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Gardens of Stone (1987)

James Caan , Anjelica Huston , Francis Ford Coppola  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Caan, Anjelica Huston, James Earl Jones, D.B. Sweeney, Dean Stockwell
  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writers: Nicholas Proffitt, Ronald Bass
  • Producers: Francis Ford Coppola, David Valdes, Fred Roos, Jay Emmett, Michael I. Levy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: None
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment / Mill Creek
  • DVD Release Date: June 25, 2002
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000066C6J
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,666 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gardens of Stone" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The story of the war at home and the people who lived through it. From director Francis Coppola (The Rainmaker, The Godfather saga) comes GARDENS OF STONE, a poignant look at stateside military life during the Vietnam War featuring outstanding performances by James Caan, James Earl Jones and Academy Award(r) Winner Anjelica Huston.* "Gardens of Stone" refers to Arlington National Cemetery, its endless rows of tombstones marking the graves of America's fallen war heroes. This garden is tended by the "Old Guard," an elite Army unit led by decorated veterans no longer serving active duty. When brash young recruit Jackie Willow (D.B. Sweeney) is assigned to the unit, he becomes a surrogate son toSgt. Clell Hazard (Caan) and Sgt. Major "Goody" Nelson (Jones). The older men must prepare the younger for the deadly environment of war. Meanwhile, Hazard begins a love affair with an anti-war newspaper reporter (Huston) and Willow rekindles a romance with a former college sweetheart (Mary Stuart

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My review is somewhat biased. November 14, 2003
I admit that my review is somewhat biased, because I got to be an extra in this movie. I was a Military Policeman stationed at Ft. Myer when they filmed this movie and I got the chance to be in it and meet the cast.
The depiction of the life of the 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) conducting the funerals is fairly accurate. Overall, I think that this movie represented the Army fairly. Some minor details struck me, but they didn't detract from the enjoyment of the movie in any way.
As for the cast, my personal opinion of them varies as well, but I would like to say thet James Earl Jones is a wonderful man and in person, he's larger than life.
If anyone would like to delve a little deeper into this story, I would recommend the book by Nicholas Profitt, or I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Affectionate Tribute to the Old Guard January 16, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I hail from the Washington DC area and lived in Arlington for many years. As an Army brat, I spent many hours on post at Ft. Myer and observed many of the ceremonies captured in the film. Lastly, my father was buried with full military honors in Arlington Cemetery during the period covered by the film. Despite the fact that the story is very unremarkable, if not labored, even with such a high-powered cast, it is filled with long loving silent meditations on the ceremonies, and for that, it deserves respect. The credits pay eloquent and simple tribute to all the services' ceremonial units, but this is the Old Guard's show, and they execute with the poise and precision for which the unit is world famous. I found it very moving.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In eternal glory... April 3, 2004
This is a film with a difference -- many people come to it with preconceived notions of how a military-themed film should be, and are somewhat disappointed. This is not an action film, and while it fits the overall genre of being a protest film about Vietnam, it is not unambiguously so. It is an anti-war film, to be sure, but is not an anti-military or even anti-American film. It has an emphasis on duty and honour that transcends minor considerations of the particular patriotism for particular nations -- the themes as old as the Roman centurion's honour for fallen compatriots run through to the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetary.
The plot winds its way around the Old Guard, the honour guard at Arlington National Cemetary, charged with the performance of a hallowed trust, one of the few in a secular nation such as the United States -- that of overseeing the gravesites of the honoured dead who died after service to the nation, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The primary senior characters are Platoon Sergeant Hazard (James Caan) and Sergeant Major Nelson (James Earl Jones), two crusty veterans overseeing operations; both served in Korea and Vietnam with distinction, and are now sitting on the sidelines of the expanding war in Vietnam in a place where the body count is very apparent. Into this mix comes the young and idealistic Specialist Willow (D.B. Sweeney in one of his earliest roles), an Army brat whose father is (of course) a friend of Hazard and Nelson.
Willow has an unrequited love (played by Mary Stuart Masterson) in the daughter of a colonel, who seems to think that the son of a sergeant is beneath his daughter, even as Willow has ambition toward becoming an officer.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different look at the Vietnam war June 30, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
With all the Vietnam movies that have been made to date, you don't see too many that show the view from soldiers that didn't fight in that war. This movie is about those soldiers in the Army's Old Guard that had to bury all the dead soldiers (in Arlington Cemetery) who died in the Vietnam war.
The story unfolds in 1967 with Specialist Jackie Willow (D.B. Sweeney) coming to the Old Guard as part of his Army tour of duty. Willow has big plans of becoming an officer and serving in Vietnam because he belives that he can make a difference. His Platoon Sergeant, Clell Hazard (James Caan), is a highly decorated Korean and Vietnam war veteran that is also fighting his own demons about whether he should go back to Vietnam to help lead unexperienced soldiers that are dying at an atrocious rate.
Sergeant Major Goody Nelson (James Earl Jones)is a fellow veteran of Korea and Vietnam and very close to Sergeant Hazard. Both, try as they may, want to dissuade Specialist Willow from going to fight in a war that is virtually unwinnable and wreaking havoc on the American hearts and minds.
Sergeant Hazard begins a tenuous relationship with an anti-war correspondant (Angelica Huston) who has her own ambiguous feelings about the war and the toll it is taking on all around her. Sergeant Hazard must balance his relationship, the Army, the daily burial of large numbers of dead soldiers, and his own troubled feelings on everthing unfolding around him.
Specialist Willow, by chance, encounters his old girlfriend (Mary Stuart Masterson) who he had planned to marry at one time but has not seen in years due to them going their own ways over differences they had. Rekindling their lost love, they end up getting married and Willow continually pursues his goal of becoming an officer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie, delivered early always a plus!
Published 2 days ago by John B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie. There is no bad acting in this ...
Wonderful movie. There is no bad acting in this movie. Great plot and story development.
Published 4 days ago by Language Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 days ago by Dan Ballard
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very much a great movie
Published 6 days ago by chuck mckinney
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Doesn't even play. In some kind of alternate format. I was looking forward to seeing it. Totally sucks
Published 8 days ago by s matt vollmar
4.0 out of 5 stars Complexities of war
A long time favorite. James Caan and James Earl Jones....fantastic. Excellent "political perspectives on Vietnam Nam from active soldiers in the Old Guard.
Published 1 month ago by Jack Tanski
5.0 out of 5 stars Snap your heels!
Even if you were not born in the period that this movie pertained to, its undertones of honor, loyalty, love of country and self worth overwhelm you. Read more
Published 2 months ago by PGarcia
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Really good performances by James Caan, Angelica Houston, James Earl Jones and more. The story is very well told and gives insight to what these soldiers really do every day.
Published 4 months ago by Traci Abbett
5.0 out of 5 stars Gardens of Stone
Excellent movie, have always enjoyed watching it. Great story, strong characters, good history lesson on how varied our opinions were on the Viet Nam war.
Published 5 months ago by Steve P
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Gardens of Stone' -An exceptional movie
'Gardens of Stone' is an exceptional movie that captures the times when the Viet Nam war was going on. It's basically set at Fort Myer, Arlington, VA. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kevin M McCarthy
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