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The Carpetbaggers

4.5 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The Carpetbaggers is the kind of trash classic most people are too embarrassed to admit they actually enjoy. But this Harold Robbins adaptation is so cheerfully vulgar, it's hard not to have a good time--especially given the thinly veiled portrait of Howard Hughes at its center. George Peppard plays the heel-hero, who founds an airline company in the 1920s and buys a movie studio in the 1930s, crushing friends and mistresses along the way. The high cheese factor is aided by the good-time cast: Carroll Baker as Peppard's hot stepmom, Bob Cummings (quite funny) as a cynical agent, and Elizabeth Ashley, who married Peppard, in her debut--uncharacteristically, as a good girl. The sad note is Alan Ladd, looking and sounding very end-of-the-line in his final role, as a man's man cowboy star. Elmer Bernstein's swaggering score helps goose the action along, but the rest is thick melodrama indeed. --Robert Horton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: George Peppard, Alan Ladd, Carroll Baker, Robert Cummings, Martha Hyer
  • Directors: Edward Dmytryk
  • Writers: Harold Robbins, John Michael Hayes
  • Producers: Joseph E. Levine
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: April 22, 2003
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008CMQZ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,270 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Carpetbaggers" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
What a shame! This wonderfully trashy movie deserved better treatment on DVD! When Paramount released "The Carpetbaggers" on LaserDisc years ago, they used the "censored" US version instead of the more "racy" European cut. I was one who wrote them about this, but apparently no one at the office took notice or cared, so here is the US cut once again. What is missing is Ms. Baker's nude back sitting in her budoir when her stepson comes in to tell her that she is now a widow. Ms. Baker's almost nude behind is also displayed within the short montage in Paris before she goes down with the chandelier; in the scene missing she poses on a divan for a group of painters. (This image was even depicted on an American lobby card! People must have wondered where it went!) Not much to cry about maybe, but fun in any case! If these scenes were not to be found in the Paramount vaults in Hollywood, they could have asked for them from any surviving European print - existing for sure in decent condition in state archives in both Sweden and Denmark.
Now, please let us have other Paramount trash classics on DVD from this era: "Harlow", "Sylvia" and "Where Love Has Gone", to mention just a few! And please make sure they're mastered from first class COMPLETE prints! Is this asking too much?
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie starts out with a bang in the first five minutes. Itkept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire movie. It is a movie that I have remembered since I saw it the very first time years ago. George Peppard and Carol Baker are at thier top performance levels, and the movie keeps moving with intricate subplots going at all times. Many reviews mention the tycoon who is cruel and calculating, the insights into the movie business, complex personal relationships, but few mention the situations that created these characteristics in him, one being a incident that is never totally shown or explained, but partially shown then implied, not explained thoroughly. This particular subplot may then get missed and is psychologically of great impact if one looks for and finds it.
For music fans, the soundtrack is fabulous, I have had it on Lp for almost 15 or more years, and it is one of very few soundtracks where I am willing to just listen to the music without always seeing the movie, it is wonderful all on it's own. Just on it's own, the music is well worth buying the movie. I sincerely appreciate Amazon for still carrying what many might consider an old, and outdated movie. I don't believe times have changed that much, much of it would still apply today. For anyone that likes phychological plots and mystery this is a movie for you, even if not, the other subplots make it a very worthwhile movie to have. I would recommend it to anyone, and especially George Peppard fans. END
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By A Customer on November 28, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
C'mon. Admit it. Embarrasing though it may be, you probably have one. One of those films that by almost any standard of good taste is considered to be pure trash -- but you adore it just the same. Well, "The Carpetbaggers" is my source of shame and delight. Yes, it's cheap and tawdry, unintentionally laughable at times, and held together (barely) by a script with many a line in need of a rewrite. It sports hair styles and costumes that, although undeniably lavish, are often anachronistic to the 1920's and 1930's (those decades in which the story is set). Performances range from extreme and over-the-top to downright comatose. But this early 1960's contribution to the breakdown of the American cinema's once strict moral code never loses its ability to do what Hollywood does best -- to entertain. It's a film filled with a grand potpourri of characters ranging from an arrogant and ruthless Jason Cord (a wooden George Peppard) to a lushly lascivious Rina Marlowe (a questionably sexy Carroll Baker), from a charmingly unctuous (i.e., villanous) Dan Pierce (Bob Cummings) to a bubbling and bouncy Monica Winthrop Cord (a totally engaging Elizabeth Ashley). Classic character actors and actresses (e.g., Charles Lane, Tom Tully, Audrey Totter) abound. And Elmer Bernstein's jazz score boasts a main theme that is pulsatingly decadent. Yes, "The Carpetbaggers" is all flash and fire with very little substance. But I love it. Can't help myself.
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Format: DVD
"The Carpetbaggers" is a fantastic adaptation of Harold Robbins' bestseller, very racy for its era, with dialogue that is often rare and juicy, a superb cast, and great direction by Edward Dmyrtryk. The character of Jonas Cord is loosely based on the life of Howard Hughes, and it is interesting to compare this film with Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator." Both George Peppard as Cord and Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes give brilliant performances, but overall, I find this film far more satisfying, and certainly a lot more entertaining.

Peppard was at the height of his career in this film, and it is perhaps his best. It gives him a wide range of emotions, as well as the physicality and toughness he was so good at. Others that shine in the large cast are Alan Ladd in what was to be his last film as Nevada Smith, Carroll Baker as the sultry Rina, Robert Cummings as Nevada's slick and slimey manager. Elizabeth Ashely as Mrs. Jonas Cord (and who soon after this film was to become the real life Mrs. Peppard), Martin Balsam as the owner of a film studio, and Lew Ayres, as second in command in Jonas Cord's empire, has some of the best lines in the film.

The pacing of the film never lags, and there is a brutal fight between Jonas and Nevada, one of those screen fights that is always fascinating to watch. The Nevada Smith character is quite complex, and was to spawn a "prequel" 2 years later, starring Steve McQueen. The cinematography by Joseph MacDonald is marvelous, the Edith Head gowns lavishly glamorous, and very important to the success of this film is the fabulous jazzy score, which is one of Elmer Bernstein's finest. In my youth I devoured all of Robbins' books, loved the well-written sleaze of them, and loved this film in its theatrical release. I've since watched it repeatedly, and find more to enjoy in it with each viewing. Total running time is 150 minutes.
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