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Walker (The Criterion Collection)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Marlee Matlin, Peter Boyle, Ed Harris
  • Directors: Alex Cox
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ZM1MJ6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,132 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Walker (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Alex Cox
  • Audio commentary by Cox and screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer
  • Dispatches from Nicaragua, an original documentary about the filming of Walker
  • On Moviemaking and the Revolution, reminiscences twenty years later from an extra on the film
  • The Immortals: behind-the-scenes photos
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring writings by film critic Graham Fuller, Wurlitzer, and Linda Sandoval

Editorial Reviews

A hallucinatory biopic that breaks all cinematic conventions, Walker, from British director Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid & Nancy), tells the story of nineteenth-century American adventurer William Walker (Ed Harris), who abandoned a series of careers in law, politics, journalism, and medicine to become a soldier of fortune, and for several years dictator of Nicaragua. Made with mad abandon and political acuity and the support of the Sandinista army and government during the Contra war the film uses this true tale as a satirical attack on American ultrapatriotism and a freewheeling condemnation of manifest destiny. Featuring a powerful score by Joe Strummer and a performance of intense, repressed rage by Harris, Walker remains one of Cox s most daring works.

Special Features
* - New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Alex Cox
* - Audio commentary by Cox and screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer
* - Dispatches from Nicaragua, an original documentary about the filming of Walker
* - On Moviemaking and the Revolution, reminiscences twenty years later from an extra on the film
* - The Immortals: behind-the-scenes photos
* - PLUS: A booklet featuring writings by film critic Graham Fuller, Wurlitzer, and Linda Sandoval

Customer Reviews

It provides the historical context in which Cox made his film.
Cubist
Your work is now immortal, as your soldiers, and as emblazoned upon the banner of the Immortals, your work is "Not Without Honor!"
C. Scanlon
This film deserves to find a cult audience, and I hope this review helps to establish one!
jonathan.lampley@nashville.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By jonathan.lampley@nashville.com on January 28, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
WALKER (1987) is a cult movie in search of an audience. A critical and financial disaster upon its initial release, the film is hard to find on video and rarely televised--but to fans of Psychotronic Cinema, it is worth the effort to find! The film is a schizo, intentionally anachronistic bio of William Walker (1824-1860), the Nashville-born doctor/lawyer/journalist who led his own private army into Nicaragua, ultimately installing himself as president of that nation. Obvious similiarities between Walker's filibustering activities and the US's often ham-handed diplomatic policies towards Central America during the 1980s led the filmmakers to turn WALKER into a political satire, but it is by turns funny, tragic, exciting, informational, and thought provoking. Ed Harris plays Walker, and as something of an expert on the filibuster, I can assure you Harris' interpretation is perfect. Lotsa familiar faces--Rene Auberjonis, Richard Masur, Marlee Matlin, and the hilarious Peter Boyle among them--make this one a character actor watcher's dream film. This picture is only for those who can appreciate weird movies! This film deserves to find a cult audience, and I hope this review helps to establish one!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Cubist on February 11, 2008
Format: DVD
Walker is an unconventional biopic that effectively burned any remaining bridges Alex Cox had with Hollywood. He took a modest amount of studio money and made a film about William Walker, an opportunistic American who invaded Nicaragua and became its president from 1855 to 1857, instituting slavery which didn't go over too well with the locals, and he was eventually executed in 1860. Cox wasn't interested in making a traditional biopic and, with screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer, decided to include the occasional modern anachronism (Walker appears on the covers of Newsweek and Time; a Mercedes drives past a horse-drawn carriage) to give the film a satirical howl of protest against the Reagan administration's support of the contra war against the democratically elected Sandinista government. This did not endear Cox to his studio backers.

Cox sets an absurdist tone and never looks back. This is evident in Walker's first battle in Nicaragua. As his men are gunned down in the street, he brazenly walks through seemingly oblivious to the carnage going on around him. He takes refuge in a building and plays the piano as bullets whiz around him. It's a crazy scene but works because of Ed Harris' conviction. He portrays Walker as a self-important, power-hungry madman with characteristic charismatic intensity.

Cox actually had the chutzpah to make Walker in Nicaragua with the approval of the Sandinista government which demonstrates just how far he was willing to put his money (or rather the studio's) where his mouth was. The filmmaker adopts a very playful attitude as he gleefully deconstructs the biopic (much as he shredded the spaghetti western and gangster film genres in
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Tommy on November 4, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is definitely a hidden gem. Ed Harris is brilliant as is the supporting cast of knock-offs who join his rag tag army on their quest for glory in central america. the blurring of the timeline reminds us that our meddling in C.A. is fundamentally not much different today than it was during the period this movie depicts. The entire flow of the movie is further augmented by a completely stunning score from x-Clash man Joe Strummer, one of the finest movie scores i have ever heard. A classic!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 4, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Best remembered (if at all) as the film that comprehensively destroyed Alex Cox's mainstream career, it's hard to see what caused such vitriolic offense at the time. Cox and screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer's take on the unbalanced self-deceiving `idealist' mercenary William Walker's intervention in Nicaragua to protect Cornelius Vanderbilt's financial interests there, setting off a century of disastrous American interference, is not particularly subtle, but then William Walker wasn't exactly a subtle man ("Clearly this is no ordinary ***hole," judges one of the more astute locals). With a visual style clearly inspired by spaghetti westerns and Sam Peckinpah, a contradictory narration - what you hear isn't what you see, with Walker's own third person narration frequently completely at odds with the farcical reality - and a slew of critic infuriating anachronisms, it was received with a mixture of outrage and contempt that makes the critical reception of Domino look like a triumph of Schindler's List proportions.

It's not a great movie, but it's certainly not the disaster its been painted, and even the at first jarring anachronisms are fun - Walker gets the cover of both Time and Newsweek, interviewers use tape recorders while Vanderbilt has a computer displaying stock market prices in his office - but perhaps should have been introduced earlier: however, there's no doubting the pertinence of the final arrival of trigger-happy helicopter gunships to evacuate the US citizens. Harris is on fine self-righteous form as the `short idealist,' short on ideals but big on a sense of divine purpose even though he has no idea what that purpose actually is from one moment to the next. With a concise running time and a great Joe Strummer score, it's an ambitious and often entertaining oddity.
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