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Pather Panchali (1995)

Kanu Bannerjee , Karuna Bannerjee , Satyajit Ray  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kanu Bannerjee, Karuna Bannerjee, Subir Banerjee, Chunibala Devi, Uma Das Gupta
  • Directors: Satyajit Ray
  • Writers: Satyajit Ray, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C9JFR
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,795 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pather Panchali" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

The first in a popular trilogy of Indian films! Pather Panchali is a moving story of a rural family cursed with bad luck. The father is a dreamer, while his wife struggles to feed the family, including son Apu. When a petty thief brings tragedy to them, they must find a way to survive.Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Multiple film festival awards.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The exquisite first film of the great Satyajit Ray January 8, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Once upon a time, in the early years of the last century, a young boy named Apu lived with his poor Brahmin family in a village in Bengal. The father, Harihar Ray (Kanu Bannerjee) is a poet and a priest, who would rather think of an idea for his next play than make an effort to get the money that is owed him, and who responds to the hardships of life with the simple declaration, "Whatever God does is for the best." Consequently, he has to travel far away for long periods of time to try and raise the money his family needs to survive, to pay back their debts, and to repair the family home, which is falling down. This leaves his wife and two children to survive as best they can in this intimate and poetic film.
The two things I knew about this classic Indian film before I watched it was that it was the first by director Satyajit Ray and the first in the Apu trilogy. I found the later more interesting because Apu (Subir Bannerjee) is arguable the least significant of the major characters in this film, which centers more on his mother, Sarbojaya (Karuna Bannerjee), and especially his sister, Durga (Uma Das Gupta). Durga is something of a petty theft, who is always stealing fruit from the neighborhood orchards. Her mother defends her behavior to the neighbors, pointing out that fruit does not have the name of its owner on it, but she does not know what to do about Durga, or about the family's old auntie (Chunibala Devi). Apu is a witness to some of what happens, but it is not until the end of the film that he has a scene of some importance. Even then, it is the poetry of the moment that matters more than anything Apu does, and you are left with a sense of wonder as to how Ray has crafted this film so that this relatively simple moment becomes so eloquent.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An amazing movie with a terrible DVD release. May 11, 2007
Format:DVD
Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955)

This would be a ludicrously long review before I ran out of good things to say about Pather Panchali. But everyone else has already said all those things. If you didn't listen to them, you're not going to listen to me, but I'll put in a "see it. now." here for good measure and get onto what will be a review not of a great film, but a ludicrous DVD release.

Biswas proudly trumpets that it has exclusive rights to Pather Panchali in the DVD market. If this is the case, it should be considered a crime against nature. The video transfer is horrible, the sound transfer only marginally better. I've seen better subtitling on bargain-basement bootleg Chinese DVDs. If your only chance to see the film is in the Biswas DVD release, wait until you can catch a revival somewhere. This is terrible in the extreme, and hopefully, someday, someone will do something about it. The movie gets four stars; the DVD release, one.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Unforgettable June 24, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Pather Panchali, a simple, moving, story of a family struggling to survive the harshness of poverty in a village in Bengal. Nothing magical, nothing remarkable, and yet their lives encompass all the varied emotions that is within us all. That is the greatness of this film. It is ageless and universal. The bond between the girl Durga and Auntie,the old old lady is sweet and moving. So is the love between the little brother Apu and elder sister Durga. The simple things that fill these children with happiness, like a passing train, transport us to the simplicity of our childhood. The song when old Auntie calls to God in the gloomy dusk, to relieve her from the burden of this earth is haunting and sad, in that we feel the utter loneliness of the old woman. Each scene, is filled with meaning and there are no artificial sounds. In one of the scenes, with Durga and Apu roaming in the fields, there is just a heavy stillness, broken just by the sound of a sighing wind. The sitar recital by Ravi Shankar when the monsoon breaks and the first drops of rain fall, with the insects dancing over the rippling lake is magical and poetic. This movie, considered the best of Satyajit's work, remains one of the best and unforgettable movies, for me.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Song of the Little Road April 7, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Delicate, almost lyrical black-and-white images, offer insight into the harshness of life in a rural Bengali village. Panther Panchali is the first movie in Satyajit Ray's (1921-1992) compelling Apu Trilogy. Ravi Shankar's hauntingly beautiful music takes this movie to a mythical level.

Satyajit Ray's ability to reveal this story at a leisurely pace, all while intriguing you with the details of Indian life, keeps you captive to the last minute. Even the old stone buildings of the ancestral home seem artistic.

In the first story we find Durga stealing guavas and Apu is not yet born. As Durga's mother, Sarbajaya (Karuna Bannerjee), struggles to look after family members she is already responsible for, her relatives criticize her for her lack of leadership in the family. The auntie Indir (Chunibala Devi) takes delight in Durga's adventures and loves the gifts of bananas and guavas.

There is a comforting scene where she is seen sitting against an ancient wall while she rocks Apu in a basket hanging from the ceiling. As she sings there is a moment of serenity in this world where each day seems to be a fight for survival. Her optimistic attitude is almost heroic in the light of how she is often treated. She has much to offer her community and excels at story telling. Watch for the scene where her face is silhouetted against the wall late at night. This movie has many cinematic moments that border on enlightened creativity.

For some reason, this movie reminded me of living in Africa on a campsite/farm where we would borrow a cup of sugar from the neighbors house or wander down a path to the river. Here we find the comical "Indir" stealing chilies or other cooking supplies from Sarbajaya.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Pather Panchali
This is an extraordinary film, probably one of the world's greatest and I was grateful to find it so easily on Amazon.
Published 3 months ago by Sister David Paula
4.0 out of 5 stars ather Panchali
Break through film with practically unscripted reality. A study rather than an entertainment. Moves slowly yet every movement speaks loudly and reveals much.
Published 6 months ago by Joyce L. Buckley
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated.
I love foreign films because they tell the truth of the human condition unlike Hollywood-studio movies that usually sugar-coat life. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ron
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant film. Mediocre copy.
The film is absolutely brilliant. I saw it first when I was 15: many scenes stayed with me over the past 50 years. One of the great films. But, I found the copy mediocre. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Judy Tuwaletstiwa
5.0 out of 5 stars The Empire 5 Star 500 - #40
When is enough - enough? The story is about an impoverished family in the rural countryside of Bengal in the 1920s. Read more
Published on May 28, 2011 by The Inquisitor
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A masterpiece in Black and White. The story, camera-work, natural acting will remain with you forever! Understated elegance of epic proportions!!
Published on January 25, 2009 by Prabal Guha Biswas
5.0 out of 5 stars Charity at home
One of the greatest films ever made, this stunning 1955 film was the great Satyajit's Ray's first full-length work, and remains the benchmark for all the great films that followed. Read more
Published on December 14, 2008 by Jay Dickson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Somewhere between the Oriental placidity of a great Yasujiro Ozu film and the harsh reality of a great Vittorio De Sica film lies the world of Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali, the... Read more
Published on October 18, 2008 by Cosmoetica
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful introduction to Satyajit Ray......
This is a great introduction to the masterful films of the late, great Indian filmmaker, Satyajit Ray. Read more
Published on March 19, 2007 by D. Pawl
5.0 out of 5 stars Loss, Love, and Redemption
I'm sorry to see that as if this date Amazon has no copies of this film for sale. I hope this is temporary. Read more
Published on June 8, 2006 by Theresa Williams
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