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Truman


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Truman (DVD)

Amazon.com

Harry S. Truman had a hard row to hoe as the 33rd president and he never enjoyed popularity while in office. Think about what occurred on Truman's watch: the bombing of Hiroshima, a nationwide railroad strike, the rise of the Southern States' Rights Party, integration of the armed forces, the ascendancy of McCarthyism, the early cold war, and finally the Korean Conflict and Truman's decision to fire General MacArthur. Few American presidents have been faced with more difficult and dangerous times than Truman. It wasn't until some 50 years later that Harry Truman, a farmer from Missouri, got his due appreciation in the history books. Truman follows the man from his beginnings as an artillery officer in WWI through his connections with Missouri's Pendergast political machine and onward to Washington. The always-excellent Gary Sinise is a perfect fit for the Truman character, having obviously studied the President's plainspoken Missouri twang and ramrod-straight bearing at great length. Diana Scarwid is also very good as Truman's long-suffering wife Bess; the film studies the relationship between the two in some depth, and also sheds light on the men who surrounded Truman in Washington. Truman's chief failing is that in its effort to detail 40 years of the man's life, certain historical events are given short shrift in order to fit them all in. Nonetheless, Sinise inhabits the character well; the scene where the President ruminates on dining alone in the White House (while Bess is back in Missouri) is a great, understated comment on the loneliness, isolation, and stress of the job. --Jerry Renshaw

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Colm Feore, Diana Scarwid, James Gammon, Richard Dysart, Pat Hingle
  • Directors: Frank Pierson
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: January 18, 2005
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0783116918
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,784 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Truman" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 2004
Format: DVD
I have watched this movie many times and have always felt better for it. I have always had a great respect for President Truman. Mr.Sinise's performance was heart-warming & captivating. He brought the essence of the character to life. The movie transports the viewer to his time and does not let go until the end (which, I found myself wanting to know more of the Trumans, post-White House). Diana Scarwid's portrayal of Bess Truman conveyed that the man who made some very tough calls in a nation's darkest hours had a woman of steel behind him. He made decisions that were unpopular and yet necessary. "War is Hell". Our 33rd President did what he felt was right at the time. He is in my estimation one of the most under-appreciated US Presidents and important historical figures of the 20th Century.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Roberta Cram on October 29, 2003
Format: DVD
This DVD stars Gary Sinise as Harry S. Truman and covers his life from when he is a farmer, through marrying Bess, up until the time he leaves the White House. Gary is terrific as usual and when he gets going as the older Truman on the campaign trail, he is dynamic. Also stars Diana Scarwid as Bess, who is usually in campy movies such as playing Christina Crawford in Mommie Dearest, but she is also very endearing as Mrs. Truman. There are some very cute points, especially when the Truman's move into the White House, the "first house they have ever had alone" and Mrs. Truman comments about how dirty it is! Not to be missed! One minor flaw - there are NO special features on this DVD.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Scott Prazak on February 10, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Brilliant made for cable film about the life of President Harry Truman. Although not a complete account of his life, this film nevertheless covers all the major events that helped shape the man. There is no better casting choice than Sinise. In one of his rare occasions as THE MAIN star of a film, his talents are brought to the surface brilliantly.
HBO dvds up to this time have never been known to have many supplements on them, and unfortunately this is no exception. The live action menus are a refreshing addition. However, there are countless extras you can add when it comes to historical figures like these. There are no trailers, no documentaries. Certainly a disappointment there. Tne film itself is worth getting however. Truly a milestone for a great actor.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bob Wible on October 17, 2007
Format: DVD
Let me begin by saying that the acting is first class, and the film does a good job of capturing the basic spirit of Harry S. Truman. However, the filmaker makes a conscious decision not to examine any of the man's lesser qualities or any of his poor political decisisions. I wouldn't say it's propaganda or revisionist, but we are left with the film maker's view of Truman through rose colored glasses. (editorially, I add that a similar positively spinned view of our current pres would never fly past the public.) The film is extremely enjoyable, and Sinise is wonderful. The story moves quicky, and even people who don't care for politics or biopics may still like it. I've watched it a few times and it ages well.It covers some of the hardest times in our history, up to and including Truman's agonizing decision to use nukes, and his choice to fire Doug MacArthur. I recommend this film for entertainment, and if you're interested afterwards, read McCullough's biography for the complete picture. Three and a half stars. Thanks for reading my review.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By JOHN GODFREY on March 3, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
Gary Sinese is one of the best actors of our time. Now we can enjoy him every week on CSI: New York. Back in 1995 he did Truman & he is right on. Truman was a farmer before World War I. He volunteered for an artilley unit, even though he didn't have to go on two accounts: his age & his weak eyes. He went, commanded men & acquited himself very well. This movie follows his life until the end of his presidency. After the war he failed in business, & aligns himself with the local political boss & crook Tom Pedergast. He got Truman elected to political jobs but never turned him. Once elected to the US Senate Truman was known as the Senator from Pendergast & carried the stench of scandal. It was pointed out that Truman, with little influence & less money would never have become Senator without the Pedergast machine behind him. Ironically, he became a tireless worker against government waste & graft. Diana Scarwind played Bess Truman & she made Bess look a lot better. The real Bess Truman made Eleanor Roosevelt look cute by comparison. That's cruel, but Truman never looked at another woman. Harry loved her & she was the only women he ever had. FDR according to the movie, shamed Truman into accepting the vice presidential spot. Why Truman was picked is a mystery given the fact that everyone knew that FDR was dying. Truman was not really that well-known. So he became president, when FDR died, totally unprepared. He had not been trusted with war secrets as VP. The biggest secret, led to his most important & the best decision of his presidency: Dropping the atomic bomb, ending the war, & saving a million American & Japanese lives. The second best decision was firing megalo-maniac General Douglas MacArthur in Korea. Truman probably saved the US from World War III, this time with the Soviet Union & China. A fine tape that should be in every school library.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By R. L. MILLER on January 3, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
...tries his luck as one of the most unpretentious Presidents ever. That's the mark of a good character actor--when he can play two men absolutely unlike each other. Especially when Gary Sinise's performance here covers a period of Truman's life when he was about the same age as "The Stand"'s Stu Redman. Truman's low popularity while he was in office was entirely attributable to the fact that he lacked the charisma his predecessors and successors all had. Americans have always liked flash and Truman had none. We've always preferred leaders who tell us what we want to hear, or at least in a way that makes it sound like that. Truman was always blunt--often painfully so. In recent months (which is to say since September 11) one of his observations that appears here has come back to bite us on the rear end--that far too many of us are so carried away with "freedom" that we forget that responsibility also goes along with that freedom.
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