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Over the Edge (1979)

186 customer reviews

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(Sep 20, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Over the Edge (DVD)

Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominee Matt Dillon ("Crash," "There's Something About Mary") stars in this updated "Rebel Without a Cause" tale about teenagers in an affluent middle-American suburb where everything should be right, but isn't. The New York Times said it is "one of the year's best" and The Village Voice called it "dynamic, well directed, and acutely observed." Leonard Maltin sums it up as "powerful.... A winner!" Directed by Emmy-winner Jonathan Kaplan ("The Accused") with a soundtrack featuring music by Cheap Trick, The Cars, The Ramones and Van Halen.


Return to the pre-Internet days of 1979, when teens had KISS on their T-shirts and Led Zeppelin on their walls (wait, other than the high-waisted pants, that could be today). Richie (Matt Dillon in an electrifying debut) and Carl (Michael Kramer) are two such teens stuck in the planned community of New Granada (rural Colorado). Richie is a two-bit hood in Jackie Earle Haley (Bad News Bears) mode. Carl, his partner in mischief (breaking curfew, setting off firecrackers), comes from a more stable environment. Once a gun enters the picture, petty crime leads to tragedy and then apocalyptic revenge. Over the Edge gets the details right: the kids, the era, and their frustration with an uncomprehending adult world. At times, it almost feels like documentary, except for a few moments of high Kubrick-meets-Walter Hill drama, as when Carl gets jumped by a couple of hoods, including Vincent Spano (Baby It's You). Directed by Jonathan Kaplan (The Accused) and shot by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive), Over the Edge was unavailable for too long and deserves to find the same audience as other teen rebellion classics like co-writer Tim Hunter's River's Edge. The period-perfect soundtrack ups the ante with potent tracks from Cheap Trick, the Ramones, and the Cars. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

Audio Commentary: Commentary by Director Jonathan Kaplan, Screenwriters Charlie Haas and Tim Hunter and roducer George Litto Audio Commentary: Commentary by Director Jonathan Kaplan, Screenwriters Charlie Haas and Tim Hunter and roducer George Litto

Product Details

  • Actors: Vincent Spano, Harry Northrup, Ellen Geer, Andy Romano, Matt Dillon
  • Directors: Jonathan S. Kaplan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2005
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A0GOEG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,505 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Over the Edge (1979)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By N. P. Stathoulopoulos on October 15, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Over the Edge is as relevant today as it was when it appeared in 1979, maybe even more so. It's a teenage rebellion movie in the best tradition of films like Rebel Without a Cause and The Blackboard Jungle. I can't think of a movie that better depicts the boredom of the American teenager in a sub-divided suburban wasteland where nothing to do becomes a full time activity.
New Granada is a planned community in the middle of nowhere. It's a resounding success. At least the adults want to believe it is. They make money, make deals, and want to attract business and create something in the middle of nowhere, a shiny happy place to live, away from the big city. Meanwhile the kids are stuck in limbo with nothing to do and nowhere to go save a Rec center run by an older hippy woman who lets the kids drink, smoke, toke, and generally make a science out of boredom.
Carl is a good kid from a good home, but he's beginning to fall in with the wrong crowd of kids, one of whom is Richie (Matt Dillon in his first film), a rough and tumble teen who sparks the now all too believable climax. The photography is beautiful and lends the film an eerie quality as it depicts New Granada as an ambitious moral failure, a new but already rotting development. The money to build a promised shopping mall and bowling alley has run out, leaving the kids with a Rec center that is eventually shut down by a police force (led by Dough Boy from Taxi Driver) that puts the pressure on until something has to give.
It's supposedly based on a true story, but which true story is unimportant. There are countless New Granadas in America, and the film was shot in a planned community in Aurora, Colorado. The landscape is bleak, with a consistently gray and grainy sky.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By cookieman108 on September 22, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw Over the Edge (1979) on cable way back in the early 80s, and it really spoke to me as a mischevious young punk...years passed and I subsequently forgot the name of the film (for some reason, I kept thinking it was called The Kids are Alright), but managed to find it again on a fluke in a video store about ten years, after years of waiting, someone finally got it together and released it to DVD. Co-written by Charles S. Haas (Tex, Gremlins 2: The New Batch) and Tim Hunter (River's Edge), and directed by Jonathan Kaplan (Truck Turner, White Line Fever), the film features Michael Eric Kramer (Return to Horror High, Project X) and the silver screen debut of a young Matt Dillon (My Bodyguard, The Outsiders, Rumble Fish). Also appearing is Pamela Ludwig (Dead Man Walking), Vincent Spano (Creator, Alive), Tom Fergus, Harry Northup (Used Cars, The Silence of the Lambs), Ellen Geer (Harold and Maude), daughter of legendary actor Will Geer, and Andy Romano (Pump Up the Volume, Under Siege).

