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Tender Mercies (1982)

Robert Duvall , Tess Harper , Bruce Beresford  |  PG |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Duvall, Tess Harper, Betty Buckley, Wilford Brimley, Ellen Barkin
  • Directors: Bruce Beresford
  • Writers: Horton Foote
  • Producers: Robert Duvall, Horton Foote, Mary-Ann Hobel, Philip Hobel
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Republic Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 1999
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0782010679
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #242,168 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tender Mercies" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
134 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As close to perfection as movies ever get. November 4, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Tender Mercies" proves beyond doubt that Americans can make movies the way Europeans do, and still make them unmistakably American. Sure, the director, Bruce Beresford, is Australian, but screenwriter Horton Foote and star Robert Duvall--both of whom won richly deserved Oscars--root this movie firmly in Texas soil. As Mac Sledge, an alcoholic country singer trying to rebuild his life and career, Duvall gives a performance of astounding complexity and emotional impact, all the more astounding because of its laconic spareness. It ranks as one of the greatest performances ever given by an American actor. He is nearly matched by Tess Harper as his new wife and Ellen Barkin as his daughter from his first marriage, and Russell Boyd's photography captures the Texas prairie in all its stark, lonesome beauty. Two other performances that deserve praise are those of Betty Buckley as Mac's country-star first wife--a woman who has let paranoia and resentment take over her life--and Allan Hubbard as Mac's stepson, a resoundingly normal, likable kid. Don't come to this movie looking for slam-bang action--it's a quiet, gentle slice of life, brimming with poignant emotion, filled with love and respect for its characters and their way of life.
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63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect movie about an imperfect man. July 10, 1999
Sometimes you can't do it any better. This is one of those times. Bruce Beresford has crafted a perfect film; one who's only drawback is that it ever has to end. Beresford, Robert Duvall and Tess Harper manage to create both characters and a world that allow you fall into the screen and forget you are watching a film. You will be moved to both tears and laughter, and left feeling very warm in a subtle way forgotten by most of today's Twist Your Emotions With Blunt Force films.
The story of a man, Mac Sledge, who has seen bright lights and soaring heights but has now fallen on extremely hard times. Drunk, broke, and looking none to trustworthy, Mac is befriended, and finally loved, by a young widow and her son. And that's basically it. There's a subplot involving Mac's estranged relationships with his daughter and ex-wife, but primarily it's about one man picking himself up, dusting himself off, and getting on with life after having been kicked in the pants.
The crux of the film is Duvall, and in more ways than one. First is his complex portrayal of Mac. Conditioned by so many formula movies, you keep waiting for Mac to fall of the wagon, only to redeem himself again somehow. But Mac never does fall, and Duvall lets you see just how difficult that is. How hard, but also how satisfying, it is for a man to stand up to life when all he wants to do is run and hide. And he does it without ever even doing so much as raising his voice.
But his acting isn't all Duvall gives to the film. Singing his own songs, Duvall makes you firmly believe that Mac Sledge has an ocean of musical talent. With not much of a voice, and singing rather simple, country tunes, Duvall nevertheless evokes powerful images of love, loss and redemption.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
It so happens that Tender Mercies was my very first DVD purchase - only because it was marked down to a ridiculous $7.49 (probably due to a protracted shelf life) and because it is easily one of the best American films of the last twenty years (hang it! of the last fifty years!). Bruce Beresford is one of those itinerant directors who has managed a career out of a suitcase. Yet every film he has made, excepting perhaps Her Alibi, is something of a masterpiece. Tender Mercies could be used to instruct film school students about how suggestive a film can be with an absolute minimum of means. Mac Sledge and the people he encounters in that armpit of the world have only the most rudimentary means of expression. Song writing, though littered with the usual emblematic platitudes, is his only chance at what might otherwise be mistaken for self-transcendence, but is actually his only way of expressing the bafflement he feels in the face of life. Meretriciously, but sweetly, his bitter ex-wife (played beautifully by Betty Buckley) has made a good living off all the love songs he once wrote for her, and continues to sing them (albeit without conviction). When he finds happiness again, even if he refuses to trust it, he is compelled to write songs again. And one of the loveliest scenes in the film is his unassuming return to singing. And Robert Duvall creates another of his sculptured performances of a simple man who finds eloquence through his mistrust of happiness and his bewilderment at life. Tender Mercies is a Great American Film, without bothering with the ubiquitous sound and fury that signifies so little in most others.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, wonderful, worth seeing October 5, 1999
By A Customer
I am so used to the commercial-minded movies of today that every time the characters in this film would settle into a quiet moment, I would wait for someone to pull out a gun or go crazy and beat someone up. But by the end, I was comforted by the quiet, powerful way that this movie is made. Robert Duvall is fantastic, and so are all of the supporting characters. If I had to give one piece of advice to anyone considering watching this movie, it would be to relax, because this movie doesn't require you to be on your guard. It's not going to get your trust and then go crazy. That's what I found so amazing about it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Poignant, and Meaningful Film
A realistic portrait of life's beauty and sadness profoundly appropriate for parents and children.
Strongly recommended for its slow pace, true-to-life understatement, and... Read more
Published 14 days ago by TumericTJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank goodness we have Tender Mercies.
One of my favorite movies!! Has been for years. The writing by Horton Foote is superb and the acting is top notch.

It is a movie that is timeless. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Geraldine M. Castle
5.0 out of 5 stars Tender Mercies
It ended good. not I had seen it on TV several times. I don't think I ever knew the name of it until I bought it. It"s very good. I really don't know what else to say. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Sue Medows
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Duvall is excellent.
My husband and I never get tired of Robert Duval. He is such a great actor. We enjoyed this movie very much and will watch it again in our lifetime.
Published 26 days ago by Regina Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars All time western classic.
Robert Duval is a master actor. The film has a timeless sense of flow and a well developed plot. Enjoy.
Published 27 days ago by David from kc
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a good one
It is no wonder that Robert Duvall won an award for this one. It is especially good if you like country music but it is a powerful film at all levels.
Published 1 month ago by John Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars My Must Watch Again Once-A-Year Movie
Excellent Movie! Robert Duvall was never better; even did his own singing. And Betty Buckley's performance was stunning & her voice beyond believing. Tess Harper was briiliant! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tricia Haven
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Special
A former country music star who has become an alcoholic vagrant arrives at a rural combination gas station/motel run by a young widow with a little boy and gets a job there. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Long Tom
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming movie
If you like a good movie with a positive message this is it. It kind of takes you by surprise. As we watched the movie we thought it was okay, but as we think back on it we think... Read more
Published 1 month ago by z best
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Great movie, great gift. My dad loves this movie. It is a bit of a downer but it has great cinematography.
Published 1 month ago by MK
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