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From Here to Eternity [VHS] (1953)

Burt Lancaster , Montgomery Clift , Fred Zinnemann  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)

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From Here to Eternity [VHS] + Big Country [VHS]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra
  • Directors: Fred Zinnemann
  • Writers: Daniel Taradash, James Jones
  • Producers: Buddy Adler
  • Format: Black & White, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Columbia Classics Tristar Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: June 22, 1994
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0800100832
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,527 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Here's a model for adapting a novel into a movie. The bestseller by James Jones, a frank and hard-hitting look at military life, could not possibly be made into a film in 1953 without considerably altering its length and bold subject matter. Yet screenwriter Daniel Taradash and director Fred Zinnemann (both of whom won Oscars for their work) pared it down and cleaned it up, without losing the essential texture of Jones's tapestry. The setting is an army base in Hawaii in 1941. Montgomery Clift, in a superb performance, plays a bugler who refuses to fight for the company boxing team; he has reasons for giving up the sport. His refusal results in harsh treatment from the company commander, whose bored wife (Deborah Kerr) is having an affair with the tough-but-fair sergeant (Burt Lancaster). You remember--the scene with the two of them embracing on the beach, as the surf crashes in. The supporting players are as good as the leads: Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed won Oscars (and Sinatra revitalized his entire career), and Ernest Borgnine entered the gallery of all-time movie villains, as the stockade sergeant who makes Sinatra miserable. Zinnemann's work is efficient but also evocative, capturing the time and place beautifully, the tropical breezes as well as the lazy prewar indulgence. This one is deservedly a classic. --Robert Horton

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Montgomery Clift At His Best August 18, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
From Here To Eternity is probably best remembered for the famous beach love scene of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, but there's a lot more to this legendary film. It tells the story of the lives and relationships of several characters in the time leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. The film is well cast. Lancaster gives a strong performance as the tough sergeant in love with his superior's wife, and Kerr is equally fine as the frustrated wife who has become famous for her dalliances. Frank Sinatra gives a charismatic performance as Maggio, the soldier with a love of drinking who gets himself into trouble. Donna Reed convincingly plays a "toned-down" prostitute who doesn't want to fall in love with a soldier, but does. The best performance is given by Montgomery Clift as the soldier Reed loves, a bugler and former boxer who critically injured a man in a fight and doesn't want to step back in the ring. Clift was an actor capable of digging deep into his characters, and unfortunately, he seems not to be as well known today as others from his time. The dialogue is sharp and mature, the attack scenes are excellent, and there are a number of dramatic, memorable moments in this film. Watch it for the beach scene, for Clift's superlative performance, and for all the qualities one would expect in a top notch film from Hollywood's Golden Era.
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174 of 199 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original Theatrical Release Format is 1.33:1 October 21, 2001
By George
Now pay attention, widescreen DVD fans (I am among them)...!
Do not go looking for widescreen format before 1954, because with a couple of exceptions (see "sir-critic" below), they don't exist. One must be a student of history to some extent as a classic movie fan: when collecting a video library, know your format history; the key year is 1954. (Interestingly, it is the same key year for stereo music recordings, at least in the Classical world.) Also remember that a post-1954 movie is not necessarily a widescreen film, either, especially in the first few years. (See my review of "Moonstruck" for more aspect ratio commentary that you'll find very interesting, if this one is interesting to you. I ranted about its full-frame release and found out that I didn't know what I was talking about, more or less.)
"From Here to Eternity" is a great classic film that was shot and originally released in 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Like many, many other pre-1954 movies, this film was probably re-released several times in theaters with a "widescreen" format, but they just lopped off the top and bottom of the picture for the release. This was a grotesque practice, butchering many fine films and ruining the painstaking framing of shots by the cinematographer. You don't want a widescreen version of "From Here to Eternity", because it's butchered, I mean, ALTERED.
The important thing for DVD collectors / film buffs is ORIGINAL Theatrical Release Format, i.e., what the director and cinematographer intended you to see.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest films of all time! March 21, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
From Here To Eternity is an outstanding adaption of the popular James Jones novel. It's an extremely romantic film that deals with the lives and loves of several soldiers just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Even if you've never seen the film, you've probably seen the famous "beach scene" between Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster. It is considered one of the most romantic movie scenes ever, and it certainly deserves that title! Deborah Kerr gives what many consider her finest performance as Karen, the woman whose marriage has had no meaning to her for a very long time. She frequently has scandalous affairs with the men in her husband's company. This was a giant leap for her, since before that time, Kerr's career had been built on playing prim, no-nonsense English ladies. This is a heart-wrenching movie, and it should be seen by all!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Screenwriter's Delight March 2, 2005
I never got around to watching this film in its entirety until last year; growing up, mum and dad always watched b&w films which I hated, in my youthful ignorance, but this one, I can see exactly why they loved it.

It's a seamless movie from beginning to end, and although fans of the book (I haven't read it) deride it for not having been faithful enough to the core of the book, I think it stands alone as a monumental piece of cinema; one that couldn't be remade today with any living actor.

Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster as the dual-leads both hearken to different schools of acting; Clift as a method actor, and Lancaster as a genuine tough guy (a-la Cagney), but the casting director knew what he/she was doing. Sinatra, more known for his singing career (and a few movie musicals["Anchors Away"]) pulled this role out of his hat, and deservedly picked up an oscar. Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed also hold their own, but the real killer in this film isn't the acting or the scenery--it's the dialogue.

I recommend it to any writer, as a primer in how to write a classy, lean script that never wastes a line.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good the ending leaves you scratching your head a ...
Pretty good the ending leaves you scratching your head a bit but the has the iconic ocean scene so all and all a pretty good film
Published 8 days ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite movies.
One of my favorite movies... great story, great acting, great directing. Fast paced for a movie from that post-WWII genre. Not for the kids because of the violence. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Den-Den
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 12 days ago by morton s. pruce
5.0 out of 5 stars Still an outstanding film decades later.
I had no idea this was such an outstanding film, but was pleasantly surprised to enjoy such great story lines, acting and pre-war Hawaii scenery! Read more
Published 17 days ago by joan k parsons
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A truely great romantic epic film
Published 21 days ago by Keith E. Hunsucker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Seller. Would use again. Thanks, Ron!
Published 26 days ago by Ronald Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic
One of the great Hollywood classics.
Published 28 days ago by Jon M. Chelgren
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I bought it for my brother and he loved it. He used to have the movie and lost it.
Published 29 days ago by Angela Brownell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Of course this was a wonderful movie..
Published 29 days ago by Cathy Duvall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
hope to work with again
Published 1 month ago by russ gaggens
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