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Always


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Steven Spielberg directs this heartwarming romantic adventure USA Today calls "a winner". Pete Sandich (Richard Dreyfuss) is a legendary pilot with a passion for daredevil firefighting. However Dorinda (Holly Hunter), the woman he loves, and Al (John Goodman), Pete's best friend, know that legends can't take risks forever. After sacrificing himself to save Al, the ace pilot faces his most challenging mission: helping Dorinda move on with her life. Breathtaking cinematography and exhilarating aerial choreography highlight this compelling adventure that co-stars Brad Johnson and features a special appearance by Audrey Hepburn.

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Considered by many to represent a low point in Steven Spielberg's career, 1990's Always did suggest something of a temporary drift in the director's sensibility. A remake of the classic Spencer Tracy film A Guy Named Joe, Always stars Richard Dreyfuss as a Forest Service pilot who takes great risks with his own life to douse wildfires from a plane. After promising his frightened fiancée (Holly Hunter) to keep his feet on the ground and go into teaching, Dreyfuss's character is killed during one last flight. But his spirit wanders restlessly, hopelessly attached to and possessive of Hunter, who can't see or hear him. Then the real conflict begins: a trainee pilot (Brad Johnson), a likable doofus, begins wooing a not-unappreciative Hunter--and it becomes Dreyfuss's heavenly mandate to accept, and even assist in, their budding romance. The trouble with the film is a certain airlessness, a hyper-inventiveness in every scene and sequence that screams of Spielberg's self-education in Hollywood classicism. Unlike the masters he is constantly quoting and emulating in Always, he forgets to back off and let the movie breathe on its own sometimes, which would better serve his clockwork orchestration of suspense and comedy elsewhere. Still, there are lovely passages in this film, such as the unforgettable look on Dreyfuss's face a half-second before fate claims him. John Goodman contributes good supporting work, and Audrey Hepburn makes her final screen appearance as an angel. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Audrey Hepburn, Brad Johnson
    • Directors: Steven Spielberg
    • Writers: Jerry Belson
    • Producers: Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 4.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: July 20, 1999
    • Run Time: 123 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (409 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00000IQW5
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,581 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Always" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    4.7 out of 5 stars

