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Conrack [VHS]

42 customer reviews


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Frequently Bought Together

Conrack [VHS] + The Water Is Wide - Hallmark Hall of Fame
Price for both: $72.90

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jon Voight, Paul Winfield, Madge Sinclair, Tina Andrews, Antonio Fargas
  • Directors: Martin Ritt
  • Writers: Harriet Frank Jr., Irving Ravetch, Pat Conroy
  • Producers: Martin Ritt, Harriet Frank Jr., Richard Kobritz
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Playhouse Video
  • VHS Release Date: December 11, 1985
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000006GFI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,265 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Family Drama

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Christopher M. MacNeil on March 2, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
In his later career, director Martin Ritt was renowned for his realistic treatment of a slice of life. He achieved a glimmering one in this hidden gem adapted from author Pat Conroy's novel, "The Water Is Wide." Its movie version, retitled "Conrack," has the amazing Jon Voight in the real-life role of teacher that Conroy played for a year on a South Carolina island inhabited by mostly African-Americans living in absolutely poverty and ignorance, and virtually forgotten by the world outside. The illiterate children, unable to pronounce Conroy's name, can do no better than "Conrack," thus, the title. Realizing all too soon that he has the near insurmountable challenge of teaching what school administrators have dismissed as the unteachable, Conrack comes up with the strategy of teaching by applying knowledge to his childrens' everyday lives. His efforts, and the childrens' steadily emerging ability to learn, make for an assortment of human emotions, from frustration to out-and-out howling to the bittersweet of the childrens' recognition and acceptance of their lot in life. But while teaching and learning make progress, school administrators are less than impressed by Conrack's methods, and the film head toward the inevitable clash between teacher and school officials and the resolution, we are lead to conclude, is at the childrens' expense. As Conrack, Voight is both stirring and moving without being phony, and he convinces us that the teacher's only agenda is his pupils' betterment. But the child actors who make up the pupils are incredible! They actually make us believe we are listening to a socially and educationally decimated and totally forgotten other world. The film is all the more powerful with Conroy's novel read beforehand for background. Both the movie and book are a stellar acknowledgement of the perserverance of the human spirit and how much can be achieved in even the most forgotten of our brothers.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Karen Johnson on April 13, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I grew up in Beaufort,S.C. Pat Conroy taught my older sisters English at Beaufort High before taking this position on the the island. "The island that time forgot" as it was known to us. The movie is a true depiction of how the inhabitants of the island were viewed. Educating them was nothing more than a unwanted mandate by the government. The movie was more enhanced by the casting of supporting characters than so closely resembled the real characters. Educating the black population was not a priority as I went thru the schools in that district. It is a sad but all too true to life dicpiction of the way education was carried out during that time period. Viewing this film, and having the truth screaming at you makes one aware of the injustices that lasted so long in the south and last still in some aspects of southern communities. Beaufort has always had very clear racial lines. Only in recent years with the influx of people from across this country relocating there are things starting to change. Change comes slow. This movie shows the desparatly needed changes that were too slow in occuring.
The island was later purchased and turned into a resort. Only then was a bridge erected to connect this island to the rest of the world. Many of the inhabitants moved the north side of the island or were relocated. Imagine having lived there, minimally educated, and then relocated in a society where you have no skills or knowledge of how to survive.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Thaddeus Marcum on August 17, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Wow, I'll write it again: wow. This movie was one of the finest films I've ever seen. Conrack is undoutedly one of the top ten films I've ever seen, based on script. It is the movie that no doubt begot films like Dead Poets Society. A hands down top ten inspirational film OF ALL TIME. That's right, this film is like one of those sweet smelling aromas you used to sniff right before your mother exclaimed, "DINNER!"
John Voight is extremely believable as a dream-big teacher in the late sixties. He takes a job on an island, becoming the only white man on the whole piece of land. He uses a number of unconventional methods to teach his otherwise completely uneducated class. Soon, though, as is the case with many of these type of films, the powers that be put their foot down and we witness....well, you'll just have to see.
This is a heart-warming, tear-jerking film that will make even the biggest macho men sniffle from a few tears. A true film for the fan on hidden gems. In the case of Conrack, this is purely movie magic.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Allison on June 30, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I'm a teacher in one the largest black-majority school systems in the country, and I can tell you that this film about a one room schoolhouse in a rural, black poverty area profiles the most effective teaching I've seen in movies of this type. It's not the typical inner-city high school setting with angry students acting out. The kids in this film are completely ignorant, yet respectful and adorable. They have not been taught at all until Pat Conroy comes along. Not only can't these children read, write or even count, but they have no vocabulary or knowledge about the world beyond their island. Conroy teaches the children a love of learning, and the fact that they CAN learn. Although his methods are not explained, I surmise that he knows that children will not read unless they're interested first in knowledge itself. They won't write until they have something to say. Conroy's techniques were unorthodox in 1969, and are not unlike the strategies of new-teacher-saves-urban-high school-kids-movies. He engages them with movement, demonstrations, nature hikes, music, a field trip to the white folk's town, and with discussions about history, geography, and most of all, the children's home lives. The movie is directed and acted in such a natural and authentic way, it seems like a documentary. "Conrack" is a moving and enlightening film.
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