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My Dinner with Andre (The Criterion Collection) (1981)

Andre Gregory , Wallace Shawn , Louis Malle  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn, Jean Lenauer, Roy Butler
  • Directors: Louis Malle
  • Writers: Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn
  • Producers: Beverly Karp, Dave Franke, George W. George, Keith W. Rouse
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 23, 2009
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001WLMOLE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,376 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "My Dinner with Andre (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

In Louis Malle’s captivating and philosophical My Dinner with André, actor and playwright Wallace Shawn sits down with friend and theater director André Gregory at an Manhattan restaurant, and the two proceed into an alternately whimsical and despairing confessional on love, death, money, and all the superstition in between. Playing variations on their own New York–honed personas, Shawn and Gregory, who also wrote the screenplay, dive in with introspective, intellectual gusto, and Malle captures it all with a delicate, artful detachment. A fascinating freeze-frame of cosmopolitan culture, My Dinner with André remains a unique work in cinema history.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:

• New, restored high-definition digital transfer

• New video interviews with actors André Gregory and Wallace Shawn by filmmaker and friend Noah Baumbach

• “My Dinner with Louis,” an episode from the BBC program Arena, in which Shawn interviews director Louis Malle

• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Amy Taubin and the prefaces written for the printed screenplay by Gregory and Shawn

Stills from My Dinner with Andre (Click for larger image)





Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 146 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal movie, horrible transfer March 29, 2001
Format:DVD
My Dinner With Andre is a brilliant, difficult movie.
A lot of people are turned off by this film because it's mainly one extended scene of two unglamorous people talking about existence. But what a conversation, and what a scene! Andre Gregory's bizarre, surreal story and his catharsis about the nature of modern life that comes from it is powerful stuff, but the real punch comes from Wallace Shawn, our Everyman, and his reaction to it. It's a shame that so many can't watch more than 10 minutes of this movie, because it is ultimately Shawn, at the end, who speaks their thoughts.
MDWA demands your attention for two hours, which is no easy task, because there is no real narrative in the traditional sense. It also demands multiple viewings, because it is rich with subtle detail, and there's a lot to take in. Notice, for instance, the continual references to the Holocaust, culminating in Gregory's account of his friend's theory about the city-as-modern-concentration-camp. And as you watch these two actors play, ostensibly, themselves, you wonder how much of the film is true and how much is a carefully constructed narrative. It's a great mystery, one that I prefer unsolved.
Kudos also go to the director, the great Louis Malle, whose control is so precise that you almost forget you're watching a movie as opposed to two people just talking. It's a reminder of how the great directors are the ones who can do so much with so little. You'll never look at a blockbuster the same way again.
The reason I can't give this film 5 stars is that the video transfer is HORRIBLE. The color is often off, and the sound is mediocre at best. Hopefully someone will save and restore this gem of a film.
Do yourself a favor and SEE THIS MOVIE. You'll probably complain about doing it, but you'll feel immensely gratified afterward.
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109 of 116 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I just finished this movie, and I feel like I need to simply get a few thoughts down before my head hits my pillow. I didn't know what to expect entering My Dinner With Andre - after all, it is a movie about two guys who have dinner in a restaurant and talk the whole time. But from the moment that the goofy-looking, awkward Wallace Shawn lumbers down a New York street and we hear his voice-over, I knew that something more was taking place in this movie. What it was, I had no idea.

There are no character names; there is no 'plot;' Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, both prominent actors/playwrights of New York, meet after not having seen each other for years and they shoot the breeze. I learned that it's not as extemporaneous as I originally had imagined - Shawn and Gregory got together, recorded hours of their conversations, and then compiled a script based on them. The 'restaurant' is actually a defunct hotel, the waiters and barkeepers all actors. But there's a transcendence to it all, as the men sit and chat (mostly the powerful, lively Andre Gregory doing the talking), food being brought out to them.

