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Ordinary People (1980)

Donald Sutherland , Mary Tyler Moore , Robert Redford  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (272 customer reviews)

Price: $10.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, Timothy Hutton, M. Emmet Walsh
  • Directors: Robert Redford
  • Writers: Alvin Sargent, Judith Guest, Nancy Dowd
  • Producers: Ronald L. Schwary
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2001
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (272 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000055ZFA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,749 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ordinary People" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

An extraordinary motion picture, Ordinary People is an intense examination of a family being torn apart by tension and tragedy. Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore star as the upper-middle-class couple whose "ordinary" existence is irrevocably shattered by the death of their oldest son in a boating accident. Timothy Hutton is the younger son, struggling against suicide and guilt left by the drowning. Judd Hirsch is the empathetic psychiatrist who provides his lifeline to survival. Mary Tyler Moore gives a riveting portrayal of the inexplicably aloof mother. Robert Redford's achievement as director, after more than twenty years as a superstar in front of the camera, earned him an Oscar-® Superb performances and masterful direction complement the award-winning screenplay, based upon the novel by Judith Guest.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
157 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound no matter how you look at it November 9, 2002
Format:DVD
I have seen "Ordinary People" at least a dozen times over the past 17 years. I was 15 when I first saw it. It is one of a small handful of films that I have turned back to over the years as I've grown for new insight and meaning with profound results (others include "Midnight Cowboy" and "Taxi Driver"). Each and every time I see this, I see something new and am still deeply affected.
People and critics throw out the phrase "works on so many levels". This is an ideal film to model that nebulous concept. You could ask 50 people to screen it and ask them what they think it is about, and you would get 50 different responses. You could ask those same 50 people to screen it again in 5 years, and then ask them what they think it's about. You would get 50 different responses again. And so on and so on. You would get "it's about suicide", "it's about [someone] that dies", "it's about a family tragedy", "it's about teen depression", "it's about a cold mother", "it's about a dysfunctional family", and on and on. These are all true (and then some) so it's nearly impossible to describe this film in a nutshell.
"Ordinary People" (the movie and the great book from which it was adapted) shows us how families can go on for years and years (and even generations) without ever realizing or having to assess how everyone feels about one another. Some families get away with it, for things run smoothly on the surface. But sometimes things happen to shatter that facade. Could be an illness, a drug problem, a divorce, a death, whatever. Sometimes something so terrible happens that a family is forced to face each other and speak the unspoken. But sometimes, the unspoken simply cannot be spoken, at least by some of the members.
That is the case with this family.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Ordinary People" - EXTRAordinary classic June 5, 2001
Format:DVD
The subtle masterpiece and Academy Award winner for best picture of 1980, "Ordinary People", is a heartbreaking, character driven tale that evolves around the lives of an upper class, suburban family in Chicago. The troubled son, Conrad Jared (played by Timothy Hutton), must make an awkward and difficult transition into high school and home life after months in a mental hospital for attempted suicide, greatly due to the loss of his older brother. He is still haunted by his past and desperately longs for a connection with his distant and broken mother, Beth (played by Mary Tyler Moore), as well as a sense of belonging and normalcy, which he searches for during his weekly interactions with his psychiatrist (played by Judd Hirsch), who slowly unlocks the boy's inner pain and mysteries. The concerned father, Calvin (played by Donald Sutherland) tries frantically to assure his son and piece the family back together; however the emotional struggles the family must endure brings out each member's true colors and weaknesses, including the fathers.
"Ordinary People" is carefully crafted, incredibly honest, and touching. Each character is depicted with great depth and sincerity. Hutton delivered an intense, thoughtful and true performance, receiving a well-deserved Oscar for best supporting actor, although the title, best actor, would have been more suitable... the role was made for him, and he owned it with such care, often speaking more with his eyes and body language than words. Another highlight is Mary Tyler Moore, who tackled her first dramatic role amazingly, surprising audiences with her profound, Oscar worthy and most memorable portrayal.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing film November 27, 2001
Format:DVD
(... This movie) won a Best Picture Oscar, so I figured it would be good. I had no idea. Ordinary People is an astonishing movie where nothing is as it seems. The title itself is ironic, because although the Jared family seems like your typical American family, they are by no means so. Mary Tyler Moore plays Beth, the emotionally retentive mother who would rather not face the unseen demons that are rapidly tearing their family apart. Her performance captures the inner coldness and turmoil that is necessary to the character. Donald Sutherland is also excellent as Calvin, the sociable father who feels somewhat responsible for the problems of the family and wants healing. The regret and sadness of his character shine through, what an excellent job. Judd Hirsch is Dr. Berger, the psychiatrist who helps the family try to heal. But the movie is stolen by Timothy Hutton, who plays the young son Conrad, who had previously attempted suicide. His portrayal of the anguished, emotionally dead Conrad is a virtuoso performance. Eventually, through the help of Dr. Berger, Conrad is able to stop blaming himself for the death of his brother and move on with his life. Perhaps the most tension-filled scene in the movie for me was when Conrad found out that his friend had committed suicide and he goes into the bathroom and turns on the warm water and we see the scars on his wrists, and we can only wait to see if he is going to try it again. Another thing, brilliant direction by Robert Redford. Instead of using indulgent film shots or camera tricks, he just allows the camera to focus on the action, the right approach, even though he might have been tempted to try that kind of thing to prove himself in his first film. This is a great movie, one of the best ever made. Make it the next one you see. However, the DVD version is a little plain (...).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie that totally showed the "other side" of Mary ...
A movie that totally showed the "other side" of Mary Tyler Moore. It it a heart breaking
and deep movie that shows the cracks in our characters. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Renee Scherbroeck
1.0 out of 5 stars Best Picture?
If you need any proof at all that the Oscars are nothing but a popularity contest with no real consideration for quality or talent, this is it. This beat Raging Bull? Read more
Published 16 days ago by TSW
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased.
Fine quality video. Order well handled.
Published 25 days ago by haridam
4.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive Handling of a Serious Subject
I watched this film because it was picked for our next movie club meeting. I had never seen it before now. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Norm F
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good movie. I enjoyed watching it
Published 1 month ago by Erika
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great
Published 2 months ago by Momo
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent direction
I think this is the first movie Robert redford directed and you can see why he is so respected as a fine director. excellent Oscar performances!
Published 2 months ago by dj4696
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies
If you have never seen this movie - it is outstanding. They all play a terrific parts of course they are great actors. A real must see movie for anyone.
Published 2 months ago by Gretchen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
This is one of my favorite movies. The director does a good job of making you care so much for the characters, one of my main criterion for a great movie. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. Ormsby
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
Wonderful movie in the thoughtful and meaningful way Robert Redford directs. Great character development ans exposure to the truth these characters lives.
Published 3 months ago by Vladimir Schiau
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