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The Ron Howard Spotlight Collection (Backdraft / Apollo 13 / A Beautiful Mind / Cinderella Man)

31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One of today’s most talented and beloved directors takes center stage in The Ron Howard Spotlight Collection, featuring four of the Academy Award winning Director’s most unforgettable and highly-acclaimed films: A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Cinderella Man and Backdraft. This 8-disc collectible set showcases some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed stars such as Academy Award-winners Tom Hanks, Russell Crowe, Renee Zellwegger, Jennifer Connelly, and Robert DeNiro in enduring stories of inspiration and triumph. Loaded with four discs of bonus features, The Ron Howard Spotlight Collection is the definitive way to experience the most prestigious films of one of our most masterful storytellers.

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Backdraft
A somewhat contrived screenplay doesn't stop this thriller from serving up some of the most spectacular fire sequences ever committed to film. Like any Ron Howard production Backdraft is impressively slick and boasts a stellar cast, including Kurt Russell and William Baldwin. The actors play sibling rivals who have been at odds since the death of their firefighter father years earlier. Robert De Niro is the veteran fire inspector who is tracking a series of mysterious and deadly arsons, and Donald Sutherland is effectively creepy as the former arsonist who understands the criminal psychology of pyromaniacs. Rebecca De Mornay, Scott Glenn, and Jennifer Jason Leigh are featured in supporting roles. Backdraft is a triumph of stunt work and flaming special effects. --Jeff Shannon

Apollo 13
NASA's worst nightmare turned into one of the space agency's most heroic moments in 1970, when the Apollo 13 crew was forced to hobble home in a disabled capsule after an explosion seriously damaged the moon-bound spacecraft. Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton play (respectively) astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise in director Ron Howard's intense, painstakingly authentic docudrama. The Apollo 13 crew and Houston-based mission controllers race against time and heavy odds to return the damaged spacecraft safely to Earth from a distance of 205,500 miles. Using state-of-the-art special effects and ingenious filmmaking techniques, Howard and his stellar cast and crew build nail-biting tension while maintaining close fidelity to the facts. The result is a fitting tribute to the Apollo 13 mission and one of the biggest box-office hits of 1995. --Jeff Shannon

A Beautiful Mind
A Beautiful Mind
manages to twist enough pathos out of John Nash's incredible life story to redeem an at-times goofy portrayal of schizophrenia. Russell Crowe tackles the role with characteristic fervor, playing the Nobel prize-winning mathematician from his days at Princeton, where he developed a groundbreaking economic theory, to his meteoric rise to the cover of Forbes magazine and an MIT professorship, and on through to his eventual dismissal due to schizophrenic delusions. Of course, it is the delusions that fascinate director Ron Howard and, predictably, go astray. Nash's other world, populated as it is by a maniacal Department of Defense agent (Ed Harris), an imagined college roommate who seems straight out of Dead Poets Society, and an orphaned girl, is so fluid and scriptlike as to make the viewer wonder if schizophrenia is really as slick as depicted. Crowe's physical intensity drags us along as he works admirably to carry the film on his considerable shoulders. No doubt the story of Nash's amazing will to recover his life without the aid of medication is a worthy one, his eventual triumph heartening. Unfortunately, Howard's flashy style is unable to convey much of it. --Fionn Meade

Cinderella Man
Cinderella Man is a wholesome slice of old-fashioned Americana, offering welcomed relief from the shallowness of many summer blockbusters. In dramatizing the legendary Depression-era comeback of impoverished boxer Jim Braddock, director Ron Howard benefits from another superb collaboration with his A Beautiful Mind star Russell Crowe, whose portrayal of Braddock is simultaneously warm, noble, and tenacious without resorting to even the slightest hint of sentimental melodrama. The desperate struggle of the Depression is more keenly felt here than it was in Seabiscuit, and Howard shows its economic impact in ways that strengthen the bonds between Braddock, his supportive wife (Renée Zellweger) and three young children, and his loyal manager (Paul Giamatti); all are forced to make sacrifices leading up to Braddock's title bout against heavyweight champion Max Baer (Craig Bierko) in one of greatest boxing matches in the history of the sport. Boasting the finest production design, cinematography and editing that Hollywood can offer, this is a feel-good film that never begs for your affection; it's just good, classical American filmmaking, brimming with qualities of decency and fortitude that have grown all too rare in the big-studio mainstream. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

