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Falling Down [VHS]

558 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin, Tuesday Weld
  • Directors: Joel Schumacher
  • Writers: Ebbe Roe Smith
  • Producers: Ebbe Roe Smith, Arnold Kopelson, Arnon Milchan, Dan Kolsrud, Herschel Weingrod
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: July 14, 1994
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (558 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302787564
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,844 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

This film, about a downsized engineer (Michael Douglas) who goes ballistic, triggered a media avalanche of stories about middle-class white rage when it was released in 1993. In fact, it's nothing more than a manipulative, violent melodrama about one geek's meltdown. Douglas, complete with pocket protector, nerd glasses, crewcut, and short-sleeved white shirt, gets stuck in traffic one day near downtown L.A. and proceeds to just walk away from his car--and then lose it emotionally. Everyone he encounters rubs him the wrong way--and a fine lot of stereotypes they are, from threatening ghetto punks to rude convenience store owners to a creepy white supremacist--and he reacts violently in every case. As he walks across L.A. (now there's a concept), cutting a bloody swath, he's being tracked by a cop on the verge of retirement (Robert Duvall). He also spends time on the phone with his frightened ex-wife (Barbara Hershey). Though Douglas and Duvall give stellar performances, they can't disguise the fact that, as usual, this is another film from director Joel Schumacher that is about surface and sensation, rather than actual substance. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 23, 2003
Format: DVD
This is a powerful film, but I personally don't look at it as some type of social commentary or condemnation of modern society, although it certainly touches on some of the problems that will always exist among human beings. Falling Down may well have a potent effect on anyone watching it, though. It always leaves me feeling really, really weird because it touches on so many things we all have to put up with each day, presents a monster whom I can't help but sympathize with in some degree, provides us with a hero whose own life is rife with undeserved problems, and runs its course atop a strong undercurrent of sadness. Michael Douglas gives one of his better performances as Bill Foster, an unremarkable man who finds his world torn apart and finally just snaps. He has lost his wife and little girl (which is his own fault); he's lost his job, the one thing that made him feel important; he just wants things to be like they used to be. He doesn't want to sit in traffic with no air conditioning or pay almost a dollar for a little can of soda or see plastic surgeons living the life of Riley while he can't even support his little girl. His journey "home" is an extraordinary one, and the kinds of awful people he encounters on the way do nothing to help his mentality. It's hard not to cheer him on when he manages to effect an escape from a couple of gangsters trying to rob him, but acts such as holding a burger joint up just because they refuse to serve him breakfast after lunch time is, obviously, way out there.Read more ›
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80 of 93 people found the following review helpful By David Montgomery VINE VOICE on May 18, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Some people think this film is about violence or anger or racism. It's not, though. It's about sadness. The sadness that comes when life loses its meaning. The kind of sadness that can drive a man to do terrible things.
Michael Douglas stars as an unemployed defense worker who is having a very bad day. It starts with him being stuck in traffic on an L.A. freeway. No one is moving, his air conditioner is broken, and the exhaust fumes are overpowering. Finally, he abandons his car and sets out on foot. (The opening scene is an homage to the opening of Fellini's "8 1/2.")
The unnamed Douglas character, as he frequently says, is just trying to get home. He doesn't want any trouble; he just wants to see his family. Events, though, seem to conspire against him.
Along the way, he runs into a Korean grocer, Hispanic gangbangers, a homeless man, a neo-Nazi skinhead, and other colorful SoCal denizens who drive him to the edge. That's where the violence begins. This brings him to the attention of Sgt. Prendergrast (Robert Duvall), a police officer who is about to retire. Before he does, though, he is determined to catch Douglas.
Despite being on opposite sides of the law, the similarities between these two men are greater than the differences. Both of them are failures at home and at work. Both of them lead lives that have never quite lived up to their expectations; lives of "quiet desperation." The only difference is in how each man copes with his failures.
Michael Douglas is excellent in this role, playing it in a very controlled and understated way. It would have been very easy to go over the top with it, but he never does. Duvall is good, as usual, in the more reserved, low profile part.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Marcus A. Vitchell on October 28, 2000
Format: DVD
Movie Critics are morons. All of these characters ARE stereotypes, as are the characters in 85% of Hollywood's movies today. Panning this movie for it's blatent use of these cliched people kind of misses 'the point' they were looking for. People are ugly, racist, and selfish. This man (with serious emotional problems) takes a look around his world (downtown LA) and slowly begins breaking down. How many of us can identify with the idea of the American Dream gone wrong? Being menaced by a gang? Being lied to by advertising? 'they lie to everybody'. Micheal Douglas portrayal of a Joe Blow gone bad is mesmerizing. Unlike 'Payback', I actually found myself rooting for the 'bad guy'. What Douglas does is ugly, what we all see everyday is ugly. Robert Duvall (as mentioned before) is rock solid.
The DVD's main benefit is crystal clear audio and video. It features scene selection and the trailer. Had it included a few extras (Like a MD or RD commentary track, I'd rate it a 5). This movie is about the 'average man' in a cruddy world who can't take it anymore. He could have been someone you worked with, or saw when you're getting off the bus, or waitied in line behind. And THAT was the point of this movie.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Missing Person on January 20, 2006
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Joel Schumacher's 1992 movie "Falling Down" is a chillingly powerful film that seems to get often misinterpreted. Don't get the wrong idea, there definitely IS substance to this movie--it's not just some kind of freak show.

Michael Douglas, in a spellbinding performance, plays William Foster, a man who totally collapses emotionally while stuck in traffic one morning. He ditches his car, leaving it right in the middle of the roadway, and begins an on-foot trek 'home' through the streets of Los Angeles. What follows is a day of extremely tempermental and violent behavior from Foster, lashing out against a Korean shop owner who 'won't make change', Latino gang members who accuse him of invading their territory, a fast food restaurant that's 'stopped serving breakfast', and a neo-Nazi gun shop owner who already has some frightening issues of his own.

With its story of a white man 'fighting back' against urban decay, "Falling Down" is similar to the 1970 film "Joe" (starring Peter Boyle). A deeper peek though reveals "Falling Down" to be kind of a cross between "Five Easy Pieces" and "Taxi Driver", both masterpieces in their own right--William Foster's wildly erratic and tempermental behavior strongly brings to mind the former's Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson), while the good-guy-turned-violent reactionary element of Foster isn't too far off from the latter's Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro).

Michael Douglas is clearly the perfect actor for the role of William Foster. Douglas' terrific knacks for subtlety and dry humor are key ingredients to making his character, despite all of his fits of violence, frighteningly sympathetic.
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