As the film begins we see a sign welcoming us to New Granada, "Tomorrow's City...Today"'s one of those suburban communities made up of condos and town homes, created so that people could escape the city...and then some text comes on the screen informing us that in 1978, 110,000 kids under the age of 18 were arrested for crimes of vandalism in the United States...the more things change, the more they stay the same...I don't know what that means, but it sounded cool, didn't it? Anyway, we also learn the film is based on actual events, where those responsible for planning the community neglected the fact that nearly a quarter of the population was under the age of fifteen. After this we meet Carl (Kramer) and Richie (Dillon)...
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By R.H.A. on September 24, 2005
Format: DVD
This is the "Rebel Without A Cause" for the seventies, only with 13-15 year-old kids who are played by ... 13-15 year-old-kids. As far as I know, this might be the first time when young teens were actually not played by actors several years their senior, and the effect of that is weirdly chilling. On one hand, it almost seems camp. These kids are still riding around on bikes (Stingrays!), but not too young - in their opinion - to play around with guns, sex of course, drugs of all kinds, and even having a bit of 'fun' with the cops. They act like they're worldly, experienced dopers, thieves, and drug dealers, but that's really how these kids were (I grew up with kids exactly like these in the mid-seventies). It's that "reality" that's chilling. Twenty-six years ago, we all kind of laughed at the somewhat cataclysmic boiling point that these kids reached by the film's final chapter (it's every schoolkid's wish come true), but today ... I don't know. With every generation, the stakes seem to get higher and higher. In the fifties, it was "Rebel Without a Cause", in the seventies, it was "Over the Edge" in the nineties it was ... Columbine. The questions still remain. What is it beneath the quiet suburban hum that unnerves every growing generation that is trying to carve out an identity? This film supplies some of the answers. It's also has a terrific slew of 70's songs, and is extremely entertaining!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Paulo Leite on July 9, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I never heard of this film until I saw it on somebody's amazon list. I read many reviews and decided to give it a try. Wow, what a film!!!

The story is quite simple: a group of kids living in a new city eager to attract new investment... and that's it. No movie theaters, no malls, no parks... nothing. And they are there on their own. Then all things start to happen.

The planners just forgot that a quarter of the city's population was under 16.

Anyway, it is rare to see a film with so many kids delivering electrifying performances... and Matt Dillon and Michael Kramer DO leave you in awe. They're so so so good that i wonder why isn't this film considered the classic it is.

This is one of those small films where everything on it is big:

Cinematography: Top-notch. This film has one of the best cinematoraphy jobs I've ever seen. On this film, the image really speaks. There is one scene, when the protagonist is being hunted, when he spends the night in an empty house with the girl he likes... it's early morning... the Sun is just rising... they say goodbye... and the most beautiful sunrise (outside) is framed by the doors... simply one of Cinema's great moments. I am one of those people who hate intelectuals who "look for the meaning" of every scene of every film they see... and here is one scene that trully gives the viewer some space for interpretation. It really made me cry.

And that is great screenwriting. Period.

Music score: again another fine work. The kids only listen to 70's rock - but that's just diegetic music here and then. But the music score you'll listen when we get deep into the story is absolutely beautiful, rich and powerful. It is not just there instead of silence...
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My article about "Over the Edge"
Thanks Mike. Great article about a very under-appreciated movie that influenced me in a big way when I was 15 and living in suburban Ohio.
May 22, 2013 by Frank Rizzo |  See all 4 posts
Soundtrack??? Where is it??? Be the first to reply
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