Disc 1 - Backdraft:
  • Ron Howard Introduction
  • Deleted Scenes


  • Disc 2:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Igniting the Story
  • Bringing Together the Team
  • Explosive Stunts
  • Creating the Villain: The Fire
  • Real-Life Firemen, Real-Life Stories


  • Disc 3 - Apollo 13:
  • Lost Moon: The Triumph of Apollo 13
  • Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard
  • Feature Commentary with Jim and Marilyn Lovell
  • Production Notes
  • Theatrical Trailer


  • Disc 4 - Apollo 13:
  • Conquering Space: The Moon and Beyond
  • Lucky 13: The Astronaut's Story


  • Disc 5 - A Beautiful Mind:
  • Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard
  • Feature Commentary with Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman
  • Deleted Scenes with Director's Commentary
  • DVD-ROM Features Including Total Axess
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers


  • Disc 6:
  • A Beautiful Partnership: Ron Howard & Brian Grazer
  • Development of the Screenplay
  • Meeting John Nash
  • Accepting the Nobel Prize in Economics
  • Casting Russell Crowe & Jennifer Connelly
  • The Process of Age Progression
  • Storyboard Comparisons
  • Creation of the Special Effects
  • Scoring the Film
  • Inside A Beautiful Mind
  • Academy Awards
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • A Beautiful Mind Soundtrack
  • Now Showing


  • Disc 7 - Cinderella Man:
  • Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard
  • Feature Commentary with Writer Akica Goldsman
  • Feature Commentary with Writer Cliff Hollingsworth


  • Disc 7:
  • Deleted Scenes wth Commentary by Director Ron Howard
  • The Fight Card: Casting Cinderella Man
  • The Man, The Movie, The Legend: A Filmmaking Journey
  • For the Record: A History in Boxing
  • Ringside Seats
  • Jim Braddock: The Friends & Family Behind the Legend
  • Kodak Partner Spot or Photo Montage
  • DVD-ROM Features


  • Disc 8:
  • Additional Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Ron Howard
  • Russell Crowe's Personal Journey: Becoming Jim Braddock
  • Focus on Script
  • Creating the Reality
  • Russell's Transformation
  • Inflatable People
  • Lights, Camera, Action: The Fight from Every Angle
  • Braddock vs. Baer Fight Footage
  • Photo Montage
  • The Sound of the Bell
  • Cinderella Man Music Featurette
  • The Human Face of Depression

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Kurt Russell, Tom Hanks, Ed Harris, Russell Crowe, William Baldwin
    • Directors: Ron Howard
    • Writers: Jr. William Broyles, Al Reinert, Cliff Hollingsworth, Akiva Goldsman, Gregory Widen
    • Producers: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Raffaella De Laurentiis, Penny Marshall, Richard B. Lewis
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • 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: 1.66:1
    • Number of discs: 8
    • Rated: R (Restricted)
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: November 25, 2008
    • Run Time: 675 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B001F34HRS
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,720 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "The Ron Howard Spotlight Collection (Backdraft / Apollo 13 / A Beautiful Mind / Cinderella Man)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By The Movie Man VINE VOICE on November 17, 2008
    "The Ron Howard Spotlight Collection" is an eight-disc box set containing four Howard-directed features, including the Best Picture Oscar winner "Beautiful Mind," the story of brilliant mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe). The set also contains a heap of bonus extras, including an introduction by Howard himself, deleted scenes, theatrical trailers, feature commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and documentaries on the real individuals portrayed.
    "Backdraft" is a fairly routine story about two feuding firefighter brothers (Kurt Russell, William Baldwin) who have to set aside their personal differences in order to survive the infernos set by a maniacal arsonist. Fire is the real star, with spectacularly staged sequences that look incredibly dangerous. Drama-wise, the movie is a familiar reworking of a classic plot and offers few surprises.
    "Apollo 13" is riveting drama with the all-star cast of Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris. Here we have the true story of a space flight that would have ended in disaster were it not for the coordination of flight and ground crews to bring the astronauts back safely. In the confines of a claustrophobic space capsule, Howard manages to make a tale whose outcome is known, gripping.
    "Cinderella Man," a fine movie that did poorly at the box office, takes place in Depression-era America. Down-and-out boxer Jim Braddock (Russell Crowe) has a young family but few prospects. Desperate, he accepts an offer to do battle with the reigning world heavyweight champ, proving himself a popular underdog and a champion of the common man.
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    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By B Leuri on December 29, 2011
    Verified Purchase
    The quality of the multipack is excellent, it is well presented and has eight DVD's, two for each film.

