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4.4 out of 5 stars
White Squall
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56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2000
Format: DVD
Jeff Bridges is very believable as Captain Christopher Sheldon, the skipper of the good ship Albatross. His mission is to teach a group of high school boys the way of the sea and of life. All of the boys have problems and, as written and portrayed, some are real heartbreakers. And director Ridley Scott has collected a handsome group of teen hunks to portray them. There is not a false note in any of their performances. Ryan Phillippe particular continues to surprise and impress me with his versatility. Whether it be the sensitive gay boy in T.V's "One Life to Live" or the overly confident and cocky jock of the film I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER he is always convincing. Phillippe is truly an actor that bears watching. Kudos also to John Savage as the ship's English teacher. It's nice to see this underrated actor try a different sort of role for a change.The cinematography is splendid but to appreciate it fully you must see a wide screen edition of the film. If not on DVD, perhaps there is a wide screen edition on tape somewhere. But the cinematography and sound are both worth buying a DVD player, if you haven't already done so, and purchasing this disc. This reviewer is always wary of films which are advertised as coming-of-age movies, but this one fits the bill. And everyone, including the skipper learns from their experiences. For that reason alone the film is film is worth owning. And who knows, you might just learn something from Captain Sheldon and crew of the Albatross! I know I did!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I was lucky enough to see this film on the big screen when it was released. It is very unfortunate that this movie did not achieve the box-office success that it deserved. Jeff Bridges gives a strong performance(does he ever give less) in a role that is not as large as one might predict. Everyone else surrounding him on the ship gives strong performances as well. This film was based on a true story, and is never boring and is always beautiful to look at. Not to mention a beautiful and amazing score that fits the mood and setting perfectly. This movie has everything that a great film should. Ridley Scott impresses once again.
A
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I think that White Squall is one of the best movies ever. Ryan Phillipe and Scott Wolf were the perfect picks to play the main roles. It tells the story of a group of boys who go on an adventure on an older ship for the summer. They travel the world. The great thing I think about this movie is it is a true example of what friendship really is. These boys come on the ship as total strangers, and end up as friends that would risk there lives for eachother. Belive me if there was ore than a five star rating, White Squall would surley get it! I think anyone who could direct such a wonderful film is a maraculus person with a heart of gold. Thank you, Ridley Scott, for showing the world what a real movie should be!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2004
Format: DVD
Director Ridley Scott is a cinematic artist, painting a very striking, strong, and beautiful visual experience. The locations, from seaside slums to life aboard ship to the storm, are all wonderfully displayed. The compelling visuals enhance the real-life based story. It is a multi-layered tale, part coming of age, part bonding friends, part action drama. No one theme overwhelms the others. As an extra on this film, it was a privilage to meet the real Chuck Geig and Tod Johnstone. Hearing them tell of their actuall experience and then seeing it displayed on the screen lead me to believe that they must be very proud of the results.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
With classics like Alien, Blade Runner and the underrated but superb 1492: Conquest of Paradise, I'm a huge Ridley Scott fan. White Squall is a disappointment by comparison, but is still a compulsive and entertaining rite of passage drama that should not be overlooked and certainly deserved better than its disastrous performance at the box office. The film's main flaw is that it all too closely resembles Dead Poets' Society, (especially the coda, which copies Oh Captain, My Captain) Unusual for a director who usually sets the standards for others to follow rather, than the other way round. However all this is partly made up by the excellent performances from a talent set of youngsters and the ever-solid Jeff Bridges who at first resembles a Captain Ahabesque cliché but finally exudes sympathy. Scott's stunning visuals are present and correct and the sequences at sea truly convey the power of the sea, even in calm weather, as Scott revels in the rolling of the waves, lurching the ship up and down, like no other film. The breathtaking storm of the title stands out not only as a technical tour de force but also as an intense and moving climax.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2005
Format: DVD
13 Kids, 3 Adults, The adventure of a life time. Those of you who are looking for an adventure of epic proportions that will take you over two oceans and dozens of islands with a group of equally interesting and at times disturbing characters, buckle up because you're in for one hell of a ride. This film was done perfectly, for once the film is better then the book (or so I've heard) and the final outcome can bring any minority, peoples of all ages and all professions to tears. The first time I saw this I was probably six years old and by the end of it my eight year old brother had become claustrophobic and huddled himself in a corner and my mother was crying. If I hadn't had been so busy laughing at them, I would have probably done the same. What happened out on the sea to those boys over forty years ago can only be described as a tragedy. A tragedy after finding themselves and the meaning to many things that they left on shore. This film truly honors those months that they spent together out on the crest and the weeks in which they were interrogated and put to trial after losing their friends in helpless cases. Shocking and worthy of such honorable men.

