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Damnation Alley (1977)

Jan-Michael Vincent , George Peppard , Jack Smight  |  PG |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard, Jackie Earle Haley, Paul Winfield
  • Directors: Jack Smight
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: July 12, 2011
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004VT9JMG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,205 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Damnation Alley" on IMDb

Special Features

New anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.78:1)

Audio commentary with Producer, Paul Maslansky

Survival Run – a look at the challenges of adapting the celebrated novel with Co-creenwriter, Alan Sharp

Road To Hell – Producer, Jerome Zeitman details the process of making the film and the difficulties it encountered along the way

Landmaster Tales – a detailed examination of the now-famous Landmaster Vehicle from the film with Stunt Coordinator and Car Designer Dean Jeffries

Theatrical trailer and TV spot

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The world is devastated by a nuclear holocaust, causing the Earth to tilt on its axis and bringing vast meteorological chaos. As the weather stabilizes, mutated insects start to emerge, preying on the survivors. The surviving crew at a U.S. Air Force bomb shelter in the Mojave Desert picks up radio signals coming from Albany. The commander, Major Eugene Denton (George Peppard, The A-Team), unveils two armored vehicles he has constructed and announces a plan to cross Damnation Alley, the hundred-mile-wide strip between areas of radiation hazard, to join the survivors. They set off, taking on two civilians, a novice singer they find in the ruins of Las Vegas and a wild teenager (Jackie Earle Haley,Watchmen), along the way. The journey is also beset by giant mutated cockroaches, storms and crazed survivalists, making for some hair-raising escapes in this post-apocalyptic thriller.

A low-wattage cult hit among post-apocalypse movie fans, Jack Smight's Damnation Alley arrives on DVD in a deluxe presentation that underscores its troubled production, as well as its modest charms. Based very loosely on the 1967 novel of the same name by Roger Zelazny (who loathed the movie version), the film stars George Peppard and Jan-Michael Vincent as Air Force officers crisscrossing the ruins of America in massive armored personnel carriers (the 10-ton Landmaster, originally designed to lug trucks, and the film's most enduring image) in search of survivors. Their journey brings them in contact with shotgun-toting killers and giant, flesh-eating cockroaches, plus Jackie Earle Haley and Dominique Sanda as the final pieces in their new model of a nuclear family. Plagued by special-effects issues and reedits, Damnation Alley arrived with a thud in the wake of 20th Century Fox's other science-fiction release, Star Wars, which the studio initially regarded as Damnation's second-string support. The film developed a modest following in the ensuing decades among late-night TV habitués, who can finally retire their gray market dupes of the 1985 VHS release, thanks to Shout Factory's DVD release. The disc offers a new anamorphic widescreen presentation (minus the Sound 360 process, which was too damaged to preserve, but with three newer audio options), as well as commentary by veteran producer Paul Maslansky and a trio of interesting making-of documentaries, the most interesting of which features an interview with co-screenwriter Alan Sharp (Ulzana's Raid, Night Moves), whose assessment of his work isn't too far from Zelazny's reaction. Meanwhile, a look at the Landmaster with designer Dean Jeffries should satisfy fans of that unique vehicle. --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Damnation Alley - 70s Escapism April 16, 2006
This is one of those movies in my VHS collection that I manage to watch once every year or so...just to escape the realities of the real world. I don't rank this as a great movie in the same way that you'd rank an Academy Award winner, but it's just a fun movie to watch as long as you can suspend belief for a while. I have to think that the actors/actress had fun making it, as the main characters seem to tread the fine line between "camp" and "classic". If you want something that won't make you think too hard and will reward you with a little escapism in a post-apocalyptic sort of way, then this is one for your library.

I don't understand why it still hasn't been released on DVD, but when it is, I'll be one of the first to buy it for my collection. The 1970s LIVE on and into the 21st Century!!!
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68 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "On the Beach" on firm ground... (revised review) March 30, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Perhaps not many of you have noticed that this movie is a "land-based" version of a previous film, starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner, called "On the Beach" (1959).
There too we have a post-nuclear theme, in which all life on Earth has been wiped off the face of the planet, only to leave a few "desperados" alive, both on board of a U.S. submarine and on the shores, somewhere near Australia (the last bastion of life... but for how long?).
There too, we have a signal emitted from somewhere, in the northern hemisphere...

Yet, despite all similarities, this movie is a kind of updated version, with fine actors at the helm (although not of the caliber of said actors above) and a very interesting story development.

The difference is that this is less a drama-oriented movie and more an action-adventure-thriller oriented working of the subject.

If one remembers the period in which this movie was made (late seventies), baring in mind that this was a time of overblown "super-spectacular" apocalyptic, "end-of-the-world"-like flics, such as "Earthquake", "The Towering Inferno" and "The Swarm" (probably the last and worst of such movies), one can say that this one differs considerably in both quality and story-development.

I personally like this little "what if" effort. No big special effects, except for some stock footage of nuclear explosions, some pyrotechnics and varied color flavors in the sky (supposed to represent the variations in the Earth's atmosphere).

