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Love Ranch

3.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Inspired by an incredible true story... As proprietors of Nevada's first legalized brothel, Grace (Helen Mirren) and Charlie Bontempo (Joe Pesci) aren't your typical married couple. When Grace falls for Bruza (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a heavyweight boxer contracted to Charlie, passions erupt, leading to murderous consequences.

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Not every actor can handle roles ranging from royal to madam--but then, Helen Mirren isn't every actor. Mirren, an Academy Award winner for 2006's The Queen, is the best thing about director (and her real-life husband) Taylor Hackford's Love Ranch, a tale "inspired by" the real-life adventures of Joe and Sally Conforte, owners of the Mustang Ranch, Nevada's notorious house of legal prostitution. As the film opens, it's New Year's Eve 1975, and for Grace Bontempo (Mirren) life is a drag. Her husband and business partner, Charlie (Joe Pesci, typecast in yet another role as a lowlife hustler and violent thug), openly cheats on her with the "girls," a catty bunch whom Grace wearily struggles to keep under control; meanwhile, Charlie is so preoccupied with maintaining his various scams and foisting the chore of keeping the whorehouse running on his long-suffering wife that he ignores her when she tries to tell him she's just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. When Charlie blithely announces that he has taken charge of the career of Argentinean heavyweight boxer Armando Bruza (Sergio Peris-Mencheta, in a role modeled after real fighter Oscar Bonavena) and plans to put him in the ring with Muhammad Ali, Grace is skeptical. Skepticism gives way to disbelief when Charlie insists that Grace be Bruza's manager, but that's nothing compared to her shock when the boxer, who's some 30 years her junior, comes on to her. Despite an intriguing story line, the film is fairly lifeless until the second hour, when Grace and Bruza get it on, followed in rapid succession by a brutal bout that Bruza barely survives, the arrival of the IRS and an investigation into the ranch's finances, and Grace's decision to run off with her studly new lover--all of which begets a variety of mostly unhappy consequences. But even at its best, it doesn't quite catch fire. Hackford has directed a few movies that were both good and successful, like Ray and An Officer and a Gentleman, but even his wife's best efforts can't quite put Love Ranch into either of those categories. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with Director Taylor Hackford.
  • Introduction by Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford.
  • Deleted scenes with optional commentary.

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Gina Gershon, Taryn Manning
    • Directors: Taylor Hackford
    • Writers: Mark Jacobson
    • Producers: Anne Johns, David Bergstein, Frederick R. Ulrich, Jeff G. Waxman, Lisa Dennis
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
    • Language: English (DTS-HD 5.1)
    • Dubbed: English
    • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: R (Restricted)
    • Studio: National Ent Media
    • DVD Release Date: November 9, 2010
    • Run Time: 117 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B003Z8ZC0M
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,057 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Love Ranch" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD
    More like "Raging Bull" (boxing) and the F-word (Joe Pesci) than about a brothel. And the first half looks like a B-movie

    I'm a HUGE Helen Mirren fan, and I loved the DVD version of Director Taylor Hackford's film "Ray", so I was anxious to see this film, directed by Hackford and starring Mirren (his wife). Before watching the film, I clicked on the "bonus features" and watched the six-minute "Introduction" by Hackford and Mirren. It looks like it was filmed in their living room with home video camera. Hackford was doing most of the talking and Mirren looked like they had just woken her up. Not a good start.

    Then I played the film. It is based on the life of Reno's famed Mustang Ranch brothel in the 1970s and owner Joe Conforte and his wife. The "R" rating appears at the beginning and the explanation is "sexual situations and strong violence". Hmmm...... a film about a whore house with no nudity? Strange. Well, as another reviewer pointed out, for the first 45 minutes of the film, it looks like Mirren is sleepwalking through her role, and the hairdo she wears looks like a cheap wig (it isn't). Co-star Joe Pesci reprises his standard "Good Fellas" persona with the F-word being more than half of his dialogue (I'd love to have seen his dialogue portion of the script.). But after that 30-40 minutes, things change and we get real acting from Mirren. You'll know when that starts because she loses the curly hair and for the rest of the film its her standard straight hairstyle. (Was this symbolism that Hackford was giving us?).

