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4.2 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A powerful, unflinching glimpse into the dark, bizarre world of the pornography industry. George C. Scott (Academy Award(r) Winner, Best Actor, Patton 1971) gives a strong, sensitive portrayal of a deeply religious Midwestern businessman whose daughter, while on a church-sponsored outing, runs away from home. He hires an oddball detective (Peter Boyle, TV's "Everybody Loves Raymond"), who learns that the daughter has been making cheap sex films. When the father realizes that he can no longer trust the detective, he decides to hunt for his daughter himself. Posing as a porno film producer casting a new movie, he gathers clues with ferocious determination. His treacherous journey gives hima fast, hard lesson in big-city life and a close-up view of the world of porn, its victims and exploiters. Finally, with the help of a prostitute, he locates his daughter. But is it too late?


Although it never achieved the classic status of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver or the greater critical acclaim of his own Blue Collar, Hardcore remains a vital film from the early career of writer-director Paul Schrader. It's a solid companion piece to Taxi Driver (and uses much of the same crew, including cinematographer Michael Chapman), with a similar descent-into-hell storyline. Schrader's strict Calvinist upbringing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, provides the semi-autobiographical launching point for a journey into the dark heart of pornography and prostitution, beginning when a stern, morally upright Calvinist father (George C. Scott) learns that his teenage daughter has vanished during a church-sponsored visit to California. She's a runaway on a rapidly downward spiral, and Scott recruits a sleazy private detective (Peter Boyle) and a sympathetic porno-actress (Season Hubley) to try and find her. Although Schrader's much-criticized ending doesn't ring entirely true, there's much to admire here, from Scott's memorably anguished performance to the vivid authenticity of the film's seedy, threatening locations and the conflicting moral issues raised in an atmosphere of hopeless depravity. As its title suggests, Hardcore is a potent, uncompromising film, definitely not for prudes or underage viewers. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Season Hubley, Peter Boyle, George C. Scott
  • Directors: Paul Schrader
  • Producers: Buzz Feitshans
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Japanese
  • 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: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 2004
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002JZT5K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,032 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hardcore" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 15, 2004
Format: DVD
Businessman Jake Van Doren's(George C. Scott in a riveting, brilliant performance) life and his deeply held religious beliefs are shaken to their core. Van Doren's teenage daughter doesn't return from a church outing. Worried, Van Doran hires a private detective Andy Mast(Peter Boyle)to help track her down. What Mast returns with shakes Van Doren Calvinist faith. His daughter has been appearing in cheap porno movies. Van Doren realizes the only way to bring his daughter back from this seamy, sordid world is if he goes to get her himself. He poses as a porno producer to get leads that will take him to his daughter in hopes that he can get her back before something truly horrible happens to her.

This riveting drama from Paul Schrader ("Taxi Driver")clearly draws from some of Schrader's own convictions and religious beliefs. His upbringing as a Calvinist influences and informs the character of Van Doren. Scott, Boyle "Outland", "Everybody Loves Raymond"), Dick Sargant ("Bewitched"), Season Hubley and Marc Alaimo ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine")The DVD transfer looks crisp and sharp. Unfortunately, the age of the film and the film stock means that it does look grainy but that actually works in favor of the story capturing the harsh look of porno movies and giving a gritty reality to the film.

There's no extras on the film which is a pity. I would love to have heard Schrader's comments on the making of the film 25 years later. While George C. Scott isn't around any longer, Season Hubley and Peter Boyle could also have provided a commentary track (and it would have been less expensive to produce than a featurette on the making of the film). It seems to me I recall a vintage promo piece that was aired on TV during its theatrical run.
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Format: VHS Tape
Schrader's HARDCORE has been one of my favorite films ever since I first saw it nearly 25 years ago. Scott is as good as I've ever seen him, and Season Hubley makes me wish she'd had this kind of material for more of her career. But speaking of material, it's Paul Schrader's script and directing that make this thing run. Though the ending is a bit contrived, there are scenes that seem so *real*; there are others that seem so *surreal*. There are others that seem to be both, and those are the ones that always get me. Schrader's Calvinist background collides violently with the latter 20th century, and the results are frequently amazing and quite thought-provoking. For its seedy subject matter, this is a radically religious, moral, and ethical film, and a worthy successor to Schrader's TAXI DRIVER script. Get this title on DVD if it's ever available in that format! A must for every serious film collection!
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Format: DVD
Hadn't seen this movie in quite a few years. I thought I would check it out when it came out on DVD. This is a story about a Michigan man who is a single parent and lives in a good Christian extended family that he is very close to. His 15 year old daughter inexplicably runs away from home which leads the father to hire a private eye to find her. After several agonizing months the private eye comes to Grand Rapids and takes the father to a dirty movie theater he has rented out and shows him a pornographic film that his daughter is in. The father then goes on a quest to the big city to find his daughter.

George C. Scott is the star of the movie as the anguished father. Peter Boyle also shines as the private investigator. This movie is rated R for obvious reasons. It is a kind of fish out of water movie as this devout Christian father plummets into the depths of the seedy underbelly of the adult entertainment business in the 70's. It is a search that takes him to the most nasty of places, peep shows, massage parlors, S&M places and to the set of porno movies. He also meets and deals with all the people that are a part of this world. Scotts portrayal of the father is fascinating. Seeing him cringe and then become completely undone as he sees his daughters fate on screen is a fathers worst nightmare and he brings that thru to you. He also is like a powder keg as he deals with these scummy people knowing that his daughters life is at risk.

Boyle is the P.I. who is totally grey through out most of the movie. He is self serving and out for his own interest but he is also an ally to Scott who knows the underbelly of the big city and who and where to look. But he also has his own motives and is hardly a white knight who feels little sympathy for the fathers plite.
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Format: DVD
In this movie, we see the dichotomy and similarities of people who live "hardcore."

First we see the "hardcore" world of straightlaced Jake VanDorn (George C. Scott.) He lives in a world so structured that everything in his life is alphabetized in his hardcore religious faith. It is such a world that drove away his wife and drove away his daughter to seek warmth in another world equally as hardcore- the sleazy world of the sex industry.

These two worlds collide in the movie "Hardcore." The worlds are completely alien to each other. There is no compromise in either of the worlds. Although the whore Scott befriends and uses (Season Hubley) attempts to draw similarities in these worlds, (Jake feels so little about sex that he dose not even do it and she feels so little about sex that she dose not care who she does it with,) both attiudes are extremely jaded.

You get the feeling of nostalgic timebase in this movie. This was before the videotape and internet sex revolution. This was the times of the smaller church congregations, before the 10,000 seat megachurches. This was before the times when men could see on the satellite television what used to be shown in peepshows and 8 mm films.

lots of symbolism was shown in this film. My favorite example was after the snuff film producer "Rattan" was shot. He stumbles down the sidewalk bleeding to death then smashes his head in a window display of a porn theater. The next window display has a pornographic image, and the writing above it "love act". Could it portray the death of Rattan as a love act in his twisted world?
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