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  • The Lottery
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The Lottery

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Editorial Reviews

Fiction about a human lottery

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Dan Cortese, Keri Russell, Veronica Cartwright, Stephen Root, William Daniels
  • Directors: Daniel Sackheim
  • Writers: Anthony Spinner, Shirley Jackson
  • Producers: Alan Landsburg, Anthony Spinner, Don Goldman, Laurence Hyman, Lee Caplin
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Platinum Disc
  • DVD Release Date: February 4, 2003
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000UHFBC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,065 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Lottery" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By fra7299 VINE VOICE on October 31, 2005
Format: DVD
My suggestion is that you read the short story because it is more effective at telling a "horror" story than this movie can possibly depict. This film just does not capture the eeriness that Shirley Jackson's work tried to show.

Sometimes filmmakers try overly hard to "modernize" a novel (or in this case, short story) and, in doing so, take out the power of the work. This film does just that, coming across more as a cheap B-movie than creating any type of creepiness. Not only this, but the acting and story are really hollow and wooden, coming across as something you might find at 8 or 9 on Lifetime. It just seems like some type of soap opera fluff, with amateurish actors.

Another problem with the film is that, unlike the short story, there is too much information given, which seems to plague most of today's horror movies. Sometimes what is left to the imagination creates much more suspense, but with the constant "flashbacks" we can only guess what is going to happen in the small town of New Hope, where our protagonist goes in search of answers to his mother's death. What we don't know, the subtle information that is lacking makes a story keeps its suspense intact. This movie seemingly gives it away within the first 10 minutes of the film, whereas in the short story you are kind of hit all of the sudden when it dawns on you what "the lottery" really is. A better imagination might have helped this film, but I guess that can't be expected with most films that are "adapted" to meet a work of fiction.

If there is anything that is redeeming it is the last half hour of the film. This is the only part that really identifies with Shirley Jackson's short story, and some of the parallels are drawn here. Otherwise, it is mediocre at best.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Catwoman59 on October 19, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This made-for-TV movie, while of necessity having a story woven around Ms. Jackson's original short story (I guess in order to justify its 90-minute length), fell short in more than one way. The events leading up to Jason's trip to Maine and the town his dying father wished to have his ashes scattered in were less than convincing, as was the ending of the movie. We have Jason, the would-be hero, Felice, the fair damsel, the evil mayor who seemed to exercise God-like control over all the village's inhabitants (he forbade young Henry Watkins to go to a ball game the day of the lottery, and also persuaded Felice not to leave town with Jason on the eve of the lottery-though how he got into her home, much less her bedroom as she was packing is never really explained), the snotty sheriff's deputy and the villagers themselves. The only part of the movie worth watching was the lottery itself, although even that didn't follow the short story as well as I would have liked. The movie I saw in school was only about 40 minutes long, followed Ms. Jackson's story line exactly and was frightening to the point that I distinctly remember my blood running cold even though I was only in the seventh grade when I saw it. This TV fluff didn't really do justice to the horror I remember as a kid seeing that the woman who drew the marked ballot was about to be stoned to death so the corn would give a good harvest. The premise of the TV movie was that the stoning was a talisman against unemployment, crime, illiteracy and other social ills. Jason winds up in the state mental institution upon discovering the horrid truth of New Hope and its annual rite when he tries to report the stoning of Felice's mother.Read more ›
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By BIF on January 9, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I coupled the DVD up with Jackson's short story. I had the class read the story in class--which is always interesting to see the reactions. The next week I played the movie much to their delight. I had viewed it first and wondered how the class would react. It's exactly what a made-for-tv movie would expect to be--set in the 90's it includes action,romance and simple dialogue. It was a different take on the story with only some references to the original story but interestingly enough it held all of my student's attention. So much so, they were yelling at the screen. But, I feel that if I they had not been introduced to the story in print firs they may not have had that same passion for the movie. To paraphrase the student's take on the movie, a majority of them said they thought it was "cheesy" at first but then they got really into it.

I ended this lesson with having them compare and contrast certain aspects of the movie with the short story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Painted Lady on October 21, 2008
Format: DVD
There is no book that can truly compare to the story it is based on. In this case, it is true. The story was a lot better than the movie. In the movie version, the dramatized it too much making it like a quest to find out what happened to the guy's mother. They made this story too Hollywood and I really didn't like it too much. But there was a big difference I noticed from the story to the movie. In the story, the characters didn't see anything wrong in what they were doing but in the movie, the characters were very aware that it was wrong and they tried to hide it.
However, they did stick to the story in the way that it was indeed very ironic. What is pictured in the movie and the story is a peaceful town in which the children are playing and everyone is friendly to each other. No one would expect such a heinous act to be committed in such a friendly town. There were also major clues of foreshadowing in both of them, for example, the children collecting stones. At first, you think that it is just the kids playing around, but by the end of the story, you come to realize the truth of the collection of the stones.
Something that stood out to me was how no one ever stood out of the crowd and say that this is wrong. They were all very aware that it is wrong but just because that's what they did hundreds of years ago, they think that it is necessary to do. The one time that happened, that person was rejected from the whole town. The town won't even say the man's name who "didn't follow the crowd" and try to help his wife when she won the lottery.
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