Country (1984) Poster


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Country is a sobering look into how one family deals with the financial failure of a farm.
gitrich5 November 1998
A sensitive performance by Jessica Lange as a strong wife and mother who fights to save the family farm. A strong cast of fine actors includes: Sam Shepard, Wilford Brimley, Matt Clark and Therese Graham. This film is realistic,especially for the time in which it was released, 1984. You feel the sense of desperation thanks to outstanding performances.
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best of the farm movies..Lange gives one of her best performances
goya-41 April 2001
The best of the farm disaster movies of 1984/85 - which included Country Places Of the Heart, and the River, it features Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard as a husband and wife struggling not only with their livelihood as farmers but also with their marriage. A well acted insight into the farming crisis of the mid 80s. On a scale of one to ten.. 8
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"I don't expect you to say much to me."
BERSERKERpoetry14 April 2010
In 1984, there were three films produced about farm life in the midwest. The first, and best film, "Places in the Heart" showcased an older form of life, a world where the farmer's only real enemy was nature; human or mother. The second two - "The River" and this film, "Country" - focused on the modern (for 1984, that is) struggles of farming the land. Of those two films, "Country" is the better. The real curious problem with "The River" is that it failed to show the average person's life. It felt more like a disaster movie, and the farmer seemed more like a poor, pathetic loser than a noble man trying to stay alive.

The main thing that holds it all together is Richard Pearce, a director who makes personal, legitimate films as opposed to big events and images. Five years earlier, he covered similar ground in his first film, "Heartland". I'm a firm believer that great cinematography can make a great film. If something is worth looking at, the first steps are already covered. It's not that David M. Walsh is necessarily shooting in a mindblowing, new way, but Pearce gives him wonderful things to photograph. There's so much time given to just let things happen. The final scene is a perfect example. The wordless, drawn-out connection of two humans. It seems to go forever. This film lets you watch at the most perfect, crucial moments.

The actors. What can I say about them? They're utterly convincing, and that's got to be the main and almighty concern for any film-goer. Jessica Lange, Sam Shepard, and Wilford Brimley are all more human than some of the bigger stars that might have been picked to act in such a film. They still have that sense of not being watched, at least enough so that they can live a character untouched. Lange, who I've seen in several films, never quite impressed me like she does here. Brimley, the glorious character actor who made a career in the 1980s playing 'that guy' in quiet dramas, is very much welcome here. In fact, I can't ever remember an instance when I regretted seeing him on film. He adds needed personality to the mix. The children (played by Theresa Graham and Levi Knebel) don't ever feel less than perfectly real.

There are a lot of parts to this film, passages and images. In fact, that's what most makes it all work. If one thought feels out of place, humanity strikes again like lightning. Yes, there is the obligatory Big Statement scene, where the music swells and all poor farmers rise up against the Man. And yes, it is almost that bad. But even though it might make your eyes roll, there's far too much real life and human subtlety on display in "Country" for such a tired scene to crush it.

Richard Pearce directs true, quiet dramas. If you want more of what you felt watching this, seek out these other films by him - Threshold (1981), The Long Walk Home (1990), A Family Thing (1996).
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Good representation of rural America.
stoutwood5025 March 2007
"Country" was filmed in 3 miles north and 1 mile west of Dunkerton, IA. A deserted farmstead was selected for the film because it was a surprise that Iowa had modern farm homes. I lived 8 miles from the farm used on a farm of my own. I knew at least 8 of the extras in the movie, so I'm fairly confident of my facts. A number of the farmers in the movie were in fact retired farmers. Reagonomics was the cause of nearly of the the farmers problems. The FHA and bank had encouraged farmers to expand their farm operations. Shortly after they had made huge financial commitments grain and livestock prices dropped drastically. Neither the FHA or banks were overly sympathetic to their plights. The relationship of the Ivy family is very believable and touching, as is Jewels attempt to rally support from among the neighbor farmers. The auction has a basis in history referred to as the "nickel" auctions. During the 30's as farmers were foreclosed on the neighbors would bid a nickel on a piece of equipment and when winning the bid return it to the farmer as a gift. It was their way to support those that supported them. Oh, by the way the guy yelling who gets the money is my dad, and he and his dad went to these nickel auctions. If I can answer and further question about the area etc., contact me at, Tag it Country questions.
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Great players, true to life situations
renodj1 May 2006
A sobering look at farms in crisis. Shows how farmers tried to hide herds from government lenders, the human cost of financial strain, the hopelessness shown by families who have reached the end of their financial rope. Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange anchor a strong and capable cast that effectively portrays the plight of U.S. farmers in the mid-1980s. Cinematography well done, with Kansas and Nebraska location shooting. Auction scene is heart-wrenching, as a farm held by generations of one family is auctioned to satisfy debtors. To watch the bidders converge on the equipment lined up for sale is a powerful image, repeated many times throughout the Plains states during that period.
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Hard Times On The Farm
Lechuguilla14 July 2010
Thematically comparable to "The Grapes Of Wrath", "Country" pits a modern Iowa farm family against an imperial American government, via oppressive FHA agency bureaucrats, who intend to execute farm foreclosures on rural residents who can't pay back their loans.

The plot focuses on details of the family's everyday life, and the grief the FHA causes. Characters spend a lot of time at the dinner table talking and eating. Outdoor shots feature a typical Midwest farm setting. