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The Mosquito Coast [VHS] (1986)

Harrison Ford , Helen Mirren , Peter Weir  |  PG |  VHS Tape
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JKN8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,722 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
99 of 104 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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30 of 33 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 good movie
Quite an interesting movie watching the decline of this mans mind. Brilliant, yet possessed.
Published 17 days ago by Marie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by Jeff Wingo
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
great movie enjoyed it great
Published 1 month ago by jerome
4.0 out of 5 stars Chasing a Dream
Two good stars, Harrison Ford and River Phoenix, as a man chases his dreams in the jungle.
Published 1 month ago by A. David Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This was a good movie, I was looking for the gadgets he made and that was good.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Just like the protagonist makes ice without power as well
I only bought this movie so I could show an engineer friend of mine the ceiling fan that runs off of clock weights, without electricity. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michael George Gunter
5.0 out of 5 stars great
anything with Harrison ford is worth watching. great movie
Published 2 months ago by richard a long jr
5.0 out of 5 stars I read a book that was kind of like this. The man is obsessed with...
So Weird and Creepy. I read a book that was kind of like this. The man is obsessed with taking his wife and three or four children away from the mad world to the middle of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Suzanne Schumacher
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this movie
I love this movie! Of course, I am partial to movies that have anything to do with surviving in the outdoors, of which this one does. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Randy Rowe
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked that the DVD was 2 sided for 2 aspect ...
Review of transaction, not the movie. Shipped fast. I liked that the DVD was 2 sided for 2 aspect ratios.
Published 2 months ago by D. Pederson
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