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The Whole Wide World (1996)

Vincent D'Onofrio , Renée Zellweger , Dan Ireland  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Vincent D'Onofrio, Renée Zellweger, Ann Wedgeworth, Harve Presnell, Benjamin Mouton
  • Directors: Dan Ireland
  • Writers: Michael Scott Myers, Novalyne Price Ellis
  • Producers: Benjamin Mouton, Dan Ireland, Carl Colpaert, Donald Kushner, Gregory Cascante
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 29, 2003
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009QUH4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,524 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Whole Wide World" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Conversation with Renee Zellweger and director Dan Ireland

Editorial Reviews

Driven by the electrifying performances of Vincent D'Onofrio (TV's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent") and Renée Zellweger (Chicago, Bridget Jones's Diary), THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD is the touching true story of the star-crossed love between writer Robert Howard and schoolteacher Novalyne Price. The creator of Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja, Howard was a small-town writer with an insatiable appetite for larger-than-life heroism and fantasy. Shunned by the prudish locals, he was befriended by a feisty young teacher who offered him an unforgettable chance at love.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
114 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Touchingly Realized Drama April 16, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
After retiring from teaching, lifelong aspiring writer Novalyne Price wrote her first book at age 76, "One Who Walked Alone," a memoir dedicated to the memory of pulp fiction writer Robert E. Howard, and upon which this film, "The Whole Wide World," directed by Dan Ireland, is based. The film paints a soul wrenching portrait of a man who was larger than life in the world of his own creation, but who was a socially inept, self-proclaimed "lummox" in the real world, who had an unhealthy devotion to his sickly mother and had trouble expressing his true feelings to the woman he obviously loved. To Novalyne Price-- as well as his legions of devoted readers-- Howard was the greatest pulp writer in the whole wide world. But to him, living in a small town in Texas in the `30s, that world was populated by "maggots of corruption," and was a dangerous place filled with outlaws, thieves and robbers. He masked his true poetic nature with an outwardly gregarious manner and bravura, which, along with his self-imposed exile from society made his on-again-off-again relationship with Price nearly insurmountable. To the world, he gave Conan the Barbarian and some of the greatest action adventures ever written; to Novalyne he gave the sunrise, the sunset and the moon, but was incapable of giving himself, telling her, "The road I walk, I walk alone." Not that it was what he wanted, but it was all he knew how to do in the "real" world, which he sadly never learned to negotiate.
Working from a sensitive, extremely well written screenplay by Michael Scott Myers, Ireland compassionately explores Howard's world through the eyes of Novalyne Price. What we see is an enigmatic, lonely man struggling with the demons of his soul, who escapes to the worlds of his fantasies in order to cope with life.
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54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting gem -- don't miss it May 12, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This film should be used as example of independent filmmaking at its finest. Made on a shoestring budget with then unknown actors, director Dan Ireland creates a film that is by turns sweeping, intimate, funny and tragic. He takes the viewers into 1930s smalltown Texas and makes you feel like you are there -- you can see how he trusts his actors to portray their characters, and they in turn don't disappoint
Vincent D'Onofrio and Renee Zellweger both give unique and memorable performances in this haunting love story. One never feels that they are "acting", even for a minute. One senses the tragedy in the relationship between pulp fiction writer Bob Howard and teacher Novalyne Price, but also the sweetness that led her to write the memoir on which this film was based, many years later.
View this film, it will not disappoint. I think it is one of the top ten films I've ever seen. It's a crime that it was not more widely released, or recognized by the Academy Awards. Both actors were deserving of Best Actor/Actress recognition for their work, but I guess small non-moneymaking films don't stand much of a chance in that arena! In my book, Vincent D'Onofrio bested the Best Actor award for that year, Nicholas Cage, by several degrees. This film introduced me to his work, and he is an actor who never fails to give a memorable performance, no matter how small or offbeat the part.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Never has a film made such an impact on my life as did the Whole Wide World. The film's message to me was that one should not waste their natural artistic abilities. After watching an insecure character like Robert E. Howard shrivel under the pressure of his life, I realized that a true mark of success is the ability to overcome the pressures and obligations that stand in the way.
The creative talent responsible for the film is something that should not be overlooked. The breathtaking film is adapted from the Price-Ellis memoir The One Who Walked Alone. Price-Ellis wanted nothing more throughout her entire life than to write a novel. Her god-given talent of teaching kept her from fulfilling her dream until she was in her 70's. The book hasn't made it to national best-seller lists, but how often does a truly worthy book make it anyway?
The director Dan Ireland researched the story thoroughly before bringing it to film. His compassion exhibited towards the elderly author was very commendable. It is my opinion that he truly wanted to represent the story in its exact and incredible form. Keep an eye out for his fantastic work in the future. He is currently working on another period love story called The Beauty of Jane. Also on video is the Velocity of Gary.
The acting in The Whole Wide World is so awesome it is frightening, almost as if they left their bodies during the filming process. D'Onofrio is in a class by himself and Zellweger should have never moved on to films like Me, Myself and Irene. They are so far below her talent level it is tragic.
The film is among my top ten of all time. I have shamelessly promoted it through my business and circle of friends. How many times can you watch a video before it starts to fall apart?
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, Sad Love Story October 20, 2006
By Jrobby
Other Amazon reviewers have done a great job of laying out the plot and the best features of "The Whole Wide World", so I just want to add my two cents worth. I really love this movie. It is such a touching story of two people who were in love but not able to be together. Vincent D'Onofrio breaks my heart every time I watch him in this movie. His character wants so badly to connect with Novalyn but he just can't. I cry every time!

