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Daniel


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Editorial Reviews

A searing portrait of one young man's quest for the truth about his past. Directed by the legendary Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead) this moving film stars Oscar® winner Timothy Hutton as Daniel, the fictionalized son of the Rosenbergs, executed in 1953 for selling secrets to the Soviets. Contrasting Daniel's involvement with the '60s protest movement and his parents own collaboration with the Communist Party, Daniel is a moving and masterfully acted thriller. Also starring Mandy Patinkin, Ed Asner and Ellen Barkin.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Timothy Hutton, Mandy Patinkin, Lindsay Crouse, Edward Asner
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Legend Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0019UGYAK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,305 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Daniel" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Silber on August 1, 2008
Format: DVD
Timothy Hutton is luminous in this film, as the fictional son of the Rosenbergs. He should have own an award for this portrayal. All the actors, so many well known now, and including the children portraying the young Daniel, are wonderful. There are layers of story unfolding, and the layers are punctuated by the singing of Paul Robeson at intervals, giving a depth and weight to the already intense story. A few viewers may not like the parts where Daniel talks about the many forms of execution, but this is a small part of the film. I recommend this film to anyone who lived through the 60s, and interested in the many films directed by Sidney Lumet. Superb.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Peter Shelley on March 6, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Sidney Lumet's film is based on the novel The Book of Daniel by E L Doctorow, an obvious use of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case of the 1950's. The Rosenberg's were convicted of conspiring to give atomic bomb information to the Soviets, and executed in 1953. Whilst it is believed that the Rosenberg's were justly convicted, what made the case contentious was the severity of their punishment. Doctorow renamed the Rosenberg's the Isaacsons, and uses the Rosenberg myth to explore the dark side of infamy. The film is told from the Isaacson children's point of view, Amanda Plummer who even as a child when her parents were killed, shows indications of her later mental breakdown, and Timothy Hutton who appears to be the stronger of the two. Both have internalised their grief, with Plummer's idealism shown to be as unhealthy as that of her parents, and Hutton's fetish about different methods of execution. We see the children's resentment of their parents because the imprisonment and eventual deaths of the parents cost the children their protection. It's not important to the children whether their parents are innocent. They believe the political activism the parents expressed is self-destructive. Our view of the Isaacson's activism as a demonstration of passion is divided between heroic and foolish, with Mandy Pantikin's Paul Isaacson being the best example, when he collapses at the sight of the electric chair. Is he a foolish coward or would anyone faint in fear at the time of death? (though Mrs Isaacson doesn't). Doctorow (who adapted his own book) casts doubt on the guilt of the Isaacson's to provide for the children's anguish..Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By michael myers on June 18, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This strikes me as a quiet, forgotten movie from the early '80s, but it's a great story directed by a Sidney Lumet, whose movies have never disappointed me going all the back to 12 Angry Men in the late 1950s. Great performances by the cast, including Mandy Pantinkin, Lindsay Crouse, and Timothy Hutton, who strikes me as among the most underrated actors of his generation. Like other Lumet films, this movie takes on some weighty and important issues, by tweaking and revising the real story of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the American Communists who were convicted and executed, on charges of espionage for the Soviet Union, in the 1950s. This movie focuses on the damaged children of an executed Communist couple, picking up the story about a dozen years later, at the height of the antiwar movement in the late 1960s. The daughter suffers severe mental illness, while the son [Hutton] embarks on a mission to explore and come to terms with his parents' story and its impact on him and his sister. The film intertwines Daniel's current mission with flashback scenes that reveal his parents' story, as well as their experience of it as children. Great film, especially for those of us who love history, the 1950s, the 1960s, as well as the early 1980s.
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Format: Amazon Instant Video
One of the most interesting things about both this movie and its source material, which is THE BOOK OF DANIEL by novelist E.L. Doctorow, is that it isn't about whether or not Paul and Rochelle Isaacson (the fictional stand-ins for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) are guilty or innocent of passing government secrets to the Soviet Union and are therefore deserving (or not) of being executed. It's about the psychological impact upon their children Daniel and Susan Isaacson of all that happened to their parents and, indeed, of all that their parents were as people. It's a manifold character study that asks us to go beyond simplistic conclusions such as "those poor kids" and acknowledge that all parents leave their mark upon their children in one way or another. It also shows us that each child at some point finds their own way of coping.....or not....with their parents' legacy. Without giving too much away, neither child is undamaged, but one child does indeed slowly comes to terms with what was handed to them, for better or for worse.

The acting by all of the cast is superb. I would maintain that this movie showcases Timothy Hutton's finest performance ever as Daniel, and Amanda Plummer, Mandy Patinkin and Lindsay Crouse as Daniel's sister, father and mother are equally strong. Ed Asner gives a powerful turn as the Isaacson's defense lawyer Ascher, an intelligent but harried man who knows his case is doomed from the beginning. The soundtrack consists of Paul Robeson's many performances of spirituals, appropriate for the time and the context, and everything feels inexorable to the very end, and yet, somehow, there is light at that end.

Shed any preconceptions you might have that this will convince you of the innocence or guilt of the Rosenbergs in actual history...that's not this movie's agenda. It's about the children and those who love them.
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