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Rocket Gibraltar
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Reviews & Ratings for
Rocket Gibraltar More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

It's about atmosphere

Author: nobrank from Amsterdam
11 May 2000

This movie invoked in me a funny kind of feeling. What feeling exactly, or why I don't know, but it was with a definite contentment that I watched it. Just go and rent it, you'll see. Maybe it was the time that I watched it, Sunday afternoon, or the fact that I felt good for other reasons, but the interaction between Lancaster and Culkin is so nice and touching ('cuse the sappy language) that it makes you feel good with the world. The movie just has the right atmosphere and incomparable good acting by Culkin (8 years at the time) especially.

I don't want to go into the story line or that kind of crap, just go and see it.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Eccentric but entertaining

6/10
Author: leftyguns2 from Woodbridge Twp NJ
5 March 2006

Rocket Gibraltar was definitely a film in a class of it's own. It is the story of an aging patriarch brilliantly played by Burt Lancaster, a formerly blacklisted poet, and widower , his children, and grandchildren who gather to pay homage to him for a birthday. The interesting thing is how eccentric they all were. What I found most interesting was the way the characters were portrayed. This is one of the few films in which almost every character is portrayed in detail. Among them is the Suzi Amis character. She is portrayed as a bit of a libertine, a part that she plays with style and flair. The grandchildren however steal the film. The way those kids were able to dominate the film was a true work of genius on the part of the director/s. The ending to the film which I will not describe is truly a grand finale. The film is quite entertaining, leaning a bit towards a black comedy.

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

There are Vikings on Cape Cod!

Author: JerryP-2 from Papillion NE
2 August 1999

I'm told that this was Burt Lancaster's last film. I happen to like his acting, but the script for this effort could have been better. There are the adults, who are rather shallow caricatures of real people with problems. The kids who play grandpa's grandchildren, however, make the best part of this opus. I could almost see myself in their places so many years ago. Of course, my siblings and I wouldn't have done some of the things these grandkids end up doing. The last 10 minutes of the film make up for some rather boring parts spent on the adult characters.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Joined IMDb because of this movie.

10/10
Author: NyPaVa from United States
10 December 2010

So I have been an avid IMDb fan since, let's say, 1998, when I was in middle school. I wasn't the first to view the site and based on the date, not here from the beginning. I have roughly 2,000 star-click reviews on netflix but never joined here... and never really felt a need to join.

I joined tonight after almost 13 years of viewing this site because of the reviews I saw here and what I think is missing from those reviews.

I am not a movie snob, and respect Independent films to foreign films to old films to actually admitting to liking Norbit, Like Mike, and Blue Crush. No one's opinion means anything against your own judgment, but I hope my opinion makes you want to see this film.

Often we see movies where directors cast multiple children. Many times, people underestimate that a director has the desire to use this as a way to direct children on a higher level than say a "Spy Kids" or "Sky High." They want to create a movie for all levels, to understand at any stage in life.

First, this movie takes place in Sagaponack, NY. if you read the news, this zip code has become the wealthiest zip code in the country and is smack in the middle of the Hamptons. You never really hear of it as a Hampton town because there are no stores, only one post office attached to one Deli. This movie is one of the few media examples that documents what the Hampton's once were: a playground for artists and free spirits that had 'made it' and wanted a retreat. In the 22 years since this film was released, we see not only a change in our culture, but a change in how we spend and show the money we have. Today, the Hamptons is a playground for the wealthy. While artists are still there, it is not to the level it was when real estate wasn't 'the wealthiest zip code in the country.' In the landscape of this film, you can see how much we've changed.

Furthermore, people claim that the adult characters are stereotypes and really characters that don't come alive like some great films can manage to do. I disagree. I think that the film shows characters that can be understood on all levels, whether the person watching is the age of the children or the age of the adults. They are simple enough for children to understand what their purpose and identity is, and complex enough (sexually, maturely, etc.) for adults to see the things that kids will only understand over time. The best example I cam possibly think of is by the same director, Cocoon

I used to watch this as a child with my whole family. The first time I saw it was 1995, our first year living in Sagaponack. As you can now tell, I have a strong bias for this film but I hope my review proves my opinion is beyond bias. Rocket Gibraltar represents so much to me. Viewing it as a child, i loved the innocence of the children's quest to provide the Grandfather's seemingly simple last wish. As I got older, I understood how the reality of the adult real-world sometimes forbids us from listening clearly to our own family's desires- and even forbids us to listening to the innocence and straight-forwardness of a child. As a kid, I also loved Kevin Spacey's character as being 'out there' and sarcastic, Suzy Amis' character for being sexual in a way I knew was taboo but not why, Bill Pullman's character because I knew as a young male what being a sports wash-up would be like, and of course Burt's character for being that Grandfather that was soooo bad a$$ that none of his own kids could ever empathize with the life that he had lived.

I am not getting into depth with the children's performances because I will let you find the own child within you to realize how they each play their own part, and each represent not only a small part of you but on an exaggerated level, each can be linked to one of your own friends growing up.

