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Southern Comfort (1981)

Keith Carradine , Powers Boothe , Walter Hill  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)

Price: $84.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Fred Ward, Franklyn Seales, T.K. Carter
  • Directors: Walter Hill
  • Writers: Walter Hill, David Giler, Michael Kane
  • Producers: David Giler, William J. Immerman
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: 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 (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2001
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059TGE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,656 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Southern Comfort" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the director of The Long Riders comes this eye-widening, gut-wrenching tale of backwoods terror that draws you into the eerily beautiful Louisiana bayou...then has you running for your life (Pauline Kael, New Yorker)! Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe and Peter Coyote lead a first-rate ensemble (Newsweek) in this exciting, arresting and tautly told suspenser (Variety). When nine National Guardsmen enter the Louisiana swamp for routine training, they are unaware that just a handful of their ranks will make it out alive. Through an error in judgment, they incite an all-out war with some angry Cajuns who know the territory like the backs of their hands. Armed with a precious few bullets, and confused by the dimly lit, moss-covered maze into which they ve stumbled, the innocent guardsmen know they'll be picked off one-by-one...until they come up with a solution using the only resources they have left'themselves.

More than merely Deliverance in the Louisiana bayou, Walter Hill's taut little tale of weekend-warrior National Guardsmen on swamp exercises reverberates with echoes of Vietnam. Powers Booth brings a hard pragmatism to the "new guy" in the unit, a Texas transplant less than thrilled with his new group. "They're just Louisiana versions of the same rednecks I served with in El Paso," he tells the levelheaded Keith Carradine.

The barely functional unit of city boys and macho rednecks invades the environs of the local Cajun trappers and poachers, "borrowing" the locals' boats and sending bursts of blank rounds over their heads in a show of contempt. Before they know it the dysfunctional strangers in a strange land are on the losing end of a guerrilla war. The swamp rats kill their commanding officer (Peter Coyote) and terrorize the bickering bunch as they flee blindly through the jungle without a map, a compass, or a leader to speak of.

Hill directs with a clean simplicity, creating tension as much from the primal landscape and the Cajuns' unsettling reign of terror as from the dynamics of a platoon of battle virgins tearing itself apart from rage and fear. Ry Cooder's eerie and haunting score and the primal, claustrophobic landscape only intensifies the paranoia as the city boys splinter with infighting (sparked by a bullying Fred Ward), blunder through booby traps and ambushes, and finally turn just as savage as their pursuers in their drive to survive. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb And Thoughtful Action Movie! October 4, 2003
This tautly-told tale of the explosive mix of subcultures under extreme conditions is a gem seldom discussed in movie circles, but is indeed a near-cult favorite of Vietnam vets who recognize the allegorical message of its gritty and ironic twists of plot associated with the casual and almost nonchalant attitudes of several Louisiana National Guard reservists off on a weekend military exercise during the early 1970s in the foreboding and eerie bayou country. Famed action director Walter Hill wastes little time in setting the dilemma into motion, and by disobeying orders and "improvising" a way across a large river by "borrowing" some Cajun moon-shiners' boats, the squad soon finds itself engaged in escalating misunderstanding and quite plausible sequences of violence, murder, and mayhem.
For anyone ever in the military of that era, it is a profoundly accurate depiction of just how easily disorganized, untrained, and undisciplined troops who are poorly indoctrinated and even more poorly led can find itself disastrously out of control under circumstances they can no longer positively influence. Moreover, left to their own devices,and slowly decimated through casualties inflicted by their erstwile opponents, they unnecessarily and fatefully add to their own predicament by taking action that makes their predicament much worse. They also find, to their horror, that relatively untrained civilians with guns and attitude can be formidable opponents. The stealth, familiarity with the terrain, and downright viciousness employed by the local Cajun moon-shiners makes this a captivating study in how slender are the threads that binds us together in a large and pluralistic society such as ours.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Southern-Fried Film Noir September 5, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film came out just as I was finishing a six-year stint with the Louisiana National Guard, so I eagerly went to see it soon after its release. I enjoyed it so much then that I bought a copy on DVD when reminded of it after I bought "Deliverance".

Though there are surface similarities, Southern Comfort is not Deliverance Louisiana-style, though it may have attracted much the same viewers.

