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Reviews & Ratings for
Revolution More at IMDbPro »

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43 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

Don't let the low rating frighten you - it's a beautiful movie.

Author: thecygnet from Budapest, Hungary
14 September 2003

I've just seen "Revolution" on TV and I have to say that it's a much better movie than one may think. Sometimes a movie is worth-seeing only because of its wonderful production values. And "Revolution" is an eye-popping visual feat: wonderful cinematography, first-rate period details. I might say that beside Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" and Tony Richardson's "Tom Jones", this is the most beautifully made period movie about the eighteenth century. "Revolution" is also an important film because there are only about a dozen films on the Revolutionary War and almost all of them are a matter of obscurity - at least for a Hungarian movie lover. The most popular is Roland Emmerich's "The Patriot" (2000). In my opinion that's a much worse film than Hudson's maligned film. When "Revolution" was released it was a critical and commercial disaster. I think it didn't fit in any of the movie trends of the 1980s. But in the future it might be regarded as a flawed but valuable movie. Its flaws are obvious and much-discussed so I don't want to speak about them. If you're interested in beautiful period pieces and the Revolutionary War you might like this movie.

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37 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Very Effective and Entertaining Film

Author: JVIRT99 from United States
31 October 1999

This movie has consistantly been trashed by numerous professional and amateur reviewers alike. Even Leonard Maltin, my personal favorite movie guy, rated it a "BOMB". I can`t understand why. Although it isn`t a perfect film endeavor, it does tell a story that`s never been told before...but obviously in a manner that many found extremely annoying at best. Aside from New York and L.A. movie houses, I don`t believe this film was released nationally at any time. Personally, I thought it was a very different type of movie, but effective and entertaining in a strange way. It gave me a feel for the time period, including an appealing atmospheric identity. Being an ex-NewYorker and exposed to the famous Revolutionary battlefields, that still exist throughout the metro area, I felt an aura of actually being present in that time period, with events occuring on both surrealistic and realistic levels. Al Pacino is a born/raised New Yorker and I believe captured the essence of his character very well. Pacino gave a solid portrayal of an 18th. century individual caught up in a violent period of American history. This movie has been unfairly criticized and overly maligned in my humble opinion. A unique film deserving of more praise then it has been awarded. See it for yourself.

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37 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Revolution: A movie Worth Revisiting

Author: lord woodburry ( from The Society NY
2 March 2002

An incomparable historical epic about the American Revolutionary War, Revolution brings Al Pacino to the fore as Dobbs the trapper swept up in the Continental Army and Kinski as Daisy the rebellious daughter of a cynically duplicit Tory merchant family.

Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, Al Pacino plays Tom Dobbs a man swept up in Revolutionary upheaval fighting alongside his son. After the battle of Brooklyn, Dobbs like most of the patriotic army melts away, but enduring life in British occupied New York City proves too much. Dobbs and his son escape conscription into the enemy army by fleeing to American lines. They're out to teach a murderous redcoat (Donald Sutherland) a lesson.

Daisy plays the part the Red Coats complained of and dreaded: nurse at Brooklyn, spy in Philadelphia and occasionally an irregular soldier with a loaded pistol for an unsuspecting enemy.

The historical choreography was outstanding. Attention to detail is remarkable particularly in the period music. The uniforms and costuming are magnificent. If Donald Sutherland plays an iron-willed, British Sergeant-Major, a realistically fiercesome antagonist, the movie catches the principal grievances between the opposing forces. The deposing of the last Royal Governor and battle of Brooklyn are imaginatively and accurately staged. This is no small feat. Only one block of the original Hanseatic city is left in New York City and the entire battlefield of Brooklyn and Long Island lay under the nation's fourth largest city. And perhaps `The World Didn't Turn Upside Down' when Lord Cornwallis wept in his tent and General O'Hara's Second Guards surrendered to the tune of Minstrel Boy.

A Classic That Warrants A Second Look Revolution, the movie, was not well received in its time. Lost in the wilderness of the post-Vietnam malaise of anti-heroism, critics pinged Al Pacino's inescapable accent. How do you suppose men from the Hudson River Valley in 1775 spoke when English and Dutch were still interchangeable? Some reviewers did not like the battle scenes. The patriotic gore wasn't enough? Some didn't think the snow was deep enough at Valley Forge. Even in the North East's snowiest winters, it doesn't snow every day.

In consequence of the time in which the movie played to, the film was a box office disaster grossing less than $200,000. There maybe a time when motion pictures like books win a status long after release they did not enjoy immediately. Hopefully that time will come for Revolution a movie well worth revisiting.

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51 out of 82 people found the following review useful:


Author: jckruize from North Hemis
5 August 2005

I'm all for the idea of a grand epic of the American Revolutionary War. This ain't it. (And for that matter, neither was the Emmerich/Devlin/Gibson THE PATRIOT. But I digress.)

I saw this film at a publicity screening at the old MGM Studios (now Sony) just before it came out. The audience had high expectations for this expensive period piece, written by veteran Robert Dillon, directed by the esteemed Hugh Hudson (of CHARIOTS OF FIRE fame), and starring Al Pacino.

