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Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

4.3 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When housewife Alice is suddenly widowed and left with no money and no job to support herself and her son, she sets off across the country to find a new life.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: UN
Release Date: 17-AUG-2004
Media Type: DVD

Amazon.com

Having scored a critical triumph with Mean Streets, Martin Scorsese accepted Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore as his first big-studio assignment, proving his versatility and further advancing his promising career. Hot off The Exorcist with her choice of projects at Warner Brothers, Ellen Burstyn sought a hot young talent (Scorsese was recommended by Francis Coppola) to direct Robert Getchell's fine, sensitive screenplay about Alice Wyatt, a newly-widowed 35-year-old lounge singer with a bratty 12-year-old son (Alfred Lutter) and a very uncertain future. Her pursuit of broken dreams lands her a waitressing job in an Arizona diner, where she befriends foul-mouthed Flo (Diane Ladd) and meets and falls in love with a divorced farmer (Kris Kristofferson). With absolute authenticity of emotion and incident, Alice--which earned Burstyn a well-deserved Oscar® and features supporting roles for future Taxi Driver costars Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel--conveys a then-timely sense of strength and endurance from a single mother in desperate times. There have been several similar dramas made since 1974, but Alice (which inspired the popular TV sitcoms Alice and Flo) is still the best. Trivia buffs: Look closely for Ladd's daughter--a very young Laura Dern--and Scorsese as background extras in the diner scenes. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Making-of featurette "Second Chances"

Product Details

  • Actors: Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristofferson, Mia Bendixsen, Alfred Lutter III, Billy Green Bush
  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Writers: Robert Getchell
  • Producers: Audrey Maas, David Susskind, Sandra Weintraub
  • Format: Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000286RO8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,497 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Adam Dukovich on September 17, 2006
Format: DVD
There is a scene in the film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore which sums up the entire film. It is the scene in which Alice (Ellen Burstyn), newly-widowed and desperate to get a job, convinces a bar owner to see her perform across the street (the owner doesn't even have a piano in his bar). Reluctantly, he comes, and Alice sings the old Sinatra ballad, "When Your Lover Has Gone." It is a testament to Burstyn's acting that this scene is so hauntingly beautiful, and one senses a personal connection that she has with this song, it almost sounds as if it were written just for her. And the emotions that come through in this scene--pain, loss, but also a great deal of hope--are essentially the film in spades.

It is almost passe to mourn the passing of the cinema of the 1970s, but this is exactly the sort of movie that was made then but isn't now. It is a penetrating, intensely personal but unceasingly honest portrait of a single mother's struggle to survive. Even though several decades have passed, the story remains timely because it is ultimately the story of humanity, and will have resonance for anyone who has had to leave the familiar and try to make it on their own. Some might dismiss it as an extended metaphor for feminism (which it is) but it is also much more than that--it cuts far deeper, but it is ultimately a very humanistic film.

I can't stop singing this movie's praises. It inspires without being "inspirational". It is not an exultation of the human spirit, but rather the embodiment of it. It never sounds a hollow, false, or obvious note, but rather sticks with utter realism throughout, and as a result is immensely satisfying. I would highly recommend the movie to anyone who appreciates a good drama that doesn't unfold along the expected path.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" tells the story of a woman who attempts to forge her own path following her husband's sudden death. The general concept of a woman having her own career and not just being a housewife certainly isn't as radical today as it was when this first came out in 1974, but "Alice..." nevertheless remains a powerful drama thanks to thoroughly terrific performances, and to that trademark Scorsese grittiness.

You can tell that while filming this movie, Ellen Burstyn really WAS Alice Hyatt--her performance is brilliant and flawlessly convincing. Alice's husband Donald (Billy "Green" Bush) dies early in the film in a traffic accident, and it becomes apparent that Alice relied on his financial support while not really being in love him. As we see in the dreamlike opening scene, Alice had aspired to be a singer as a child, a dream that she let fall by the wayside in favor of a typical role as a housewife. With her husband out of the picture, Alice has an 'everything-must-go' type garage sale, sells the house, and hits the road, leaving Socorro, New Mexico with her often annoying, yet sharp 11-year-old son Tommy (Alfred Lutter).

When in Phoenix, a sympathetic bar owner is impressed enough by Alice's audition to hire her to play piano and sing, leading to her meeting of Ben Eberhardt, a character brilliantly portrayed by Harvey Keitel. Ben displays a certain laidback charm, and Alice, who deep down does want to have a man around, falls for him, only to discover that he's already married and prone to fits of violence. Keitel is absolutely devastating in the unforgettable "break in" scene that occurs at the motel Alice and Tommy are staying at, a scene which prompts Alice to get out of town immediately.
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Format: DVD
A dream-like sequence begins this film with Alice, looking very much like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, fantasizing about becoming a singer in Monterey. This whimsical, nostalgic scene is abruptly ended when Alice exclaims, "If they don't like it they can blow it out their ass!" Suddenly the muted, highly stylized images of Oz become starkly realistic and we are no longer in dreamland! It's the early 70's and Alice, 27 years removed from her Dorothy period, is middle aged with a smartass difficult boy, and a not so smart husband she can't seem to please and who makes no attempt whatsoever to please her. Her dream is now somewhere over the rainbow until fate steps in, removing her husband and freeing Alice from drudgery. Now what? Broke, no job, no one to lean on and yet having a child that needs support, Alice sets out on the road with her dream as the ultimate destination. Soon Alice will discover that real life has a way of lowering expectations, and Martin Scorsese's film is a slice of real life. The struggle and uncertainty, especially for a woman in a man's world, can be daunting, but Alice is nothing if not determined. This film works due to the genuineness of the characters, the outstanding performance of Ellen Burstyn, and because it glorifies something everyone can strive for: small victories. Sometimes less is more.
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Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie when I was very young (at least 16 years ago). To me it was just a comedy film that launched "Alice" (which was one of my favorite shows at the time). I now saw it after all these years and was amazed by all that I saw this time around.
This is one of the best-acted films I've ever seen. Nothing more needs to be said about Ellen Burstyn here other than she still remains in my mind as one of the luminary, top-drawer actresses in American cinema these past 30+ years. She is flawless here; even breathtaking! And the performance by Alfred Lutter as her son Tommy was one of the finest performances I've seen by a teen/pre-teen. And of course there's Diane Ladd as the infamous Flo, who revels (and excels) in a small meaty role that usually wins Best Supporting Actress Oscars (she unfortunately lost). And Jodie Foster (as butch as can be) is a riot. And Kris Kristofferson gets his part just right, as do Harvey Keitel and the late Vic Tayback as the overbearing but lovable Mel.
I don't know if the perfect acting in this film is a tribute to the actors or to Martin Scorsese (or both). But this film shows that Martin Scorsese is truly a monumental talent. High praise also goes to Robert Getchell for a screenplay that is as hilarious as it is moving. The purity and spirit of this film is obvious and very affecting.
I think this is one of the great films of the 1970s. Be sure to put it on your list if you're a student of cinema. I think it is a landmark film in the human comedy/drama genre.
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