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    103 of 107 people found the following review helpful By "lecorel@hotmail.com" on October 3, 2002
    Format: DVD
    Richard Dreyfuss is a pilot, and kind of a wild card when it comes to his fire fighter flying. This concerns the people around him, girlfriend Holly Hunter and best friend John Goodman, but Dreyfuss shruggs it off because this is what he does. Finally Hunter convinces him he should take a job in Flat Rock, Colorado training pilots to do what he does. Unfortunately he never makes it to Flat Rock, at least not in the flesh. Not trying to give too much away, Dreyfuss comes back as a sort of guardian angel, forced to deal with two things: his love for Hunter and his duty to a young pilot she falls for.
    Always is a well made picture. From Spielberg we expect nothing less, though I think his name hinders this film**. The cinematography and the score are excellent as in all his films, as are the action sequences involving the planes. However, the acting is the strongest part of this film. This is the kind of role Dreyfuss shines in. His fusion of wit and sincere emotion is wonderfull and he delivers some difficult monologues which would seem trite is lesser hands. Holly Hunter and John Goodman are excellent as the people dealing with his loss. Also Audrey Hepburn makes her final screen appearance in two scenes as an angel (how fitting).
    **I have this theory about Always. It was almost universally panned by critics, but I think the criticism is directed more at Spielberg than at the film. Certainly Spielberg has made better pictures, and perhaps this film was made on a grander scale than it needed to be, but I think if any other director had done this film it would not have received so much scrutiny. But, I also believe in the hands of a lesser director this movie would not be as good. Always combines action, humor, genuine sorrow, and happiness , and it combines them well, which is no small achievement. Spielberg made a good film, let it go.
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    52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 2002
    Format: DVD
    I really enjoy this movie. The cast was fabulous. This was Audrey Hepburn's last appearance on the big screen as well, in a role as "Hap", the angel who Pete (Richard Dreyfuss) first encounters after dying from his plane exploding.
    Holly Hunter shines as Dorinda, Pete's girlfriend, who tries to come to terms with Pete dying. John Goodman is also funny and loveable as Al, one of the pilot trainers.
    I was really disappointed when "Ghost" (although Ghost is a good movie in and of itself too) came out a little while later, because it seemed to have stolen many themes from "Always", such as male lead having problems saying "I love you", male lead being able to have an influence on surviving loved ones after dying, lead female being able to be told eventually "I love you by lead male. Ghost seemed to get more of the rave reviews and sentimental following than Always, because it was a "sexier" movie. acted by "handsomer" actors. Always was told more like a fairy tale. Anyway, I digress.
    I found this movie to be magical and I really enjoyed it.
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    60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Erik North on March 16, 2002
    Format: VHS Tape
    A loose reworking of Victor Fleming's 1943 World War II drama A GUY NAMED JOE, ALWAYS has to rank as perhaps director Steven Spielberg's most unfairly maligned movie. Even though it has a very old-fashioned feel updated to the late 1980s, this is still a fine movie done with real poignancy. This is nowhere near the bottom of the Spielberg canon; that dubious distinction belongs to "1941" and HOOK.
    Richard Dreyfuss stars as Pete, a dare-devil aerial firefighter with a penchant for taking a lot of unneccesary chances in his line of work. As much "fun" as he has, he is worrying not only his partner Al (John Goodman), but also his one true love Dorinda (Holly Hunter). After much pressure, including Hunter's threat to leave him, he agrees to settle down and become an instructor for up-and-coming flyers in Colorado after one last mission. But on that mission, in the process of saving Goodman when his plane catches fire, Dreyfuss loses his life when his aircraft explodes. Goodman is horrified, and Hunter devastated.
    In heaven (or a burned-out section of forest), Dreyfuss is met by a guardian angel (Audrey Hepburn, in her final role). He comes back to earth as a spirit, to help a rookie fire-fighter (Brad Johnson) learn the tricks of the trade. Johnson does this and more; unfortunately, he also falls head over heels for Hunter, and Dreyfuss feels the pain of having to watch this, not being able to let go. But Hepburn gives him very good counsel, and he is redeemed by saving Hunter from a fiery death in a flight through a nightmarish firestorm.
    One of Spielberg's most touching movies, ALWAYS was unfairly castigated by critics as being heavy-handed and manipulative. I, however, am extremely cynical of such critics who only analyze certain films and don't really FEEL anything.
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    24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Hinde on May 22, 2000
    Format: DVD
    Let's face it, there's damned few chances in life to root for the dead guy. And when the deceased is a fire fighting hero, a pilot and Richard Dreyfuss, you know your have to love him. But before I become too premature, let's lay the groundwork. Actually that term is only half correct for "Always", as a lot of the action takes place in the air. You see we are dealing with airborne smokeys, fire fliers who pilot Air Tankers and dump thousands of gallons of water on forest fires for little pay, even less public recognition and no future.

    So there's no prizes for guessing the outcome when we are introduced to one of the more reckless pilots, Pete Sandich, who is in a non-committal relationship with a beautiful Radio operator back at base, Dorinda Durston, played by Holly Hunter. But before the inevitable, tragic accident, we are treated to some quite romantic scenes. The best of which involves Pete gifting his love with a stunning white cocktail dress. The timing could have been better as she then has to dance with every roughneck fire-stomper in the base.

    Pete's best friend, the improbably named Al Yackey, is played by John Goodman. He actually has the best role in the film and whilst he does offer much comic relief, there is much more meat on the character's bones than just humour. In fact he is an integral part in putting all the pieces back together following Pete's death.

    Interestingly, the story doesn't really take off until Pete is ashes to ashes. You see the afterlife is not all cheese and biscuits, laying back on fluffy clouds. There's work to do, inspiring the living to be the best they can be, or at least to stop being such losers.
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