    Anyway, if you looked at the cover art, you'd never know that this is a film about boxing, yet a good portion takes place in the ring with Hackford trying to make the fight scenes look like "Raging Bull" - though in color!
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    1 Comment 14 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    I REALLY love the movie. Maybe its because I'm about the same age as Helen Mirren appears to be in the film but I was captivated by the entire story - in particular after the Boxer professed his interest in her. I think that the stark contrast between the hard world of prostitution compared to the abandon to the passion of the moment and the truly tender romance between the two lovers, both of them hardened and deeply injured by life, made for great drama and tragedy. Their wild abandon to share a few moments of true nurturing and caring sent a wonderfully simple message - love while you can. Yes, there were some corny scenes, and some raw comedy but I truly loved this movie - I cried at the end - and I will watch it again and own it soon. And readers, I repeat, if you know an older baby boomer woman looking for a fantasy cinema fling - this is definitely a Baby Boomer Romeo and Juliet flick with a unique love story based on a true story.
    Comment 4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
    I loved the way Taylor Hackford nails sexy, sleazy, seventies Nevada vice. Helen Mirren's portrayal of jaded Grace is worth at least three veiwings just to see this kind if woman played to perfection. Joe Pesci gives a multilayered turn as the heavy husband. The romance between Grace and her new business acquisition is hot hot hot! Only Dame Helen could have convinced us so well.
    Comment 4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    Joe Pesci is typed cast as a New Jersey thug. He plays the co-owner of the Love Ranch (Mustang Ranch) Charlie Bontempo (Joe Conforte). His co-owner wife, Grace (Sally Burgess) is played by the classy Helen Mirren. They had owned illegal brothels, which appears to have been easier than the headaches associated with legal ones and having to deal with "25 psychotics," as Grace puts it. The movie captured the bikini clad girls of the era. There is brief nudity and sexual situations as one would expect from such a movie, but it is minimal. Pesci drops the f-bomb like only Pesci can. The movie failed to capture the frequent celebrity appearances at the ranch. It focuses on the year 1976. Grace finds out she has cancer and maybe six months to live. She tries to tell Charlie, who is too busy with the talent. Charlie gets an idea for Argentinian boxer Bruza (Oscar Bonavena) to train at the ranch to attract clients. While at the ranch Bruza and Grace have an affair. The movie is based on a true story and did a fair job in following it. The closing dialogue of the movie implies that the ranch's tax problems came shortly after the shooting of Bruza in 1976. That is not true. It wasn't until 1990 that the IRS took over the Ranch and Joe Conforte fled to Brazil. The Mustang II ranch shown at the end of the movie was erected in 1982.
    3 Comments 7 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    LOVE STORY is a peculiar movie. It is based on the true story of the notorious Mustang Ranch just outside of Reno, Nevada, a brothel that was world famous run by a couple by the name of Joe and Sally Conforte who had chutzpah and an ongoing run-in with the IRS and the law in bringing in boxer Oscar Buenovena as an addendum to their game of wealth. The facts of the brothel's existence are true as are the characters portrayed in the film, but a considerable amount of artistic license as to dates and chronology of event were taken by writer Mark Jacobson. The result is a strange conglomeration of a story, boring as roadkill during the first half but awakening into a rather tender melodrama in the second half. And it is worth the wait. Taylor Hackford directs his wife Helen Mirren, and as we have come to expect, anytime Mirren is in a film there is at least a modicum of fine acting.

    The Confortes become the Bontempos for LOVE RANCH (aka Mustang Ranch of history) and Joe Pesci as Charlie Bontempo is an ex-con with a potty mouth who married Grace (Helen Mirren) 20 some years ago, and together they have built the world's largest brothel - the first legal one in Nevada. Grace at first is cheap and tacky, walking with a cane and constantly reminding Charlie of her importance: her character changes a it when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer by her doctor (Broadway singing star Harve Presnell in a tiny and last role; he died in 2009) . Charlie beds all the women who work at Love Ranch and Grace is aware of it.
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    3 Comments 9 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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