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Special When Lit - A Pinball Documentary (NTSC DVD) (2010)

Roger Sharpe , Tim Arnold , Brett Sullivan  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Price: $19.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Special When Lit: A Pinball Documentary
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Frequently Bought Together

Special When Lit - A Pinball Documentary (NTSC DVD) + Pinball Passion + Pinball Collector
Price for all three: $62.30

Buy the selected items together
  • Pinball Passion $22.77
  • Pinball Collector $19.54

Product Details

  • Actors: Roger Sharpe, Tim Arnold, Lyman Sheats Jr, Sam Harvey, John Broughton
  • Directors: Brett Sullivan
  • Producers: Brett Sullivan, Clayton Jacobsen
  • Format: NTSC, Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004G6P5VI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,065 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Special When Lit rediscovers the lure of a lost pop icon - pinball. This American invention made more money than Hollywood through the 50s and 60s. Its success swept the world making it the epitome of 'cool'. Today pinball is all but forgotten. This is the award winning story of the rise and fall of pinball as told by the fans, collectors, designers and champion players from across the globe. Engaging and infectious, Special When Lit will have you revisiting a time when social networking meant hanging in an arcade trying to beat the silver ball. So drop a coin in the slot, it's time to rediscover a lost icon...

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Look Into the World of Pinball!!! June 13, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This documentary follows in the tradition of great arcade documentaries like King of Kong and Chasing Ghosts. I've watched all of the available pinball documentaries including Tilt and Pinball Passion to date but this one is leaps and bounds over the others with a focus on interesting characters in the hobby and dazzling graphical effects that bring playfields, schematics, and backglasses to life in this great film.

The interjection of the historical information about the hobby along with competition and collector focus pieces kept the DVD moving at a great pace. Some might take offense with the weird characters chosen to interview but it really does give some great insight into the obsession that comes with being a collector in this hobby!!

Fantastic job on this DVD. The only missing was extras and outtakes. I've had this DVD for 5 days and have already watcheed it 4 times. Phenomenal job guys!!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pinball machines and more pinball machines September 4, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Some of these collectors have an amazing number of these great old machines. When they go to the pinball hall where the yearly contests are held it doesn't seem possible to be around that many pinball games.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It March 25, 2013
By Jack H.
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Loved all the info this gave about pinball. If you ever want to learn the history and culture of pinball this fits the bill!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just my two cents on "Special When Lit"... February 27, 2011
I felt that this production was of a high quality and definitely fun to watch in its attempt to cover most aspects of Pinball (from an industry to the hobby.) Included throughout the film are many industry luminaries, a number of hobbyist, and the top tournament players (circa 2006.)

I'm certain that this movie was produced with entertainment in mind and is definitely not a historical "Ken Burns" type documentary. There are MANY other various productions that may fulfill your thirst for this type of knowledge (I.E. TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball.)

I can see EastCoastArcade's point that this film features primarily extreme examples of Pinball collectors as well as many of the hobby's usual suspects when it comes to "characters". However I do not think it vilifies the Pinball hobby, but rather focuses on a colorful cross-section in an attempt to make the full length feature engaging to a viewer who has no vested interest in Pinball.

If you're someone who does own "multiple" Pin-games but doesn't take yourself or the hobby too seriously, I think probably enjoy this film! On the other hand if you hold a supreme reverence for the hobby... then you might not fully enjoy it. Special When Lit (Blu-ray)
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18 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should be titled, Pinball collecting gone wrong. January 30, 2011
After hearing the hype surrounding this documentary, I downloaded it on iTunes as soon as it became available. Was under the impression this would be THE pinball documentary, sadly I was mistaken (at least I only spent $10 and not the price they want for this bluray)

It's clear to me that the producers set out to find the craziest of the eccentrics in the hobby to interview. Which in a normal documentary of a hobby would make sense to interview one or two. But it seems 80% of special when lit is focused on people who probably need counseling on a professional level.

This movie felt more like an episode of Hoarders, or one of those daytime doctor shows. Plenty of awkward moments. They went for the extreme, and in doing so have seemed to vilify the hobby as something for those of questionable mental fortitude. Which isn't fair, there are tons more people who collect pins who are raising families, holding steady jobs and for them it's just a normal hobby. But unfortunately these people aren't covered at all in this film.

The nut jobs get more screen time than the two famed designers they had in this film. Gary Stern of stern pinball gets like 2 minutes. The fall of pinball to the video arcades was a 10 minute after thought at the end of the movie. Not even a mention of williams last ditch effort with Pin2K.

Sadly it seems their goal was to portray pinball in a negative light. I even read they had one of the players go back to the hotel to get his huge nerd glasses for the interview, because they thought it would be better for the film.

The only saving grace for this film is their interview with Roger Sharpe, and the owner of broadway arcade.

Overall a terribly inaccurate portrayal of the hobby. Tilt! is a much more informative documentary, and the extras included are well worth the dvd purchase.
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Format:Amazon Instant Video
I could barely keep myself from telling friends (with an interest in pinball, like myself) about this movie after having seen it. And I'm a girl, albeit a bit of a geek (talk nerdy to me, why dontcha?) but not much of a gamer. Anyway, the film takes you to Paris to get a close look at some of the early pinball machines housed there, takes you to various points around the U.S. for interviews and overviews of pinball's most recognized players and even champions the underdog a bit a la "Air Guitar Nation" (though not as thoroughly). Seeing how other people play pinball made me wonder, "Do I do that???" - which I can't possibly imagine. But, who knows! I guess I'll have to film myself to find out. Keep the flippers flippin' ... or cradle that ball. But, whatever you do? Watch "Special When Lit" at least once in your lifetime. It's a true American treasure!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great watch for Pinball fans
This was a very enjoyable documentary about the world of pinball. A must watch for all of you pinball fanatics.
Published 1 month ago by Keith Glindemann
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Documentary
Special When Lit offers a nostalgic throwback and offers new hope to those who lived their life one "play" at a time. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Brandon Beau Sand
5.0 out of 5 stars If you remember the days of hanging out in Arcades playing classic...
A view into the life of collectors and players of classic pinball machines. This movie follows a group of pinball enthusiast who most would find odd but if you remember a time... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary for gen x and boomers
This title surprised me. I'm a gen x kid who grew up playing at the arcade and this show really brought back memories. Read more
Published 2 months ago by William R. Markle
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done history of pinball in the US
Very well done documentary of pinball history, along with profiles and vignettes of collectors, designers, and industry figures. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ira W.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lure of the Silver Ball!
This was the defenitive documentary on pinball. A must see for pinball lovers and to those who have never seen or played a pinball machine.
Published 3 months ago by Patricia M Wrigley
5.0 out of 5 stars Get ths one too
like "pinball passion", this is an in-depth look at pinball. It is different enough from "passion" to be well worth the shelf space & the money. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Albert H. Pfister
5.0 out of 5 stars Pinball explained from the beginning
Outstanding documentary on the origin of pinball, and the popularity thru the years. Well worth watching this video, and you will be amazed.
Published 6 months ago by Al Palgon
5.0 out of 5 stars Pinball Lovers - Check This Out!
Being an old-school pinball lover myself, this doc was fun and informative! Some machines they showed brought back memories of the late 70's/early 80's
Published 7 months ago by Cesar Perez
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a watch
I really enjoyed this doc. As a vintage arcade fan, it was really refreshing to see that there are still pinball nuts out there.
Published 8 months ago by Craig R Layne
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