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The Mosquito Coast [VHS] (1986)

Harrison Ford , Helen Mirren , Peter Weir  |  PG |  VHS Tape
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix, Conrad Roberts, Andre Gregory
  • Directors: Peter Weir
  • Writers: Paul Schrader, Paul Theroux
  • Producers: Jerome Hellman, Neville C. Thompson, Saul Zaentz
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Original recording reissued, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
  • VHS Release Date: September 21, 1999
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JKN8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,095 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Harrison Ford gives one of his most powerful portrayals as an obsessive inventor whose dream of creating a jungle paradise erodes into a survival-of-the-fittest nightmare. Year: 1986 Director: Peter Weir Starring: Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
98 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrison Ford's best work December 4, 2002
Peter Weir's under-appreciated masterpiece draws a striking comparison between religious zealotry and the utopian fantasies of technological imperialism. The smarmy Reverend Spellgood heads south into Central America to spread the Christian faith. Paranoid inventor Allie Fox does likewise, but his mission is somewhat different though no less religious in its intensity - he wants to bring ice, and by his logic 'civilization', to the locals. Both men are 'missionaries', both equally blind to the personal and social costs of the 'salvation' they bring. The cast is excellent. Helen Mirren is near flawless as the devoted but cautious mother, and River Phoenix really impresses as the coming-of-age son through whose eyes the story unfolds. But Ford is absolutely perfect as the father. This was truly inspired casting, as it uses our latent feelings for the actor to put us in precisely the same position as his on-screen family: we want to love him - this quintessentially paternal hero - despite his destructive obsession. But in the end we have to accept that he gets exactly what he deserves. I'm surprised Ford doesn't seek out more roles like this one, rather than settling for repetitive action fare or trying to reinvent himself as Bogart. Adapted with considerable skill by Paul Schrader from an exquisite novel by Paul Theroux, this film is a rare find: a powerful, gripping, moving story with something important to say.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Harrison) Ford Has a Better Idea June 18, 2000
Harrison Ford gives one of his most forceful and compelling performances as Allie Fox, an inventor who moves his family to the jungle of Central America to establish an isolationist utopia. As his dream builds, and then unravels, he moves along the scale from manic genius to meglomanic obsession, putting him at heightened odds with God, nature, man, and finally, his own family. Ford's dazzling performance is enhanced by Helen Mirren's quiet intensity as his loyal wife, and River Phoenix's thoughtful portrayal of his observant oldest son. Look quickly for cameos by Jason Alexander (TV's "Seinfeld") and Butterfly McQueen ("Gone With the Wind")! A beautifully photographed and handsomely mounted production, perceptively directed by Peter Weir.
The DVD offers both widescreen and pan & scan tranfers; I preferred the widescreen which preserves the film's magnificent visual compositions. Video and sound are both clear and crisp, and the theatrical trailer makes a nice bonus supplement. Recommended for fans of Ford and Weir, and for viewers who like a strong mix of character study and action-adventure.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where was Oscar? December 16, 1999
Say about this movie what you want, if you like Harrison Ford because of his acting ability, this is the movie to watch. Ford gives an enticing, complex, and multi-facetted performance as Allie Fox, a man with a vision of utopia, blind to the reality that binds him. With his vision and inventions, Fox takes his family into the rain forests of Central America, where he sets a chain of events in motion that soon eludes his control and --in the destructive devastation released on man and nature-- the scope of his imagination.
Mr. Ford's portrayal of this driven, and in the end obsessed man is not that of a simple villain. Through Allie Fox, Mr. Ford brings to the screen a range of emotions no other character has ever allowed him to explore and does an amazing job with. This is the kind of performance that desrves an Academy Award.
A great, albeit less popular follow up to 'Witness,' 'The Mosquito Coast' reunites Ford with Australian director Peter Weir. This is a great movie, visual and character driven. Finally, it is available in the grand widescreen format it deserves!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Reviews are only subjective.
Ford as Allie Fox is an inventor, a genius, a man too smart for the world around him. He is a mechanical engineer who takes his family to Central America in search of Utopia, as he defines it. Of course, his family does not want to leave behind civilization and all of the comforts that home brings, but no one can resist his will. Perhaps that and his abrasive irritating manner are aspects of his insanity.
He does not expect to find another zealot, particularly in the form of Reverend Spellgood (Andre Gregory) who has determined to bring Christianity to the natives. Fox's goal is to bring his definition of civilization. The conflict and comparison between two very strong characters is part of what makes Paul Theroux's story work
River Phoenix as Charlie, the son who comes of age, and through whose eyes we see this story, is brilliant. Helen Mirrin, recently of 'Calendar Girls,' is stunning; her portrayal of a woman in love with her family, wanting to support her husband, yet protect her family is touching. John Seale's, directory of photography, work is outstanding, and reminds me of other fascinating movies brought to life by the careful use of lights, shadows, and lush, verdant scenery.
Ford's portrayal of the disintegration of a brilliant man, inventor, know-it-all, family despot is compelling, but gets lost in the slow, tedious complexities of a long journey - both mentally and the one his family travels. Yet, it has been almost twenty years since I saw the theatrical release, and I remember this film. I still think about it, wonder about motives and actions - and that is what makes this an excellent film, in my opinion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Underated
Great story of a genious and he's also a madman. Heard some parts were filmed in the 10.000 islands in Fl. Thats were I'm from About 60 miles away And agreat place to getaway!
Published 1 month ago by paul k powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Crtitics were too harsh
I love this movie. It is off the beaten track for Harrison Ford movies I will admit but I love to watch it. He is the king when it comes to acting out different roles. Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Eckerson
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mosquito Coast
This, I feel was one of River Phoenix's BEST performances (under Stand By Me)! The tempo and chaotic direction this family quickly descends into adds to the pathos.
Published 2 months ago by Doug S.
4.0 out of 5 stars well done, but sad
All of the acting was first-rate. It was sad to see Harrison Ford play a villain, though. He is pretty crazed, and so is the so-called missionary (he might have started with his... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Diane
4.0 out of 5 stars Book was much much better
Decent movie, book was better, River was amazing. Ford was a stretch, William Hurt would of been the perfect fit.
Published 2 months ago by John Ham
4.0 out of 5 stars Drama at its BEST
This movie is really heavy. BUT very well acted a genius man an inventer sets out to show you do not need all the popular things in life America has to offer. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting
Harrison Ford does an incredible acting job playing a man who slowly goes over the brink as he turns his back on the life he and his family had always known when puts them all in a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by cookie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, very worth watching
Excellent movie... actually this is a very sad movie, very sad. But the acting is superb, beautiful scenary, first class movie
Published 3 months ago by KC
5.0 out of 5 stars MOM'S PRESENT
Published 4 months ago by morganj
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Actors
My favorite actors are both in this movie River Phoenix and Harrison Ford and plus it's a great movie and shows what a great actor River Phoenix was at a young age
Published 5 months ago by Rhonda
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