But it didn't take long for people to start squirming in their seats, whispering derisive comments about Pacino's horribly misconceived accent -- he was supposed to be an American frontiersman of Scottish ancestry(!) -- and that of Nastassja Kinski, who was supposed to be recently emigrated from England(!!). Then the story started and it all went downhill fast.

Motivations were muddled, dialogue was atrocious, events had no historical or political context. What there was of a plot lurched forward on absurd coincidence; by the second or third time that alleged lovers Pacino and Kinski stumbled into each other it had become a bad joke. Donald Sutherland gave an unhinged performance as a British officer/pederast. His accent was all over the map too. I guess there weren't any English actors available.

Lots of people left. Those who stayed tried to stifle giggles, then openly guffawed. I stuck it out -- I figured that at least the battle scenes might be good. I was wrong. Inexplicably, Hudson chose to film them with hand-held cameras, not even Steadicam, the jerkiness giving a misplaced newsreel 'authenticity' which ruined the sense of scale.

There was a semi-famous TV reviewer in the audience a few rows ahead of me: (the late) Gary Franklin of Channel 7 Eyewitness News. I could tell he was peeved by the behavior of the rest of us. And sure enough, on his TV segment the next day he gave the film a '10' on his notorious 'Franklin Scale of 1 to 10', while remarking churlishly about the louts who'd disrupted the screening the night before, who clearly didn't know art when they saw it. What a buffoon.

After this disaster, Pacino didn't star in another film for almost 4 years. Hugh Hudson's career never recovered. You can't say I didn't warn you.

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21 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Great Looking Film

Author: Matt Inglima from California
21 May 2003

"Revolution" is short on story and action, however, the set design, costumes and above all the cinematography is first rate. I can easily imagine that the way the film shows 18th Century life in North America is how it actually was. Unlike earlier (as well as later films) that favor a more "clean" depiction of the era "Revolution" shows the poverty, desperation and filth that was common in cities like New York without exploiting it. It is unfortunate that the plot and casting of the film didn't do justice to the outstanding work of the set designers. I can't bash the story too much because there have been far worse films that are now heralded as classics. If you like period films then give "Revolution" a chance, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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31 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

This movie is about the legacy of Al Pacino

Author: dfw_txs from Dallas
10 June 2006

I can't figure Al Pacino out. I watch him in the Godfather, Scarface, Carlito's Way, and I think I am watching one of the greatest actors of the last thirty years. Then I see him in Two for the Money, Any Given Sunday and Revolution, and I wonder what the guy is thinking.

I stumbled on Revolution a few nights ago, and thought I would invest the next two hours on this. Here is a news flash: Want to get prisoners to talk? Force them to watch this over and over...they'll confess to anything.

I won't rehash the plot since there is no coherent plot, but it does take place during the American Revolution and Pacino plays an uneducated peasant who does not want to get involved, but ultimately does. While he has no money, no education and dresses like a caveman, a very hot Natasha Kinski falls in love with him for no apparent reason, since they have only two minutes of dialogue together.

Quite frankly, if "Al Smith" starred in this movie, instead of "Al Pacino", it would have ruined their career. The script was horrible, but Pacino's demotivated performance and obvious fake accent made it even worse. Donald Sutherland's role was laughable. I really can't describe it. Natasha Kinski is a main character, but has like 5 lines in the movie. In fact, nobody speaks much in this movie.

One of the most laughable premise in the movie is how Al Pacino and Kinski have this uncanny knack to continually run into each other on the battlefield. Its like the entire Northeast is a Starbucks. "Hey, funny to see you here again, on ANOTHER battlefield 100 miles away...see you in a few months".

I am required to give this one star by IMDb, since there is nothing here for a negative score.

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21 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

A Northern grunt's-eye view of the American Revolution

Author: Patrick E. Abe from Wahiawa, HI
27 December 2000

Searching for some short-length used videotapes, I found the laserdisc version of "Revolution," which I'd never seen. This non-letterbox, TV format version had the usual "talking to air" problem with 2.35:1 movies. Although a scratch and miscellaneous dirt made the picture skip/repeat/wobble, it was an interesting foxhole-level look at the American Revolution. The scenery, set design, costumes, and varied kinds of people made me think that this was Sergio Leone's take on The War for Independence. Was Al Pacino believable as a backwoods English colonist? No, but like a scratch running through a film, the "speech impediment" is overlooked as the tale unfolds. This film, unlike "The Patriot," shows camp followers, Indians on both sides, fighting women, "Not Worth a Continental" issues, lots of dirt and the conventions and results of 18th century warfare. Valley Forge isn't as grim an encampment as paintings and written records reported, but it's a close miss for the English countryside location. Are the characters believable? Hard to tell, since their histories and motives aren't complete. (Having the action jump place to place with jumps in time make this a "fill-in-the-missing-backstory" exercise found in James Clavell's book "Nobel House" series.) Is it an interesting movie? Definitely, and has that 18th century "fleas, dirt, and grease" look that is missing from "The Patriot." 7/10, for presenting issues and motives that turned English colonists into Americans.

