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Paradise Road (1997)

Glenn Close , Frances McDormand , Bruce Beresford  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

Price: $35.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, Pauline Collins, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Ehle
  • Directors: Bruce Beresford
  • Writers: Bruce Beresford, David Giles, Betty Jeffrey, Martin Meader
  • Producers: Andrew Yap, David Giles, Graeme Rattigan
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2001
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056BSH
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,955 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Paradise Road" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In a time of war, an extraordinary group of women turned a song of hope into a symphony of triumph. From the director of "Driving Miss Daisy" comes a true story of courage, triumph, friendship and strength starring Glenn Close ("Dangerous Liaisons"), Oscar®-Winner Frances McDormand (1996 Best Actress, "Fargo") and Emmy Award Winner Julianna Margulies (TV's "ER"). This compelling drama reveals the heroic actions of a group of women held prisoner by the Japanese during World War ll. These diverse women from different countries, speaking different languages, unite to form a vocal orchestra-creating a life affirming symphony of human voices.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scenes Missing July 13, 2004
By A Customer
I just watched Paradise Road on DVD and was very disappointed. I didn't see scenes I remember in the VHS version. I like the movie very much, but would not have purchased a version that was shortened. There are two scenes I remember from renting the movie previously. Those being where Jennifer Ehle meets her husband while he is attempting to escape the men's camp, and also the scene where Miss Drummond is buried and Glenn Close's character begins to hum and tap the Bolero piece the orchestra did. I have no idea why Fox would delete those scenes. The cover of the DVD indicates the movie is 132 minutes long, however my counter stopped at 110 or so. So please be forwarned, if you purchase the DVD you will not get the whole movie. Other than that, I would say the movie is worth having in a home collection.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A woman's vocal orchestra in a Japanese internment camp November 20, 2004
Right before the fall of Singapore in February 1942 a group of women, predominantly English but also including Dutch, Australian, and other Western nationalities, were evacuated on ship to Australia. However, when the ship is sunk they are captured by the Japanese and put in an internment camp. Over the rest of the war they suffer the attendant horrors of being the prisoners of the Japanese and they rise above their condition by creating a vocal orchestra, a chorus that performs hummed renditions of the works of Mozart, Dvorak, and Ravel.

There are certainly some memorable and harrowing moments in "Paradise Road" reflecting the brutality of life in a Japanese internment camp. Such horrors are supposed to stand in contrast to the beautiful music these women created in their prison camp by putting together a vocal orchestra. However, at the end of this 1999 film from director Bruce Beresford we learn that the vocal orchestra only performed for a couple of years before half its members had died, and we simply do not get the sense that things were that bad in this film, even though intellectually we know this must have been the case. As is pointed out, the Japanese do not like Europeans, prisoners, or women, and of course with these women we have all three. In contrast, one of the women refuses to hate her captors, explaining: "I just can't bring myself to hate people. The worse they behave, the sorrier I feel for them."

I suppose it is politically incorrect today to show the brutality the Japanese displayed in dealing with prisoners. The concept of surrender was an anathema to the Japanese and soldiers who surrendered rather than die in battle or kill themselves were seen as being without honor.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Microcosm of Japanese Actions Across WW II Asia August 23, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
A fascinating, moving film of European civilian women interned in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, *Paradise Road* tells a tale of courage and fortitude amidst the incredible barbarism of the war-period Japanese army. Kate Blanchett's character is especially moving. The film (and book) deal in microcosm with Japanese actions across Asia towards civilians - and not just Europeans of course (tragic as that was), but Asians, too. When I lived in Hong Kong and Singapore in the 90s, memories among locals were still very strong about Japanese behaviour - which across Asia resulted in the deaths of twenty million Asians: in Hong Kong Chinese villagers in the remoter New Territories at times still attacked Japanese tourist coach parties, while in Stanley, HK, I lived a few yards from the notorious site of the Stanley internment camp, where the Japanese brutally treated civilians, and had earlier, a few steps away at a nearby Stanley prep school, raped and bayonnetted the British nurses manning a make-shift hospital during the Battle of of Hong Kong. Camps for European civilian women existed across Asia, not just in "two" spots, as another reviewer suggests (these are simply all that are mentioned in the film) - in Sumatra, Java, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Borneo, etc, while the same reviwer's wondering if the Japanese raped anybody is simply lack of knowledge. Some fine books to read on the subject, as moving as *Paradise Road*, include Lavinia Warner's *Women Beyond the Wire*, Jean Gittins' *Stanley: Behind Barbed Wire* and George Wright-Nooth's *Prisoner of the Turnip Heads* ("Turnip Heads" is what the Cantonese of Hong Kong call the Japanese) - some are printed in Britain and available through Amazon's UK site. Read more ›
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise road - truly moving January 10, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I have seen many movies about the hardships endured by prisoners in camps during World War II, but this particular film truly moved me. It was so inspiring to see how these women, living in such horrible circumstances, could still find the time and the courage to lift their voices in song. I have seen the movie several times and am anxious to purchase a copy so that I can share it with friends and family. There is also a book which relates the true story of these women and their remarkable achievement. A true portrayal of how the human spirit can endure and soar!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a movie! December 5, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is must see if you are at all interested in the true story that it is based on. It is about a group of women that are held in a Japanese camp during the second world war. They start to form a voice orchestra to keep themselves happy and eventually overcome hardship. It is a fabulous film ...I 've seen it about 10 times.
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