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About This Item

Unique ID Code: 0000011675
Added by: DVD Reviewer
Added on: 6/12/2000 12:45
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American Beauty (UK)

8 / 10
10 votes cast
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Inline Image

...look closer
Certificate: 18
Running Time: 117 mins
Retail Price: £19.99
Release Date:

...look closer at the most talked about film of the year. Intelligent, provocative and wickedly funny, American Beauty has struck a chord with audiences around the world and become a defining achievement in cinematic history.

...look closer at the most honoured film of the year. Winner of 5 Academy Awards, American Beauty appeared on over 275 Top 10 lists and was named Best Picture of the Year by over 65 critics. In an extraordinary directorial debut, Sam Mendes (Directors Guild of America Award) teamed with screenwriter Alan Ball (Writers Guild of America Award) to capture unparalleled praise among critics and audiences alike.

...look closer at the most acclaimed cast of the year led by brilliant performances from Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening as the indelible Lester and Carolyn Burnham, a seemingly ordinary couple in an anonymous suburban neighborhood whose marriage, and lives, are slowly unraveling. From beginning to startling end, American Beauty has been deemed a "flat-out masterpiece" (Rod Dreher, New York Post) that will entertain and challenge audiences to ...look closer for years to come.

Special Features:
Interactive Menus
Scene Access
Behind The Scenes Featurette
Audio Commentary with Director Sam Mendes and screenwriter Alan Ball
Storyboard presentation
Two Theatrical Trailers

Video Tracks:
Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Audio Tracks:
Dolby Digital 5.1 English

Subtitle Tracks:
CC: English

Directed By:
Sam Mendes

Written By:

Chris Cooper
Peter Gallagher
Mena Suvari
Wes Bentley
Thora Birch
Annette Bening
Kevin Spacey

Casting By:
Debra Zane

Soundtrack By:
Pete Townshend
Thomas Newman
Bob Dylan

Director of Photography:
Conrad L. Hall

Christopher Greenbury
Tariq Anwar

Costume Designer:
Julie Weiss

Production Designer:
Naomi Shohan

Stan Wlodkowski
Dan Jinks
Bruce Cohen
Alan Ball

Executive Producer:
Steven Spielberg

Universal Pictures

Your Opinions and Comments

8 / 10
Now they don`t make movies like this all that often. I was sceptical as I thought that the movie was all hype but American Beauty is actually very good.

The balance between comedy and drama was spot on and the script by Alan Ball (not THE Alan Ball) was fantastic. I would also like to mention that Kevin Spacey is GOD!

The extras aren`t great but I didn`t buy the DVD for the extras. Dreamworks also provide us with an excellent transfer, much like SPR.

Highly recommended.
posted by James Clews on 29/12/2000 22:29
5 / 10
Designed so that the academy can wet themselves, this well made but hollow film has good print and sound like most modern films. BUt like most modern films it seems to lack it.

In 30 years Eyes Wide Shut will be remembered, this one won`t...
posted by Richard73 on 23/1/2001 17:26
9 / 10
American Beauty is an absolutley fantastic film. Directed by Brit Sam Mendez it follows the last couple of weeks in the life of Lester Burnham ( Spacey) as he refinds his passion in life Starting with his infatuation for his daughters friend Angela. Kevin Spacey gives the performance of his career, and considering the performances under his belt this is an amzing achievement. Everything about American Beauty oozes perfection, Acting, Directing, Cinematography and Music to name a few. The message of the film is beauty is wherever you find it, I think grabbing life while you can is also an important message from this film.

The picture quality on the disk is amazing!, colours are bright and vibrant, and the sharp transfer gets the most out of the stunning cinematography on the film.

The sound is also very good, although American Beauty is a film where the sound isn`t important to the films magnifcance, so don`t expect much surround action.

