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War of the Roses [VHS] (1989)

Patricia Allison , Harlan Arnold  |  R |  VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Patricia Allison, Harlan Arnold, Sean Astin, Peter Brocco, Dan Castellaneta
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • VHS Release Date: January 9, 1996
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301696751
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,951 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito reunited for a third time to fabulous effect in this dark, disturbing comedy of martial trauma and revenge, which couldn't be more different from their sunnier outings in Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile. Douglas and Turner, in career-best performances, are the materialistic, consumer-driven Roses of the title (Oliver and Barbara) whose seemingly perfect marriage has soured beyond repair; their only point of contact, aside from their two college-bound kids, is their meticulously maintained dream house, which Douglas bought and Turner decorated to perfection. When Turner gets a taste of financial independence, she asks Douglas for divorce--all she wants is the house and everything in it (aside from his clothes and shaving kit). He laughs at her and she punches him in the face. Things only get worse from there, as nasty divorce proceedings (with DeVito as Douglas's lawyer) give way to insults, threats, ruined dinner parties, and pet abuse. And through it all, the Roses begin destroying their beloved home and its contents, just to spite each other. DeVito, who also directed, takes Michael Leeson's blacker-than-black screenplay and gives it a hyperstylized spin, complete with skewed camera angles and wonderfully expressionistic cinematography (by Stephen Burum) as Douglas and Turner barricade themselves in their house, both refusing to give an inch. Shocking for a mainstream studio picture, with its unsympathetic protagonists, escalating bitterness, and disturbing finale, Roses is a poisonously funny valentine to both marriage and '80s materialism, tempered only by its framing device as a cautionary tale. Definitely not a date movie. --Mark Englehart

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marriage never works! July 11, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This is possibly one of my best movies of all time.The fact that a wonderful marriage started out with a huge family house and nice cars always meant that disaster at some point in the marriage would strike.Michael Douglas is at his very best in this film and when his wife one day turns round to him and says " Everytime i see your face i want to smash your face in" he has more than a battle on his hands to keep his estate. Danny Devito also plays a part as his wisdom is needed as a lawyer to sort out the messed up situation. This film is very gripping and the humour of the film is tremendous. A must see and buy film straight away, it will under no cicumstances dissappoint you unless you are currently filing for a divorce!
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32 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must see for everyone August 20, 2003
Format:DVD
How do you hold on to someone who want stay and how do you get reed of someone who want leave?
Oliver and Barbara (Douglas and Turner) meet at the auction. With instant chemistry between the two they are soon married. Typical American family - perfect house, 2 children, work-slave husband and bored wife. As time goes by, Barbara realizes that she no longer likes Oliver and asks for a divorce. Unfortunately for her Oliver is still crazy about her, but agrees to give her the divorce. And as we all though this would be just another civilized split, all hell breaks loose. Barbara wants to keep the house that she found and decorated, but Oliver (who paid for it) will not give it up either. And after an advice from his lawyer (DeVito) he moves back into the house. While Barbara is determined to get Oliver to leave and Oliver is trying to rekindle the romance, there civilized coexistence quickly becomes very interesting.
Believe it or not I have not given much of the movie away. Yes, you now know what the basic story is, but to watch it is a completely different. Three of the return after two successful movies and deliver performances that's unmatched by anything else in there carriers. This film is one of the darkest comedies you'll ever watch. And I believe that everyone should watch it at least once. It'll make you think twice about a lot of things in life. Absolutely brilliant. An ending that will stay with you for a long time.
And when a person making $400.00/hr wants to tell you a story for free, you should listen to it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Descent into Madness June 7, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This the darkest of all the dark comedies I have ever seen. There are moments of lightness but they come all too seldom and the story of increasing bitterness and pettiness comes to the fore.

The Roses fell in love in college, married and seemed to have the perfect life. He was an ivy league lawyer and she was the "perfect housewife". They both have their problems. He takes her too much for granted and she is a materialistic snob. Still, they seem to be so much in love that they can overcome their personal foibles. It doesn't work out that way.

After he is rushed to the hospital with an apparent heart attack, she is too busy with her career to even pick him up when he is discharged. Later that night, she tells him that she wants a divorce. From there, the vindictiveness and sniping continue to escalate as both descend into an orgy of mutual contempt and hatred.

There are times when it is possible to feel sorry for both of the characters. More often, both seem to be too contemptible to pity. Each is more concerned with the destruction of the other and "winning" than in any possible healing. There are some differences. He genuinely loves her and she genuinely hates him. This is carried right through to the bitter, and I do mean BITTER, end.

It's hard to call this entertaining. It is frightening, though, to see how far hatred can take a person. Anyone contemplating a divorce should see this film. Anyone contemplating a particularly nasty divorce should see it daily.

Don't let this be YOU!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Comedy at its best August 9, 2002
By Mathew
Format:DVD
Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas star in this movie with a chemistry greater than either of their previous films together, namely Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile. Their shared screen time is filled with a frenzied mixture of passion, anger, lust, devotion, and resentment, a relationship that, however abstract and unrealistic it is skewed in this movie, reflects what's left of a lot of relationships once the lust leaves the marriage, or once a couple finally spends some time together (i.e. after the kids have left the nest).
It has been a long standing joke that once the kids go to college or leave the nest, many spouses find themselves wondering: "Who the hell did I marry?" Things that were never noticed now are found nagging; a sensitive husband suddenly becomes controlling; a neat homemaker suddenly becomes obsessively compulsive; a mother, now that her duties are cut, becomes anxious to get out of the house. This is exactly what this movie relates, from the Roses' passionate meeting, to their years of "struggle" as Douglas' character builds his career to support his growing family, to their subsequent wealth and success, and finally a lull is reached when they are wealthy and suceessful, yet they have nowhere seemingly left to go.
One of the things that a lot of viewers seemingly miss while watching the movie is the greater picture- the Rose's marriage was one built on attraction and lust. While that has been enough to sustain many marriages, this is not the case here. After the lust leaves the marriage the couple begins to notice every irritating thing the other half does, which is what happens in a lot of marriages.
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