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The Reagans

56 customer reviews

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(May 18, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

James Brolin and Judy Davis star as the most powerful couple of the 1980s in this touching film that was pulled from network TV. This Golden Globe-nominated miniseries looks back over the film careers as well as the public and private lives of Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis spanning several decades in the spotlight. 2003/color/3 hrs/NR/widescreen.

Despite charges of character assassination that drove made-for-TV movie The Reagans off CBS's primetime schedule, the three-hour production is actually sympathetic and even generous in its portrayal of Ronald and Nancy Reagan's rise from hard-working Hollywood couple to First Family. Beginning with their first date in 1949, the story establishes parallel dramatic tracks--the Reagans' acquisition of power and remoteness from their children--and never veers from them. The most interesting section concerns crucial political transitions made by the onetime Democratic loyalist and future Republican governor and president (James Brolin), though Reagan is never portrayed as an opportunist with flexible principles. Once more familiar details kick in--Reagan's hard line as California's boss, the presidential campaigns, two terms in the White House, Iran-Contra, etc.--the script shifts focus to Nancy (Judy Davis) and her ascendancy as a fierce player in the doddering Ronald's latter administration. It's all fascinating, and most certainly not a hatchet job. --Tom Keogh

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Judy Davis, James Brolin, Zeljko Ivanek, Mary Beth Peil, Bill Smitrovich
  • Directors: Robert Allan Ackerman
  • Writers: Carl Sferrazza Anthony, Elizabeth Egloff, Jane Marchwood, Thomas Rickman
  • Producers: Carl Sferrazza Anthony, Craig Zadan, Dave Mace
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: May 18, 2004
  • Run Time: 171 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001US6CI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,362 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Reagans" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By cal664 on June 17, 2004
Format: DVD
I bought the "The Reagans" DVD about a week before Reagan passed away but didn't have a chance to watch it until after all the funeral ceremonies had concluded. After all the controversy that erupted over the film last November, I was expecting to see quite a horror-fest of a movie. Turns out it's nothing of the sort. Definitely not belittling or derogatory. Instead, it offers a sympathetic portrayal of a couple that left me liking the Reagans more than I did before I saw the film (and I liked them before anyway). There's no reason why this couldn't have shown on CBS. But if you ask me, I think the amount of subject matter covered warranted a far bigger budget and more time on a scale like "Angels in America" $60 million/6 hour miniseries and a cable channel like HBO that has the megabucks and the backbone to allow a filmmaker to make a truly quality film. Really, they were cramming 2 lifetimes of accomplishments into a 3 hr film.
If you hold strong political beliefs leaning right or left about the Reagans, "The Reagans" isn't for you. What you want is either a tribute show with nothing but good to say or a show that's an indictment of the Reagan era, respectively. Go elsewhere to find those films. If you fall somewhere in between and aren't obsessed with political details, you might enjoy "The Reagans." It's an average TV biopic that could've been better, but it does have its moments. It's not the greatest but not the worst either tracing how then actress Nancy Davis met actor Ronald Reagan and then his rise to California governor and then 2-term US president. The real focus of the film is the loving relationship between Nancy and Ronald.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Skywalkrz on July 2, 2004
Format: DVD
I went into this having a somewhat negative view of Reagan and a neutral opinion of his wife. I was quite surprised to find that it changed my opinion of Reagan for the better. Nancy, however, definitely comes off the worse. The portrayals all seem very honest and reasonable and the controversy surrounding it seems misplaced. In fact, all the hub-bub sourrounding this movie feels much more like an attempt to make sure the public only remembers the good things in Reagan's administration. Bottom-line, I would recommend this movie for what it is; a very good depiction of the events and a sometimes exaggerated depiction of the people in Reagan's life. Like the movie says, the roles are presented as a composite.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By James Hiller VINE VOICE on December 31, 2004
Format: DVD
Much of the hype of this television movie lies in the fact that CBS refused to air it, apparently bowing to conservative pressure. This of course created a bunch of hype prior to the release of the movie, and its quick demotion to a DVD release. After watching it, it made me wonder what all of the fuss was about. The Reagans is a comprehensive, yet inch deep look at a powerful couple destined to greatness in the political world.

James Brolin plays an eerie, and I mean eerie, Ronald Reagan throughout his lifetime. His acting is spot on in portraying a Reagan who is both wonderfully amiable to everyone that he meets, and yet distant to everyone who loved him the most. This Reagan is an actor through and through, and he continues his performance during his White House years. Judy Davis turns in an admirable performance as a hyper-supportive, controlling Nancy Reagan. I couldn't help but still see shades of Judy Garland in her performance here.

Nancy and Ronnie struggle with many issues not uncommon today: the politics of blended families, the politics within a relationship. The movie dares to suggest that Reagan and Nancy weren't perfect demi-Gods that the conservative portion of our population elevate him to be. Perhaps it's too daring to show this man, this couple, as human, foibles and all, and perhaps, that is the nature of the controversy.

Overall, very little was surprising about this movie, other than showing the onset of Reagan's Alzheimer's disease into his second term, which long has been suspected. It certainly wasn't the tell all bashing of the Reagans as some would like us to believe. If you want a glimpse into the lives of the Reagan, perhaps a perusal of this DVD would be in order.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dallas L. Keffer on May 29, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
James Brolin is incredible in his portrayal of Ronald Reagan. I did not think he would be convincing at first, but within a few minutes into the film, it was like watching the real Reagan!

Unfortunately, there is some fire beneath the controversial smoke this movie generated. Judy Davis gives a competent performance, as written, but she is no Nancy Reagan. Her portrayal was too brassy, more of a "Mommie Dearest" and there was clearly a lack of sympathy toward her by the writers. Davis is not convincing at all, especially beside Brolin who practically WAS Ronnie. I think the film would have done well to consult with the actual people involved before going into production.

My very first presidential vote went for Reagan in 1984. As a gay man I am among few who can say that with pride. He made a lot of mistakes during his presidency, but not one with any mean-spiritedness. His underlings took care of that part of the administration. For all the liberal extremists who constantly bashed Reagan, calling him a war-monger and ideologue, just look at what's happening now. He actually kept us out of war. Reagan was misled and ill-served by many influential people working under him. He was a naive and trusting man, to a fault.

This film did a good job of portraying what Ronald Reagan was all about, until it got to the issue of AIDS. I see why the family protested. Come on, even Patti, who always bashed her father's policies, resented this film's slant on the AIDS issue. The fact is that Ronald Reagan was an old man, born of another era, who did not know how to address matters of sexuality. AIDS automatically implied sexuality. Reagan was also a surprisingly shy man. His silence was often the simple result of not knowing what to say.
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