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Sybil (Two-Disc Special Edition)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Joanne Woodward, Sally Field, Brad Davis
  • Directors: Sr. Daniel Petrie
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 186 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EHQU0S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,958 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sybil (Two-Disc Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Examining Sybil - Featurette with exclusive interviews with cast members Sally Field and Joanne Woodward, writer Stewart Stern, producer Peter Dunne, and close friends of the real Sybil
  • The Paintings of Sybil - Gallery of never-before-seen artwork, by the real Sybil
  • Sybil Therapy Session

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The word "landmark" is fairly used in the case of Sybil: this 1976 TV movie brought new frankness to television, it raised the quality bar for the made-for-television movie, and it utterly changed the career of a future Oscar-winning actress. The film was based on the bestselling nonfiction book about a multiple-personality patient and her exhaustive therapy. It opens with a brilliant series of scenes that suggest how a young woman named Sybil (Sally Field) experiences unexplained blackouts, which brings her to the attention of a psychiatrist, Dr. Wilbur (Joanne Woodward). The film unfolds around the searching therapy sessions, laced with flashbacks to Sybil's toxic childhood. There's also a tentative romance between the lonely Sybil and a manchild (Brad Davis) who lives across the alley. Most notably, of course, there are the appearances of Sybil's alternate personalities, who express her strangled emotional life. Stewart Stern's sensitive script seems to flow organically from one scene to the next, and director Daniel Petrie frequently allows the camera to observe the acting acrobatics in long, challenging takes.

Woodward, who won an Oscar for playing a multiple-personality patient in The Three Faces of Eve, is all nurturing warmth as the steadfast doctor. But really this film was a sober coming-out party for Sally Field, who astonished viewers at the time by erasing all memories of Gidget and The Flying Nun, the bubblegum roles she'd mostly been known for. Field's work is anguished but non-actor-y, and despite the character's hidden personalities, she seems as clear as day in her performance. The production won four Emmys, not surprisingly including nods for Field, Stern, and Outstanding Special (Drama).

The 187-minute movie takes up one disc; the second disc has informative featurettes about the making of the film. Examining Sybil is an absorbing hour-long documentary with comments from Field and Woodward, as well as executive producer Peter Dunne. It is dominated by the spellbinding storytelling of Stewart Stern, who developed the screenplay by spending time with the real Dr. Wilbur and listening to tapes of her sessions with Sybil. His tale of Sally Field's unlikely audition triumph is a small movie in itself. The Paintings of Sybil presents a generous selection of paintings by the real Sybil (who became a professor of art), along with recollections by one of her friends. Something listed on the DVD cover as "Sybil Therapy Session" is misleadingly titled, suggesting some kind of actual footage or transcript of the real Sybil and her treatment; in fact, it's Stewart Stern describing the harrowing process of listening to the doctor's tapes. The real Sybil (now deceased) remains protected, as she should. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Based on a true story. Sally Field - in an Emmy Award winning and career-turning performance - portrays Sybil, a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder who develops over 16 distinct personalities in order to cope and escape haunting memories of her harrowing childhood. Joanne Woodward plays the understanding and compassionate psychiatrist that helps Sybil confront her horrific past and eliminate her demons.

