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  • Pirates of Silicon Valley [VHS]
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Pirates of Silicon Valley [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Michael Hall, Noah Wyle, Joey Slotnick, J.G. Hertzler, Wayne Pére
  • Directors: Martyn Burke
  • Writers: Martyn Burke, Michael Swaine, Paul Freiberger
  • Producers: Joseph Dougherty, Leanne Moore, Nick Lombardo, Steven Haft
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • VHS Release Date: May 16, 2000
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (309 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780627717
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,071 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

This dramatization of the tangled history of Apple Computer and Microsoft, based on a book by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine, hits enough of the right notes to make its failures all the more frustrating. The script follows the entwined paths of Apple's Steve Jobs and Microsoft's Bill Gates with a pointed sense of the cultural divide between the hip, self-absorbed Apple cofounder and the brilliant alpha geek behind Microsoft's eventual software empire, contrasting the Mac's countercultural underpinnings with the PC's more strait-laced origins. But Pirates of Silicon Valley seemingly can't decide whether it wants to be a serious-minded history of these key figures in the personal computer revolution or a trashy wallow in the more ignoble foibles of its principals. As a result, it falls short of exacting history while never achieving the guilty pleasure it might have.

If Gates has become synonymous with corporate conquest at its most striking, Pirates' interest lies more with Jobs, given a nervous energy and flashes of adolescent selfishness by Noah Wyle, who benefits from a reasonable physical resemblance to the Apple chief. Eyewear and a comb-over do nearly as well for Anthony Michael Hall, who also grafts some of Bill Gates's better-known mannerisms onto his performance and renders Gates as a smart if socially maladroit entrepreneur who, like Jobs, provides the ambition and business savvy to exploit his partner's computing talents. There are a few fanciful touches (Ballmer and Wozniak become Greek choruses, addressing the viewer as they comment on the principals), but the story plays out in straightforward fashion. It's tantalizing to consider how the Apple/PC melodrama might have fared with an edgier, more openly satirical script. --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews

It's a great story about the youthful and highly competitive years of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
e-findz
It's a movie (or docudrama), not a strict documentary, yet still manages to make a great story while still being essentially true to the reality of the events.
Andrew Furst
This movie just wants to make you think about the future of computers and how far they will take us.
Jonathan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Paul Laska on November 21, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I watched the movie as it aired on tv, and enjoyed it so much I rented it a number of times when it released. Taking only 90% to be near historical accuracy, it still has captivated me enough to make me pre-order the re-publication of the book "Fire in the Valley" by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine, on which the movie is based, just to find out what the movie left out. This movie gives such an insight into a true revolution, taking the computers out of the hands of corporate types, and giving them over to the masses. Noah Wyle is Steve Jobs in this movie. His acting brings to life one of the most influential people of the time. Anthony Michael Hall does a superb job of showing Bill Gates as the capitalistic businessman in its trueist form. The only reason I don't give it a 5 star rating is that I feel they spend a little too much time on Steve Jobs' personal drug trip. This was time that could have been better spent explaining what has happened since 1997, when Jobs came back to Apple. Or, they could have led up to the Gates vs. United States trial. All in all a great movie. Rent it, Buy it, show it to your kids. This is current history, and it is relevant to today.
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110 of 115 people found the following review helpful By dsrussell VINE VOICE on July 10, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
In the first few minutes of the film, we see Steve Jobs pacing the floor on a Boston stage (year 1997--shortly after his return to Apple), and above him is the gigantic image of Bill Gates smiling down (smirking?) at him, while we hear the voice of Steve Wozniac (the Woz) in the background say, "How did we get from there to here?" And there, dear readers, lies the tale of the century.
Kudos for the director, the casting director, and the fine performances from Hall and Wyle. In this film, we see the rise of the personal computer from two of most important players of the era, and along the way, we are shown how deeply power and wealth corrupts. Those of us that lived through this period are well acquainted with the first personal computers. Indeed, many of us have heard enough rumors concerning Steve Jobs' late night tantrums as he walked the halls of his empire, to know that this film depicted both him and Steve Wozniac fairly honestly. As far as the depiction of Bill Gates, there are those that agree and those that disagree. Obviously, artistic license was used on both sides. Steve Wozniac mentioned that he was surprised how accurately the movie portrayed the personalities, but indicated they got many of the dates screwed up (check his web site, he has many interesting comments concerning the movie).
As the title aptly suggests, both Steve and Bill gained their initial fame not just from their own creative genius (although both are considered geniuses), but as much from "borrowing" -- Jobs from Xerox PARC, and Gates from Apple Computer.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This takes you from beginning to present day.
Shows Paul Allen (who now OWNS the Seahawks and Trailblazers pro teams) Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc. etc. Dropping out of college to pursue a slow burning fire that would become the personal computer/windows software that we know today.
What is interesting is that it shows who talks and who works. Gates lies a lot, pretty much living by the saying "telling people what they want to hear" while Paul Allen grinds away at making code.
On the other end it's the same somewhat, rogue cannon Steve Jobs handling the business part while we get a sense that Steve Wozniak is a true tech who goes above and beyond Jobs' rantings to produce the final product.
What is so funny is the irony of this movie:
Loan Officer: "Sorry Mr. Jobs, but we don't think the ordinary person will have any use for a computer".
HP: "You think people are interested in something called a mouse?".
Xerox: "We build it and then they can come right in here and steal it from us? It's just not fair, this operating system is a result of our hard work!".
Jobs to Gates: "You're STEALING FROM US!!!"
Assistant to Gates: "Do you realize Apple has a pirate flag over their front door, and they just gave us 3 prototypes of their operating system?"
Jobs: "I don't want people to look at it like a monitor and mouse, I think of this as art, a vision, people need to think outside the box".
Jobs: "You stole it from ussss!" Gates: "No it's not stealing, you see, it's like we both have this neighbor, and he leaves his door open all the time. You go over there to get his TV, only I've gotten their first..and now you're calling me the thief?!".
Just some of the excerpts that make this movie a classic and show you everything that went down when a bunch of college dropouts set out and changed the world in which we live today.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By !Vision! on August 19, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Going in I expected little of this movie, as I am very skeptical about the low budget made-for-TV style of film making. Most "based on a true story" movies are trite and nothing more than exploitation. Ripped from the headlines movies using someone's suffering or crime as a ratings getter. Pure crap!

I must say however, that Pirates Of Silicon Valley is brilliant. Every aspect of the movie appeals to me. It's visual style, it's pacing, it's characters, it's humor, and most engrossing, it's history. I knew much of the parallels between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs already and was pleasantly surprised to see much of the facts faithfully reproduced. The parts that were inaccurate were obviously for entertainment value, but they did fit the theme of the story and are forgivable (it is a movie after all).

The film makers were very original for two reasons. First, for focusing on the more interesting moments of computer history. Second for the brutally honest look at the two pivotal character's lives and personalities, they aren't depicted nicely. The movie flows from moment to moment, historical event to historical event, over the course of two decades, following the exploits of the two most influential men of the computer industry. We see thier origins, their beginning ventures in the industry, thier major deals, thier double-crosses and shady conquests, thier flaws, thier bad judgement, and ultimatley thier confrontation.

My favorite moments come from the bonehead mistakes that are made by the corporate types. IBM allowing Microsoft to retain ownership of DOS, Xerox not developing its own inventions (the mouse and the GUI), HP not even wanting ownership of the apple, and the biggest mistake of them all, Steve Jobs trusting Bill Gates.

I absolutely love this movie, and the only negative thing about it is that it doesn't exist in DVD format. I have the VHS but I would pay whatever price TNT asked for a DVD full of extras.
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