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The Second Civil War (1997)

Beau Bridges , Joanna Cassidy , Joe Dante  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)


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DVD 1-Disc Version $16.99  
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Region 2 encoding (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the US or Canada [Region 1]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Beau Bridges, Joanna Cassidy, Phil Hartman, James Earl Jones, James Coburn
  • Directors: Joe Dante
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Italian (Stereo), English (Dolby Surround), French (Stereo)
  • Region: Region 2 (Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004VYK3
  • Learn more about "The Second Civil War" on IMDb

Special Features

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable HBO Movie!!! April 29, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Starts off funny, moves to hilarious and end up very disturbing. An incredible stellar cast. Made in 1997 and for a number of years HBO has pretended it never heard of this film and it is not for sale (today) in the HBO store. It was once sold for a very short time on laser disk and vhs. Then it was pulled and denied. Suddenly it has surfaced on dvd. I figure I'd grab a copy on dvd before it disappears again.

Excellent movie - well crafted and definitely not 'politically correct'.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Strangelove" Quality Political Black Comedy November 25, 1998
Format:VHS Tape
"The Second Civil War" accomplishes what "Wag the Dog" tried and failed to do. While the latter, despite great performances, becomes a stale one-joke movie, the former takes ever more outrageous twists and turns. And everything that happens is frighteningly within the realm of possibility! Best in-joke: James Earl Jones, the "voice" of CNN, plays a reporter for the CNN clone in the movie.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awsome movie! February 13, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Directed by Joe Dante this brilliant black humor comedy satirizes everything, from racism, to imigration, religion, politics and the power of the media. In a near future, the governor of Idaho(Beau Briges) decides to close his state borders to protect the "american way of life", more precisely his own. The situation turns into a circus when a plane of pakistani refuges fleeing from a nuclear war tries to land in Idaho. And so starts this big mess that might lead to civil war. As the story progresses we see it from various points of view like the news network triyng to explore the situation for higher viewings rates, the imconpetent president and his advisors and governor Farley that sees himself in a situation where there is no turning back. Great performances from James Earl Jones and James Coburn.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, relevant and possible April 18, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Sorry, but I love this movie. Not only is it quite funny, but it prophisized not only Lewinsky, but GW Bush as well. This is something that I think could happen in the US (a Hispanic Revolution, closing our borders to immigration). I also think the fact that Clinton could not ask South Carolina to remove the confederate flag indicates just how fragile the Presidency is in the context of states and Governors.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the Human Race. April 13, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
In the near future, a planeload of immigrant orphans are on their way to a charity facility in Idaho when the Governor of the state closes its borders and refuses them entry. This sparks a division of military forces, between states government's National Guard and federal government's Army, each hell bent on protecting their own version of the American Dream, as well as their media images. At the center of this Constitutional storm is a President unable to make a decision without checking with his advisors and referencing one of his predecessors, a Governor more interested in liasons with his immigrant news reporter mistress than dealing with immigration laws, a newsroom where facts and truth balance with viewer shares, and a TV audience more interested in their favorite daytime soap opera. The Great American Melting Pot is about to uncivilly boil over.

This HBO black comedy is an excellent mix of political and news media parody, race relations satire, and morality tale. Wonderfully quirky, and sometimes deeply meaningful, dialogue. Characters run the gamut from dignified to loony. Performances from a large cast are all vibrant and spot on. A movie gem.

Favorite Line(s): "Can't make an omelet without busting some sacred eggs. We're making history here and you ain't with us, are you?" "No I'm not." "You should be. Why not?" "Maybe because I'm a reporter, I ain't with anybody. Maybe because too many sacred eggs are getting busted. See, I rode the buses back in the 60s to bring people together. Pretty unfashionable now, isn't it?" "Your wife, she's Jewish, ain't she?" "You know, I forgot what she is, all I remember is that we met on the back of a bus."