I won't rehash the story to a great extent, but I want to point out a few errors in the film before singing its hosannahs. First of all, if the Guard unit started its exercise in the Catahoula swamp and was supposed to pass through the Great Dismal Swamp (they called it the Great Primordial Swamp in the film) to a rendezvous with another unit, there would have been precious few Cajuns as those swamps are north of the Red River. Most Cajuns live south of that river and west of the Mississippi. Secondly, the interstate which "Casper" kept referring to would have been Interstate 20, 100 miles to the north and they'd have crossed many other roads before that. The type of swamp the unit was in would be far more likely south of Interstate 10, 100 miles to the south of where the movie placed them. Finally, there would probably have been at least a couple of the troops who could speak Cajun French. My unit, based at Pineville LA, had a good mix of North Louisiana "rednecks" as Cajuns referred to them and South Louisiana "coon-asses" as the Cajuns called themselves. A lot of the Cajun guys were fluent in Cajun French. As for the troopers themselves, we did have one guy in our unit reminiscent of the wild-eyed punk in the film who got the real trouble started by firing blanks at the Cajun trappers, but beyond that they were a decent bunch of men and women.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... and not a label in sight February 11, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Director Walter Hill's 1981 action drama has a horror movie mentality. When a group of weekend service members of the Louisiana National Guard venture into bayou country on training maneuvers, a misunderstanding leads to them being stalked and methodically hunted down by local Cajuns. However the screenplay which Hill co-wrote with Michael Kane and the producer David Giler, provides more depth and character interplay than something like Scream where the killings are all there is. Another definite plus is the soundtrack, where silence is employed during the attacks. This is both a superior aesthetic choice and a contextual one since the main locale is the lonely mythic swampland, stark in it's beauty and primordial terror. The fact that the attacks take place in daylight is another subversion of the horror genre, though the Cajuns function on the same level as a generic stalker, seen out of the corner of one's eye and possessing greater agility than those they hunt. Of course it helps that the swamps are the Cajun's home turf since this makes the Guardsmen more vulnerable. Hill never telegraphs the next death so that the viewer carries a constant feeling of dread. The swampland being so beautiful and the savagery of the killings also recalls the irony of the murders at Auschwitz, which was said to be gorgeous countryside. Hill perhaps overplays his Vietnam parable when he presents one man going to his death in slow motion, in an attempt to enoble someone whose leadership the others have criticised for trying to stick to the manual. But considering that the narrative is set in 1973, it is interesting to interpret the assault on the Guardsmen as anti-military, a point made when the surviving men make it to a Cajun camp, and the expected relief of civilisation turns to continued paranoia. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Southern Fried Nam
Over 40 years ago when I saw this film I marked it down as the second film ("Go Tell the Spartans" first) to satirize the Vietnam conflict, the best to depict the morass so... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Gene Cisco
4.0 out of 5 stars Fans of the classic "Deliverance" will enjoy this film
Classic military exercise gone wrong.
Fans of the classic "Deliverance" will enjoy this film. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Steven
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good movie in blue ray.
Published 1 month ago by cyberghostx13
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent !
Published 1 month ago by Coffe drinker
4.0 out of 5 stars Been a while since I saw this, but well ...
Been a while since I saw this, but well acted and accurately portrays (in many ways, not all) this part of the country
Published 1 month ago by rdkmco
5.0 out of 5 stars Action, Action, Action
Excellent movie, saw it years ago and it's loaded with action.
I was surprised how fast I received the movie, great service!
Published 1 month ago by Leonard
5.0 out of 5 stars "[My wife] has a good sense of humor. I don't."
Southern Comfort is a little-known 80's action/chase film directed by Walter Hill, of "The Warriors" and "48 Hours" acclaim. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Argyle Ronin
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie is awesome! Starts off a little slow but then gets ...
The movie is awesome! Starts off a little slow but then gets with the program. I consider it a much watch. Great story line and I like the music sound track.
Published 1 month ago by JOHN CROUCH
5.0 out of 5 stars Southern Comfort
Great classic movie!
Published 1 month ago by Abel
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Best version of this classic yet! Image is greatly enhanced in most scenes while some grain remains in others. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Brick
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