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Return to Paradise (1998)

Vince Vaughn , Anne Heche , Joseph Ruben  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)

List Price: $14.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Joaquin Phoenix, David Conrad, Vera Farmiga
  • Directors: Joseph Ruben
  • Writers: Wesley Strick, Bruce Robinson
  • Producers: Alain Bernheim, Steve Golin
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: November 5, 2002
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007ELEY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,761 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Return to Paradise" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In this tense, twisted thriller of passion and betrayal, two men face the decision of a lifetime. They had been three buddies, living the life in Malaysia, a life of drugs, sex and freedom. Sheriff and Tony return to America, but Lewis decided to stay on. Two years later, a lawyer arrives in New York. Lewis is rotting in a prison cell - sentenced to die because of them. The only way he can be saved is if Sheriff and Tony return to serve three years in a living hell. Tony is a successful architect, about to be married; Sheriff a cynical limo-driver with nothing to lose. Why should they care? One woman must do whatever it takes to persuade them they must care, and she only has five days to do it. But as the day of execution draws closer, no one can predict what fate has in store for those who stay and those who leave and Return to Paradise.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AN INVENTIVE AND PROFOUND MODERN DAY MORALITY TALE... January 4, 2003
This is a wonderfully creative movie, with top-notch directing and award caliber performances by a talented cast. The premise is a fairly simple one. Three young men, Sheriff (Vincent Vaughn), Tony (David Conrad), and Louis (Joaquin Phoenix), who previously didn't know one another, team up in Malaysia and party hearty. They have fun drinking, smoking hashish, and picking up girls. Sheriff and Tony head back to the states, leaving Louis behind, as he has a wildlife conservation idea involving orangutans that he wishes to pursue while in Malaysia. Before they go, Sheriff makes it a point to leave his dope stash in the house in which Louis is remaining. Later, the police come to search the premises on a matter unrelated to the dope stash. When they find it, however, they arrest Louis, who literally has been left holding the bag.
Two years later, Anne Heche enters the picture as a lawyer, ostensibly working on behalf of her client, Louis. She seeks out Sheriff and Tony with a proposition. It seems that while Sheriff and Tony have been getting on with their lives, Louis has been rotting in a Malaysian prison for the past two years and living in sheer terror. You see, Louis is scheduled to be executed in eight days as a drug dealer, as the amount of dope that had been left behind and discovered by the police was just over a threshold amount that would classify it as being for distribution, rather than for personal use. The only hope Louis has of staying alive is if Sheriff and Tony go back to Malaysia to take responsibility for their part in this and serve three years each. If only one returns, then the sole returnee faces six years. Will it be all for one and one for all? Will Louis live to personally thank his friends? Watch the movie and find out.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OSCAR??? October 20, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film was amazing! Naturally the one's you never hear about are the one's that deserve the most attention. The beginning was a tad bit slow, especially when it came to Vaughn making up his mind to go or not. Ultimatly his performance made up for that. Even though Phoenix is rarely seen throughout the film, his roll is so touching and heart wrenching it puts a lump in my throat just thinking about it. I think there should have been Oscar nod's all around! It really begs the question, would you do the same for another? Share this wonderful film with friends and family it truly is one of the best films of all time.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what would you do? May 2, 2005
When I was at university I was asked to write an essay on the ethical issues in this film. Wow, the whole idea really blows me away. What would you do it their position? It really is a tough one.

It's one of those films where you can really put yourself in their shoes, not that anyone would want to. The story itself is touching and I think it's well made. I can't stop thinking about it.

Oh.. and Vince Vaughn is so hot!

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
In the American adaptation of "Force majeure," we get a great setup. "Return to Paradise" poses the moral dilemma of whether someone would be willing to give up several years of freedom to save another's life. It's a fantastic, sticky ethical quandary and one that I think is presented quite well in this film. Vince Vaughn and David Conrad play two guys who are asked this question--as a buddy they left in Malaysia is about to be put to death (on a drug charge for which they all bore responsibility).