    The extra packs and special features are the type and quality normally found on 19.99+ original release editions.

    The packaging of the group as a whole is far superior to normal multipacks containing double sided discs in a cheap plastic sleeve.
    It makes an excellent gift pack for anyone who might enjoy these films.

    Quality of acting is high, the production quality excellent and the special effects generally superb. There were a few less than realistic points in Backdraft but fire scenes are notoriously difficult to simulate.

    The stories themselves are not my normal preference, but so well depicted that each movie draws the viewer along for the duration.

    From a very personal viewpoint I'd rate the films overall as follows, out of 5 stars.

    Backdraft ****
    Apollo 13 *****
    A beautifull mind *****
    Cinderalla man *****

    I never thought I'd rate a boxing movie as 5*, but it is so well executed from the sets through the acting to what appears a very realistic and detailed portrayal of the period that I discovered it to be enthralling in the way it tells a timeless tale.

    Enjoy or gift, you or the recipient is unlikely to be disappointed.
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    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By being_and_time on November 30, 2012
    Verified Purchase
    These are solid story/character-driven movies that also just happen to be beautiful on visual and auditory levels. Watching any one of these movies (w/o the TV commercials) is a personal event. Howard allows you to live through the characters...with some suspense thrown in.
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    A BEAUTIFUL MIND and CINDERELLA MAN are a truly touching films directed by Ron Howard. If you are not familiar with the stories I will only say that to give away any details of this movie would be inappropriate. A BEAUTIFUL MIND builds at an interesting pace and is lethargic at times , yet it remains intriguing and emerges into a heartfelt statement about our true selves and the meaning of love, commitment and the essence of mind and being. Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly give brilliantly realistic performances and make this film work. A lot also has to be said of James Horner's insightful and moving score, which only enhances the viewer's insight and response to the film's statement. This film is beautiful and one of Ron Howard's best. CINDERELLA MAN tackles a different subject matter but once again our hero Russell Crowe has to come to realizations and overcome insurmountable odds. CINDERELLA MAN was oddly overlooked at the time of its release. That was a shame. APOLLO 13 is thoughtful inspiring film. BACKDRAFT is one of Ron Howard's most watchable films. There is as much subtlety as there is in your face pyrotechnics in BACKDRAFT. Each time I watch it I see something new, something I missed. It all comes together. These 4 films are great films.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Murphy55 on January 24, 2014
    Verified Purchase
    Great movies, wonderful price! An excellent price for all three movies, and my Tweens love backdraft and Apollo 13. They have watched it many times, and no problems
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Menotyou on May 8, 2013
    Verified Purchase
    for the set of 4 there are 8 discs in total. Each one is entirely different from the other. but these still stand the test of time individually.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. on May 22, 2014
    Verified Purchase
    This collecction includes 4 great films and comes packaged nicely. Worth every penny! A reminder of Ron Howard's greatness. Wow.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Majestic on May 30, 2013
    Verified Purchase
    Three excellent movies. This is a must have for your dvd collection. Great price with it bundled like this. Can't go wrong.
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