As I got older, I realized things each and every time I watched the film, but I never forget how the movie represented a different mentality and state of being with each level of maturity I was a viewer.

The story itself, is very strong. Conflict is present. It is not in a truly original way, in which each and every character we've seen time and time again. But, while they all are recycled players, they are placed within a landscape of a story that is truly original and bold in what it was able to pull off. I really believe this movie is trapped in time. It couldn't be made now, for so many reasons.

Regardless of my ramblings, just go check this one out for yourself. Try to be the kid I was, the pubescent young man, the high-schooler, the college kid, and the man I was when I watched this film. If you do that, you really will see that it deserves much higher than a 6.4.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The Last Wish of a Viking Funeral

9/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
21 February 2016

On the 77th birthday of the widow patriarch Levi Rockwell (Burt Lancaster), his son and daughters come to his house by the sea with their families to celebrate his birthday. The promiscuous Aggie Rockwell (Suzy Amis) comes alone but soon finds male company. Rose Black (Patricia Clarkson) comes with her husband Crow Black (Bill Pullman), who is a baseball player with problems, and their children Cy Blue (Macaulay Culkin) and Dawn (Angela Goethals). The workaholic Rolo Rockwell (John Glover) comes with his wife Amanda 'Billi' Rockwell (Sinead Cusack) and their children Orson (John Bell), Kane (Dan Corkill), Flora (Sara Goethals) and Emily (Emily Poe). His daughter Ruby Hanson (Frances Conroy) comes with her husband Dwayne Hanson (Kevin Spacey), who is a comedian, and their children Max (Nicky Bronson) and Jessica (Sara Rue). During the night, the children are on the beach with their grandfather and they ask him what he would like to receive as a birthday gift. Levi tells that he would like to have a Viking Funeral since the worms eat buried corpses. When Blue sees an abandoned boat on the beach, he suggests his cousins to repair the boat to give to their grandfather for his funeral. Levi and his doctor hide from the family that he has an aneurysm and may die in any moment. When their grandchildren find him dead on his bed, they decide to honor his wish and give a Viking Funeral to him.

"Rocket Gibraltar" is one of the most beautiful and sensitive films of reunions ever made. The story and the screenplay are perfect with the combination of death and the innocence of children, showing a sensitive work of the writer Amos Poe. The cast is a constellation with inspired performances, highlighting Burt Lancaster and Macaulay Culkin in his debut in the cinema industry. This film is also the debut of Kevin Spacey. The soundtrack with Billie Holyday and David Bowie among others is classy. Unfortunately this wonderful film is not available on DVD or Blu-Ray in Brazil. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "O Rochedo de Gibraltar" ("The Rocket Gibraltar")

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

sweet and engaging

8/10
Author: chrissy from United States
3 June 2006

this heart felt film is well worth watching. the simple script is full of characters any family will recognize, it is lifted by the talents of a huge ensemble of incredibly talented actors. while the film is carried by the soon-to-be lauded adult actors, the children add completely uncommented truth. the combination of the two drives the film into your heart. watch it if only for the glimpse of Kevin Spacey, Patricia Clarkson, Frances Conroy, Burt Lacaster, Bill Pullman, even a fresh faced Macaulay Culkin. a must see, especially for those big east coast families of beach summer traditions. watch it with the whole family, but be warned the heart wrenching ending may catch you by surprise

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The quest for a Viking Funeral

Author: Ddey65 from United States
11 July 2004

This movie has more than one of the last movies of Burt Lancaster and the screen debut of Macaulay Culkin. It also contains the screen debuts of Angela Goethals and Sara Rue. It was the third of these kids mentioned that got me more interested in seeing it, and the fact that no video chain is selling rental copies anymore which got me to buy a copy. Angela Goethals grew up to be quite a babe, and LESS THAN PERFECT turned me into a fan of Sara Rue, whereas before I simply recognized her throughout the 1990's from the short-lived NBC Sitcom GRAND, and somehow I have a feeling that Emily Poe is related to the original playwright Amos Poe. But I digress;

Levi Rockwell(Lancaster), a writer, teacher and stand-up comedian blacklisted during the McCarthy-era is celebrating his 77th Birthday at his house in Sagaponack, Long Island with his children, their spouses and grandchildren. The family consists mainly of writers, as well as an aging baseball player(Bill Pullman), a washed-up comedian(Kevin Spacey) and a promiscuous aunt(Suzy Amis). That promiscuous aunt is actually kind of cute, but the kids are the most important part of the movie, next to Lancaster's character. It's clear that Grandpa Rockwell has very little time left on this earth, and confides in his grandchildren that he only wants one present -- a boat that he can use for a viking funeral when he dies. And while the adults seem partially wrapped up in their own lives while arranging the birthday party for Grandpa Rockwell, the kids are determined to fulfill his wish.

While the movie takes place in Sagaponack, it's actually filmed in and around Westhampton Beach. FYI, Sagaponack, Long Island is a real town that's much further east than Westhampton Beach. It's the last town along Montauk Highway before you cross the Southampton-Easthampton Township line. But if you can forgive Neil Simon for using segments of Long Island to pass as the mythical "Twin Oaks, Ohio" in 'THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS(1970), you should have no problem with this little geographical error.