Customer Reviews

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  • "Opinions" 91
  • "Acting" 24
  • "Story" 17
  • "Audio" 4
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Sheryl L. Ross on March 24, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This version has has omitted some very powerful and crucial scenes, from 196 minutes to 122 minutes, which leaves out more than an hour of the original movie. The ending was particularly disappointing because it had originally been so beautifully and creatively done, and was the culmination was eleven years of grueling work to integrate the personalities. Why on earth anyone would choose to remove this scene is beyond me. Other scenes had been omitted or cut to the point they weren't fully explained, so while it was still a good movie for someone who's never seen the original, I feel that the high prices on this severely edited version are not warranted.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kirby on June 22, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
I orignally saw this superb television movie in 1976. It was a two-parter, as TV movies often were in the 70's. Now, in it's un-edited state, I would have given SYBIL 5 STARS. Sally Field is unbelievable, and had this been a theatrical release, she surely would have won her 1st Oscar for this film. Joann Woodward, as the psychiatrist, is also profoundly moving and excellent in her role. This movie is quite disturbing, and extremely difficult to take at times, especially the scenes where Sybil's hateful mother is torturing her. However, it is important, psychologically and socially, and ought to be viewed by any student studying the subject. SYBIL is a frightened young woman who loses time, sometimes up to 2 years of it. Her psyciatrist discovers that Sybil has 16 personalities, all of whom are operating on a daily basis w/o Sybil's knowledge. These personalities guide her through each tumultuous day of her life. This film is powerful and shocking, and it is a crying shame that the VHS version has been chopped into pieces! More than one hour of the original telecast has been deleted, leaving some headscratching moments when there should be significant drama and understanding on the viewer's part. I once taped this film in its entirety off TBS; omitting the commercials, so I have the original film and will not watch the hacked-to-pieces VHS version. So beware! Don't pay $20 for the VHS, you'll be sorry! Hopefully, in this day and age of the release of seemingly EVERYTHING EVER RECORDED, this film will be restored, and released in it's original version on DVD. This excellent movie deserves such treatment.
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99 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Lear on February 18, 2006
Format: DVD
The film that set into motion Sally Field's long acting career, "Sybil" was an emotional tornado of multiple personalities, child abuse, and modern psychology. Set in a now distant New York, the mini-series settled down upon an introverted young woman by the name of Sybil Dorsett. Living in constant fear of social situations, she struggles to understand what is happening within herself. But when things steadily worsen, she must seek the help of a psychiatrist: Dr. Wilbur.

The two women soon become one in each other; Sybil depends on Wilbur to help get her out of this mental mess while Wilbur depends on Sybil for the knowledge of the unknown world of multiple personalities. However, as the answers to Sybil's illness creep closer, they both suffer emotional breakdowns, whilst Sybil begins to understand the Knifes, the Glass, and the Green Kitchen.

A horrific yet beautiful series, Sybil stands alone as one of the best made for television movies of all time.

And now, it is finally being released, uncut, on this special DVD.

Originally released in a condensed volume on VHS, fans of the film have been dying to get their hands on a more complete edition for years. But the long wait was all worth it.

This DVD includes the following special features: a look at the real Sybil's drawings, an actual therapy session between the real Sybil and Psychiatrist, a featurette with cast interviews and more, along with the original 3 hour long broadcast version. And *though not confirmed* there is word of possible commentaries included in this 2 DVD set as well.

May 23rd: year one.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Eric Pregosin on July 20, 2006
Format: DVD
If the name Sally Field appeared on a nationwide (better yet a human race wide) word association test, we would be all divided in thirds. One third would remember sitcoms of the 60s and 70s like "Gidget", "The Flying Nun" and "The Girl With Something Extra". The Second Third would remember her wonderful appearances on the big screen since 80s (maybe the 70s too) in "Places In The Heart", "Norma Rae", "The Smokey And The Bandit Trilogy", "Steel Magnolias", "Forrest Gump", and others. The Final Third would be right on the border between the 2 groups. How soon we forget her appearance in the fall of 1976 in an Emmy winning performance in the 2 part tv movie "Sybil". Based on the true novel by Flora Rheta Schreiber, Field plays a young substitute teacher/art student whose battered childhood (thanks to a schizophrenic mother and a henpecked father) shattered her so that she grew to adulthood with 16 distinct personalities (all children) although for the tv film they imply 13 (based on the writing on the back of the box and the ending credits of the film). The film also stars Joanne Woodward (aka Mrs. Paul Newman) as Cornelia B. Wilbur, the psychiatrist determined to help Sybil pull her self (or selves if you will) together (the real Dr. Wilbur served as a consultant to the film). Other stars include bit part actors William Prince as her father Willard Dorsett (in present scenes he is remarried to a "normal" woman), Martine Bartlett (in flashbacks) as Hattie Dorsett, the schizoid mother, veteran bit part actor Charles Lane as Dr. Quinones, the hometown M.D. who in the present helps shed some light on her case to Dr. Wilbur, and a young unknown named Brad Davis as neighbor Richard Loomis, a young widower with a young son Matthew (both of whom become "fond" of Sybil before realizing her "condition").Read more ›
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