The extra`s while there aren`t many are extremely pleasing, theres two really well made theatrical trailers, a featurette on the making and marketing of the film, and a really insightfull commentry from Sam Mendez. This film won 5 oscars and 6 BAFTA`S, and when you watch it you know why.
posted by chris21 on 25/2/2001 09:07
9 / 10
Brilliant film
Great commentary and documentary
posted by ad6 on 5/4/2001 01:25
10 / 10
A Wonderful, wonderful film. Superbly shot, acted, directed, American Beauty is all the more remarkable because of the first time director Sam Mendes. The film cannot be praised highly enough, and those that do not like it are either cynical or dunderheads quite frankly! Well constructed in terms of editing and narrative, the film constantly suprises, and if it is possible to understand, becomes a different film on each viewing. Its funny, sad, happy, moving and angry in almost equal measure, a scathing view of American suburbia because of its realism in its characters.

Visually, the DVD transfer is flawless. Conrad Hall`s excellent cinematography simply shines. The audio is also excellent, subtle in its use but fantastic in terms of the music.

Features wise we`re less good, but the commentary is excellent and definately the stand out of everything on the disc. Mendes gives an informed commentary, excellent for film students like myself, which will lend itself well as a teaching aid.

American Beauty is an excellent film, challenging in its approach, and one of the best films in years. The fact that this film came out of Hollywood, and was a box office success, is all the more remarkable. If you haven`t seen this film yet, then the disc comes highly recommended
posted by Horribly_Mauled on 18/9/2001 16:46
10 / 10

American Beauty is an amazing and excellent film. Kevin Spacey gives an outstanding performance as Lester Burnham
and Annette Bening is also brilliant as his wife Carol. The film
deserves the oscar`s that it was showered with. A great script from Alan Ball (Creator of Six Feet Under) and brilliant directing from new commer Sam Mendes, who pulls it off. Film
rarely gets any better than this, a black-comedy concerning the lives of the Burnhams and more importantly the final days of Lester. I can`t praise the film anymore than i all ready have without repeating myself.


The sound is brilliant, the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is excellent.


Again a fantastic picture transfer from Dreamworks pictures.


Surprisingly not a lot in the terms of extras. There is a great and informative commentary by Sam Mendes and Alan Ball. The behind the scenes feature is good and the story board presentation with Mendes and Cinematographer Conrad L. Hall (Who died recently) is worth a look.
posted by the_film_king on 9/8/2003 23:25
6 / 10
I poked around the reviews on this site from time to time, to see if there are some gems I`m missing. I came across this DVD reviewed here, with serveral reviews and a good overall score.
Its also won oscars, which gives it a certain credibility. Its also been out long enough that its available at a pretty good price. So all in all, it seemed like a good choice.

The Plot
Plot... well plot might be the wrong word really. Its more a slice of life movie.
Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is in a job that may be about to be downsized, a job he doesn`t particularly like but feels he needs. His daughter is going through teenage angst/rebellion. His wife runs the house by her rules and the love has long since gone.

Enter a number of factors to stir up the mix. A slightly odd family move in next door. Their son gives Lester ideas about rearranging his life - by being a sort of role model.
Meanwhile Lester starts to become infatuated with his daughters best friend, and his daughter starts to wonder a little about the new boy next door. His wife is busy persuing a business rival who she is starting to worship.

The Visuals/Audio
You can`t really fault the visuals, nice bright and clear, the sound is fine too.

The Extras
A behind the scenes feature - which is ok. Nothing remarkable, but not too bad.
A commentary, that I haven`t listened to, and a set of story boards that I somehow missed.

Its happened to me before. I read some reviews and note the awards and think, Wow, how have I missed out on this? This movie is going to speak to me, and I`m going to ponder on its deeper meaning lieing in bed at 2am. Sometimes you get more than you expect from a movie, sometimes you get less than you expect. Well for me, this is in the latter half.

Possibly my expectations were built up more than they should have been. The movie is well shot, well acted and all that. However, try as I might, I can`t really see what everyone else is talking about in their reviews.
Its a fine film to watch, but probably not one I have a yearn to see again. Sorry everyone!
posted by Julian Onions on 4/3/2004 09:30