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The Hunters

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Editorial Reviews

With its electrifying flight sequences and high-powered cast, The Hunters is a mesmerizing film based on the best-selling novel by veteran fighter pilot James Salter. Set during the height of the Korean War, the story centers on Major Cleve Saville (Robert Mitchum), a master of the newly operational F-86 Sabre fighter jets. But adept as he is at flying, Saville¹s personal life takes a nosedive when he falls in love with his wingman¹s (Lee Philips) beautiful wife (May Britt). To make matters worse, Saville must cope with a loud-mouthed rookie (Robert Wagner) in a daring rescue mission that threatens all their lives in this well-crafted war drama.

Special Features

  • Includes widescreen anamorphic and full-screen versions

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Mitchum, Robert Wagner, Richard Egan, May Britt, Lee Philips
  • Directors: Dick Powell
  • Writers: James Salter, Wendell Mayes
  • Producers: Dick Powell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 4.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 2004
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001NBMHQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,547 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Hunters" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

163 of 164 people found the following review helpful By peterfromkanata on June 9, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"The Hunters" is a well-made, exciting Korean war drama, with the accent on aviation. It has an above-average plot for this type of film, and the whole movie, particularly the aerial sequences, is expertly directed by Dick Powell. If you are interested in combat aircraft, there are many scenes of F-86 Sabre Jets engaging MIGs in dogfight battles to the death.
While the planes are great to watch, this film is primarily about human beings caught up in war. It stars Robert Mitchum, and he is terrific--his fighter pilot character is a born leader, yet he also suspects there is something important missing in his life. He enters into a guilt-ridden relationship with the wife of another pilot, played by lovely May Britt. When there's a war on though, the feelings of two people aren't worth--as someone once said--"a hill of beans". Mr. Mitchum's main job is to lead a fighter squadron, and satisfy his boss on the ground--Richard Egan in a strong performance, knowing that every day he may be sending a man to his death.
Just to make things even more interesting for Mr. Mitchum, his squadron includes Ms. Britt's husband ( a paranoid, self-doubting Lee Philips ) and a cocky, young "hotshot" who doesn't like "rules" ( a young, excellent Robert Wagner ). It would be unfair to reveal more of the plot, but the film is consistently interesting and exciting.
The DVD is full screen on one side, and wide-screen on the other. The colour is very good for a 46-year old film. It does not have "surround sound", of course, unlike that 1986 aviation hit, "Top Gun"--then again, "Top Gun" didn't have Robert Mitchum ! Tom Cruise has a nice smile--but, for leadership and grit, I'd follow Robert Mitchum through the gates of hell !
Actually, I'll give "The Hunters" 4 1/2 stars. Action--suspense--romance--Sabre Jets--Robert Mitchum--what more do you want ? Thanks, Fox--a very nice disc !
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Rick Galati on July 25, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was quite eager to acquire a DVD copy of "The Hunters" when I learned of its availability. My faded recollections of this Korean War flying epic long ago had melded into a vague and adolescent montage of childhood images of F-86 dogfights led by an aging Cleve Saville (Robert Mitchum), a cocksure would-be ace and young beatnik-like wingman, Lt.Ed Pell (Robert Wagner), the base commander (Richard Egan) who's memorable one-liner "The Iceman Cometh!" was enthusiastically uttered while observing Saville's aerial prowess through a pair of field binoculars, and of course an enemy ace named Casey Jones. When the movie stuck to flying, it was cutting edge and it was great. The aerial photography was fabulous. The F-86 Saber Jet was one classically beautiful and superb flying machine and its historic role helped define aerial combat in Korea. But alas, when the flying sequences deferred to a ridiculously improbable love triangle, "The Hunters" had a way of crashing and burning. Simple as that.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 2004
Format: DVD
When I was 11 years old, I saw this movie when it was released. In its air combat sequences, The Hunters is the Citizen Kane of all modern air/space combat movies, as revolutionary for its time as Star Wars later was to be for its time. While prior air combat movies had been on the square screens, usually in B&W, The Hunters was filmed in state-of-the art CinemaScope (widescreen) and Technicolor. Its air combat sequences -- twisting jets on each other's tails soaring in mountainous clouds, then diving and roaring a treetop level through valleys -- were brilliantly conceived and breathtakingly executed -- unlike anything that had been seen before. They still hold up with the best ever filmed, although they've been copied so much (by movies such as Top Gun and Star Wars) that they no longer have the knock-your-socks-off novelty that they originally did. Unfortunately, the feel-good screenplay, with a distracting romantic subplot, bears no resemblance to the gritty, macho novel on which it was based. In James Salter's best-selling novel, the Robert Michum character, Cleve Saville, is a WWII veteran fighter jock who can't get a kill to save his soul, then has no witness when his first-and-only kill (before he himself dies) is the legendary enemy ace. Hence, The Hunters movie is really a first-rate action-hero fantasy set in wartime. (...)
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hellerstedt on July 19, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
THE HUNTERS is a good war movie saddled with a lame and unconvincing romantic subplot. Robert Mitchum plays Major Cleve Saville, a little long in the tooth fighter pilot newly arrived in Korea to lead a squadron of F-86 Sabre jets. While stationed in Tokyo awaiting assignment he meets weak little 1st Lieut. Carl Abbott (Lee Philips) and his cute little wife Kris (May Britt), as well as slang spewing rookie pilot Lieut. Ed Pell (Robert Wagner.)
As an action picture THE HUNTERS is incredibly entertaining, especially the filming of the jet dogfights. Unfortunately, there's a rather substantial romantic subplot involving a sour little triangle whose points are Carl and Kris and Cleve. Every romantic scene sucks the life right out of this movie. May Britt may be beautiful but her "affair" with Saville borders on the melodramatic and is pretty unconvincing. How often do you tell a married woman after your second platonic visit that you love her? The only reason for the romance is to establish tension between Saville and wing man Abbott, anyway.
Mitchum teamed with director Dick Powell a year earlier on THE ENEMY BELOW, one of the best WWII movies available. With that movie in mind, it's doubly disappointing to see him fall back on cliched characters, like the cocky rookie Ed Pell, and a trite and time consuming love story.
There's more to like than dislike in THE HUNTERS, but not nearly as much as I expected when I popped this dvd into the player. I liked this movie a bit less than I wanted to. Make sure to play both sides of this double-sided disk, as there are a different set of `Special Features' on each side.
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