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22 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

You Have to Love American History to Appreciate this Movie,

Author: hbutko from United States
16 January 2005

This is one of my favorites. You would probably have to be a history nut to agree with me. While the story sometimes lags and gets boring, this is a well made period piece. The locations, wardrobe, dialect add to a historically accurate drama. Unlike The Patriot, this movie looks and feels real. Al Pacino's character Tom Dobb Is an ordinary man in extraordinary times. He is unwilling to fight as he has lost his entire family except for one young son who is lured in to the romance of war. In order to protect his son Tom Dobb must fight for his country. This is the viewpoint of the Revolutionary War from a common man. No generals or grand battle plans, just a man trying to save his family who helps save a country. There are so few movies dedicated to the Revolutionary War, This one is the best of them all.

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20 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Misguided historical epic which comes up short in virtually every department.

Author: Jonathon Dabell ( from Todmorden, England
9 April 2007

Brilliant actor as he is, Al Pacino completely derails Revolution – his Method acting approach is totally ill-suited to the role of an illiterate trapper caught up in the American War of Independence. Much of the blame should be attributed to director Hugh Hudson (yes, the man who made Chariots Of Fire just a couple of years earlier – talk about a come-down!!). One of the many jobs of a director is to marshal the actors, coaxing believable performances from them, but in this case Hudson has allowed Pacino to run amok without asking for restraint of any kind. It's not just Al's career-low performance that hinders the film though: there are numerous other flaws with Revolution, more of which will be said later.

Illiterate trapper Tom Dobb (Al Pacino) lives in the north-eastern region of America with his son Ned (Sid Owen/Dexter Fletcher). He leads a simple life – living off the land, raising his son, surviving against the elements. The country is lorded over by the English colonialists, but during an eight year period (1775-83) a revolution takes place which ends with the British being defeated and the independent American nation being born. Dobb gets caught up in the events when his boat and his son are conscripted by the Continental Army – swept away by events they can barely understand, the Dobbs finds themselves fighting for their lives and freedom in one bloody engagement after another. Tom also falls in love with Daisy McConnahay (Natassja Kinski), a beautiful and fiery woman of British aristocratic ancestry. Their forbidden love is played out against the larger historical context of the fighting.

Where to start with the film's flaws? Most key actors are miscast – Pacino has been criticised enough already, but Kinski fares little better as the renegade aristocrat while Donald Sutherland is hopelessly lost as a ruthless English soldier with a wobbly Yorkshire accent. Robert Dillon's script is muddled in its attempts to bring massive historical events down to a personal level. At no point does anyone seem to have decided whether this is meant to be an intimate character study with the American Revolution as a backdrop, or an epic war film with a handful of sharply drawn characters used to carry the story along. As a result, the narrative falls into no man's land, flitting from "grand spectacle" to "small story" indiscriminately and meaninglessly. John Corigliano's score is quite ghastly, and is poured over the proceedings with neither thought nor subtlety. Hugh Hudson's direction is clumsy throughout, both in his mismanagement of Pacino and the other key actors, and in the decision to use irritatingly shaky camera work during the action sequences. The idea of the hand-held camera is to create immediacy – that feeling of "being there" in the confusion of battle and musket fire. Like so many other things in the film, it doesn't work. The one department where the film regains a modicum of respectability is the period detail, with costumes, sets and weaponry that look consistently accurate. But if it's period detail you're interested in a trip to the museum would be a better way to spend your time, because as a rousing cinematic experience Revolution doesn't even begin to make the grade. Nothing more than a £18,000,000 mega-bomb that the ailing British film industry could ill afford in the mid-1980s.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Well... it LOOKS good...

Author: Wizard-8 from Victoria, BC
9 February 2014

I had wanted to see this movie for quite some time, but for some strange reason it never appeared on television despite its cast. However, I finally managed to find a copy of it at a specialized video store in my city. (The version I found was the director's cut.) So what did I think of it? Well, I admit that the look of the movie is very convincing. The costumes, props, and set decoration look fantastic. It really seems that they captured what the colonies were like more than 200 years ago.

However, the story and characters are less convincing. For example, the movie seems to suggest that most Americans were pro-revolution. In actual fact, a third were pro-revolution, another third were British loyalists, and the remaining third either didn't care or were undecided. Another odd fact is that the movie portrays just about all of the pro- revolutionists as despicable - odd because the filmmakers were trying to sell this movie to the American public! Actually, most of the other characters in the movie, like the British soldiers, are also shown in a negative light. There are precious few characters in the movie to care about. The actors try, but a lot of the roles are shallow. Donald Sutherland and Nastassja Kinski have little to do despite their billing.

There are other problems in the movie I could go on for some time listing, like Pacino's extensive yet completely unnecessary narration. Still, I will admit that while I didn't like the movie, I wasn't bored at any moment. There's plenty of eye candy, and I confess a curiosity as to how Pacino's character would end up. The movie isn't as bad as some critics have claimed... though I won't hesitate to add that it wasn't worth the years I searched for a way to see it.

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