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Alice's Restaurant

4.1 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

"It is hard to imagine a more beautiful movie" (Time) than this critically acclaimed chronicle of hippie life during the late 1960s, which garnered the acclaimed director of Bonnie and Clyde his second Oscar(r) nomination*. Based on the song by folk music troubadour Arlo Guthrie, son of legendary "Dust Bowl" balladeer Woody Guthrie, this tribute film to "the lost generation" features memorable scenes with other folk artists like Pete Seeger, who join Arlo in song to make a profound statement about war, protest and change. In the late '60s, a changing social and political climate inspired a new generation to create a lifestyle outside of the mainstream. Twenty-two year-old Arlo's journey to find a place for himself and his music includes a visit to his dying father in the hospital, gigs in New York and romps with his friends Alice and Ray, who run a small restaurant in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. And when an incident at Alice's Restaurant plays a pivotal role inArlo's avoidance of the draft, it sends him down a road that he will consider a small price to pay to keep his freedom and his beliefs. *Arthur Penn: Director; Alice's Restaurant (1969); Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary
  • This is the never before seen Rated R version

Product Details

  • Actors: Arlo Guthrie, Patricia Quinn, James Broderick, Pete Seeger, Lee Hays
  • Directors: Arthur Penn
  • Writers: Arlo Guthrie, Arthur Penn, Venable Herndon
  • Producers: Harold Leventhal, Hillard Elkins, Joseph Manduke
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: January 23, 2001
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000053VAR
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,236 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Alice's Restaurant" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I had fun doing a running commentary for this new DVD release which I know you'll enjoy. However, because MGM/UA would not allow our small company to purchase the DVD at a decent wholesale price, they've cut us out from selling the product through our own retail outlet (we can buy it cheaper here at Amazon) where we've been selling our CDs and VHS movies (including Alice's Restaurant) for years. We are boycotting the sale of the DVD until changes can be made. Stick with us and wait. Then buy it here or anywhere. Thanks, Arlo Guthrie
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Format: DVD
The excellent-quality Alice's Restaurant DVD is a cultural gem! Thanks to audio commentary by Arlo Guthrie himself, Alice's Restaurant merits nomination as the greatest movie ever about the 60s or, for that matter, any time of profound social and spiritual change! What adds human depth to this movie is that many people involved in the real-life drama are here, in the same locations, playing themselves!
The 60s social/intellectual/spiritual divide is illustrated in Alice's Restaurant by this insane question: can anyone who dumps litter be sufficiently moral to help kill people in another land? The social divide of the 60s has additional clarity in Alice's Restaurant because the movie director was in one ideological camp and Arlo Guthrie was in the other! In addition, an extremely valid spiritual dimension is provided to the story because Alice's restaurant was in a church; a fertile and far-reaching symbol! It makes the movie and real-life story into one wonderful (but never utopian) heart-warming adventure!
The movie has an amazing number of dimensions. What amazes most, however, is the Alice's Restaurant song, on which the movie was partly based. It still sounds wonderfully fresh and naïve! It maintains its power because it is not only a celebration of the genuine joys of life, love, and friendship but also an indisputable anthem that fully affirms the great natural value of simply having fun in life when you can `get anything you want'. It seems a totally innocuous, irrelevant song ... yet, that remains its overwhelming strength rather than its weakness. After the movie, how life-affirming and universally joyous an anthem the song becomes!
My hat is off to you Mr. Guthrie! Thank you!
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By A Customer on August 7, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This movie embodies the contrasts of the 60's. It shows the freedom of being young and the joys that accompany it. It also shows the fear of being drafted into a war in which the counterculture was determined to stifle. "Alice" also shows the sensitivity and the integrity that Arlo Guthrie possessed and continues to possess in his 50's. Although this movie is so timely with the issues of the 60's (war, drugs, and nonconformity), it is also timeless because no matter what the decade, or what the issues at hand, everyone is, at one point, the idealistic child (represented by Arlo and friends) and the "Not young but not old" confused, mid to late 20'something adult (represented by Alice and Ray). Both represent phases of life common to all of us. Do not be mistaken, it has its moments of drama and tragedy, but it is ultimately humorous and making a mockery of the establishment that rejected a generation. Arlo is quirky and hilarious. He is a brilliant storyteller, and most would agree that this is his best story of all. A MUST SEE!
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Format: DVD
I re-visited this film the other night (on Thanksgiving) after not having seen it for some years. I remember when it first came out that I had mixed feelings about it and I still do. It's an interesting film (almost too interesting) but not really what I would call enjoyable. As portrayed in the film, Alice's Restaurant was not a particularly fun place to be.

Part of the problem seems to the director's insistence on making the film "relevant" and "meaningful" in the heavy-handed manner that too many Sixties films did. The movie is most successful when following the mood and theme of the song on which it is supposed to be based; much less so when trying to pad out the plot. The Woody hospital scenes are a nice poignant touch, but the bike races are boring and the character of Shelly is just plain annoying. The acting throughout is inconsistent. Arlo Guthrie is likeable but lightweight and flashes his toothy grin once too often. Pat Quinn as Alice comes off best. Officer Obie is a nice touch but many of the rest of the cast seem to be Hollywood versions of very clean hippies wearing the latest fashions straight off the costume rack.

The biggest problem in the film for me is the character of Ray who I find rather sinister. His background is never really explained and he comes across as a kind of cult leader, always going on about "our kids". His source of income is a mystery - he buys the church and sets up the restaurant but has to borrow $80 from Arlo. He's not very nice to Alice but she seems drawn to him. The hippies follow him without question, apparently happy to trade one establishment for another. The film seems unnecessarily dark whenever Ray is on the scene.
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