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The Beast (1988)

George Dzundza , Jason Patric , Kevin Reynolds  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 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: Multiple Formats, 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 (163 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005AVZU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,372 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Beast" on IMDb

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  • Talent Files

Editorial Reviews

Afghanistan, 1981, and the Soviet Union is locked in a futile and bloody battle with the Mujahedeenguerrillas. Separated from their patrol, the crew of a Russian T-62 tank engages in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the local insurgents led by Taj (Steven Bauer). The tyrannical tank commander Daskal (George Dzundza) wreaks havoc on a peaceful Afghani village, pushing the moral boundaries of the tank driver, Koverchenko, (Jason Patric) to the limits. Sensing mutiny, the psychotic Daskal abandons the disenchanted tanker to die in the desert at the hand of rebels, only to find he's sealed his own fate.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things have changed a lot since 1988. September 17, 2001
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.
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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great war film June 14, 1998
Format:VHS Tape
Perhaps the most underappreciated film of the 80's, the Beast stands out as a solid war epic, with heart, action and beautiful imagery. Set during the Soviet Union's brutal war against Afghanistan, the Beast chronicles one tank's attempts to get back to friendly lines. The conscience of the tank crew is a young soldier played by Jason Patric. Increasingly put off by the atrocities against civilians that his hardened tank commander (wonderfully played by a rather lean George Dzundza!) has them all commit, he is forced out of the tank and left to die in the Afghan desert. While waiting to die, he is set upon by the rebels, who spare his life, and accept his aid in going after his comrades' tank! There was a lot to like about the Beast. Good acting all around. Fine attention to military detail. Suspenseful, well-done action scenes. Haunting score by Mark Isham. And amazing, razor-sharp cinematography by Douglas Milsome. The images of the desert are haunting and beautifully composed. END
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent war film January 16, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I first saw this film on late-night television in 1989, and waited ten years for another opportunity, when miraculously, I found it at a local video rental. Despite its price and availability to me for rent, I shall buy it to insure that I can see it again. It is one of the best war films known to me, tightly constructed, very well acted (Dzunda is outstanding), and visually superb. It does not rely on violence for its impact, but rather on the dramatic development of conflict (and of bonding) amongst the participants. Unlike one reviewer, I found the plot compelling, with mounting tension until the final dénouement. It explores the beast in man, not to mention the Afghan women (see the Kipling citation at the outset). I would not be without it.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie - But a warning about the DVD February 16, 2005
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A good movie... Worth watching, not sure about owning. Always interesting to see actual tanks in use
Published 2 days ago by Richard Isbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! The movie is entertaining and makes you think.
Everyone should see this movie. Buy it from Amazon. Or borrow it from me. It's 1981 Afghanistan and the Soviet Union is bogged down in a bloody and futile battle with Mujahedeen... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Aaron J Kurz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a most amazing movie seen in a long time. not a single moment to blink an eye.
Published 16 days ago by bakir
5.0 out of 5 stars probably more relevant now than when it was made
No, this is not quite "Rambo", but not too far behind. And it makes you think -- especially now that "we" (the U.S. Read more
Published 22 days ago by A-Tom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story line. Very realistic looking. gOOD FLICK IF YOU LIKE MILITARY TYPE.
Published 1 month ago by osok308
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
worth watching again
Published 1 month ago by Daniel McHenry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great story, I loved it!!!!!!
Published 1 month ago by sebastion moran
3.0 out of 5 stars I slept through most of it.
I slept through most of it.
Published 1 month ago by Alana Joseph
5.0 out of 5 stars Too bad not available in widescreen
Masterpiece! Too bad not available in widescreen.
Published 1 month ago by Richard M.
5.0 out of 5 stars My all time favorite war movie
My all time favorite war movie. Having seen it when the Soviet occupation was still going on, was an awesome experience. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steven Lysen
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