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The Private Files Of J. Edgar Hoover (1977)

Broderick Crawford , Jose Ferrer , Larry Cohen  |  PG |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Broderick Crawford, Jose Ferrer, Michael Parks, Rip Torn, Celeste Holm
  • Directors: Larry Cohen
  • Writers: Larry Cohen
  • Producers: Larry Cohen
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: January 28, 2011
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004LB5FE0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,030 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The story of the late J. Edgar Hoover, who was head of the FBI from 1924-1972. The film follows Hoover from his racket-busting days through his reign under eight U.S. presidents.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fact and Fiction Mixed--But Closer to Truth Than Most February 14, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is informative with fiction added.The suspense of the movie is portrayed by the facts presented. It's the closest thing to what is likely the truth about J.Edgar Hoover's life you'll find---especially given the onslaught of one-sided written and movie attacks on one (Hoover) who gave a great deal more than most to the country he loved. While many did their best to destroy Hoover's reputation in the aftermath of his death,here,Broderick Crawford portrays Hoover as a great American but human--with his own skeletons in the closet (no pun intended) and who made his share of mistakes. The movie also touches on the lives of other great Americans--John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. One sees that they,just as Hoover,were human,made mistakes and had their skeletons just as we all do. (See the movie's version of the Kennedys and Marilyn Monroe). Although much of what we would like to know went to their graves with Hoover,King,the Kennedys and others,this movie is,in many respects,the closest to the truth about Hoover and,to a lesser extent,the Kennedys and King that's been attempted. It will probably anger all who see it,whatever their political slant,to some extent at least,and that fact alone points to the best reason to get this movie and watch it with an open mind.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Life Of America's First Top Cop March 4, 2001
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Casting Broderick Crawford as Hoover was a stroke of genius on the part of the casting director of this film. He's perfect for the part. He brings out the gruffness and arrogance of the character, while simultaneously showing the insecure, low self-esteem inner man that Hoover is portrayed as being.
We see him first as a young idealist, working in the Justice Department, wanting to protect the legal rights of immigrants and fighting the internal corruption of the FBI in the 1920's. Then he becomes the "Top Cop" of the nation and a publicity seeker with the help of Walter Winchell. And finally as an old man jeolously guarding his power and firmly entrenched in the political system. But more importantly, we see the dual nature of his morality: on the one hand, his fastidious approach to sexuality and his ego crushing sensitivity to his own unattractiveness; and on the other hand, his sessions-------bottle in hand--------listening to the sexual encounters on FBI surveillance tapes.
The film is not without humor, however. Look for a scene about disposing of a fly in Hoover's office.
In some ways, a waxworks of a film with actors looking and sounding like famous political leaders, but more importantly a record------part fact, part fiction------of a very complex man, who's personality and inner demons helped to form the concept of justice in the American public's mind from the 1930's until his death.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Moving April 20, 2012
By SueB
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Private Files Of J. Edgar Hoover (MGM Limited Edition Collection) I just watched this film. It is a powerful story. Although it was a mixture of fact and fiction, the essence of truth rang loudly throughout the movie. Broderick Crawford was an amazing actor who brought J Edgar Hoover to life. This is well worth the money and time to see.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Say hello to the Wizard of Oz!" March 21, 2012
THE PRIVATE FILES OF J. EDGAR HOOVER (writ./dir. Larry Cohen, 112 minutes, 1977) is a most delightful albeit slightly dated teleplay. Done in what I call "the late 1970s grand style", this is a perfect representation of the switch from what look like rotten teleplays to honest theatrical film.

Interesting old Hoover lookalike Broderick Cranford avoids loud scene chewing and gets to the nitty-gritty of Hoovers quiet, snakelike power and Hoover's quiet, skillful expression of it. Ostensibly revealing Hoover's secret files contents - though I find that a bit dubious here - the film follows Hoover around and shows us a lot of the places he walked and worked. I was deeply moved by a scene in his youth when a lady put the moves on him. Instead of trying to see how that might work out, he loudly accuses her of trying to entrap him. Weird man.

James Wainright is the even more stunning Hoover lookalike and plays Hoover as a young man. While DiCaprio did it well enough in the recent Oscar-worthy J. Edgar (see my review), I think these people here did a smashing and wonderful job. It was fun seeing a very young Rip Torn playing an FBI agent. I had the chills when I saw first the Kennedy brothers conferring alone (Michael Parks played Robert; incredible lookalike William Jordan played JFK); and later when Robert and Hoover were going at it.

It is amazing what the "old boy network" used to accomplish back in the day. I recall when this film was new, and it blew me away - the locations! Every location you could want, including Hoover's private residence, was open to this production and they utilized it to the fullest. What good fortune, and none of it wasted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You may have problems playing this disc February 6, 2012
Although the description states "for playback device only", my experience was that this disc would not play in my region 1 player. It did, however, play on my computer using Realplayer. So be advised. The only other disc that ever gave me this problem was a Brazilian "all regions" disc. for a 1977 TV movie, this is surprisingly good. But that's only to say that it exceeds very limited expectations. The movie tries to dish dirt at the same time it also presents a sympathetic view of a defective human in power. The dirt is the same old dirt and they try to downplay it by having characters repeat it as hearsay. They make a point of showing his original office and home, but they are not integrated into the action. Just a flashby of Hoover highpoints, they never create an engaging plot based on the surviving files.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars not worth the money
OMG this movie is terrible. They actually have two different actors portraying a adult Hoover and then a middle age Hoover. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jane Doee
5.0 out of 5 stars I thought it was very good. I thought Michale Parks did a great...
I thought it was very good. I thought Michale Parks did a great convincing role playing Robert Kennedy. Read more
Published 2 months ago by G.I. Joe
5.0 out of 5 stars "MY" personal Memoirs of the Stork Club filmings in the Film
Okay, a little trivia you may enjoy about the film which is FIRST HAND from ME, not Gossip, NOR posted anywhere, but going into MY book not even written yet, and which I lived... Read more
Published 4 months ago by MAMZELLLE
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but flawed
Intelligent but flawed. Crawford is great, but script implies too much, shows too little. The script has some intriguing moments.
Published 6 months ago by David K. Bowman
1.0 out of 5 stars A Misleading Title
No new information at all. The private files of Hoover were destroyed. This movie tricks consumers into believing that some files survived.
Published 9 months ago by Yung Joon Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting!
This movie gives the viewer chilling inside detail into how J. Edgar Hoover made a mockery of freedom and privacy for many thousands of Americans, while at the same time protecting... Read more
Published 9 months ago by William J. Hoak
5.0 out of 5 stars The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover
I found this dvd / movie very informative for it's time. I actually
found this movie more interesting then the current movie out now 2012
of J. Read more
Published on April 22, 2012 by Art Marquez
5.0 out of 5 stars A Concise Biography
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, 1977 film

The story begins with machine guns shooting at targets. Next we see empty rooms. "I know what to do about the files. Read more
Published on January 20, 2012 by Acute Observer
5.0 out of 5 stars Broderick Crawford as J Edgar.
Lets see,how many actors have played the FBI director?Jack Warden(The Kennedys)Bob Hoskins(Nixon),Enrico Colantoni(Kennedys Mini Series)and of course,Leonardo Di Caprio(J... Read more
Published on December 12, 2011 by Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars Crawford Towering As J. Edgar
I went into this film with somewhat diminished expectations. J. Edgar Hoover's reputation in recent years has been somewhat sullied by our perceptions of what law enforcement... Read more
Published on November 11, 2011 by David Baldwin
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