What heightens the power of the film is the setup that Wallace gives in the voice-over before their dinner: Andre, the man he meets, has been living a peculiar existence traveling all over the world, when he used to never want to leave his family. A friend of Wallace's saw Andre weeks before sobbing uncontrollably on the street because he was violently moved by a line in Bergman's Autumn Sonata. Like Wallace, we don't know what to expect in the very context of the dinner conversation.
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154 of 170 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars but no stars for the dvd August 16, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
This is my favorite movie of all time. Period. You can sit inon the most interesting conversation ever and I've done it many times,every time finding myself thinking of different things, contemplating my own life and wondering about how crazy Andre actually is and how seriously to take his ideas about how human life came to an end a few decades ago, leaving us all robots in search of some twinge of real feeling. But the dvd is so bad I suspected it was a bootleg. When the camera switches from Andre to Wally the color completely changes. It's all grainy as if recorded on bad tape off a badly receiving tv. At one point a little white hair appears and vacillates on the lower screen for oh about 30 minutes. Are they kidding? There needs to be a new edition of this great movie, and those of us who bought this sham of a version should be allowed to trade it in. Here is a film critiquing the falseness of what our modern life has become: fine, but I don't need an object lesson costing me $20. Out of respect for the sublime Louis Malle, put out a new version!
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By Publius
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Amazon may automatically link my review to the old DVD release of this movie, "My Dinner with Andre," in which case, this may still be confusing. Pay attention- I am referring in my remarks here to the new Criterion Collection DVD version, which has a photo of a knife and fork on a napkin, on a plate, on the cover.

When I checked, the first review which appeared on the Amazon page of this new criterion collection version is an old review from 10 years ago. It trashes the DVD release and calls for a new version. Well, it's this criterion collection version which, 10 years later, has arrived to correct the errors which the review talks about. I'm referring to the review here that is titled "But no stars for the DVD". So don't get confused-- this edition is new.

As for the movie itself, I'm taking the time to write these remarks because it's a great movie that is well worth watching and watching again. By its very nature, as a two hour conversation, you can't absorb all of it the first time, so watch it's more worth buying than many movies. In fact, it played a significant part in raising my interest to the post theatrical work of Jerzy Grotowski, who Andre discusses in the movie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars What brings us together and what separates us
At first glance it would seem that this story is more suited for the stage than for film. We have, after all, a story of two men having a hour and a half long conversation over... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Dan Harlow
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It was a great film. Very thought provoking.
Published 21 days ago by bed-stei
5.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant and profound today
I first saw My Dinner with Andre when it came out in 1981 and was impacted a great deal by the challenges it posed to societal norms. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Julie jessal
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I bought this DVD on a whim simply because I love Wallace Shawn and the fact this is a cult
Published 1 month ago by Ma Zoan
5.0 out of 5 stars A singular experience...
Quite simply there is no other movie like this one. It captures a two hour conversation over dinner between Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marc Daniels
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 hours of intellectual bull
I enjoyed listening, but mostly because I was waiting for something interesting to be said.

The part I liked best was the comparison of NYC to a concentration camp,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by RichardAlexanderGreen
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie
This movie is a conversation between two men involved in the NY theater. It is about their different philosophies of life and is thought-provoking if slow-moving at times.
Published 3 months ago by Irving Saltzman
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, funny, still relevant so many years later!
I'm so happy I saw this movie that I've heard about for years. Some friends started quoting from it and discussing it on facebook, so I watched it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bella Diamond
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite A Banquet, But Not Quite Ptomaine, Either.
there's "audience" movies, and there's "critic" movies.
of all the films i've ever seen, i can think of no more glaring line-in-the-sand than My Dinner With Andre. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jude pepper
2.0 out of 5 stars What Did I Miss?
Maybe it was because I couldn't stay awake. The non-stop prattling of Andre might have contributed to my inability to remain conscious throughout this slow moving movie. Read more
Published 4 months ago by bvail
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Any news on a release of a better DVD for this film?
Hi, yes, it's a scandal My Dinner With Andre has not yet received the high quality reissue it deserves. Criterion is currently releasing many of Malle's earlier films, following reissues by Optimum Releasing (.com) in Europe, so there is hope it may happen soon. If you love Malle's films seek the... Read More
Jun 12, 2008 by Curmudgeon |  See all 3 posts
You've got to be kidding?!
If you can't see the value in what they discuss, then you can't see the value in conciousness and levels of awareness. Many have commented this is one of the best movies in terms of the dialogue and message. So either they are ignorant buffoons - or maybe you are. If you ever get a chance,... Read More
Jun 18, 2009 by W. V. Valle |  See all 6 posts
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