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Salvador [VHS]

4.0 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Woods, James Belushi, Michael Murphy, John Savage, Elpidia Carrillo
  • Directors: Oliver Stone
  • Writers: Oliver Stone, Rick Boyle
  • Producers: Bob Morones, Brad H. Aronson, Derek Gibson, Gerald Green, John Daly
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Original recording reissued, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
  • VHS Release Date: May 2, 2000
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792845145
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,256 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

James Woods gives his "fullest, most humane, most emotional performance"(New York Magazine) to date in this "gritty, harrowing and bold thriller"(Gannett Newspapers). It's 1980. Young men, women and children are being brutally killed in a bloody civil war in El Salvador. It'sa horrific setting...but a perfect one for Richard Boyle, a sleazy war photojournalist whose careerneeds a jumpstart. Armed with his camera, Boyle joins the front lines in an attempt to capture atrocious-but-valuable images of pain and horror. But with each picture he takes, he catches a tragic side of humanity that ignites his long-buried compassion. And he unexpectedly discovers something thatwill change him forever: his soul. *1986 Actor (James Woods); Original Screenplay

Amazon.com

Director Oliver Stone (Platoon, JFK) offers up this brilliant, engrossing true-life account of the violent civil war in El Salvador as told through the perspective of a has-been journalist trying for one last grasp at glory and finding the true horror of war. James Woods is freelance journalist Richard Boyle, who leaves San Francisco broke with his drug-addled, disc-jockey buddy (Jim Belushi) to cover the escalating conflict and hopefully return to his former stature as a war correspondent. What he finds is a nation torn by random violence, shifting ideologies, poverty, and the malevolent influence of the United States. Boyle tries to make sense of the brutality he sees while extracting his girlfriend from the war zone and saving his own life. Featuring John Savage (The Deer Hunter) as an earnest photojournalist, this is a fascinating and riveting depiction of the bloody strife that tore apart a nation and mirrored the disillusionment of the Vietnam era. --Robert Lane

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 6, 2003
Format: DVD
James Boyle, the journalist who actually lived this fascinating story, wrote this 1986 screenplay along with Oliver Stone, who also directed it. It takes place in El Salvador during in the early 1980s. War was raging and, depending upon which version you believe, it was either a Civil war against the military government or a potential communist takeover. People are being murdered every day and it's an awful place to be.
James Woods stars as James Boyle, a freelance journalist who had formerly been a reporter in Vietnam. His life in California is spinning out of control. He has no money, his wife has left him, and he craves the excitement of being where the action is. He and his disk jockey friend, Doctor Rock, played by James Belushi, drive down to El Salvador, drinking and drugging and spinning bad jokes all the way. At first it all seems like fun.
Then reality hits. And the two friends are plunged into the violence. There's one scene after another that made me cringe in horror. And yet, James Woods is quite a con man and keeps getting himself and his friend out of scrapes by his fast talking and former connections. He falls in love with a local woman, tells it like it is to the American Ambassador, and keeps getting into trouble. There's lots of action and lots of people getting killed. And yet, it's mainly about the personalities of the two lead characters. This adds a light touch to the horror that surrounds them.
It's a fast paced film without one dull moment. I couldn't stop watching and wondering what would happen next. The DVD extras feature a long documentary about the making of the film. That was interesting background and added to my enjoyment although by then I was dozing off. During the actual film, however, falling asleep would have been impossible.
Highly recommended.
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Format: DVD
This is without question the best film that Oliver Stone has ever or will ever create. Same goes for James Woods and James Belushi's performances. Stone does a marvelous job of introducing the viewer to the cultural and political changes as they drive south with Woods and Belushi in an old Mustang convertible. From that harrowing first moment that they have "arrived" in El Salvador, the film never lets up its intensity. Woods deserved a best actor Oscar for this role. A brave, poignant, and important film that manages to scare the hell out of you, entertain you, AND make you think. Welcome to El Salvador. Bravo!
Regarding the Special Edition DVD, the extra features are EXCELLENT! The "making of" of documentary was fascinating (if a tad vulgar). Also, you will appreciate Woods' performance all the more when you see how prudish he is in real life, and how much he despised the real life Richard Boyle (not to mention Oliver Stone). A great value for these extra features.
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By A Customer on June 23, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
No, this is not a masterpiece, but it makes for highlyengrossing viewing. Viewers must be reminded that this film is not aHollywood production, but an independent film. Stone wrote, got the funding and shot this gutsy film as an independent. As an "indie" film, Salvador is among the very best that I've seen.
The "Abbot & Costello go to war" plot is a bit offensive, but ultimately effective: when the film was released, and today still, most Americans didn't know what was really going on in El Salvador, and this film manages to encapsulate the events leading up to the war by placing two naive Americans as witnesses. And yes, all of the events depicted in the film really happened, and they all happened before the war in El Salvador actually started in 1981.
I am from El Salvador, and I know that most Salvadorans hate the film for the relentless violence that it depicts. To be fair to Stone, the film depicts real events that took place within a period of 12 months (1980-81) the most violent period in the history of that country (20,000 were killed that year, mostly by death squads). To be fair to Salvadorans, the films misses on the cultural nuances: Salvadoran women do not parade naked in the beach and no, death squads were not killers only because they were people with pathological/physical problems, but because of their political and ideological views, unfortunately. Perhaps this is the question to ponder: why was the US even involved in this war and why did they supported people with such twisted ideologies?
I also know that the left often complained about the portrayal of the leftist guerrillas in the film. But I happen to know that even in this aspect Stone deserves credit.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
"Salvador" is a gritty, unrestrained trip into the chaos that is civil war, not just in the country it portrays, but civil war in any culture. It is Oliver Stone's first major movie and it vibrates with the passion and vibrant drive seen in his later works. This movie is so powerful and effective precisely because it feels REAL. There are scenes that almost have a documentary feeling to them. The camera work by Robert Richardson is gritty and rich at the same time while the screenplay by Stone and the real Richard Boyle is filled with wild moments, powerful scenes and hilarious comic touches. The performances are grade-A. James Woods is wicked but with a touching heart in this performance, it's probably his best. Jim Belushi is brilliantly funny. But "Salvador" aside from being a great entertainment, is also an important film document of the realities of war, of what happened in El Salvador and of the realities of what happened there. Like Stone's Vietnam movies, "Salvador" opens the eyes and ears and mind to what really was going on. It is an effective movie about events that happen in little corners of the world.
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