Sometimes, for a movie to be good, you simply don't need millions, just simply a solid story and fine acting. This is certainly a film that makes you think and entertains at the same time.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOW THAT'S A COCKROACH! July 13, 2011
Welcome to the alley - Damnation Alley! Post apocalyptic radiation storms, giant sand scorpions, flesh-eating cockroaches; the earth will never be the same. Two years after the third world war and the devastating nuclear holocaust that followed, a rag tag group of survivors led by Commander Major Eugene Denton (George Peppard) set out in search of civilization. Major Denton believes that there are other holocaust survivors living in Albany, because he has been monitoring their radio signals for some time.

Getting to Albany won't be easy for the group; they'll have to brave the one hundred mile wide corridor between the radiation belts known as "Damnation Alley" Fortunately for the group Major Denton spent his time at the military installation constructing two armored plated Landmaster vehicles that will carry them across the desolate wasteland to Albany. Will the Landmasters make it through Damnation Alley? Are there really other survivors living in Albany? You'll have to buy your own copy to see how this post apocalyptic cult classic ends.

Like other fans of this 1977 cult classic, I've waited for "Damnation Alley" to finally be released on DVD and after watching it last night; I'm a little disappointed with the picture and sound quality. I really thought the picture and sound quality from Shout factory for this long awaited DVD release was going to be spectacular, but it isn't.

The video transfer for the most part is pretty decent, although the picture does suffer from some noticeable grain and embedded artifacts here and there; not bad enough to ruin the viewing experience. I'd rate the video transfer about 7/10 because it's apparent no real picture restoration was done by Shout other than the standard digital remastering process.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By R. Long
Decisions, decision. Damnation Alley has finally made it to DVD and even Blu Ray. No, the story won't be any stronger on dvd. The scorpions in the desert will still look like they came out of a 50's movie. Hissing cockroaches are still hissing cockroaches, but in Damnation Alley they are really tough little bugs and they eat rubber, human flesh, and so on. George Peppard is as cheesy in this movie as in the A-Team which probably followed this movie. Jan Micheal Vincent was one of Hollywood's reigning pretty boys. Ah, the seventies, what with Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Charles Bronson and Death Wish, PLAYBOY Magazine, Penthouse, Richard Nixon, the United States Bicentennial in 1976, etc. It was a time for disaster movies like Soylent Green, The Omega Man, Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, The Planet of the Apes sequels, and on and on. In such a backdrop Damnation Alley fit right in. It was the beginning of disco, the Saturday Night Fever movie and soundtrack, the coming of age of the Bee Gees and the brothers Gibb.

If I didn't grab you with the first paragraph then you surely didn't live those years. Me, I was still a kid about junior high age. I thought Damnation Alley was pretty cool and also pretty limited. I always liked the landrover. Jan Michael Vincent was cool as heck, and so was that co-star from the Bad News Bears' movie. I'm not sure of his name. Anyway, I bought this movie on VHS about ten years ago. I remember that I thought it was a pretty bad movie. I judged it for plot and other reality based issues, like where did they get FUEL for this vehicle, drinking water, FOOD and of course, what about the NUCLEAR FALLOUT or RADIATION.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
I loved this movie when I was a kid, and watching it again brought back great memories of playing with my Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and other die cast toys with my best friend. Read more
Published 5 days ago by J. A. Babas
5.0 out of 5 stars The truck is the star.
How can you not love a movie starring the Landmaster? I'd kill to own one of these. The folks on the Walking Dead would rule the world if they had Landmasters.
Published 16 days ago by dynaryder
3.0 out of 5 stars Kitchy 70's movie loosly based on one of my favorite novella's by one...
Kitchy 70's movie loosly based on one of my favorite novella's by one of my favorite Authors, Roger Zelazny. Not very true to the original story, but close enough to make a story. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Mark Holm
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Bad picture quality
Published 22 days ago by BamaFever72
4.0 out of 5 stars I give it 3 giggles!
Really, really, really dated, cheap and campy. Get buzzed, sit back and laugh with friends.
Published 24 days ago by HLBAUM
5.0 out of 5 stars Cult Classic from childhood.
Cult classic. I watch it just for the LANDMASTER well, the Killer Cockroaches of Salt Lake City aren't bad either. Remember when it was made, and think "B" movie.
Published 1 month ago by Daren Lyons
1.0 out of 5 stars Your time is better spent elsewhere
Amazingly bad film. It isn't On the Beach. No where near it. One the Beach had a story. This doesn't. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Retro sci-fi and apocalypse scenario. Take it for what ...
Retro sci-fi and apocalypse scenario. Take it for what it is, but they were on the right track with the story.
Published 1 month ago by R. Hobart
4.0 out of 5 stars Fair story, so-so acting.
Another post-apocalyptic movie that some how I loved even though every time I watch it, I say I'll never watch it again... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hawk
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great for it's time!!
Published 1 month ago by Jimmy Bullock
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