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Harry's War

44 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Herrmann, Geraldine Page, Karen Grassle, David Ogden Stiers
  • Directors: Keith Merrill
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Image Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BMCY2Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,342 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By D. W. MacKenzie on August 2, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Harry's War gets very little attention. This is unfortunate because it is entertaining and informative.
This film brings many real facts about the IRS to light. They do have their own special courts and are prone to abusing their authority. The Congressional hearings during the mid 90's showed that this film was not far off in depicting IRS abuse.
While the actual declaration of war and standoff in this movie are fictional, there are similarities between this and the Waco and Ruby Ridge standoffs. Of course, those standoffs were over different issues and involved people who attracted governmental attention for their extremist views.
Harry is different. He is a regular guy who gets driven to taking extreme actions because of the heavy-handed tactics of the IRS. This war of Harry's is a bit over the top, but that's what makes a film more fun than documentaries. Harry's speech at the end reaffirms his levelheaded nature to the world, and the IRS ends up looking bad before all.
As a piece of cinematography, this film is average. The acting, sets, editing, and soundtrack are all OK. One thing that makes this film special is that it dares to disparage one of the most powerful agencies in the US government. How many places in the world are there where you can get away with that? Also, this film ridicules notions of benevolent philosopher kings running government. Films like Dave and The American President focus on personalities- so long as nice caring people have power, all will be well. Harry's War avoids this kind of `Camelot' mythologization of government. One way to sum up Harry's war would be "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely".
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I have wanted to own this for years. This little known movie depicts the real spirit of the IRS. Though Harry's reactions are a bit far-fetched the actions of the IRS is all too real. They are the ONLY government agency that does not need to follow due process rules of search and seizure. IRS agents DO carry weapons and sometimes use them to "enforce" the tax code. This movie besides making a statement, is entertaining and makes you feel good in a Disney like tradition. I'm placing my order now before it becomes unavailable again!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 24, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Harry, a mild-mannered postman (played by Edward Hermann), takes over a combination war-surplus store and soup kitchen from his "Aunt Beverly" in St. George Utah. Beverly (played by the late Geraldine Page) has been fighting the IRS for years, and "just can't take it any more" -- she signs the place over to Harry, thinking that will end her troubles. She had been taking tax deductions over the years for her expenses in providing for the needy, but the IRS claimed she was a political organization and disallowed them. After sending an agent to pose as a "homeless person" to gather evidence against her (He tape-recorded her offering a prayer before she served dinner), the IRS decides to stop fooling around and make an example of first her, then Harry when he takes over.
After having his bank account siezed, the naive Harry tries to play by the rules at first. He makes appointments to "talk to" the IRS, but in several scenes reminiscent of Franz Kafka's "The Trial", nobody at the IRS can tell him anything about his case. He files appeals and is still turned down. Eventually Harry takes his case to tax court and loses there as well. Beverly points out to Harry that ALL of the members of the court work for the IRS, including the judge, and that in THIS court, he is guilty until proven innocent. Naturally he is found guilty and ordered to pay some outrageous sum in back taxes. At this point, Beverly collapses and dies right in front of the court, and Harry now starts to get angry.
After the funeral, where the obnoxious IRS department head (played by David Ogden Stiers) has the nerve to show up and demand "his" money, Harry decides to take action.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By HighlanderJuan on May 5, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's been years since I first saw this movie. You'll find this is a great movie, suitable for viewing by the whole family.

Set in an earlier time (1986), when mailmen still walked the streets delivering mail to neighbors they knew, Harry's War tells the tale of mild mannered postman Harry Johnson (Edward Hermann) who take his two children on vacation to visit aging aunt Beverly (Geraldine Paige) in the town where he grew up.

Aunt Beverly is a grandmotherly type who is generous to a fault, but is refusing to buckle under what she considers onerous tax bills and harassment from the IRS. She tells Harry she wants him to take everything she owns because, if he doesn't take it all, the IRS will. Harry agrees to help Aunt Beverly and packs up his home belongings and moves to Aunt Beverly's mission - an old home on a military parts junk yard.

Background IRS meetings and conversations clearly describe an adversarial relationship is brewing, supported by bureaucrats looking for advancement in the IRS, confusing IRS rules and regulations, etc. Harry's meetings with the IRS are increasingly frustrating, an IRS spy is found having dinner with the mission, and Harry's bank account is seized. Then to IRS tax court, blatant IRS injustice, and Aunt Beverly's collapse in court. And so the tale begins.

I don't want to give away the whole plot, but you will find it's an hilarious romp through Harry's attempt to regain his property by declaring war on the IRS... on live television. Well worth the viewing. Rumor has it that the IRS banned this movie years ago, so I'm personally glad to see it available again on DVD.

The vision of Harry driving through town in an army half-track still burns clearly in my mind. Great movie!
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