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Avalon

125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Academy Award(r) winning director of BUGSY, AVALON is based loosely on Barry Levinson's own family and their real experiences emigrating to Baltimore in the early 20th century from Eastern Europe. The third in Levinson's group of "Baltimore" chronicles, which include DINER and TIN MEN, AVALON.

Special Features

  • Talent Files (Barry Levinson, Aidan Quinn, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Elizabeth Perkins, Lou Jacobi, Joan Plowright, Kevin Pollak and Elijah Wood)

Product Details

  • Actors: Aidan Quinn, Elizabeth Perkins, Leo Fuchs, Eve Gordon, Lou Jacobi
  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Writers: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Barry Levinson, Charles Newirth, Marie Rowe, Mark Johnson
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Columbia TriStar Home Video/Mill Creek
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2001
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056HP4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,447 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Avalon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Igor Gershenson on May 11, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is probably not for everyone. It is slow in places, and it does not involve cars being blown up and people getting shot. It is a very personal portrait of one immigrant family. It is peculiar that it makes me feel nostalgic even though I was born in the 70s and in another country at that. In any case, as someone who grew up around immigrants I enjoyed the accurate depiction of relationships within immigrant families. The turkey scene, for example, is an absolute classic. It is funny on the one hand, but, believe it or not, it is also tragic for it very accurately shows how little arguments can ruin relationships between close relatives. We have all seen it happen. The film also accurately depicts the tension between the haves and the have-nots within a family. I have seen this movie many times and I never get tired of it. It is very poignant and beautifly acted. I especially love the scene of the grandfather coming to America. I want to cry every time I see it. It is sort of surreal and you know when watching it that it is just his memory we are seeing,not reality.... I loved this movie. By the way, the score is wonderful also.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on January 11, 2007
Format: DVD
Looking back at some recent comedies by Barry Levinson ("Envy" and "Man of the Year"), it's hard to remember the not-so-distant past when he was a major Hollywood director. A primary creative force behind TV's lauded "Homicide," he also won accolades for film projects as diverse as "Diner" in 1982 to "Wag the Dog" in 1997. And for a few years, he was on a real roll of serious minded and critically acclaimed movies--"Good Morning, Vietnam" followed by an Oscar for "Rain Man" and then another nomination for "Bugsy." Well, in between "Rain Man" and "Bugsy" (both films that I would rate at 5 stars for different reasons), he made his most personal film yet. While "Avalon" doesn't have the high profile of some of these other films (it did secure some writing awards for Levinson, however)--it is my favorite. It's a little film, a quiet character study, a wistfully nostalgic look at a more innocent time--but it's done on an epic scale.

"Avalon" is a fictionalized (and idealized) account of Levinson's own history, a Jewish family from Russia emigrates to the United States to seek prosperity and happiness. Set largely in the Baltimore of the 1940s and 1950s, "Avalon" gently examines family and the discovery of new opportunity. Plot-wise, there isn't a lot to account for--this film doesn't just seek to tell a story, but to strike a mood and create a feeling. There are just great scenes of familial interaction, funny scenes about growing up, scenes of wonder at the progress of a new country. The film might be one of the strongest family films ever. In a day where every film represents dysfunction and quirkiness, "Avalon" is a sweet throwback. This film is based on love, communication, and how people can naturally drift apart.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bundtlust TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 15, 2005
Format: DVD
Barry Levinson's sprawling "Avalon" tells the story of Polish Jewish immigrant Sam Krichinsky as he joins his four brothers in Baltimore, 1914. The movie opens with a beautifully shot montage of fireworks, American symbols of liberty such as the eagle, and an immigrant's wonder at the lights and joy surrounding him on the Fourth of July. We cut to the present, where Sam's large family is introduced at Thanksgiving dinner, where the various brothers and their wives bicker in the way that large families do. Sam's son, Jules (Aidan Quinn), and his grandson Michael (Elijah Wood, in his first major role) become the focus of much of the story. Sam and his cousin Izzy (Kevin Pollack) engage in a series of risky business deals to expand their small department store into televisions, then a discount store, then a discount warehouse, all the while swept along by the tide of modern technology (television).

Levinson based the character of Sam on his own immigrant grandfather, and Avalon paints a poignant portrait of family dynamics and the intrusion of commercialism and technology on their lives. Avalon feels like it could have benefited from a little extra trimming (the subplot of Eva's long-lost brother coming to America fades in and out in the blink of an eye), but overall was a beautiful look at a family's changing traditions across the generations. Armin Mueller-Stahl is amazing as Sam, and Joan Plowright as his long-suffering wife brings a fire and charm to the character that reminded me of my own Polish grandmother.

The one element that seemed too transparent was the family's Jewishness, or lack of it.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By George Noyes, Jr. on March 8, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This film is one of the best I've ever seen in the history of movie-making. While others might scoff at the "boring reality" of it, I found Avalon insightful and involving. The movie revolves around the deterioration of the extended family and primarily the life of one man, Sam Kirkchinski, the patriarch of his family. There is everything good to say about this film: the script, the acting, the directing, the music...everything was absolutely wonderful! While watching this film you fall in love with some characters and grow to dislike others. The directing is probably the most beautiful thing about Avalon, interpreting beautifully Sam's memories of coming to the country, which grow more and more beautiful in his mind with time. The soundtrack comes in a close second, however: Randy Newman composed one of his most beautiful and most overlooked scores for this movie. Overlooked, I don't know why. This movie slipped right by many people when it came out and I hope that they are able to see it sometime. Be warned: if you see Avalon once, it won't be the last time!
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