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Pleasantville (Widescreen Edition) [VHS] (1998)

Tobey Maguire , Jeff Daniels , Gary Ross  |  PG-13 |  VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (604 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy
  • Directors: Gary Ross
  • Writers: Gary Ross
  • Producers: Gary Ross, Allen Alsobrook, Allison Thomas, Andy Borowitz, Bob Degus
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, Original recording reissued, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: August 31, 1999
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (604 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780627016
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,269 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

Includes a behind-the-scenes look at the special effects used in the making of Pleasantville.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
120 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true gem October 7, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Pleasantville may be one of the best, most underrated movies of all time. I admit, when it was first released, the premise seemed a bit goofy: two teenagers (played by then-unknown actors) are suddenly cast into a Leave It To Beaver-like classic TV town called Pleasantville by none other than Don Knotts (reminds you a little of the forgettable "Stay Tuned," doesn't it?). Upon their arrival, however, they discover that Pleasantville isn't everything it's cracked up to be and that being "pleasant" means missing out on some basic, vital parts of life (such as toilets, and of course, sex). What follows is an amazing transformation: of the main characters, the town, and even the movie itself, whose stunning cinematography slowly adds bursts of color to Pleasantville's black and white world while simultaneously providing a metaphor for the race conflicts of the 1950s and 60s. The two unknown actors turn out to be the now-famous Tobey Maguire and Reese Whitherspoon, both of whom shine like the stars they are in one of their first movies. Added to this are excellent supporting performances by some of the best in the business, including William H. Macy, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels, and the late great character actor J.T. Walsh. An absolutely incredible, must-see film.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moral and Religious Masterpiece March 11, 2004
A beautiful film, make no mistake. But what is "Pleasantville" really about? The "moral/repressed" 1950's against the "decadent/free-spirited" 1990's? I would venture not -- rather, the town of Pleasantville represents a fantasy of what the 1950's were like, a peek at what many imagine was a golden age of "family values" and sexual innocence. The fact that the 1950's were not actually like this is passed over by many of the film's critics, who see the sexual elements in the film as an attack on morality typical of an equally imaginary "immoral" modern world.
But "Pleasantville" is about fantasy and reality, not the 1950's and the 1990's. The characters take on color not because they are discovering sexuality but because they are becoming whole human beings rather than imaginary characters in an unchanging idyllic world. This is no less true of David/Bud and Jennifer/Mary Sue than it is of the citizens of the town. The symbolism of the fruit, paralleling the Biblical story of emerging human awareness and its divinity, is powerful. Contrary to those who see the knowledge of good and evil as an affront to God, "Pleasantville" reminds us that it is this knowledge that makes us like God, possessing of a divine nature that other animals lack. As to the charges that the film glorifies irresponsible sexuality, I point out that Jennifer/Mary Sue only achieves color when she stops having sex and discovers that there is more to life than the shallow pleasure-only morality she had previously embraced. One must be sexual to be whole, but one cannot be whole if one is only sexual.
So see "Pleasantville", but be warned: it will challenge you in ways that few stories do.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deep DVD For A Deep Movie January 2, 2000
Pleasantville is a fantastic film experience, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. A true, striking, and original masterpiece; Pleasantville is a must for any movie fan. What makes the film such a joy is how it exists on so many levels; almost anyone can find something to like here. It's at times a simple fantasy, others a biting satire, and even others an account of our history and change as people. Pleasantville is purely original and very well-structured. It deals with mature themes and if you're someone who likes to analyze films, then this is a great choice. The DVD warrants a purchase, even if you already own the VHS version (as I do), one of the few DVD's that does. Do yourself a favor and listen to writer-director Gary Ross's commentary-it's dynamite, even if you generally do not like commentaries. It's incredibly enlightening and adds much to the film's depth. Ross cleary illustates all of the overlapping themes and symbolism, and adds a personal touch to the movie's meaning. (The unintended rip-offs of The Shawshank Redemption and Citizen Kane are particularly interesting). The film has a bright, crisp transfer and excellent sound. The only way to enjoy Pleasantville (other than the theater) is on DVD. Newman's music is magical, also. There's a neat (oh, I'm talking like a 50's person now) behind the scenes documentary on the film's jaw-dropping special effects. The included Fiona Apple music video is pretty neat and directed by P.T. Anderson. (Anderson fans take note: watch for Anderson regular John C. Reilly at the video's end.) Overall, a DVD to buy: one of '98's best films with tons of extras to boot. Swell.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Acted January 2, 2005
Pleasantville is like a colorized movie version of Twilight Zone. A modern day boy (Toby McGuire) dreams of going back to the innocent days of the 1950s. When he gets his wish via a magical stranger played by Don Knotts, he and his sister Reese Witherspoon steps into a black and white world of Pleasantville, a town stucked in the 1950s. As the town's innocence is wiped away with the introduction of books and knowledge, color replaces the black and white starkness of the town and its people. Beautifully acted and filmed, this movie has heart and a brain.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very creative story.
Published 6 days ago by R&B
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
this is a really good movie we enjoyed it
Published 15 days ago by barblee
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good movie. Really enjoyed it
Very good movie. Really enjoyed it. Liked the going back in time theme, seeing all the old cars, times were easier better
Published 17 days ago by Sharon Christian
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantville
Love this movie. Should b seen by all who "wish things were like the old days". Great study of people wanting personal contact but pushing it away when it happens. Read more
Published 19 days ago by l dubya
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thank you
Published 23 days ago by Merrie
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantville (which was like Leave it to Beaver Movies Where the...
This is a classic cult movie... a brother and a sister are drug into TV and
find Pleasantville. But its all black and gray. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Robert Pylant
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok movie
It was not a bad movie, but not a high rated one either. The message behind it was good and I would recommend for everyone to see it once in their lifetime.
Published 1 month ago by Jo Warren
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Acting and a Thought Provoking Theme
An effective portrayal by all actors of characters right out of a Wally Cleaver dream. An interesting contrast of modern day cement and boring beige stucco with few trees suburbia... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Diana Robbins
5.0 out of 5 stars So Endearing!!
I have loved this movie since I was a little kid! It's the best, most inspiring and heartwarming film and I never get tired of it even though I have watched it a hundred times.
Published 2 months ago by Sassi
5.0 out of 5 stars try it you will like it.
This is a great. To see with someone who did not let live in the good old days of black and white things.
Published 2 months ago by Charles T. Dooley
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