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Hoffa [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Armand Assante, J.T. Walsh, John C. Reilly
  • Directors: Danny DeVito
  • Writers: David Mamet
  • Producers: Danny DeVito, Caldecot Chubb, David Mamet, Edward R. Pressman, Harold Schneider
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
  • VHS Release Date: May 14, 1996
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302731224
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,368 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Screenwriter David Mamet's script combines real people with fictional characters in an attempt to portray the important people in Jimmy Hoffa's life. Danny DeVito's and Armand Assante's characters are actually composites of numerous Hoffa associates.

Director/co-star Danny DeVito's unforgettable epic stars Jack Nicholson as Jimmy Hoffa, the legendary Teamster boss whose mysterious disappearance has never been explained. The film traces Hoffa's passionate struggle to shape the nation's most influential labor union, his relationship with the Mob, and his subsequent conviction and prison term at the hand of Robert Kennedy.

Amazon.com

A titanic performance by Jack Nicholson powers this fact-and-fiction biography of Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa. From the opening moment--Hoffa sitting alone in the back of a car--Nicholson's performance is one of his best, and a rare role as a historical person. The sweeping all-American story of a common worker who reaches the highest pinnacle in the world's most powerful union is sweepingly told with wondrous detail, in wardrobe, sets, and trucks. The better-documented facts of Hoffa's life, including his struggle against Attorney General Bobby Kennedy (Kevin Anderson), supply the backbone of the story. But the hope of what the Teamsters are to the American Dream is what makes the film glow (swept along by David Newman's score). The screenplay by David Mamet takes two wild and entertaining divergences from fact. The first is the character of Hoffa's ubiquitous sidekick Bobby Ciaro, played by the film's director, Danny DeVito. It's a fictitious role, a composite character that allows the story to be clearly told, as does the second--Mamet's explanation of Hoffa's famous disappearance. --Doug Thomas

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Brian W. Fairbanks VINE VOICE on June 2, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
A woefully underrated biography of the controversial Teamsters union president that deserved better than it got in 1992. Director Danny Devito and writer David Mamet clearly admire their subject, depicting Hoffa as a hero, a leader who has earned the loyalty of the working men he represents, rather than a self-centered puppet whose strings were pulled by organized crime. Whether or not Hoffa was deserving of such admiration is debatable, but the film offers a convincing argument that he was. As an actor, Devito has little to do but push people around and gape at Hoffa in awe, but behind the camera he performs admirably even if he seems a little too pretentious at times. As for Nicholson, this is one of his most challenging roles, one requiring more than an arch of those famous eyebrows and a flash of that killer smile. With the aid of a hairpiece and a few other modifications to his appearance, he gives one of his best performances in years. This is a fine, memorable film that seemed to have disappeared upon its release as thoroughly as Hoffa himself did in 1975. I don't know the whereabouts of Hoffa the man (and believe it's in my best interests not to know), but the film is on the video shelf. Check it out or buy it, but see it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Larry VanDeSande VINE VOICE on April 23, 2005
Format: DVD
Here is the closest thing there is in cimena to a real life story of a blood and guts union leader. Jimmy Hoffa was boss of the Teamsters (truckers) union for many years until he met his demise in 1975 at the hands of the same thugs that helped him secure his place as the union boss.

All the memorable moments of Hoffa's life are in this movie including his duels with then Attorney General Robert Kennedy, his accommodation to gangland members for union gain, and the circumstances that led to his final undoing.

I sure like this movie and watch it every chance I get. There are two fine films about the life of the late Jimmy Hoffa (who may or may not be buried in the Meadowlands) -- this one and Sylvester Stallone's 1978 effort "FIST", which covered much of the same ground as this one.

Any movie with Jack Nicholson in the lead must be taken seriously, and he does fine work in this film. I enjoyed every scene but have to take issue with some of the historical accuracy, particularly that final scene at the "Road House".

Jimmy Hoffa was, in fact, last seen as a swanky restaurant in a swanky suburub of Detroit right down the street from one of the Detroit's biggest PR firms, not at some nickle and dime diner out in the middle of nowhere.

No matter, I suppose, since I enjoy the flick so much. You will too if you rent, purchase, borrow or steal a copy of this DVD.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jason Troy on June 19, 2006
Format: DVD
Hoffa is a surprising film which from time to time arises to keep alive the memory of the late Teamster president. Told in flash back form, the film ably describes the dramatic rise and fall of the popular labor leader. Indeed, with Nickleson's portrayal the viewer is convinced of the confrontational life of the man who became synonymous with the International union. Re-enacting the turbulent rise of Hoffa, viewers are treated to the fabulous talents of some of the giants of the silver screen. Few could argue that Jack Nicholson as James R. 'Jimmy' Hoffa is nothing short of magical. In addition there is Danny DeVito who as Bobby Ciaro, in my opinion steals the show. Further enriching the cast is Armand Assante as Carol D'Allesandro, the mob boss who assured Jimmy's rise to power and then later is suspect in the teamster's mysterious disappearance. J.T. Walsh is excellent as Frank Fitzsimmons. The dramatic film superbly encapsulates the early violent trials, successful triumphs and eventual tragedy of the great, but troubled teamster president. ****
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Z. Freeman VINE VOICE on February 1, 2007
Format: DVD
Jack Nicholson's Hoffa is a Nicholson/Hoffa hybrid that plays very well on screen, though I don't know how much like the real man he really is. I've only seen brief news clips (including the extras in the special features section of the DVD). But Nicholson gives a moving and memorable performance as Jimmy Hoffa. The rest of the cast (a young John C. Reilly included) also give great performances.

I knew nothing about Jimmy Hoffa before this movie, so the nature of the film played well to me, giving an arc of events portraying Jimmy Hoffa's rise to President of the Teamsters from a young man concerned with union rights. It also dramatically covers his involvement with gangsters, the law, and Robert Kennedy.

Although Hoffa plays out like a sweeping epic (it IS 2 hours and 20 minutes long after all), there's something missing in its grandeur, and I really think it's as simple as an experienced director. Not that Danny DeVito does a bad job with the film and the actors, it's just every now and then something seems to miss the mark. A lot of the scenes look like they take place in obvious studios, which draws the audience away, and some of the scenes with bigger crowds lack that extra touch of humanity that needs to be given to remind the viewer of the individuals involved in the crowd.

Overall, though, the acting carries the movie through to the end, though, from what I've read, the ending is entirely fictionalized, which is a bit strange considering that it's somewhat of a biopic and not just a fictionalized account of a real man's life.
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