As we see these two wrestle with the implications, the doubts and the ambiguities--this film is at its strongest. How far will you go to be a "good" person, and is it worth it? Very weighty issues.

The first half of this film is solid, solid material. The lawyer who approaches them, played by Anne Heche, also gets involved with Vaughn personally. I could have done without this romance--but as characters struggling and conflicted and despairing, I suppose there was some basis for them to be drawn together. Another outside force, however, is a newspaper reporter played by hard-as-nails Jada Pinkett Smith. For those of you who have seen the patented Pinkett Smith hard-as-nails performance--it's really not much to see. And her character is pretty pointless, as well--a plot convenience to be revealed at a later time. But even though it was far from perfect, this half was thoroughly compelling.

Sadly, the film ventures to Malaysia for the remainder of the movie. What becomes painfully obvious now is that our romance has moved to the forefront of the picture. Joaquin Pheonix, as the prisoner, has yet to be fleshed out as a character. We don't see any real relationship between he and Vaughn or he and Heche. This is a fatal flaw!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film f/ grown-ups! Thought-provoking, beautifully made. January 12, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
A film for grown-ups (which is a rare thing). Beautifully made, beautifully acted, directed with subtlety and intelligence. Does the fact that you've forgotten someone and moved on with your life mean that you love them any less, or that your responsibility or accountability to them is any less, years later? Are the responsibilities of friendship contingent upon how long you've known that friend, or upon how long it's been since you've seen that friend? The acting and direction are so authentic that I felt like I was watching a documentary rather than a work of fiction. A film about loyalty, decency, friendship, and about "how you act when no one's looking." It's about an unremarkable "regular Joe" who is asked/forced to address the questions: What kind of a person am I, really? Am I a person who can be counted on by his friends? to what extent? Is there anything more important than myself and my life? To what extent is a totally undistinguished person capable of acts of transcendent nobility? What is the meaning of friendship? What rights does friendship confer upon someone to make really extraordinary requests or demands of his friends? Does the essential decency or goodness of one person have an affect on those around him? Do the responsibilities of love (i.e. loyalty) diminish after years of not seeing each other? Is love eternal and internal, or specific to a time and place? Is decency/goodness infectious/contagious? One of the best movies I've ever seen. It restores your faith in cinema as a forum for serious ideas and questions. This really is a film of rare quality.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
This was one of the best movies I have ever seen. Love Vince Vaughn's acting and he was great in this flick. Overall, the storyline and acting scored my star rating.
Published 6 days ago by gm
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie
Excellent movie I can watch this over and over again, it's a must see movie don't miss out # 1
Published 1 month ago by Dione Perkins
5.0 out of 5 stars A very sad movie
Great crew for such an amazing movie.... Love every aspect of this movie, Vince Vaughn is excellent as usual. Strongly recommended
Published 4 months ago by Danyno
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie Return to Paradise.
This is a great dvd. I remember seeing this movie some years back. I was happy to had found it on
Published 5 months ago by jj
1.0 out of 5 stars return to paradise
Didnt come with artwork and it didn't say that when I ordered it I was very disappointed in that when I order movies I expect the artwork to come with it
Published 5 months ago by rexg
1.0 out of 5 stars 117 minutes of my life I will never get back again.
I hated every minute of this movie and will regret watching it for as long as it burns in my brain.
It was senseless, violent, Ann Heche's character added zero... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good movie. ! Highly recommend
My son was assigned to watch this for a school assignment.I checked it out it was a very good movie. Holds your attention from beginning to end. Read more
Published 6 months ago by SHOPNMAMA
5.0 out of 5 stars THOUGHTFUL TOPIC!
This film was good--it made you think if you would give up 6 years of your life in a prison in a foreign country to help out a friend. Very good story. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mary K. Minjeur
5.0 out of 5 stars What Service!
this movie is just like i remembered it, with few exceptions. anne heche is beautuiful as always and everyone else played out very well indeed.
Published 8 months ago by Saleem Pernath
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
can't believe I hadn't heard of this movie till a few weeks ago. Great movie, check it out if you haven't seen it
Published 10 months ago by John Kulusic
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