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The Last Detail (1973)

Jack Nicholson , Randy Quaid , Hal Ashby  |  R |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Otis Young, Clifton James, Carol Kane
  • Directors: Hal Ashby
  • Writers: Darryl Ponicsan, Robert Towne
  • Producers: Charles Mulvehill, Gerald Ayres, Joel Chernoff
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: 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: Columbia Tristar Home Video / Mill Creek
  • DVD Release Date: December 14, 1999
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000022TS6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,707 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Last Detail" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Trailers for As Good As It Gets, A Few Good Men & Wolf

Editorial Reviews

Two career sailors show a young crewman a good time as they take him from a Virginia naval base to a New Hampshire prison for a seven-year sentence. Starring Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid and Michael Moriarty. 1973 (1 hour 45 minutes).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better with each viewing; an overlooked classic January 12, 2003
This is one of my favorites, but it's also one of the most difficult movies to describe to people. Yes, it's about two experienced guys in the Navy who are assigned to escort a young charge (whom they don't know) to Naval prison. And yes, they have some fun along the way, knowing how sad the situation really is. But there's an indescribable something about "The Last Detail" that just gets to me on a pretty deep level. First of all, it's the acting. I mean if you ever question Jack Nicholson's talent and depth as an actor, then watch this movie. I beg to argue about who on earth could have ever embodied this role this deeply. I don't think any of the other big and great actors of his time could have pulled it off this perfectly (Gene Hackman, Al Pacino, George C. Scott, Robert DeNiro). Also, Otis Young and Randy Quaid are pitch-perfect in their roles as well, though the movie clearly belongs to Nicholson. This is a GREAT PERFORMANCE!! It's the definition of one!
But in addition to the acting, the photography of the film is brilliant. It captures the times and places in a rather bleak yet very haunting way. The guys drinking beer in the parking garage in D.C. The three of them pressed into the small hotel room in D.C., along with all those empty beer bottles. Walking a quiet and snowy residential block in Camden, NJ. Walking the streets of nighttime NYC. Playing darts in a bar in NYC. Going to a late night party in an NYC apartment. Going to a Boston brothel. Trying to grill and have a picnic in the middle of a snowy park in Boston! I don't know if it's just my fascination with the time that causes me to find it so darn striking, but it just is. I find these scenes so haunting, and so REAL.
To me, those two things are what make this film so exceptional.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unsung Classic January 25, 2003
Directed by Hal Ashby, who made such powerful commentaries on life in America as SHAMPOO, COMING HOME, BEING THERE and the cult-favorite HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST DETAIL offers the story of three U.S. Navy sailors on a toot--and at the time of its 1973 release it was chiefly noted as the most profane film to achieve a mainstream release. The passage of time has dimmed that profanity's bite, but nothing can dim the power of its performances, it's darkly funny story, or the director's bitter vision of both life in the Navy and the urban decay of 1970s America.
Two Navy-lifers (Jack Nicholson and Otis Young) are ordered to escort a young sailor (Randy Quaid) to a military prison, where he will do eight years followed by dishonorable discharge for attempting to steal a charity jar containing forty dollars. Once the trip gets underway, they realize the young sailor is essentially an innocent--and they set out to show him a good time before he is locked away. And their idea of a good time ranges from a bout of hard drinking in a hotel room to a brawl in a men's restroom to an evening with New York hookers. Along the way, Nicholson and Young gradually realize that they are just as much in prison as Quaid will soon be--victims of their own ennui, serving out their sentences in a military that fosts coarseness, frustration, and mindless machisimo as a matter of course.
