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Bound for Glory

4.2 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

By strumming his guitar with words of inspiration, Woody Guthrie instilled hope in the hearts of downtrodden Americans everywhere during the 1930s Depression. Now, the extraordinary life of this legendary balladeer and poet is captured in this "elegantly crafted, hugely beautiful and interesting film, which reveals loving integrity in every frame" (Los Angeles Times)! Winner* of two OscarsÂ(r) and starring David Carradine, Bound for Glory features "magnificent cinematography" (New York) and an amazing score adaptation. It's 1936, and the Great Depression is forcing droves of people from the dust bowls of Texas to the alluring green fields of California...and unemployed sign-painter Woody Guthrie is among them. Determined to find a better life out west, Guthrie hitchhikes, hops freight trains and sings his way across America, uplifting the spirits of the poor with his homespun wisdom and fiercely fighting for a better life for all. Featuring classic Guthrie tunes including "This Land Is Your Land," this "moving, inspiring" (The Hollywood Reporter) portrait of an American icon is "one of [the] year's most admirable and triumphant surprises" (Los Angeles Times)! *1976: Cinematography, Music (Adaptation Score)

Special Features

  • Collectible Trivia Booklet

Product Details

  • Actors: David Carradine, Ronny Cox, Melinda Dillon, Gail Strickland, John Lehne
  • Directors: Hal Ashby
  • Writers: Robert Getchell, Woody Guthrie
  • Producers: Charles Mulvehill, Harold Leventhal, Jeffrey M. Sneller, Robert F. Blumofe
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: February 29, 2000
  • Run Time: 147 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792843568
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,684 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bound for Glory" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Woody Guthrie is a legendary American figure. His prolific song writing, grass roots activism, and even his influence on other song writers like Bob Dylan and Steve Earle are only partially responsible for that legend. Woody represents a classic American type - the ramblin' man with no fixed home who champions the underdog wherever the wind may blow him, and therein lies the heart of the legend. This film captures that aspect of Woody superbly.
`Bound for Glory' covers Woody's life from just before he left dust bowl Texas to his first sojourn into the sugar bowl of California. It expertly captures the harsh conditions and brutal treatment that inspired many of Woody's songs. From dust storms, desperate migrations via highway and railway, to the squalid conditions of California migrant camps, this film recreates the world that Woody saw.
David Carradine gives a career best performance as Woody. He captures Guthrie's ambiguous nature - from his genuine concern for the downtrodden and oppressed to his irresponsibility in shirking his obligations to his own family. His performance powerfully embodies Guthrie's fierce independence, restlessness, and gut-level dissatisfaction with the system.
This film is a superb addition to the Guthrie legend. If you have ever been moved by Woody's songs, consider it a must see. I highly recommend it.

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By A Customer on February 11, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, for months I was frightened away from purchasing this movie, because one reviewer a year ago said the DVD soundtrack was such a bad transfer it was difficult to hear the dialog at certain points. Finally I decided I wanted to see this classic film so bad, I'd risk the bad sound. To my surprise and delight, I discovered no problem at all with the sound -- and I'm usually ultra-critical of fuzzy sound, which normally drives me up the wall. If, in fact, there was any sound problem on early prints of the DVD version, it appears to have now been corrected in the later prints. The viewer discovers belatedly, at the end of one music sequence, that it was tinny-sounding on purpose, because one of the characters was listening on an old-fashioned wind-up phonograph -- a nuance easy to miss if you blinked in the wrong place. In a few other sequences, the movie appears to utilize early-day recordings by the real Guthrie -- which helps rather than hinders the impact. True, the soundtrack technology in this 1976 movie is not up to modern-day Dolby Surround Sound standards -- but it's amazingly good for a 25-year-old soundtrack. Relax, and enjoy the Academy Award-winning Depression Era photography of Haskel Wexler that will make you feel you've stepped into a Walker Evans photograph of 1936 Dust Bowl refugees fleeing to the supposed golden land of California. Almost every scene is suitable for framing. Not to be missed. A "must buy" for collectors.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had the pleasure of being an extra in the scenes filmed in Isleton, CA (the migrant camp scenes). It's impossible for me to watch this film and not see all the action taking place behind camera and between takes. David and Ron were wonderful, as was Randy Quaid. They had fun with this movie and with many of the principle group of extras. We spent a lot of time playing songs on guitars, harmonicas and anything else that could be used as an instrument. The movie is a must for any archive if you like documentaries or movies that teach a part of American history. I highly recommend it.
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Format: DVD
This one was hard to rate. I read "Bound for Glory" recently and stumbled onto this DVD at Netflix this past week (8/15/2007). This film was only loosely--and I mean very loosely--based on that Woodie Guthrie autobiographical chronicle. Granted, the book was a rambling, sprawling account of Woodie's travels and trepidations from the Oklahoma to California to Chicago and New York during the dust bowl days of the 30's and would be as daunting an undertaking to cinematize as the Bible (maybe more so). And I'm sure that fact and fantasy were flung around with some abandon in Woodie's book. After all, what was Woodie if not a master story teller?

So, what is good? The cinematography is superb. I could taste the dust and smell the box cars, and feel the heat of the southwest sun as well as feel the awesome power, beauty, and vitality of this nation the way is once was. David Carradine is not only a fine idiosyncratic actor, but an accomplished guitar player and singer. Randy Quaid put a lot of power into his relatively minor role as a migrant dust bowl refugee. Melinda Dillon, Ron Cox and the rest of the cast painted compelling and believable portraits. The music was a good balance of restraint and indulgence. I like Woodie Guthrie's songs a lot and the various artists who contributed to the film score were wonderful.

What wasn't so good? I get the feeling that a lot of permissions couldn't be procured for this film. Where was Cisco Houston and who was "Ozark?" And why the lack of original Woodie Guthrie renditions? The movie was long--too long in some places and maddeningly skimpy in others. Details very often inaccurate, incomplete, or totally made-up.

Bottom line: Rent it and take it for what it is--a good movie about a complicated man.
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