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4.5 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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(Jun 21, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Sam Elliot drew waves of accolades for his sensitive and sexy portrayal of aging lifeguard Rick Carlson, who's compelled to reassess his life and career as a professional lifeguard. To keep things status quo or pursue things status-conscious - that's Carlson’s dilemma. It's an agonizing decision compounded on one side by an adoring beach groupie (Quinlan) and on the other by a former high school flame (Archer) that's game for rekindling, but only if he's serious about trading in his swimsuits for three-piece suits.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Elliott, Anne Archer, Stephen Young, Parker Stevenson, Kathleen Quinlan
  • Directors: Daniel Petrie
  • Writers: Ron Koslow
  • Producers: Ron Silverman, Ted Mann
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (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: June 21, 2005
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0008KLVBO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,842 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lifeguard" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian E. Erland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 20, 2005
Format: DVD
With the approach of his fifteen year high school reunion and the possibilty of re-connecting with his teenage sweetheart (Anne Archer), an aging lifeguard (Sam Elliot) re-examines his career choice and single lifestyle.

This is my favorite Sam Elliot role and conversely probably his least well known. It's one of those perfect little gems where everything seems to work to perfection. Much like the main character, Lifeguard Rick, the viewer subtly touches on so many different emotions during this film that it's hard to define exactly what you're experiencing at any given time. But in the end you are left with a quiet contentment, an understanding and acceptance of who you are and what is the right choice for yourself no matter what the mainstream opinion might be.

Paul Williams' song "Time and Tide" was removed from the soundtrack when this movie hit the T.V. screen. I hope it has been restored on the DVD release, it just wouldn't be the same movie without it.

Update 06/22/05: The DVD came out yesterday. I bought it and watched last night. All is well, the song is back. Thanks Paramount!
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Format: DVD
It's amazing to me which films endure and which don't. After 40 years, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" looks like a relic from another era, and it's considered an all-time classic. Yet 30 years after it's release, Daniel Petrie's minor 1976 film "Lifeguard" looks as good now as it did upon its release, and remains as timely and vital as ever, even though noone would consider it a classic of its era.

Actually, on the big screen, "Lifeguard" resembled a glorified TV movie. On TV, however, it looks great, especially in this wonderful widescreen transfer. And it serves as a reminder that sometimes small, heartfelt films with modest aspirations can endure and be effective long after the same era's pretentious and overblown message pictures. "Lifeguard" could be described as "Baywatch" with brains, but its much more than that. How wonderful it is to see a movie set in Southern California and on the beach where the beachgoers look like real people and not surgically-altered superbabes. And although all of the featured lifeguards are men, you get the idea if they hired a woman, she'd look like Alexandra Paul and not Pamela Anderson. Even the women star Sam Elliott gets involved with look like real, average women--future Oscar nominees Kathleen Quinlan and Anne Archer chief among them. Believe me, it's a real treat to watch normal people onscreen for a change.

Elliott stars as Rick, a career lifeguard who is beginning another summer on the beach, with a new assistant/trainee (Parker Stevenson). He befriends a lonely teenager (Quinlan) who has just moved to L.A. from San Diego (and who has an obvious crush on him), has a few one-night stands and meets his parents for dinner, whereas his father lets him know he's tired of his son wasting his life at the beach.
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Format: VHS Tape
"LIFEGUARD" is one of the freshest, most poignant studies of REAL choices in REAL life I have ever seen in a Hollywood film. The film's topic transcends it's age. I have seen it many times during it's 23 year history (including it's debut) and remain convinced Sam Elliot's portrayal of Rick Carlson, an aging California ocean-lifeguard, is superb! - Daniel Petrie couldn't have found a better leading male roll. There is a 'mystery' to Rick which Elliot portrays sublimbly and expertly. Securely caught in the net of indecision between 'doing what he wants' and 'wanting what everyone else wants him to do', he sits on the fence 'playing the game' with all the emotional ignobilities a 'hunk' has to contend with while making a serious effort to find his own priorities in life -- only Sam Elliot could have captured the 'subtle' intensity of indecision in Rick's character.
The production gave Anne Archer (his Hi-school beau) and Kathleen Quinlan (his under-age beach lover) a huge step-up in their movie careers - and they were excellent in the film. Even Sharon Weber's roll as Rick's 'Stewie' was a dash of ingenuity - Weber was totally believable and had the talent to make 'big-time money' in her all-too-short career -- another Hollywood 'should-have-been'.
I've always enjoyed immensely watching Sam Elliot on the big screen - he's always had a "Gabel-ian presence" (when he talks, you listen!). I only wish he'd had more 'film exposure' in his early career. He continues to chose wisely his characters, even in B-grade films, and still has an on-screen magnetism unmatched by many of today's shallower, much-ballyhooed male performers (including Hanks, Willis and Gibson) - imagine Elliot in Tom Selleck's starring roll as MAGNUM, PI!! (...
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Format: VHS Tape
The story goes that Daniel Petrie was having problems casting the lead role in his new movie, "Lifeguard." His wife had recently seen "Frogs" and she suggested that he take a look at a young actor in that movie named Sam Elliott. Bless Mrs. Petrie! Sam Elliott is so right for his role in "Lifeguard" that it's difficult to imagine the movie without him. In fact, though he's done some good work since then, nothing in Sam Elliott's career quite matches his performance here though, unfortunately, the movie didn't attract much notice when it was released back in 1975. Perhaps the audience which might have appreciated it was discouraged by an ad campaign which made "Lifeguard" look a bit like those "Beach Blanket Bingo" movies.
Actually, "Lifeguard" is a thoughtful study of a man who's happy in a job which others consider beneath him. At one point he's tempted to change his life in order to conform to others' expectations, but by the end of the movie he's decided to be his own man and to follow a course which satisfies him. This philosophy has echoes of the "do-your-own-thing" mood of the 1960's but it's presented here in a quieter, more mature form.
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