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Sophie's Choice (1982)

Meryl Streep , Kevin Kline , Alan J. Pakula  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol, Rita Karin, Stephen D. Newman
  • Directors: Alan J. Pakula
  • Writers: Alan J. Pakula, William Styron
  • Producers: Alan J. Pakula, Keith Barish, Martin Starger, William C. Gerrity
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • 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: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: April 21, 1998
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0784011710
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,413 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sophie's Choice" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Behind-the-Scenes Material
  • Making-Of Documentary

Editorial Reviews

Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline. A WWII concentration-camp survivor moves to Brooklyn and meets an unusual young man who gives her life a lift. Streep won the Best Actress Oscar. 1982/color/150 min/R/widescreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
118 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HAUNTING December 24, 1999
Alan Pakula brings the Styron novel to the screen with period-perfection, and he has in his court a trio of superb performances, lead, of course, by Meryl Streep, who finally won me over with her transformation into Sophie. The character is layered and rich with emotional baggage, and Meryl's performances is nothing short of transcendental. When I saw this movie in the theatre upon its release, there was an older woman in the audience, towards the front, who ran screaming from the theatre, her hands on her ears, during the gut-twisting "choice" sequence. Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol, who do battle over Sophie, and within their own hearts, are exceptional foils for Sophie, and each brings a resonance to the evocative Brooklyn locations. The European sequences, swathed in a sepia tone, are mesmerizing and horrific. Sophie's journey is also a mystery, and it unravels with devastating results. Marvin Hamlish designed the lush musical score, which continues to rip my heart open every time I play it. While Schindler's List is a more gigantic vision of the experience of the Holocaust, this movie is intensely personal, but does perhaps more to drive a stake through your heart. You will continue to wonder, long after the haunting images of Sophie's face fade from view, what might you have done in her shoes?
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69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very powerful film, impossible to forget! November 3, 2001
I watched "Sophie's Choice" not knowing at all what to expect. I assumed that the "choice" would be something commonplace in a film, like a choice between two lovers. When I found out what the choice really was, it made a very deep impression on me. It was the most gut-wrenching thing I have ever seen, in the movies or in real life. The scene is unforgettable. The emotionless evil of the SS officer offering Sophie the choice is highly disturbing. The man is extremely cold, almost Satanic in the evil he radiates. The strange thing is that he is not physically ugly-at first I thought the part was played by Alec Baldwin. This is easily the best portrayal of the Holocaust I've seen on film, much better than "Schindler's List." The evil of Auschwitz is so all-encompassing, so icy and devoid of emotion, that I can't help but think that it is the closest thing to Hell ever recreated on Earth.
Also, Meryl Streep's performance is by far the best I have ever seen in any film. Her virtuosity and technical brilliance are unmatched. One reviewer compared it to DeNiro in "Raging Bull," and I have to agree. The supporting performances are excellent, especially Peter McNicol who is indispensable as the narrator. The one flaw I found with the film (and probably with the novel as well, although I have not read it) is Stingo's (the author's) highly self-conscious fixation on sex. I thought that it was irrelevant to the story. To anyone who feels that the film is too slow-paced, I say keep watching action movies until you grow up and leave superb films like these to people emotionaly mature enough to appreciate them.
On the whole, I would rate this among the best films I've ever seen. Definitely don't miss it!
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is Evil? March 22, 2002
Caught forever in an existential moment, Meryl Streep's portrayal of the aftereffects of Auschwitz is transfixing. Sophie is the guilt-ridden survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, and Streep's remarkable work brings her leaping off the screen into the hearts and minds of the watcher. This is a complex film which plays the outer tragedy of Sophie's present life against the inner tragedy of the evil she faced during the war.
As the story of Sophie's devastating past unfolds in flashbacks Streep faces choice after choice in her present life. Each seems to eat away at her life. Peter MacNicol and Kevin Kline unite to give performances that that carefully balance Streep's, creating an intense overall effect that cannot be described easily,
The film's emotional and intellectual content make is a bit too lengthy and stagy, but the lulls set the stage for the emotional crises. This is a heart rending story that will not be everyone's cup of tea, but Streep well deserves the Academy Award she got for this film, which was also nominated for best screenplay and best cinematography.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death Dreams of Mourning December 18, 2004
"There are so many things you do not understand. There are so many things I cannot tell you. And the truth does not make it easier to understand."

So says Sophie Zawistowski, the tormented woman at the center of "Sophie's Choice." Alan J. Pakula's film of William Styron's novel stands proudly alongside "Schindler's List" as a document of the Holocaust, but while the latter film tells the story of a people, this movie chooses to tell one woman's unspeakable story. Everything about "Sophie's Choice" is right. Pakula's direction and screenplay are superb, and the cinematography by Nestor Almendros is breathtakingly beautiful. The centerpiece of the film, however, is Meryl Streep's Oscar-winning performance as Sophie (probably the most deserved win in history) and the equally brilliant turns by Kevin Kline (in his first film role) and a very young Peter MacNicol.

A young writer named Stingo (MacNicol) comes to Brooklyn "on a voyage of discovery," and while living there meets Sophie and Nathan (Streep and Kline), two lovers who quickly befriend him. Stingo soon developes a crush on Sophie, and learns that she is a survivor of Auschwitz. While the seductive Nathan becomes ever more dangerous, Stingo gradually learns the secrets of Sophie's past, a past filled with terrible secrets and unbearable pain and guilt.

Meryl Streep gives possibly the best film performance ever as Sophie, completely becoming the Polish Holocaust survivor. The range and complexity of her performance is astonishing. Streep has many monologues as Sophie where she reveals more an more of the horrors she witnessed in the concentration camps, and these are all filmed in close up on Streep's face. It's riveting.
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