"I'm trying to remember the words to the Pledge of Allegiance. I said it a million times when I was a kid. Right now I can't seem to remember the words."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films ever made. January 6, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I think that this is one of director Joe Dante's best films ever made. The film's subject provides an interesting an entertaining look at what could happen in the United States in the future. The issues discussed in the film such as racism, immigration, and the United States as the only remaining powerful nation on Earth made this film both serious and humorous. The film also had a great cast. They gave convincing and effective performances. I think that this is a really great movie. It's really worth watching.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart sharp political satire March 10, 2006
Format:DVD
HBO films comes through again with this biting farce on the melting pot that is America. In the "near future", the governor of Idaho (Beau Bridges), a right winger if ever there was one, closes the state borders to prevent a few busloads of orphaned Pakistani children from settling in his home state. Soon the President (Phil Hartman in one of his few effective screen roles) consults with his spin doctor (James Coburn) to decide what to do. Meanwhile, the Idaho governor is carrying on a torrid affair with a beautiful news reporter from NewsNet, which is reporting all this. NewsNet is the home of news director Dan Hedaya, anchorwoman Joanna Cassidy, veteran reporter James Earl Jones, wiseass reporter Denis Leary, and hotshot camerman Dick Miller (yes, the GREAT Dick Miller of Buckets of Blood fame), as well as news executive Roger Corman (gee, how did HE get in there?).

Well, I'll tell you how he got in there. The film is directed by Joe Dante, and Dante got his start working for Corman's New World Cinema. So he returned the favor and cast Corman in this film. Surrounding the president, aside from Coburn, are advisers and/or secretaries of state and defense William Schallert and Kevin McCarthy (yes, of Invasion of the Body Snatchers).

Of course the irony of the reporter with whom the Idaho gov is having an affair being Mexican-American (Elizabeth Pens) is part of the gallows humor glee on display. JE Jones provides the voice of heart and conscience for the proceedings, and in fact, it's his voice that ends this tragicomedy. And make no mistake, tragicomedy it is. Not, mind you, in the tradition of Shakespeare and/or the like, but nevertheless, well done anyway.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars lousy movie
this movie left a bad taste in my mouth it didn't make since and i didn't care for the plot just bad all the way around
Published 3 months ago by gerald o. sauerbier
5.0 out of 5 stars this movie should be seen by every American.
Coming soon to your neighborhood. This was funny in 1996. It is fiction becoming reality. I found it to be sobering. The all star cast is the perfect fit for the parts. Read more
Published 10 months ago by wrenchbender
5.0 out of 5 stars Very chilling
This was made in comedic form because the subject matter was very disturbing. We had already been down that path before with bloody results. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Patrick K Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the movie channels should buy this
I saw this when it first showed on HBO. With a great cast of characters and an "I can't believe this is happening" storyline, this movie swings from gag comedy to cerebral... Read more
Published 16 months ago by David Kulback
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie.
Aside from it being a comedy it addresses some serious issues and has an incredible cast. It's on my short list.
Published 17 months ago by Jeremy Urton
3.0 out of 5 stars Second Civil war
This was a gift the person enjoys the movie and it came fast the person who received it would recommend it
Published 19 months ago by Laura Barnes
4.0 out of 5 stars Things to come
This picture was written quite a few years ago. Now it seems like its coming to life. I have to wonder if its really fiction.
Published 21 months ago by D Brooke
3.0 out of 5 stars OVERRATED
I finally decided to watch this movie, because a couple of people recommemded it, but it didnt live up to the hype. Read more
Published on April 14, 2012 by Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
My fave scene is James Earl Jones at the end. This movie is a great view of how out of control, government can get.
Published on June 13, 2011 by K. Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Think it can't happen?
The Second Civil War is a delightfully preposterous comedy.
But current rantings & ravings of politicians and talk-show fools make one realize that truth really is stranger... Read more
Published on February 22, 2011 by I.M. Jaded
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