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The Beast (1988)

George Dzundza , Jason Patric , Kevin Reynolds  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: George Dzundza, Jason Patric, Steven Bauer, Stephen Baldwin, Don Harvey
  • Directors: Kevin Reynolds
  • Writers: William Mastrosimone
  • Producers: Christopher Dalton, Dale Pollock, Gil Friesen, John Fiedler
  • Format: Full Screen, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC
  • Language: Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai
  • Dubbed: Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 15, 2001
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005AVZU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,333 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Beast" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Talent Files

Editorial Reviews

Don Harvey, Erick Avari, George Dzundza, Jason Patric, Stephen Baldwin, Steven Bauer - Dir:Kevin Reynolds When a crew member of a lost Soviet tank, which is being pursued by Mujahadeen guerrillas in the Afghan desert, is left to die by his tyrannical comm

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful glimpse into a misunderstood war March 28, 2005
By Dave
Format:DVD
It's not surprising that this controversial movie isn't that well-known, but after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, watching this movie is even more important. The movie begins with a devastating Soviet tank attack on a quiet village in Afghanistan, during which a rebel prisoner is shown being run over by one of the T-62 tanks (one of the most grusome scenes in the history of cinema!). After "mopping up" the pitiful resistance, one of the Soviet T-62 tanks becomes separated from the rest and in no time at all is lost in the brutal desert, where Afghani rebels led by Taj (Steven Bauer, in an incredible performance) stalk the tank with the goal of destroying "the beast".

The commander of the lost T-62 is Daskal (George Dzundza), a tyrant who's so psychotic he has one of his own tank crewman machine gunned for being "a traitor" (which he wasn't of course).
The tank driver, Koverchenko (Jason Patric) can't stand Daskal's madness any longer, and when his insubordination to Daskal goes too far he is tied up and left to die alone in the desert. The Afghani rebels find Koverchenko and prepare to kill him, but he begs for mercy and his life is spared by Taj. Taj gives him the option of joining the rebels in their determined hunt of "the beast", and Koverchenko readily accepts. Taj and Koverchenko learn to trust one another as they close in on the tank (which is quickly running out of fuel) for the kill, leading to an explosive confrontation.

Despite the fact that Americans play Soviet tank crewmen and speak English, I found this movie very thought-provoking and gripping from beginning to end. The casting couldn't have been better and the performances are outstanding, as is the chilling atmospheric music by Mark Isham.
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things have changed a lot since 1988. September 17, 2001
Format:DVD
The political climate at the time of this film's release in 1988 made it impossible for it to obtain the distribution it deserved; the movie itself, taking place during the first full year of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, centers around a Soviet tank crew who are commanded by a miserable officer who is a veteran of the Old School...and the Old War (his details of his exploits as a child in Stalingrad against the Nazis are both chilling and exceptionally revealing). He has no regard for the lives of the people in whose country his armies are "guests" (the government in Kabul at the time was well- supported by Moscow), and he has neither regard for anything he perceives as weakness among his own troops, nor time to listen to anyone who would interfere with his command of them. This leads to the action that ultimately adds the twist of "Badal" (Islamic term for "revenge") as the tankers become lost in a box canyon and attempt to elude Mujahideen (Islamic freedom fighters) as they return to their column.
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I know it's an insignificant and meaningless consequence to the actions of September 11, 2001 here in the United States...but I believe this movie should be reassessed and far more appreciated. The decision to allow the Soviets to speak not in the traditional thickly-accented English that can be expected from most intrigue movies, but instead with American dialects (any of these guys could have been extras in "A Bronx Tale") was inspired at the time, and it very effectively humanized an enemy that we in America had been indoctrinated to believe were "an Evil Empire". And in truth, the first scene of the armored attack of an Afghan village pretty much supports this categorization...
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
"The Beast" is a uniquely stirring film combining brutal realism with a moving portrayal of the human foundation of war. Set in Afghanistan in 1981, the film follows a Soviet tank crew that participates in the vengeful destruction of an Afghan village then becomes lost in the high desert. Running parallel to the story of the Russians is that of the Afghans who have survived the slaughter of their town and set out to take revenge on the Soviets. The story is a beautifully terrible tapestry of the tangled web of war. The Soviets destroy the village in revenge for (presumed) attacks by Afghan rebels--with whom the villagers have a blood feud. The divided Afghans unite to take revenge. The five-man Soviet tank crew proves divided in character and in skills. All the tank crew scenes reflect a scripting and directing realism so effective you can smell the diesel and spent propellant. The plot is driven by very human decisions and interactions. The near-miraculous turns in plot are made believable through meticulous attention to characterization. Underlying the plot is the powerful religious theme of the good underdog triumphing over the evil giant, as exemplified by David's triumph over Goliath. "The Beast" is a true rare gem worth seeing a dozen times.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie - But a warning about the DVD February 16, 2005
Format:DVD
This is great, underrated war film. But a warning about this DVD edition. The package states that the disc contains both full and widescreen versions of the film. However, when my copy arrived, it contained a single sided DVD with only the full screen version. This isn't Amazon's fault, as I'm sure they based their listing on the package info. So be advised, you won't be getting the widescreen version.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars NANEWHATEY!
IF YOU ARE HEADED TO AFGHANISTAN YOU SHOULD SEE THIS MOVIE. FOR THOSE MOTIVATED FURTHER, READ cARAVAN BY JAMES MICHNER.
Published 6 days ago by Brian A. Bauer
4.0 out of 5 stars Right over wrong still has a price
Even doing what is right sometimes has a hefty price. A really good price of war movie . One of the best Afgan Russian conflict movies but from the perspective of one crazy tank... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Boyd Whittaker
5.0 out of 5 stars Great and somewhat unknown
Somewhat unknown as a movie, but after seeing it, you may seen the irony and relevance in it. Buy it.
Published 13 days ago by William W. Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done!
I didn't recognize most of the actors but they all did a great job. I'm sure this is what it was like during the Russian occupation of Afganistan. Read more
Published 1 month ago by glenn karr
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites
This is one of those movies I can watch over and over again. The plot is good, the special effects are minimal which tends to make it feel more real and not so Hollywood. Read more
Published 1 month ago by john g
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Jason Patrick
An obscure film about the Russians in Afghanistan, one of Jason Patrick's best performances. I think anyone that is a fan of his will like this movie. Read more
Published 1 month ago by drsplash
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film
Accurate depiction of life on a tank with some great action and the first depiction of nanawhati and the peaceful side of Islam.
Published 2 months ago by Jeffery P. Babineau
5.0 out of 5 stars A realistic portrayal of Russian / Communist imperialism at work.
American policy makers should have viewed this excellent film before committing US troops to Afghanistan, the cemetery of Empires. Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. Martyniuk
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome movie
Awesome, gut wrenching movie that mirrors our own ongoing conflict in that region. A movie worth watching i would recommend it!
Published 3 months ago by Gebertz71
5.0 out of 5 stars Such an under rated movie
I saw this years ago on late night cable and I could never remember the name of it until a friend had mentioned that it was on netflix. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Michael
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