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Inherit the Wind (1960)

Spencer Tracy , Fredric March , Stanley Kramer  |  PG |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (283 customer reviews)

Price: $41.52 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York, Donna Anderson
  • Directors: Stanley Kramer
  • Writers: Harold Jacob Smith, Jerome Lawrence, Nedrick Young, Robert E. Lee
  • Producers: Stanley Kramer
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dubbed, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2001
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (283 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005PJ6V
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,881 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Inherit the Wind" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Two-time Best Actor OscarÂ(r) winners* Spencer Tracy and Fredric March go toe-to-toe in this thrilling re-creation of the most titanic courtroom battle of the century. Garnering four Academy AwardÂ(r) nominations**, including Best Actor (Tracy), and featuring Gene Kelly in a rare, critically-acclaimed dramatic role, Inherit the Wind is powerful, provocative cinema and "a heaping measure of entertainment" (The Hollywood Reporter)! The controversial subject of evolution versus creation causes two polar opposites to engage in one explosive battle of beliefs. Attorney Clarence Darrow (Tracy) faces off against fundamentalist leader William Jennings Bryan (March) in a small Tennessee town where a teacher has been brought to trial for teaching Darwinism. Let the trial begin...and watch the sparks fly!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly and justifiably dominated by two star performances September 20, 2003
Format:DVD
After over forty years this remains a truly powerful film, and the secret is not hard to locate: Spencer Tracy and Fredric March. These two great actors, both near the end of their respective careers (both would make other films, but it would be the last great performance in March's career and one of the last in Tracy's, though he did go on to excel in both JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG and GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER). Remove them from the film, and there wouldn't be a whole lot left. Luckily, they are in it, and between them they manage to chew up scene after scene as they display movie acting at its very finest.
The story, of course, is loosely (though not too loosely) based on the Scopes trial, where Clarence Darrow defended John Scopes from charges of having taught the theory of evolution in a public school. William Jennings Bryan, former US senator, secretary of state, and three-time presidential candidate, argued the case for the prosecution. Although the real-life trial was covered by a huge press corps, the movie focuses on only one reporter, the fictional E. K. Hornbeck, who is loosely based on H. L. Mencken and played somewhat against type by Gene Kelly (sadly, it would also be Kelly's last major role; unlike his friend and rival Fred Astaire, his career was cut short partly by the demise of the musical and partly by injuries that made dancing harder for him as he aged, but also unlike Astaire he was unable to find quality acting roles as he aged).
The film is also served well by an excellent supporting cast. Harry Morgan, later familiar from M*A*S*H, capably plays the judge in the trial. Dick York, later the first Darren in BEWITCHED (interestingly, a TV show based on I MARRIED A WITCH, in which Fredric March played the "Darren" equivalent) is a familiar face.
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63 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding dual performances! August 30, 2003
Format:DVD
There are many reasons to watch this movie, one of the essential films of the past 50 years. But the primary motivation is to see the greatest screen actor of all, Spencer Tracy, deliver a performance for the ages. Watch this master emote with movement, voice and nuance. He steals the picture (as he usually does), but there is another brilliant performance as well. This is delivered expertly by the underrated Fredric March, in one of the meatiest roles ever handed to an actor. March is at turns witty, cunning, over-the-top, hammy or contrite, depending upon the demands of the scene. His scenes on the witness stand with Tracy are among the best written and beautifully acted pieces in movie history. It's impossible not to be on the edge of your seat as Tracy quizzes March about various passages from the Bible.
I won't bother with the details of the plot, which is well known to most movie fans. Don't expect real or truthful history, and accept that Kramer's direction is sometimes limited and even claustrophobic. Watch this film because there has never been such an array of spellbinding performances as were delivered by Tracy and March. An astounding display of acting talent.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something to Think About February 18, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Inherit the Wind is a movie about ideas, and in the hands of master actors like Spencer Tracy and Fredric March, the ideas are well delivered. March and Tracy bring the full force of their talents to their roles as opposing lawyers (and one time friends) who face off on the issue of evolution vs. Creation. The fact that this is based on a real life court case only adds to the drama. Florence Eldridge, March's real life wife, is excellent as March's movie wife who recognizes the flaws in her husband, but loves and admires him anyways. Harry Morgan also gives a solid performance as the judge caught in a very controversial case. Gene Kelly plays a very cynical reporter and has some good scenes, but overall isn't completely effective. The movie is full of dialogue, and is obviously based on a stage play, but the ideas are so strong, the actors so dynamic, and there are enough scenes away from the court case, so that the movie doesn't drag. And of course, the issues raised about freedom of speech and thought are still relevant today. This is a movie and a story to learn from.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Inherit the Wind is the broad fictional adaptation of the real-life Scopes Monkey Trial in which John Scopes, a football coach who taught evolution in a high school classroom, was put on trial and the city of Dayton, Tennessee was put on the map... and not in a particularly pleasing light.

Spencer Tracy and Frederic March turn out tremendously powerful performances as opposing lawyers in the trial, while Gene Kelly stands aloofly by as a flippant reporter for the Boston Globe.

What is especially striking about Inherit the Wind is the relevance of the movie (almost 50 years later) to the current political atmosphere. In the 20's the law said that evolution couldn't be taught, and now it's creationism that can't be taught. As Tracy's Henry Drummond says in the film, "Well, that's evolution for you."

The acting throughout the film is outstanding and it hardly feels like a two hour film, particularly in black and white. The entire film builds momentum until it all comes to a head at the very end with the showdown between Drummond (Tracy) and Brady (March). This is not a film to be missed if you're at all interested in history (although it's a loose adaptation) and the current intelligent design debate.

Included on the disc is the original trailer for the film, which features a few clips from the film and then director Stanley Kramer discussing the film and listing awards that it won in festivals. It's interesting to see a trailer this old and compare it to our current trailers.
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