The performances are excellent throughout. This was the film that launched Nicholson to stardom--but it is also a film that allows us to see what Nicholson could do before he became immured in the trappings of his own fame and collapsed into self-characture: he is every bit as good here as he would be in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST and CHINATOWN.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the real navy. November 5, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I spent four long years in the navy depicted in this movie. The bleakness, tawdriness, and general sense of third-rate emptiness capture perfectly the true experience of enlisted navy life as I knew it in the late sixties and early seventies. Nicholson plays the quintessential lifer: angry,ignorant, arrogant,full of himself and yet empty at the same time. He prides himself on his hostility and knows no real friends. This movie should be required watching for potential recruits.Forget the slogans and the posters; forget the action, romance, and comedy movies about navy life: this is the real thing! There's another side to the real experience that is captured with wry accuracy in this picture. A literature of profanity, with its unique vocabulary and syntax permeates and finally makes bearable life in uniform. The Last Detail is rich with this twisted art form based on the F-word. Watch the interaction early on between Nicholson and the chief master-at-arms in the transit barracks. They got it just right.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe our orders will come in December 4, 2004
I can't really say how much I love this movie. It's obvious strength is a powerful and moving performance by Jack Nicholson. Randy Quaid is also excellent. But the script - the lines reveal so much about the characters. The writing is strong enough to be a novel, the breadth is that expansive. I have a few favorite scenes, such as the bar scene and the restroom scene, but there is one that sticks in my throat every time I see this film. At various points in the picture, a cheery march is played on the soundtrack, obviously a sarcastic counterpoint to the inglorious life of an enlisted man stuck in a unforgiving system. Once the three main characters go through their "lost weekend" with the young prisoner, they are in snowy Portsmouth, with only a few precious hours before their charge must be turned over to the brig. By this time, Nicholson's character has developed such a fatherly attachment to the naive prisoner that he will grant him any last wish: even attempting to burn frozen wood on a campground so the three can have wieners. After they eat the hot dogs, there is a slow panning shot of a pristine snow covered park, not a soul in sight. A slow, mournful dirge plays on the soundtrack. It's the end of the line, fellas. The party's over and it's time to face harsh realities. Young charge is gonna be locked up for eight years and you two "mean [...]" are going right back into the love it or hate it lifestyle where your freedoms are few and far between. It's that slow pan, which ends on a shot of Jack Nicholson sniffling in the bitter cold and lamenting to his hard-nosed partner, that the young man whose spirits he tried to lift, will get pummeled and abused for a long chunk of time. It's the fear any parent has about their sensitive child entering the harshness of the world. If you have patience, if you can tell good acting from bad I recommend this film to you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Jack
Still a good movie after all these years. He's lost some hair since then, but the angst is boiling hot. Read more
Published 24 days ago by BonnieA
5.0 out of 5 stars Too true to life!
Accurately funny and bittersweet to the last detail. A pleasure and joy to watch and contemplate. Someone won an Oscar!
Published 1 month ago by Bruce Grafford
Published 1 month ago by priscilla
4.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed American
the movie I know is good....but since the movie is from a different country....the format is different and therefore doesn't play on DVD players in our country, not the sellers... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bette Blew
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Out of the Navy in 1973
I was fresh out of the Navy after serving in the Vietnam War on an ammunition ship re-arming destroyers and cruisers on the gunline and aircraft carriers at Yankee Station when... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Vincent T. Marshall
5.0 out of 5 stars A real Navy experience
Being an old Navy Signalman myself like the main character, I have always had a soft spot for this flick. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mike D.
1.0 out of 5 stars wrong region!
Seriously Amazon, My husband really wanted this movie but it wouldn't play on any device.
Later we read the label and it is the wrong region. Who sells junk like this!
Published 2 months ago by SandyAlanis
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sailor's Movie About Sailors
If you've gone Navy in your life, you know Nicholson got excellent counsel in developing the character in this film. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Roderick S. Haynes
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicholson's best work
This is the movie that convinced me to join the Navy and had the time of my life! Jack Nicholson nailed the part as an salty and scruffy sailor to a "T", believe me! Read more
Published 4 months ago by S. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Nicholson
Great in the 60's and now!! A film that brings so much more than just a story. These films of the late 60's and early 70's were worth so much more than the current day big budget... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Edward Griffin
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