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Stardust Memories

4.2 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A sharp, satirical look at the high price of fame, Woody Allen's Stardust Memories is a "wickedly funny" (The New York Times) story about a disillusioned filmmaker who is just about at the end of his rope. Sparkling with the confidence of an artist in full bloom, Stardust Memories is "a film to be seen and savored" (Jeffery Lyons)! Legendary comic filmmaker Sandy Bates (Allen) is tired of being funny. Teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown, Bates attends a weekend retrospective of his films, only to confront the meaning of his work, the memories of his great love, Dorrie (Charlotte Rampling), and the merits of settling down with new girlfriend, Isobel (Marie-Christine Barrault). Plagued by hallucinations, alien visitations and the bloodless studio executives trying to re-cut his bleak new film, Bates struggles to find a reason to go on living. But when he falls prey to a gun-wielding fanatic, his zany brush with death reveals that there is value tohis own existence, and that often, the best reason to go on living is life itself.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, Marie-Christine Barrault, Tony Roberts
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Writers: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Charles H. Joffe, Jack Rollins, Robert Greenhut
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: January 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792846125
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,000 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Stardust Memories" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. David Roe on February 9, 2001
Format: DVD
Why do I choose to waste these few minutes of my life talking about a movie that few people have ever seen and that fewer still want to resurrect? If you mention a "Woody Allen Film" these days, you're bound to elicit one of a few choice conditioned responses - anything from, "Oh, I like his movies, especially the early, funny ones" or "Is he still making films?"
The fact is that Woody Allen is one of the great filmmakers to grace the American cinema. Granted, his films today have lost some of their public lustre due to the travails of his personal life and the unbearable political incorrectness of being Woody. Yet fifty years from now, he will be spoken of without hesitation or apology with names such as Kubrick, Ford, Keaton, Spielberg or Malick as one of the greats. Some critics realized this more than twenty years ago and have conveniently forgotten it.
But "Stardust Memories", if he never made another film, would insure his place among filmmaking elite. The movie in its time was castigated by critics because it presciently observed them as the high priests of a society which worships culture above art. Culture, of course, changes with the seasons but art is that constant which connects us to each other and the world throughout those changes. Further, it's release coincided with the death of John Lennon. The scene where Sandy Bates is shot by a crazed fan was uncomfortably closer to reality than the comic moment it wished to establish. Great movie, but it's release date just wasn't -- ahem! -- in the stars.
"Stardust Memories" is as close to perfect a film as I have ever seen. It borrows the structural approach to its story from Fellini's "8 1/2" but is so true to its own purpose it never seems derivative.
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Format: VHS Tape
To me Stardust Memories is Allen's most beautiful and complex film. It is difficult to express in words the aspects of the film that resonated with me. If one does not pay close attention, and views the film merely with one's eyes and brain, one can miss the beauty of the film. The film is basically about a successful film director named Sandy (Allen) who is sort of forced into going to a film festival of his films. He is very reluctant to do so because he views festivals as a waste of time, and partially because the festival mainly showcases his earlier, funnier films which he is no longer inclined to make. He, instead, wishes to make more deep, serious films. He can no longer make funny films because he is obsessed with the bigger issues of human suffering, death, and the meaning of life.
So far, the character Sandy sounds a lot like Allen who initially made only funny films, but moved unto weightier topics, and you are right, it probably is about Allen. However, through the course of the film, we realize that Allen is making much more than a simple diclosure. The film goes a step further by nesting the movie in Sandy's psyche. It is difficult to discern if we are watching a film Sandy made, or watching what really went on during the film festival, or if we are reliving Sandy's memories as a young boy who learned magic tricks to impress friends, or kissed his actress-lover, Dorrie in the rain.
Furthermore, the film forces us, the audience, to ask the same troubling questions about life that Sandy confronts. In one scene of the movie, Sandy asks some aliens (who have very conspicuous NY accents) why there is so much human suffering. They answer back by saying he is asking the wrong questions. He asks another question--what is the point of living?
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Format: DVD
Stardust Memories is a brilliant tribute to Fellini and Bergman that still manages to give us some of that classic Woody Allen humor every so often to lighten things up just a bit. The plot moves along at a good pace and I enjoyed the flashbacks that are interjected so masterfully into the film. The convincing acting held my attention all the way and the black and white footage is very tastefully done.

The action begins when overstressed movie director Sandy Bates (Woody Allen) is pushed into attending a two day film festival in his honor. At the festival they show his "funny films;" and Bates is lauded for that by his adoring--and endlessly pestering--fans who want many more comedies from Bates. Trouble is, however, that Sandy Bates no longer wants to make funny movies. Instead, he now prefers to make artistic, meaningful movies that reflect the human condition--or perhaps Sandy may even want to quit the film industry altogether and go into some type of profession in which he can help other people.

There are not one, not two, but three women in Sandy's life. His relationship with his former lover Dorrie (Charlotte Rampling) is portrayed very well in flashbacks; and his current romance with Isobel (Marie-Christine Barrault) is a bit shaky at times but it's still ongoing. Sandy also flirts with another woman he meets at the film festival; he likes Daisy's (Jessica Harper) artistic and sensitive qualities.

Look for excellent performance by Tony Roberts who plays himself; and Helen Hanft plays Vivian Orkin, the "MC" of the film festival.

Overall, if you've seen Fellini's 8 1/2, you're going to appreciate this film more than if you haven't. At the same time, however, other people will still get a lot out of this even if they haven't seen 8 1/2. I highly recommend this film for Woody Allen fans and people who enjoy artistic cinema with very high quality control.
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