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List Price: $14.98
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Shenandoah + 4 Movie Marathon: James Stewart Western Collection (Bend of the River / The Far Country / Night Passage / The Rare Breed) + The Big Country
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With the integrity and depth of an epic, Shenandoah tells the dramatic story of a man caught in a dilemma. James Stewart stars as a Virginia farmer during the Civil War. He refuses to support the Confederacy because he is opposed to slavery, yet he will not support the Union because he is deeply opposed to war. When his son is taken prisoner, Stewart goes to search for the boy. Seeing first-hand the horrors of war, he is at last forced to take his stand.

Shenandoah, a film well-liked in its day, recalls Friendly Persuasion and foreshadows The Patriot as it tells of an American clan traumatized by war on native soil. Virginia farmer James Stewart has never owned slaves, owes allegiance to no one beyond his own kin, and adamantly disregards the North-South strife rumbling just over the hill: "This war is not mine and I take no note of it." That changes when youngest son Philip Alford (To Kill a Mockingbird's Jem) is carried off by Yankees, and the family must ride out to reclaim him. Shenandoah has several affecting moments--notably a homefront atrocity--but much of it is lit and played like a television show. Script and direction are formulaic, Stewart falls back on cozy shtick, and the supporting cast is a collection of bland studio contract players. As the closing credit says: "filmed entirely at Universal City." --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: James Stewart, Katharine Ross, Jim McMullan, James Best, Doug McClure
    • Directors: Andrew V. McLaglen
    • Writers: James Lee Barrett
    • Producers: Robert Arthur
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: French, Spanish
    • Dubbed: French, Spanish
    • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: May 6, 2003
    • Run Time: 106 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (362 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00008CMT3
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,922 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Shenandoah" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    4.7 out of 5 stars

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    72 of 73 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael Click on May 10, 2003
    Format: DVD
    Classic, family-friendly Civil War story about an isolationist Virginia farmer (James Stewart) who is forced to become involved in the conflict raging around him when his youngest son (Philip Alford) is mistakenly taken prisoner by Union soldiers. Like John Wayne in "The Searchers", Stewart sets out to hunt down his kidnapped loved one, enduring physical, emotional, and spiritual hardships along the way. Uniformly well-acted by a superb cast, with stand-out performances from Patrick Wayne, film newcomer Katharine Ross, talented juvenile lead Alford, and of course, venerable screen legend Stewart. Capably directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, from a solid screenplay that deftly blends moments of sweet-natured humor and wrenching drama. (Take special note of the tragic scene at the family farm ... most of the violence takes place off-screen, and is all the more disturbing because of what you don't see. Now that's skillful, mature filmmaking!)
    Fans of the movie who have patiently awaited its release on DVD are bound to be a bit disappointed with Universal's unremastered print and bare bones presentation. The first two or three minutes of the DVD are plagued by bad sound (the music crackles and pops with distortion) and a horrendous video transfer (the picture is grainy and has tiny white lines running through it). Thankfully, things quickly get better after that rocky start. The DVD includes the Original Theatrical Trailer which has deteriorated badly and is presented in full-frame; sadly, there are no other extras offered on this edition.
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    40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 22, 2004
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    While this movie doesn't fit today's tastes for irony, cynicism, and action that is as violent and graphic as possible, I like this movie a great deal. Actually, it is because it isn't like today's movies that I appreciate it more. Some find its earnestness too sweet and the humor a bit ham-bone. But I am willing to transport myself into a time when such things were possible in movies. All movies have conventions and none are "realistic" - not even documentaries. So, if you can accept one set of conventions, you should be able to adapt to another and appreciate the movie for what it sets out to be.
    This is not a movie about violence per se. It is about family and loss, and deals with the notion of trying to be in the world but apart from it and how difficult that can be because the world has a way of rolling over you. The Civil War is the backdrop of this question. Jimmy Stewart's character, Charlie Anderson, is a widower who still grieves for his lost sweetheart. He has a bunch of sons and one daughter. He tries to keep them out of the war, but cannot. His daughter is pursued by Lieutenant Sam (Doug McClure) who fights for the Confederacy. (If both armies are bad to Charlie Anderson - the Yankees are the worse army in this movie.)
    My two favorite scenes are the family prayer over the meal where Charlie thanks God for the meal and food while noting without their hard work it wouldn't be on the table. The other is when Lieutenant Sam asks Charlie for Jennie's hand in marriage. Charlie asks Sam why he wants to marry Jennie. Sam say's its because he loves her. Charlie says that isn't good enough. Sam is nonplussed. Charlie asks if he likes her. Sam doesn't get it.
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    40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Nix Pix on June 2, 2003
    Format: DVD
    Shenandoah is one of a handful of thrilling western epics that James Stewart appeared in during the mid-1950's. It's full of sweeping expanse, wagons-west adventure and stark, beautiful cinematography that makes one wish for a western landscape that, in reality, never truly existed.
    Universal Studios has developed a rather nasty track record with their catalogue titles ever since the introduction of DVD. In a nutshell, the powers that be seem to think that "title attraction" alone is enough to guarentee sales, hence rarely does Universal put its best foot forward or, heaven forbid, go all out with a special edition of some of their great classic films. Long story short - if they can give us full frame editions of "Death Becomes Her", "Babe" and "The Sting" they will. If they can slip in non-anamorphic widescreen transfers of "The Deer Hunter" and "Backdraft" they will! Clearly, this is a studio that places profit above integrity and "Shenandoah"'s transfer quality is no exception.
    The transfer is riddled with age related artifacts, scratches, faded color and edit match cut lines that pretty much destroy the continuity of this viewing experience. Aliasing, edge enhancement and shimmering of fine details are all present and annoying. There's some minor pixelization that breaks apart background detail as well. The audio is strident, scratchy and uninspiring. Extras - NONE! - What a shock!
    BOTTOM LINE: Universal thinks customers won't mind these imperfections, a.k.a. - they don't mind giving them to you. So here's a thought - voice your protests in letters and emails. Because DVD and classic film libraries around the world really aren't benefiting from this sort of shoddy workmanship. In the end we're all losers!
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    30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Schryer on September 21, 2000
    Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
    This is a bittersweet, moving -- sometimes even beautiful --film. Jimmy Stewart is superb as Charlie Anderson, an arrogant, self-reliant man who thinks that he and his family can ignore the civil war which rages around his farm in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He is disabused of this idealistic but naive notion when Union troops mistake his beloved youngest son, "Boy," for a rebel soldier and take him prisoner. Impetuously, the furious Anderson rides off with his older sons on a Quixotic mission to get the boy back. But this dangerous adventure costs him the lives of two sons and one of their wives. Only after the chastened Anderson reluctantly abandons his search does his beloved "Boy" -- who has escaped -- return home to him. Fine acting, good drama and characterization, beautiful scenery and film score, and a poignant ending make this an oustanding movie. One of the ten best fims ever made in my opinion -- and, quite possibly, Jimmy Stewart's greatest role.
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