After surviving a heart attack, we find Levi's personal physician, Dr. Dean Bonacker(George Martin) had a crush on Levi's late wife. Some may find it less of a story if it doesn't lead to a fistfight or an over-dramatic argument. I also noticed in one scene, Sara Rue occasionally put her arm around Macaulay Culkin. Hmm. I wonder if she had a crush on him back then. Anyway, the movie is super-sappy and sentimental, but it does contain one car-chase and some lines that'll bring a few chuckles, mainly from the kids. If you hate yuppies you may find this movie hard to live with, but you'd be missing out on an interesting tale.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes schmaltzy family drama where the adults act more like children than the children do.

5/10
Author: mark.waltz from United States
17 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Grand-daddy's dyin', and who's got the boat? He's the legendary Burt Lancaster, a grizzled widower who invites his brood and their many grandchildren for one seeming last summer fling at his ocean front cottage. The adults do nothing but argue and coddle the father, while the children (which includes Macauley Culkin) plan a surprise for their granddaddy's upcoming birthday. The middle generation of this family (which includes Patricia Clarkson, John Glover and Kevin Spacey) are selfish and too involved in their own cold lives to really see what's going on around them, and when Lanchaster tells his grandchildren of his dream of a Viking's funeral, they take an abandoned boat and prepare the best birthday present a grizzled old man could want, other than maybe a visit down memory lane with a VHS tape of Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth in "You Were Never Lovelier".

Formulatic family drama with more than a touch of "On Golden Pond" thrown in, "Rocket Gibralter" seemed so much better when I first saw it in the movie theatre, and while still enjoyable, I found it rather one dimensional for the middle generation, none of whom I really could identify with or even like. The film tends to move slowly at times, but when Lanchaster sits with his grandchildren spinning stories with them, particularly the adorable Culkin, it glows. It also has amazingly beautiful sunsets to look at and a haunting musical score as well. The ending, while sometimes unbelievable, is very touching, and if you are a first time viewer of this film, you may want to keep a few hankies with you. I know on my first viewing of this 25 years ago, I was very angry at myself that I didn't have them, because I desperately needed them.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Like Beau Geste, a Viking Funeral

7/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
15 April 2012

I think someone was a big fan of Beau Geste to have written Rocket Gibraltar. If you'll remember Beau Geste the two surviving Geste brothers give their gallant brother Beau a Viking funeral just like they talked about when they were kids.

According to a recent biography of Burt Lancaster this was to be his On Golden Pond or The Shootist, but it did not win the critical reception that those other two films got. In time though it found its audience and I'm part of that audience. Burt was 75 when he made this film and he was playing a part of a man who was going into his 77 birthday and his family has come out to Westhampton Beach out in Suffolk County to celebrate his birthday.

Burt has three daughters and a son and has led an interesting life. He was a writer of sorts who survived the McCarthy/blacklist era and has brought the kids up with certain values. The kids have gone out on their own however and while none of them is a disgrace, they're far from what he idealized them to be. His wife had died several years earlier.

The daughters are Suzy Amis, Patricia Clarkson, and Frances Conroy and the son is John Glover. Amis is unmarried and truth be told she's one of loose morals. The other daughters are married to Kevin Spacey and Bill Pullman, a hack comedian and a washed up ballplayer.

It's in the grandkids that Burt sees some hope and maybe salvation for his ideals. He likes them all, but his favorite is MacCauley Culkin years before his Home Alone films. He tells them that his ideal would be a Viking funeral, after all the thought of his cadaver being worm food is nothing for a real man to want.

Of course the kids set out to do just that and they do it in a winning manner. These kids truly connected with their grandfather the love really comes through in the scenes with each other and with Lancaster.

Rocket Gibraltar is funny and sad and bittersweet all at once. I'd give it a look, there are worse ways to go out.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

"We love you, dead grandpa".

5/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
16 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wanted to like this movie more a lot more than I did, but it did have a lot going for it in the first 80% of the film--and most of that was the pleasant acting of veteran star Burt Lancaster. The acting, plus the music and direction, made this a film that is worth seeing--even if the story itself was a bit dopey towards the end. No...it got a LOT dopey.

Lancaster plays the patriarch of the family. He's obviously older and nearing death when he invites all his kids and grandkids to come and celebrate his birthday. During most of the film, not a lot happens--just lots of nice, subdued little vignettes. I liked this and Lancaster's laid back performance. Unfortunately, late in the film, it got dopey and seemed like a combination of a Disney film and a remake of the Kirk Douglas classic "The Vikings"....if directed by Dr. Kevorkian!! I mean, it really, really got weird when all the grandkids found dead grandpa and decided to honor his last request (probably a joke) and give him a Viking funeral!! It's done in such a way, that it's like the Spielberg or Disney-type film where the kids know best and the parents, begrudgingly, agree when all is said and done. However, common sense says you don't barbecue grandpa on the beach!! Remind me now to go swimming at Westhampton Beach, Long Island!

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