star-studded cast for this clever, suspenseful thriller that plays upon the dawn of the information age. Redford, taut and intelligent, delivers one of his more definitive modern-day performances. Set in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the shadow of Silicon Valley, the film explores the infinite possibilities of computer advancements -- both positive and negative -- in a very sleek manner. With a careful hand, Phil Alden Robinson achieves a commensurate level of tightly wound thrills in direct proportion to the sharply detailed script. The one drawback is the rather uneven pace: at times lightning quick, sacrificing clarity, at other points slow and lackadaisical. River Phoenix and James Earl Jones lend support to the already capable and eclectic cast. The appropriately technocratic tone of the film rivals or surpasses later attempts at the same subject matter (The Net, Hackers).

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Feature commentary with writer/director Phil Alden Robinson; "The making of Sneakers" featurette; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Redford Martin Bishop
Sidney Poitier Donald Crease
Ben Kingsley Cosmo
Dan Aykroyd Mother
Mary McDonnell Liz
River Phoenix Carl Arbogast
David Strathairn Erwin "Whistler" Emory
Timothy Busfield Dick Gordon
George Hearn Gregor
Eddie Jones Buddy Wallace
Donal Logue Dr. Gunter Janek
Lee Garlington Dr. Elena Rhyzkov
Stephen Tobolowsky Dr. Werner Brandes
James Earl Jones Mr. Bernard Abbott
Jo Jo Marr College-Aged Cosmo
Gary Hershberger College-Aged Martin Bishop
Juel Bestrop Actor
Risa Bramon Garcia Actor
John Moio Gregor's Chauffeur
Rudy Francis Nementz Playtronics Desk Guard-Day
Hayward Soo-Hoo Chinese Restaurant Waiter
Bodhi Elfman Centurion S&L Night Guard
Denise Dowse Bank Teller
Hanyee Bank Secretary
Tim Winters Homeless Man
Jun Asai Piano Prodigy
John Shepard Collidge Institute Guard
Ellaraino Mrs. Crease
Dayna Hollinquist Melissa Crease
Jacqueline Brand Kiev String Quartet Member
Julie Gigante Kiev String Quartet Member
Victoria Miskolczy Kiev String Quartet Member
David Speltz Kiev String Quartet Member
Leslie Hardy Gregor's Date
James Craven FBI Agent
R.C. Everbeck 2nd FBI Agent
Ernie Tetrault TV Anchorman
Lori Hall NSA Phone Operator
Michael Kinney Playtronics Desk Guard-Day
Ralph Monaco Playtronics Lobby Guard-Day
Paul Jenkins Playtronics Lobby Guard-Night
Foster Playtronics Desk Guard-Night
George Hartmann Playtronics Stairwell Guard
Jeffrey Daniel Phillips Playtronics Perimeter Guard
Michael Boston Playtronics Perimeter Guard
Anthony Winters Male NSA Agent
Jeff Joy Male NSA Agent
Amy Benedict Female NSA Agent
Roger Callard NSA agent (uncredited)
Michael Milhoan Russian Driver
George Cheung Chinese Restaurant Singer

Technical Credits
Phil Alden Robinson Director,Screenwriter
Juel Bestrop Casting
Patrizia Von Brandenstein Production Designer
Keith Brian Burns Set Decoration/Design
William M. Elvin Associate Producer
Risa Bramon Garcia Casting
James Horner Score Composer
Lawrence Lasker Producer,Screenwriter
John Lindley Cinematographer
Branford Marsalis Score Composer
James Murakami Set Decoration/Design
Walter Parkes Producer,Screenwriter
Lindsley Parsons Producer
Bernie Pollack Costumes/Costume Designer
Tom Rolf Editor
Samara Schaffer Set Decoration/Design
James Tocci Set Decoration/Design
Dianne I. Wager Art Director

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles/December 1969 [5:28]
2. Night Moves [5:28]
3. Customers [10:29]
4. Eye On Dr. Janek [17:49]
5. Word Games [4:12]
6. Too Many Secrets [6:05]
7. The Handoff [5:46]
8. Who To Trust [4:18]
9. Reunion [12:41]
10. Listening Back [5:42]
11. The World's Most Boring Human [1:30]
12. Sneaking Around [7:24]
13. Complications [9:32]
14. The Deal Falls Through [9:11]
15. It's All About the Information [6:31]
16. In the Chips (End Titles) [7:50]


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