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25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

TRUMBO is a unique film about screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and his heroic journey from Hollywood royalty to blacklisted writer to Academy Award® winner. Based on a play by his son Christopher, TRUMBO documents the rise of Dalton s career in Hollywood and his subsequent public humiliation from being among the Hollywood Ten blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1940s for communist associations. Exiled and penniless, Dalton wrote under various pseudonyms, even winning two Academy Awards®. Viewed by many as a moral and just man, Dalton Trumbo stood for the American value and right of free expression.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Allen, Michael Douglas, Paul Giamatti, Liam Neeson, Nathan Lane
  • Directors: Peter Askin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 15, 2009
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002EP8FEM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,003 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Trumbo" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. Schultz VINE VOICE on December 1, 2009
Format: DVD
Dalton Trumbo was a leading screenwriter before his inclusion on HUAC's "Black List" brought his career to a standstill, and then drove him underground. However, as this documentary reveals, he was also a master letter-writer. During the years when he couldn't any longer openly write screenplays, he still wrote letters - beautiful, eloquent letters to friends and foes.

This documentary has some first-rate actors reminiscing about their acquaintanceship with Trumbo during those McCarthy-era years, and reading his letters. If you think sitting and listening to actors read letters would be boring - this DVD will change your mind. People such as Paul Giamatti bring Trumbo to life via these sometimes acerbic, sometimes affectionate, always literate letters.

The readings and reminisces are interspersed with footage of the HUAC hearings, showing the Hollywood celebrities who felt pressured to "name names," and those who refused and suffered the consequences. There is also home movie footage and photographs providing snapshots of Trumbo's family through some of the good times and the bad. We see Trumbo as being above all a family-man, sustained through the years of Black List ostracism by these relationships. So at its core, this turns out to be an unexpected love story.

Whether the people who were blacklisted had entertained Communist sympathies or not - this film puts a personal face on the ordeal of being blacklisted for one's beliefs - or suspected beliefs.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Barricklow VINE VOICE on November 11, 2009
Format: DVD
A sober reminder of the power of tryanny over the individual. An individual who will stands up, because he cannot stand down.
Thus it becomes a matter of priciple for Dalton Trumbo and the other Hollywood writers to make that stand. All they has to do was to inform on friends. Those who had participated in the crime of speaking their own minds.
I write this on Veteran's Day. A day many gave their lives so that others could speak freely, even if they themselves adamantly disagreed with there politics or religion. It was a matter of the American Spirit itself, forged in the crucible of war, where many died or were wounded just so that their sons & daughter could live "free". Trumbo and the others also took that symbolic stand. The Supreme Court, aka Supreme Denial, refused to hear their case when they were marched off to jail. Many subsequently committed suicide. It was economic warfare on the ten who dared speak against the power. Some crumbled. Those that survivived suffered divorces, poverty, and other degradations, as a consequence of not only talking American, but being American - not bending over to the tryanny, but standing up against the powerful for the principals upon which this country was founded.
Ironicaly, the Supreme Court, aka Supreme Denial, in Buckley vs. Valeo in 1976 ruled that Free Speech is $$$$, thereby guaranteeing economic capital's purchase of the peoples' political capital. Corporations, with remorseless impunity, could corrupt the peoples' elections, strangling anychance of meaningful representation of the poor/middle classes.
This documentary has Kirk Douglas, his son Michael, Donald Sutherland, Liam Neeson, and others reading the letters of those writers and Trumble. That is worth the price of admission alone.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By stoic VINE VOICE on January 24, 2010
Format: DVD
Trumbo is both a biography of blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo and a set of readings from his letters. The film is a partial success. The man is fascinating, but his letters fail to hold the viewer's attention.

The film has some interesting moments. The excerpts from Trumbo's novels and screenplays make clear that he was talented. The story of the Trumbo family scraping out a living during the blacklist is fascinating. There are also many great photos of Trumbo, his family, and his friends.

Trumbo's letters take up too much of the film. Granted, he was a witty correspondent and some of the letters are brilliant. But I quickly started to lose interest. The actors' readings add little; the filmmakers could easily have used one anonymous narrator and gotten the same effect.

There is not enough about Trumbo's life story in the film. The viewer hears nothing of his early life or of his later years; the focus is on his time as a screenwriter. There are hints of alcoholism, profligate spending, and truculence, but the man never emerges. The most-frustrating aspect of the film is that it omits any discussion of Trumbo's true political views, which are at the heart of his life story.

Trumbo is not a bad movie, but I want to know more about him.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By stormcharger on September 17, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
James Dalton Trumbo, a man for all seasons

What do you say about a man who stood his ground without reservation? A visionary who fell from grace, and found dignity to be different.

In 1946 thru 1960 Trumbo weathered the assault of the United States Government, a Senator from Wisconsin Joseph R. McCarthy, and hollywood's disgrace. The House on Un-American Activities, et al, imprisoned him for a year, and took away his only means to survive, writing. The man who gave us, "Johnny Got His Gun" was deprived by a man without intellect or judgment to render such opinion(s).

Dalton son, Christopher directed the film. In my opinion made it real, without error, and that is what Trumbo demanded. This film will make you cry, and laugh, and a little of both.

You are Spartacus, James Dalton Trumbo,
"Barcelona fell, and you were not there, and I was not there, and perhaps if we had been, the city would have stood and the world would have been changed and better. But we were here, and here together we remain, and our city won't fall, and if it should, better that we lie buried in its ruins than be found absent a second time."

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