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Terms of Endearment

4.4 out of 5 stars 284 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

AURORA AND EMMA ARE MOTHER AND DAUGHTER WHO MARCH TO DIFFERENTDRUMMERS. BEGINNING WITH EMMA'S MARRIAGE, AURORA SHOWS HOWDIFFICULT AND LOVING SHE CAN BE. THE MOVIE COVERS SEVERAL YEARS OF THEIR LIVES AS EACH FINDS DIFFERENT REASONS TO GO ON LIVINGAND FIND JOY.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels
  • Directors: James L. Brooks
  • Writers: James L. Brooks, Larry McMurtry
  • Producers: James L. Brooks, Martin Jurow, Penney Finkelman Cox
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (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:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2001
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (284 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000055ZF6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,644 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Terms of Endearment" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Exactly how in the world did I never see this movie before? Reputation has made this out to be "the ultimate chick flick" upon which every other tear-jerker is judged. But it's definitely more of a character study than a weepy mushy movie. In fact, it's anything but mushy. Where it could of been over-sentimental, it was poignant. Where it could of been boring, it was insightful. And where it could of been corny, it was tongue-in-cheek. I don't think I need to say anything about the acting in it, if you've seen Terms of Endearment you know that Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, and Jack Nicholson bring their characters to a life rarely seen in movies. I just can't get over how great this movie was. The story is so good, it's so funny and at times among some of the saddest moments I've ever seen portrayed in the movies. I don't want to go any further for fear that I might spoil it for those who haven't seen this incredible story about life and love and laughter among family. This is an AMAZING and moving film!
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Format: VHS Tape
James Brooks, who of late gave us AS GOOD AS IT GETS, has an uncanny way of sketching characters that are believable, and completely winning, despite their many foibles. TERMS is filled with such people, and is so deft at winning your affections that it is virtually impossible not to feel that lump in your throat -- if not tears rolling down your cheek -- as it makes its way to its manipulative but moving nonetheless finale. Each performer works to his/her potential, and the supposed fireworks between Debra Winger (who inhabits her role so intensely she IS Emma) and Shirley MacLaine -- who won an Oscar -- works perfectly on screen. Jeff Daniels pulls off a neat trick, and manages to be both reprehensible as Emma's multi-flawed husband, but also engenders your sympathy vote as the movie wears on. Jack Nicholson (also Oscar winner) and MacLaine combatively explore one of the funniest romances ever; the screenplay's distinctive sense of humor adds much charm and much needed comic relief from the increasingly depressing proceedings. Michael Gore's already-classic theme music can still inspire tears and resound with humanity. This movie feels absolutely commercial, and twists your heart in way that few movies do -- we are talking majorly sad sad sad -- AS BAD AS IT GETS, so to speak. Yet, in the final moments, Brooks does give the movie a sweet and surprising lift, and nearly promises hope to these characters, most of whom we have grown to love.
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Format: VHS Tape
Another film that made me cry! If you've read my reviews on KRAMER VS. KRAMER and RAIN MAN, then you know my story. But, yes, it's happened again! Another Best Picture Oscar-winner has allowed me to shed my tears freely and openly.
Based on the novel by Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show), TERMS OF ENDEARMENT is a "family" film that deals with a 30-year relationship between a flighty mother and her headstrong daughter, played to perfection by Shirley MacLaine as Aurora Greenway, and Debra Winger as her daughter Emma Horton. The film begins by establishing the relatonship between the neurotic Aurora with her young daughter.
It makes you laugh and it makes you cry! Either way, the film deserves its kudos. Created by future SIMPSONS producer James L. Brooks, we see the emotional turmoil that both Aurora and Emma face in their love lives.
The cast consists of: Jack Nicholson, as Aurora's zany cosmonaut boyfriend Garrett Breedlove (a role originally intended for Burt Reynolds [YIKES!]), Jeff Daniels as Emma's philandering husband Flap Horton, John Lithgow as Emma's lover Sam Burns, and Danny DeVito, in a delightful cameo, as Vernon Dahlart.
After a while, though, the film does tend to drift a bit. You have to be patient considering that the final climax, in which Emma loses her fight with cancer, is the blow that sent me (and possibly millions of other viewers) into tears. Watch Aurora's face; watch Emma's, and you'll know exactly what they're saying without them even saying a word. Simply devastating!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Tremendously moving, often very funny, and bursting at the seams with life, both good and bad. No one is a hero or a villain, every character is just a screwed up human being trying their best, often failing, but picking themselves back up and trying again.

At the core this is the study of a very prickly mother daughter relationship, but it branches out to cover the men in their lives, friendships with other women, etc. The performances are just about universally superb. Some splashy and fun (Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine), others just slightly lower key but still just slightly bigger than life in that good, movie way (Debra Winger), and still others are so simple and quiet they routinely get overlooked, but are little gems as well (Jeff Daniels, John Lithgow).

The film has a wonderful way of never going quite where you expect it, as it traces 30 years of life. Serious scenes turn funny, funny scenes end up making you cry, and no one ends up where they, or we, would have guessed. Especially in more recent, revisionist reviews, the film is often attacked for being sappy or melodramatic, but the older I get the more I see that life itself can be sappy and melodramatic, and if those elements are dealt with honestly they can translate real emotions, and can be part of a terrific film.

The only nit-pick I have is a few of the very small roles are clichés (e.g. the upper-class ‘young ladies’ Winger’s character meets in New York). But when that’s the worst you can find to say about a 130 minute film, you’re in a pretty great place. One hell of a feature debut for James L. Brooks.
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