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Empire Falls

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ed Harris, Paul Newman, Helen Hunt, Joanne Woodward, Robin Wright-Penn
  • Directors: Fred Schepisi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009W5IMO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,241 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Empire Falls" on IMDb

Special Features

  • The Making of Empire Falls

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Adapted by author Richard Russo from his 2001 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, EMPIRE FALLS is a portrait of the gritty drama and human comedy that make up everyday life in blue-collar America. On a daily basis, goodhearted restaurant manager Miles Roby (Ed Harris "Glengarry Glen Ross") tries to keep his Empire Grill going, even as the wealthy and powerful Mrs. Whiting(Joanne Woodward "Philadelphia"), makes life difficult for him. If that wasn't enough, Miles has to keep tabs on his scoundrel of a dad, Max (Paul Newman "The Color of Money") who is always looking for trouble. But, Miles has something much bigger than just restaurant receipts and a cantankerous father on his mind-he can't shake the ghosts of his past that keep his fate inevitably connected to Empire Falls.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary


A frame-bursting roster of actors crowds this two-part HBO miniseries, which is nothing less than a look at America through the lens of a small New England town. Richard Russo adapted his own novel, a story of a gently depressed factory town that has always been run by the wealthiest family around (currently lorded over by matriarch Joanne Woodward). Ed Harris plays the central role, a decent, cautious man who runs a local diner and carefully negotiates the political niceties of Empire Falls; Paul Newman is his rapscallion of a father (the son is perpetually picking food out of Dad's beard), Helen Hunt is Harris's ex-wife, Aidan Quinn his feistier brother, and Robin Wright Penn his tragical mother seen in flashbacks.

The goal of Russo and director Fred Schepisi seems to have been fidelity to the novel, which gives the film a pleasingly relaxed pace but also a somewhat literal-minded binding. Even that doesn't explain the general lack of tautness, or why so much of the dialogue has an awkward fit in actors' mouths. Harris and Newman, of course, are younger and older versions of American monuments, and their sheer presence goes a long way toward making the picture work (for the premium Newman-Russo match, see Robert Benton's sublime film of Nobody's Fool). Most of the twists in the final reels are genuinely affecting, and the movie has the courage to end on a mild note rather than strain to tie everything up. It's a fitting finale for an unassuming enterprise. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

It is an excellent story and well cast.
D. Conley
I've always been pretty pleased with most of what HBO's movies and Empire Falls is no exception.
Mr. Bey
Ed Harris and Paul Newman are both amazing here.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Elise P. on January 22, 2006
Format: DVD
This HBO adaptation had four things going for it that almost guaranteed its success before a single camera began rolling.

The first was the fact that it was based upon Richard Russo's award-winning book of the same name. The second was that Russo himself wrote the adapted screenplay. The third was the incredible, all-star cast; and the fourth was that it was an HBO production. Each of these elements contributes to a mini-series now available on DVD and one that is not to be missed.

Let's start with the story. No one, absolutely no one, captures small town America the way Richard Russo does. Unlike some writers whose only real acquaintance with this setting seems to be either a brief glimpse from the Interstate or, worse, some other Hollywood writer's impression, Russo writes as though he actually spent years in the former mill towns, sitting at the diner, the tavern, or the doughnut shop soaking in the lost dreams and dead-end futures that haunt many of the residents of these communities. But unlike writers who see only despair in such a setting, Russo captures -but never makes light of- the small victories that the locals do grab onto to make life worth living. Odd as it may seem to the Sacks Fifth Avenue set, it IS possible to have a fulfilling life without ever owning a Gucci...and Russo is the master of introducing audiences to such lives. It is the audience's further fortune to have Russo acting here as his own screenwriter. The tweaks, cuts and short cuts necessary to make a novel into a workable screen presentation were thereby handled lovingly by their creator. He did not leave in too much, he did cut too much. True, the mini-series format gave him extra room to work, but he did the most with it and the audience is the clear beneficiary.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Bey VINE VOICE on January 7, 2006
Format: DVD
I've always been pretty pleased with most of what HBO's movies and Empire Falls is no exception. Though it starts off slow the superb acting just draws you in and I enjoyed every minute of it. If you enjoy any HBO movies than you will love Empire Falls.

Empire Falls is a small town set in New England where life is simple and everyone knows everybody. But for Miles Roby, a man who has been working in the same grill for most of his life, there's something missing. He feels that Mrs. Whiting who owns the grill has it in for him and he doesn't seen anything extraordinary happening in his life. He's been through a divorce and his ex-wife Janine is about to get remarried something his daughter Tick doesn't want to happen at all. Miles also has to put up with his senile father Max who thinks everyone has it in for him.

Miles frequently has flashback of his childhood when his mother was still alive and he tries to remember Charlie Mayne who he hates but he can't really figure out what happened to him. His daughter Tick is also trying to connect with a tortured boy who she tries to help but realizes he's beyond her saving. Miles also struggles with the feelings that Mrs. Whiting's handicapped daughter Cindy has for him. Miles is just a guy who doesn't think that he should be spending the rest of his life flipping burgers at the same old grill and he wants more with his life.

Empire Falls is driven by an all star cast of Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Newman, Aidan Quinn, Dennis Farina, Joanne Woodward, and so many more. It is a heartwarming adventure and it is a must see.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By William Holloway on September 16, 2005
Format: DVD
This mini left me wanting more. When it aired on HBO, I had just taken a wonderful trip to Maine and it reminded me so much of the towns and townspeople I saw and met while I was there. The series was simply a great story and I couldn't get enough. I hated that it had to end. It stared an all star cast with all star performances. If you get the oportunity, treat yourself to this one; You will be glad you did.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Greg Robertson VINE VOICE on June 20, 2006
Format: DVD
The subtitle to this film is more pertinent than most: "Every small town has a big story." That reveals a lot more about this two-part HBO film than does the title, although that also works hard by doing double duty as both the town name and the hint of a parable in play. Having grown up in a small town whose factories and industry went through considerable down years, as most of America's have, I can say that Russo has captured much of the interaction between lifelong residents of a once prosperous, now stagnant town very well.

If you love Richard Russo's storytelling, as I do, you'll feel that in this film from the very beginning. If you're not familiar with him, though, it may at first come off as slow. Russo, who wrote the screenplay based on his book, takes his time to paint the picture of what Empire Falls was before and is now, so enjoy the light humor and the local in-fighting, but also pay attention. The details Russo sprinkles into this mosaic upfront will show up again later, as things tend to do between people and families in small towns.

The cast is incredible for such a small film. Ed Harris is perfect as Miles Roby, the local guy who is so smart that everyone in town always wonders why he still lives there. As Roby's cantankerous father, Max, Paul Newman is the perfect blend of hilariously cantankerous and forever beaten down by life. I also really liked Helen Hunt in this, specifically because her character is so unlikeable - an unusual role for her. Dennis Farina is also good, as always, this time as the town phony who always acts surprised that anyone would think he's a phony. And Mrs. Newman, Joanne Woodward, is just terrific in the only "bitch from hell" role I've ever see her play.
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Anybody been to "Empire Falls?"
I also visited Skowhegan about a year ago and had to stop in the empire grill. The food was good and the people working there were nice. I plan to stop in again later this year and Ill let you know if its still there. The grill not the town. I have to admit that I likeed the town very much.
Jun 29, 2010 by Edward C. Anderson |  See all 2 posts
main music theme of empire falls Be the first to reply
what was this TV show's name ? Be the first to reply
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