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  • Bonfire of the Vanities [VHS]
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Bonfire of the Vanities [VHS]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, Kim Cattrall, Saul Rubinek
  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Writers: Michael Cristofer, Tom Wolfe
  • Producers: Brian De Palma, Chris F. Woods, Fred C. Caruso, Jon Peters, Monica Goldstein
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: September 14, 1998
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301975952
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,500 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Handle with care--this one's a bomb! Director Brian De Palma seemed an unlikely choice to transfer Tom Wolfe's mammoth bestseller-- a vibrantly satiric story about race, politics, and greed in 1980s New York--to the screen. In this case, the first impression was correct. Made with a tin ear to everything that made the book so real, the movie gets it wrong every time, starting with casting Tom Hanks in the central role (which, as anyone with brains knew, should have been played by William Hurt). Move along to the choice of Bruce Willis for the sneaky British tabloid journalist and, well, need I say more? As stylish as any De Palma film, this story of a Wall Street broker whose extramarital shenanigans trigger a racial incident that becomes front-page news gets no help from Michael Cristofer's tone-deaf script. After watching it, read Julie Salomon's behind-the-scenes book about its making, The Devil's Candy, which is much more entertaining. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

It is one of the worst films that I have ever seen.
Patrick T. Munley
It's just an old fav of mine, love Tom Hanks, Melanie Griffith and of course Bruce Willis in this.
No matter how bad you think this movie is going to be, it's worse.
Bruce Amspacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2004
Format: DVD
Next to Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate, David Lynch's Dune, and Francis Ford Coppola's One From the Heart, Brian De Palma's Bonfire of the Vanities is a savagely under-rated film. De Palma once again demonstrates he is a master of wit. The film was initially criticized, or rather misinterpreted, for being somehow 'lightweight.' If anything, the film is over-the-top! De Palma's choice for lavish sets and stunning cinematography (by vilmos zsigmond) in wall street upper class New York perfectly match the subject matter and commentary on the 1980s greed infested 'me' decade and Reagan/Bush era, adapted from Thomas Wolfe's popular novel. Critics howled that the film downplayed Wolfe's themes...people act like Tom Wolfe, albeit a talented writer, is somehow as deep as James Joyce or something. The message of the book is pretty darn simple people! and it translates very obviously, perhaps even too obviously, in the film. Not to mention the fact that film is a totally different medium than literature, and one should not expect a film to be exactly like the book. as for the miscasting criticism, it is true Hanks doesnt exactly perfectly fit the role of McCoy, but he doesnt take away from the movie. The supporting cast, however, is better than him. Griffith is fantastic, and Willis gives a performance that practically carries the movie. I think this film was very ambitious and ahead of its time, and will in the future eventually be recognized as a very good film.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Hopelessly intellectual on February 14, 2005
Format: DVD
This movie got mercilessly flogged by reviewers when it was released. For that reason, I avoided it all these years. Well, that's what I get for being a sheep. This is actually a very enjoyable film. I'm sure it will continue to offend a lot of people, but what doesn't these days? I did read and like Wolfe's novel, and I really thought this was a faithful film version.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Francis on October 26, 2004
Format: DVD
I was only a young teen when this came out, but I vividly remember all of the scandalous press about how bad it supposedly was. Uh-uh, not true. Before watching it this past weekend, I noticed that almost all of the reviewers who hated it had read the book first and were upset it was so different. Well, I haven't read the book yet, and watched the movie this past weekend. It was just great - a very witty comedy/drama/social commentary of the '80s, not unlike one of my other faves, "Six Degrees of Separation". Melanie Griffith is the best one in this and yes, her southern accent does come and go, but maybe it was intentional - to show her character was a fake @$$ b!tch who couldn't even keep her accent going? Also great to see Kim Cattrall, who has obviously had a boob job since this was made. Charming also is "Sabrina The Teenage Witch"'s Beth Broderick.

I'm going to explain my book/movie difference theory using my all-time favorite movie "Valley of the Dolls" (VOTD) as an example. Yes, I know it (and the book for that matter) is considered trash, but it still proves the point. I saw the VOTD movie first and adored it instantly, so I then rushed out and read the book, which was SO different and had so many more subplots, additional characters, attributed different dialogue to different characters, etc. However, this still ADDED to my movie-going experience by giving me "bonus" footage/scenes to enjoy and supplemet the movie. Had I read the book FIRST, upon seeing the movie, I would've probably been disappointed because I already had preconceived expectations. I think the same rule applies to "Bonfire". It just isn't possible to get all of a full-length novel into a 2 hour movie and unfortunately they have to cast within the Hollywood system (who's hot, who's available, wtc.)... Please don't miss this! When Melanie gets her come-uppance, it is triumphant!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cutre on February 26, 2002
Format: DVD
That's about all it took for Sherman McCoy's life to change. A tire. Lost in the Bronx with his lover Maria, McCoy ends up in an alley, gets out of the car to move a tire out of the way, when two black guys come to him. Are they looking for a fight? Are they gonna ask him something? Sherman McCoy really doesn't wanna find out, so he runs to his car and in his escape and one of the two boys ends up drastically injured.
McCoy, being a Wall Street tycoon, suddenly finds himself trapped in a web of racism and personal interests. His life begins to fall apart.
This is a very entertaining and interesting tale that was really underrated when first released. I think it's a really good movie. Can't say great, cuz I don't think it is, but it is good, that's for sure. Acting is great, the score is really good, and even though I am not really a Brian De Palma fan, I enjoyed this movie. I think it's not what he usually does.
Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks give a superb acting to the point of really believe their characters. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a movie with something to say. Too bad the DVD contains no features at all, not even the theatrical trailer, which is the least you can ask form a DVD.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Bean on January 25, 2007
Format: DVD
Having read the novel by Tom Wolfe right before the movie came out, I tossed the da*n thing across the room when I finished the last page, for the ending was horrendous! There was no ending! It just stopped, leaving loose ends dangling everywhere, and the reader in a mess of mass confusion with no resolution of any kind. Don't get me wrong, there were parts of the novel that I adored, it was definetly a masterpiece of modern literature, no doubt! Especially the old, Jewish judge who should have been played by Ray Walston, or the guy that played the judge in the horrible "Presumed Innocent". The character of the judge was the funniest character in the story. However, I have come to accept Morgan Freeman in that role, for his version of The Judge ranks among his best, like that of "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Driving Miss Daisy". There are moments that he is extremely hilarious in a vicious way, to bringing the house down with his brilliantly acted "speech scene" at the film's climax.
Now, about the film: This movie was killed by critics before it ever hit theaters. Things like "Bad casting", "Not faithful to the novel", etc, etc. kept popping up in article after article, and/or mentioned on talk shows before the film was even completed. So, you tell me who killed this film at the box office?! It sure as heck wasn't director Brian DePalma's fault!
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