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Straw Dogs (Unrated Version) [Blu-ray]

4.1 out of 5 stars 218 customer reviews

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(Sep 06, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

A mathematician turns violent when Cornish brutes invade his home and rape his wife. Directed by Sam Peckinpah.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2011
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005DMXV8S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,031 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
People seem to love or hate this movie. I love it. Dustin Hoffman plays professor on "sabbatical" to write a book on astronomy and computers. There is some allusion to his having been driven to his sabbatical (or from his job) because of his refusal to take a stand over some undefined issue at his place of employment. In any case, he retreats to a farmhouse in rural England with his pretty wife, played by Susan George.
When some of the local underemployed thugs start bullying him--(The script and Peckinpah's direction of the actors hits bull's-eye here; having lived in England, I saw the same sort of behavior--punks all over, I guess, have mannerisms of bullying peculiar to their culture.)
The violent climax to this film is--you hate to say it--beautiful. It certainly isn't gorey by today's standards. This, perhaps, is what makes people so uncomfortable about this movie--their own reaction to the violence. Hoffman conveys wonderfully both the fear and the satisfaction his character is experiencing.
At one level, this film exists as a simple tale of revenge. At another level, the movie affirm's Peckinpah's vision of violence as a rite of manhood. Whether this rite is a regrettable one . . . well, that remains arguable, and this ambiguity is part of what makes this such a watchable, and re-watchable, movie.
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Format: DVD
Aside from the notoriety, and aside from the viciousness (the film leaves you most of all with a taste of viciousness in your mouth, a sour, bitter, metallic taste, akin to that feeling you get reading "The Tin Drum", the piece of metal stuck in the back of your throat), what you get from "Straw Dogs" is a manifestation of personal demons (specifically, Sam Peckinpah's personal demons, but also, both more generally and more acutely, masculine demons) and an exploration of a certain type of male sexuality.
To do the film justice, you need to plug your brain in. Which, on the surface, may not appear to be the case, because the story - what it is - is relatively simple. It's an English western.
David, a mathematician (Dustin Hoffman), is on sabbatical from the university where he teaches. He has left the states and returned with his wife Amy, (Susan George) to the tiny English village in which she grew up. From the word go, David has to contend with the fact that Amy has a history in the town. He also has to contend with the fact that she is younger than him, and bored. Her boredom serves as a distraction from the reason behind his sabbatical. Amy on the other hand has to live with a quiet, "odd" American who does not give her the attention she requires.
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Format: DVD
Straw Dogs is a controversial film. Some people hated it, others loved it. The fact is that Sam Peckinpah was a controversial man: in his films, violence was a necessary test that every man had to face in order to prove his manhood. Peckinpah was a hard man, and his vision of life and humanity is shown in Straw Dogs, you may agree with him or not, but you will have to accept the basic concept: in the heart of every coward, burns a beast, a straw dog. And Peckinpah says in his movie that when you are caught in a dangerous situation, you change, and you are capable to kill or do anything in order to survive. No one did it better than this filmmaker, maybe Boorman with Deliverance, but Straw Dogs is a cruel testimony of the cruelty that common men are capable to do.Hoffman is terrific, and in the end, when his house and wife are in danger, his whole coward character changes, and he turns into a explosive and brutal murderer. Susan George carries on a difficult part, the scene of the rape is one of the most shocking and complex images of the seventies.In the end, you will understand why the tagline says that in the eyes of every coward burns a straw dog.
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Format: DVD
About the infamous rape scene...

It's important to bear in mind that this is a work of fiction, not a documentary. In fiction, people do not necessarily behave in ways that people do in real life. It is, for instance, highly unlikely that the meek Dustin Hoffman character could successfully slaughter a half dozen brawny opponents, but that's the story.

The second point to remember is that the rape scene comes in two parts, with two different sexual couplings. The first is merely a "fantasy rape scenario", while the second underlines that point by showing a far more realistic example of rape.

How does fantasy enter into the scenario? Although some may deny it, studies have routinely shown that 'forced sex' fantasies are popular with both genders. Nancy Friday, in "The Secret Garden", documented the popularity of such fantasies with women. Anyone who has ever read a typical romance novel from the 1970s (the time this movie was made) realizes that the 'rape' scenario has played a key role in women's erotica.

This does not mean that women want to be raped (nor that men want to rape them), merely that many women are sexually aroused by fantasizing about non-violent situations where they find themselves overpowered and 'forced' to do what they really want to do. In these fantasy situations, the women are really in total control, of course, because the fantasy takes place only in their own minds. The fantasy 'rapist' does only what they choose for him to do, no more no less. He is, in fact, the puppet in the fantasy, not them. If they chose, they could just as easily fantasize about them raping HIM (another theme that arises in some women's fantasies).
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