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The Last Detail

4.4 out of 5 stars 147 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Jack Nicholson is at his very best in this highly-acclaimed dramatic comedy about three sailors on the loose. Two hard-boiled career petty officers, Buddusky (Nicholson) and Mulhall (Otis Young), aredetailed to take a young sailor, Meadows (Randy Quaid), from a Virginia Naval Base to a New Hampshire Naval Prison to serve an eight-year sentence for a trivial offense. Buddusky and Mulhall take a liking to Meadows and are determined to show him a good time on their journey north. Their escapades begin in Washington where they narrowly escape a bar fight, then get blind drunk in their hotel room. In New York, they tangle with some Marines, and in Boston, Buddusky takes Meadows to a brothel forhis first sexual experience. Finally, after reluctantly turning in Meadows, Buddusky and Mulhall realize they are as much prisoners of their own world as Meadows now is of his.

Special Features

  • Trailers for As Good As It Gets, A Few Good Men & Wolf

Product Details

  • Actors: Otis Young, Clifton James, Randy Quaid, Carol Kane, Jack Nicholson
  • Directors: Hal Ashby
  • Producers: Gerald Ayres
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, DVD, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Columbia Tristar Home Video / Mill Creek
  • DVD Release Date: December 14, 1999
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000022TS6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,777 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Last Detail" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Heinrich on January 12, 2003
Format: DVD
This is one of my favorites, but it's also one of the most difficult movies to describe to people. Yes, it's about two experienced guys in the Navy who are assigned to escort a young charge (whom they don't know) to Naval prison. And yes, they have some fun along the way, knowing how sad the situation really is. But there's an indescribable something about "The Last Detail" that just gets to me on a pretty deep level. First of all, it's the acting. I mean if you ever question Jack Nicholson's talent and depth as an actor, then watch this movie. I beg to argue about who on earth could have ever embodied this role this deeply. I don't think any of the other big and great actors of his time could have pulled it off this perfectly (Gene Hackman, Al Pacino, George C. Scott, Robert DeNiro). Also, Otis Young and Randy Quaid are pitch-perfect in their roles as well, though the movie clearly belongs to Nicholson. This is a GREAT PERFORMANCE!! It's the definition of one!
But in addition to the acting, the photography of the film is brilliant. It captures the times and places in a rather bleak yet very haunting way. The guys drinking beer in the parking garage in D.C. The three of them pressed into the small hotel room in D.C., along with all those empty beer bottles. Walking a quiet and snowy residential block in Camden, NJ. Walking the streets of nighttime NYC. Playing darts in a bar in NYC. Going to a late night party in an NYC apartment. Going to a Boston brothel. Trying to grill and have a picnic in the middle of a snowy park in Boston! I don't know if it's just my fascination with the time that causes me to find it so darn striking, but it just is. I find these scenes so haunting, and so REAL.
To me, those two things are what make this film so exceptional.
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By A Customer on November 5, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I spent four long years in the navy depicted in this movie. The bleakness, tawdriness, and general sense of third-rate emptiness capture perfectly the true experience of enlisted navy life as I knew it in the late sixties and early seventies. Nicholson plays the quintessential lifer: angry,ignorant, arrogant,full of himself and yet empty at the same time. He prides himself on his hostility and knows no real friends. This movie should be required watching for potential recruits.Forget the slogans and the posters; forget the action, romance, and comedy movies about navy life: this is the real thing! There's another side to the real experience that is captured with wry accuracy in this picture. A literature of profanity, with its unique vocabulary and syntax permeates and finally makes bearable life in uniform. The Last Detail is rich with this twisted art form based on the F-word. Watch the interaction early on between Nicholson and the chief master-at-arms in the transit barracks. They got it just right.
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Format: DVD
Directed by Hal Ashby, who made such powerful commentaries on life in America as SHAMPOO, COMING HOME, BEING THERE and the cult-favorite HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST DETAIL offers the story of three U.S. Navy sailors on a toot--and at the time of its 1973 release it was chiefly noted as the most profane film to achieve a mainstream release. The passage of time has dimmed that profanity's bite, but nothing can dim the power of its performances, it's darkly funny story, or the director's bitter vision of both life in the Navy and the urban decay of 1970s America.

Two Navy-lifers (Jack Nicholson and Otis Young) are ordered to escort a young sailor (Randy Quaid) to a military prison, where he will do eight years followed by dishonorable discharge for attempting to steal a charity jar containing forty dollars. Once the trip gets underway, they realize the young sailor is essentially an innocent--and they set out to show him a good time before he is locked away. And their idea of a good time ranges from a bout of hard drinking in a hotel room to a brawl in a men's restroom to an evening with New York hookers. Along the way, Nicholson and Young gradually realize that they are just as much in prison as Quaid will soon be--victims of their own ennui, serving out their sentences in a military that fosts coarseness, frustration, and mindless machisimo as a matter of course.

The performances are excellent throughout. This was the film that launched Nicholson to stardom--but it is also a film that allows us to see what Nicholson could do before he became immured in the trappings of his own fame and collapsed into self-characture: he is every bit as good here as he would be in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST and CHINATOWN.
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Format: DVD
I can't really say how much I love this movie. It's obvious strength is a powerful and moving performance by Jack Nicholson. Randy Quaid is also excellent. But the script - the lines reveal so much about the characters. The writing is strong enough to be a novel, the breadth is that expansive. I have a few favorite scenes, such as the bar scene and the restroom scene, but there is one that sticks in my throat every time I see this film. At various points in the picture, a cheery march is played on the soundtrack, obviously a sarcastic counterpoint to the inglorious life of an enlisted man stuck in a unforgiving system. Once the three main characters go through their "lost weekend" with the young prisoner, they are in snowy Portsmouth, with only a few precious hours before their charge must be turned over to the brig. By this time, Nicholson's character has developed such a fatherly attachment to the naive prisoner that he will grant him any last wish: even attempting to burn frozen wood on a campground so the three can have wieners. After they eat the hot dogs, there is a slow panning shot of a pristine snow covered park, not a soul in sight. A slow, mournful dirge plays on the soundtrack. It's the end of the line, fellas. The party's over and it's time to face harsh realities. Young charge is gonna be locked up for eight years and you two "mean [...]" are going right back into the love it or hate it lifestyle where your freedoms are few and far between. It's that slow pan, which ends on a shot of Jack Nicholson sniffling in the bitter cold and lamenting to his hard-nosed partner, that the young man whose spirits he tried to lift, will get pummeled and abused for a long chunk of time. It's the fear any parent has about their sensitive child entering the harshness of the world. If you have patience, if you can tell good acting from bad I recommend this film to you.
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