Mat Perrin, esq.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Everybody else has pretty much said what I think about this movie, but I'd like to add that it's an emotional rollercoaster against the backdrop of some of the most beautiful scenic shots I've ever seen. It has to be seen to be believed, in fact, for my Art A-Level, I took some shots from the movie and painted the backdrops. It also details the value of life- not only the tragic wake of the deaths of some of the teenagers- so effectively detailed when the survivors return to St. Petersburg- but about the fragility of animal life, too. The unmerciful killing of a dolphin and the crew's shocked reaction is almost a poignant portent for the tragedy which lies ahead. It is a movie of intense replationships- the Caribbean music and romantic ideals of the 1960s addda certain kind of poignancy to it- watch and see if you don't feel a lump in your throat! I also feel that there should be given a mention to the immensely talented young cast- the hideously under-rated Scott Wolf, Jeremy Sisto, Jason Marsden, and not under-rated but good nonetheless Ryan Phillipe. Kudos to Ridley Scott for carrying the beauty of such a film in his soul and bringing such intense emotions so effectively. Heck, if this can move an 18-year-old, I feel the rest of you have to watch it. To coin a phrase- it's not a movie, it's an experience.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2002
Format: DVD
Maybe "classic" is a little bit much, but this movie is probably the most underrated movie I have ever seen. I don't remember much about it in the theater and don't know many people that have watched it. It is one of the top "coming of age" movies made in the past decade or so.
If you liked Dead Poet's Society (DPS is better because of Robin Williams) or A Separate Peace by John Knowles, you will like this movie. It is a movie that leads you on a journey, using a group of rich kids that signed up for a year at sea. Jeff Bridges is the tough captain that sets out to instill discipline and teach them that they must respect him, the ship, and, most importantly, each other.
I won't give away the ending, but the movie succeeds in delivering its messages of honor and individual responsibility. It does a fantastic job of delivering this message while leading you along a journey with Jeff Bridges and the crew of the ship.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2012
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Ridley Scott's WHITE SQUALL is one of the director's least successful box-office undertakings, yet a fairly well-received adventure-drama based on a true story. Scott Wolf stars as Chuck Geig, a Connecticut high school student circa 1960 who sets off on a sailing expedition from Florida with a group of other young men. Under the guidance of sage sailor Jeff Bridges, the boys learn the ropes of sailing and living in a series of rites-of-passage movie cliches - all before a harrowing, unique weather phenomena puts all of them to the test. This section of the picture offers some of Scott's strongest work, a legitimate "Perfect Storm" that's intense and horrifying (the actual "micro burst" of bad weather lasted for 90 seconds; in the movie, it's a nearly 20 minute, bravura set piece).

Although Todd Robinson's script doesn't offer many surprises - basically reworking "Dead Poets Society" and including a courtroom sequence that feels needlessly tacked on - the gorgeous Carribean locales are vividly captured by Scott and cinematographer Hugh Johnson, the performances by Bridges and Wolf capable, and the film highly entertaining.

"White Squall" never received a proper 16:9 DVD release in the US, so Mill Creek's Blu-Ray presentation is especially welcome. The movie's cinematography is exponentially enhanced by the AVC encoded 1080p transfer, with DTS MA audio (sporting an okay score by Jeff Rona, who replaced Maurice Jarre) and the original trailer also offered as a bonus. One of Scott's more unheralded pictures, "White Squall" is certainly worth a look now that its visuals can finally be rendered in a proper home video release.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 7, 2008
Format: DVD
There is really no end to the amount of coming-of-age movies out there today. In fact `White Squall' is neither the first nor the last but it is one of my favorites. It reminds me quite a bit of `Dead Poets Society' but less cheesy and more emotionally resounding. I know that many won't agree with me on that last statement but I am proudly in the minority who believe that `Dead Poets Society' is extremely overrated.

`White Squall' is a true story about a group of teenage boys who board the Albatross, a school-boat (is that what it would be called) manned by Captain Christopher Sheldon. Aboard this boat these boys would learn, in addition to their normal schoolwork, how to sail, respect and rely on one another and thus be a real crew. These boys would learn the lessons to make them better men. Some of the boys are there because they crave the adventure, some are there because their parents want them to learn some values and others are there because they are really completely mistaken as to what the whole experience is all about. They aren't on a luxury cruise. They aren't on a vacation. This is work, this is school, this is learning and in essence this is life at its hardest yet most fulfilling.

Jeff Bridges has always been one of my favorite actors. He always brings a lot to his performances and he manages to even elevate mediocre material to new heights. Here he isn't handed anything mediocre and thus his performance is all the more lifted. As Caption Christopher Sheldon he displays a varying array of emotional responses to his young crew and commands their respect and attention. The cast of young actors is impressive as well, young Scott Wolf truly stealing the light. He plays Chuck, the films narrator and thus the films star. His performance is rich for his young age and may even be his finest performance to date. Others like Ryan Phillippe, Ethan Embry, Jason Marsden, Eric Michael Cole and Jeremy Sisto lend a hand at creating an authentic experience.

`White Squall' has some tender moments, some heartbreaking ones at that; most of which fall at the films conclusion. The final moments of the film will touch anyone's heart, and while certain moments may come off a little weepy they are effecting and work their magic on the audience. It may not be a perfect film but Ridley Scott (seriously one of the greatest directors working today) manages to direct his cast into moments of greatness and manages to capture the feel of the ocean in all its deadly beauty. Anyone craving a high seas adventure with heart, soul and a lesson will love this tragic true story or bravery and courage; courage not only to man the seas but to man your life.
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