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The Contender (2000)

Joan Allen , Jeff Bridges , Rod Lurie  |  R |  DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)

Price: $10.74 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Sam Elliott, Philip Baker Hall, Kathryn Morris
  • Directors: Rod Lurie
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Dreamworks Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 6, 2001
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXP7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,253 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Contender" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "HBO First Look" Making Of
  • Deleted Footage

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

Many Hollywood directors should follow Rod Lurie's lead and invite their stars to do the DVD commentary. Oscar nominee Joan Allan joins Lurie, turning the commentary track into an enjoyable conversation. It tends to be a lovefest at times but does give insight into the relationship between a lead actor and director during filmmaking. Over the end credits, Lurie mentions the brouhaha that actor (and producer) Gary Oldman started when he made discouraging comments about the film's final cut. It's interesting to note none of Oldman's work ends up in the dozen deleted scenes shown on the DVD. The scenes have much more meat on the bone than most and illustrate some curious character development. The half-hour making-of featurette has the standard press-kit materials but also gives us a good background on the history of political thrillers. --Doug Thomas

Product Description

When the truth becomes a weapon, power comes at a stunning price. Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges and Christian Slater deliver electrifying performances in this controversial, suspenseful and critically-acclaimed thriller that Ebert & Roeper and the Movies call "exciting and unusually intelligent, two very enthusiastic thumbs up!" Sometimes you can assassinate a leader without firing a shot.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I must admit from the onset that I am not one to sit down and write reviews here. But after reading some of the reviews, I feel compelled to write one of "The Contender."

Others have done an excellent job of providing a plot summary, so I will spare you the repetition. I want to address some of the reviews that have bashed the movie for being "totally unrealistic" or "biased," especially those who explicitly state their "liberal" leanings.

First, "The Contender" makes no claims to be "objective," nor should the movie be judged by a "realisitic" litmus test. Yes, the movie is polemical. It makes no bones about its leanings. Personally, I don't think this should be grounds for dismissing the movie. I found the movie incredibly refreshing for 1) providing a critical, and cutting, progressive critique of the "culture wars" that dominate so much of our public, political discourse; 2) by not being limited by the demands of being "realistic," "The Contender" gives us a glimpse of the possibility of public discourse, grounded in the SPIRIT of the US Constitution and representative democracy. Too often political thrillers limit themselves to the intrigue of negotiating and manipulating the strings of bureaucratic power within the terms of that power. By contrast, "The Contender" asks "what if?" That is, what would it look like for someone to act on an ethical basis? What would it mean to stand on principle?

When I first watched "The Contender," I didn't really know the details of the movie, and was frankly looking for something that would be fun to watch. I love the genre of political thrillers, but I also don't expect much beyond the demands of the genre (Patterson and Grisham have really dominated how political thrillers are brought to the screen).
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Contender March 21, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I had seen it before, LOVED IT, and had become frustrated at how difficult it is either to rent or buy in video stores. So, I decided to see if I could find it on Amazon, and have loved having it ever since. I watch it occasionally for my own enjoyment, but I think I like even more, lending it out for others to see! It just tells the story of integrity and the kind of self-respect for which none of needs to answer to anybody else like few stories can. I wish reality mimmicked fiction more often!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would that politics were that way. January 30, 2010
Format:DVD
I'm amazed at people who found this film shallow and vulgar. That my in-laws might not like the language used, well, I'm sorry, but that's life.

And as to "shallow," I agree that's an adequate description for the short-lived television series by the same writer, Commander in Chief. But I liked this script, found it a classic.

The film starts with a governor, apparent vice president candidate, a position the country had apparently been without for a few weeks. A car flies off a bridge and the governor who was fishing under the bridge tries to help the car's driver. Unfortunately, the driver dies. Then, onto the president's (Jeff Bridges) office. He can't offer the governor the vice presidency.

The president eventually chooses a woman senator, portrayed by Joan Allen.

The presiden't rival in the prior election was Sheldon Runyon, masterfully portrayed by Gary Oldman, who was also the exec. producer of the film. Runyon is rurthless in his pursuit of dirt on Senator Hanson (Allen).

I won't re-cover what other reviewers have doubtless said many times. But what I found moving about the script was that Hanson, while she knew it would be to her advantage, refused to indulge in the same tactics used by Runyon and his lieutenants.

There are, of course, feminists who will say that "That's the way it would be if there were a woman candidate." Notwithstanding Senator Clinton's record as being pretty strong-willed herself, my objection to such an assertion is that beyond doubt the worst boss I ever had was a woman. So I know what women are capable of. The point is that CANDIDATE wouldn't settle for those completely unethical tactics.

Would that happen in real life? I doubt it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oldman controversy is what sustains this film September 14, 2004
Format:DVD
Upon seeing 'Bourne Supremacy' recently, I was reminded of Joan Allen's other movies - she's fantastic in a relatively small role in the recently released 'The Notebook,' incredible as Pat Nixon (a role she was literally born to play) in Oliver Stone's 'Nixon.' Here, in 'The Contender' she's a Geraldine Ferraro-like putative VP nominee, sans the New York accent and 'John Zaccaro problem,' while Jeff Bridges is one of Hollywood's idealized versions of Bill Clinton (see also Michael Douglas in 'The American President,' Martin Sheen in 'The West Wings,' etc., etc.).

Now, four years after the movie's release, what lingers is Gary Oldman's portrayal of Rep. Sheldon Runyon and the controversy that followed. As with any movie Oldman is in, he is - far and away - the best actor in every scene in which he appears. Remember, Oldman was born, grew up and continues to live in London, yet he pulled off this stellar portrayal of an American archetype as if he were steeped lifelong in the U.S. legislative political swamp. To put this into perspective, imagine Brad Pitt playing Tony Blair.

Where it gets interesting is after the shooting had stopped. Oldman claims there were scenes cut in which you see Runyon's really not an overall bad guy - he's more than one-dimensional, has nuances in his character, etc. Well, forget nuance: In the movie as released by writer/director Rob Lurie, Runyon comes across as if he's on a monomaniacal jihad to get Bridges' President. This is about as nuanced as a sledgehammer, frankly, given the battles Clinton was going through at the time with impeachment procedings. The intriguing question is how much say Dreamworks proprietors David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg (big Clinton and Gore supporters) had in the released product.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I never ordered this video
I never ordered this video. There is no way to contact Amazon to complain about this digital media category of purchases. Therefore I am very concerned about security at Amazon.
Published 12 hours ago by Kalman
1.0 out of 5 stars I asked for a region 4 and got a region 1. Can't play it so I will...
I asked for a region 4 and got a region 1. Can't play it so I will have to return it. Disappointed!
Published 3 days ago by Livilla
5.0 out of 5 stars ... is one outstanding movie--Jeff Bridges is at his best--highly...
This is one outstanding movie--Jeff Bridges is at his best--highly recommend. Great seller--good communication.....
Published 5 days ago by DonaldDuck0304
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
I love this movie! It gives me hope that politicians are not all self-serving. :)
Published 12 days ago by Cory Johns
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. You just can't beat Jeff Bridges - great ...
Excellent. You just can't beat Jeff Bridges - great story about integrity and politics (hard to say those two words in the same sentence).
Published 14 days ago by gloria7
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good political intrigue.If you like the political game, you might enjoy this
Published 1 month ago by GRAHAM MARTIN
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
OK
Published 1 month ago by RAYMOND RIDGLEY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 1 month ago by Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent condition - just as advertised
Fast shipping, excellent condition - just as advertised! GREAT!
Published 1 month ago by Pattie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great
Published 1 month ago by Lisa Cornblatt
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