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Prick Up Your Ears (1987)

Gary Oldman , Alfred Molina , Stephen Frears  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Price: $13.89 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave, Wallace Shawn, Lindsay Duncan
  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Writers: Alan Bennett, John Lahr
  • Producers: Andrew Brown
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • 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: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 15, 2004
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001V6ZJI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,022 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Prick Up Your Ears" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Gary Oldman (Hannibal) and Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2) star in this stunning true story about a long-term love affair that ends with a shocking murder-suicide. Told in "sizzling flashbacks and forwards" (Elle), this Golden Globe-nominated*, "sharp, pithy, exuberant and unflinching film" (The Hollywood Reporter) from director Stephen Frears (Dirty Pretty Things)and writer Alan Bennett (The Madness of King George) "mesmerizes you, holding you in its thrall" (Los Angeles) from first frame to last. Frustrated writers, co-conspirators, friends and lovers, Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell (Oldman and Molina) serve respectively as protégéand mentor in each other's life until Orton's breakout success heightens Halliwell's sense of his own failure. With the young playwright's every new achievement, Halliwell's diminishing role leads him to a desperate attempt to keep them as equals forever. *1987: Supporting Actress (VanessaRedgrave)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Major Achievement in Film Biography and 'Period Piece' September 8, 2004
Stephen Frears continues to deliver extraordinary films (Dirty Pretty Things, The Grifters, Dangerous Liaisons, My Beautiful Launderette, Loving Walter, High Fidelity among others) and returning now to his 1987 PRICK UP YOUR EARS not only shows this excellent film aging well, but now it shows how keenly Frears is able to depict a period in time. Set in the 1960s, Frears bases his story on the biography of Joe Orton (British playwright whose plays included 'Entertaining Mr. Sloane' and 'Loot'). And while many other directors and screenwriters struggle with the format of "interviewing" people who knew the subject versus creating a novel/story based on bits and pieces of fact and fiction, Frears uses both these approaches with consummate skill. Joe (John) Orton (Gary Oldman in a definitive performance) was an openly gay playwright in a period of time in England when being gay was still punishable by imprisonment. His childhood in Leicester is explored (with Julie Walters amazingly fine as his weird mother) as he wishes to become an actor. He moves to London where he becomes involved with one Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina in a tour de force, over the top raging Queen role) and lives in an openly gay, albeit bizarre love/hate relationship. The two struggle to become established as actors and writers, but it is Orton who succeeds, only after a six month prison sentence for 'indecency' during which time he writes his first play. When Orton and Halliwell are released form prison, Orton's star ascends due in part to the wise counsel and friendship of Peggy Ramsey (Vanessa Redgrave in peak form). Halliwell ages (he is eight years Orton's senior), resents Orton's success not only with the theater and money, but with the near daily dalliances in toilets and lurid spaces where he seeks sex. Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Commentary on a Modern Tragedy May 16, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Oscar Wilde put it best: "In this world, there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, the other is getting it." Kenneth Halliwell, the lover and eventual murderer of Joe Orton (the British playwright of several popular comedies in the 60's) was a blueprint for success. However, never a believer in his own talents, he lived from one failure to another while experiencing success through the boy he mentored, educated, financially supported, and trained for world-renowned success. Why this movie is not on DVD, and as it even approaches VHS obscurity staggers the mind. The movie is a thriller, biography, and psychological study of two homosexuals, romantically bankrupt, yet entirely dependant on one another. A classic irony. As Orton's star rises after 16 years of struggling with a man eight years his senior, Halliwell's world and mind crack up all around him. Orton's ignorance of his lover's need to have the relationship as it was before Orton's success, drives Halliwell to destroy the mind that he himself helped create. After the brutal murder of his friend, Halliwell committed suicide with a note affixed to Orton's diary, which recorded the last six months of his life. The movie is based on this diary, as well as memoirs of friends, family, and colleagues. This adult movie spends more time than is requisite about Orton's gay fantasies and promiscuous lifestyle, even involving young boys. This might be an instant turn-off to some viewers, but if you can divorce the lifestyle from the man, you will be captivated by the spell that genius played in the two lives of these interesting people. Both Gary Oldman and Alfred Molina are at their best in this film, bringing a sometimes drifting script to abundant life.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Although I have not seen an Orton play, or read the Orton diaries compiled and edited by John Lahr; or read Lahr's biographical work on Orton; or seen the West-End play based on the diaries, one thing is clear: Lahr made quite a sum for himself off another man's diaries! The film version of Orton's story brings the ill-fated Orton-Halliwell relationship not only to the screen but to our hearts, even to the hearts of viewers uninitiated/uninterested in British plays or gay sex.Such matters,while present in the movie,take a backseat to the central issue-- namely, the turbulent complexity of human relationships. The movie takes us from the early stages of a mutually beneficial, "body-for-brains" trade-off between young, awkward and talentless Orton, and older, articulate, and caustically witty Halliwell; through Orton's parasitic draining of Halliwell's witticisms and their "refurbishment" into what would eventually be hailed as the "Orton style". The film leads us through Orton's transformation from pussycat to tiger during a stint in prison, his subsequent meteoric rise to the top of West-End playbills as a playwright of sensationalistic,farcical comedies, leading to his emotional abandonment and outshining of his increasingly uptight/neurotic former mentor(whose chronic lack of social skills is played brilliantly here). Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perverse, But Good
Good film on a slightly perverse subject. Great to see Alfred Molina and Gary Oldman when they were young. Vanessa Redgrave is excellent as always.
Published 5 months ago by Sharon Goldstein
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun in 1960's London
This movie is almost as good as the book,,,Hilarious! If you like grreat conversation, this movie will satisfy. Great Movie!
Published 14 months ago by James
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous
I have just rented this from Selby Library. This movie is long, but very good, "Prick Up Your Ear's", is a film that's Jaw-Dropping. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Max-Hellmuth Ostermann
5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality
This arrived fast and was a very good quality.
The movie is rather obsure so I was pleased to recieve it.
Would purchase from buyer again.
Published on April 5, 2012 by Patricia A. Marrama
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Acting
Although a very grim true story this film is lifted by great direction and an incerdible cast. Joe Orton's life is put before you with great insight.
Published on February 14, 2012 by Stephen Zeigler Jr
5.0 out of 5 stars cruel love, the emergence of talent, and self destruction
I saw this 20 years ago and remembered it vividly. Having recently added it to my collection, I can confirm that it has aged well and lost none of its hilarious pungency. Read more
Published on May 13, 2011 by Robert J. Crawford
3.0 out of 5 stars Peevishness Pricks
This film is rather a dark look into gay men's relationships from many years ago. Given the need to hide homosexual feelings and relations in past years, it is probably a... Read more
Published on November 29, 2010 by Phillip J. Holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars Gary Oldman's Other Side
Just goes to show his wide range of performances. From this to the Scarlet Letter to the Professional to his Sci-Fi's. He is a Credit to the Screen. Bravo, Mr. Oldman.
Published on October 26, 2010 by Darrell
3.0 out of 5 stars Separating performance from film leaves me unsettled...
There is an awful lot going for this film, but sadly, the way it is presented takes it down a notch or two for me. Read more
Published on November 16, 2009 by Andrew Ellington
3.0 out of 5 stars Jealous Talent
A next movie of a grey boring existence in London of the Beatles is of a jealous talent killing his partner of a more attractive appearance and successful writer's fate. Read more
Published on March 10, 2009 by Michael Kerjman
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