I can't imagine that anyone would be disappointed after watching this film. It is beautifully written and filmed, and the sweetness and sadness really stays with you. Oh, and the front yard kiss between Robert and Novalyn - best screen kiss ever! I highly recommend "The Whole Wide World".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a must for the romantic and unrequited love
one of my all time fav chick flix. a must for the romantic and unrequited love story's
Published 1 month ago by Ruby Weaver
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good movie, but you'll want to be a fan of Howard's to buy it. Rent it if you're not.
Published 1 month ago by Eddie the Lizard
2.0 out of 5 stars slow paced, awkard dialogue
slow paced, awkward dialogue, interesting to see Renee so the second star but this movie is rated far above its merits, I skipped most of it after trying to watch it.
Published 3 months ago by Paul A. Spangler
5.0 out of 5 stars The Whole Wide World
I saw this movie initially on TV. I had never heard of it, but I was so impressed with it. I think that Vincent D'Onofrio is a wonderful actor & I love all of his movies & TV... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Barbie Doll
3.0 out of 5 stars Great performances; everything else is mediocre
This modestly-budgeted film tells the tale of the legendary pulp author and Texas native Robert E. Howard, and his brief (and mostly platonic) relationship with the schoolteacher... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Joseph Hirsch
3.0 out of 5 stars Conan the Barbarian needs to be in this film!
"The Whole Wide World" is a good movie, but was too much of a "Chick Flick" for my tastes.

D'Onofrio plays the part of Robert E. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Media Critic
5.0 out of 5 stars good
Good movie but wouldnt say its lighthearted
Well made film seems to really follow his life story
Quick shipping good quality
Published 9 months ago by jennifer noller
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and moving!
This movie was so well done. I love both the main actors and their characters had such depth. I love happy endings, but the ending here made it a better movie still.
Published 10 months ago by Ellen
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice movie
Nice movie, just as described and pictured, surprising to see the character study of Robert E Howard, a tortured man to be sure
Published 10 months ago by Endevour32
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Movie
I was lucky enough to own the VHS version but of course Who plays VHS any more? I had heard the DVD had edited the famous "kiss" out of the movie (WHAT??? Read more
Published 11 months ago by Karen K
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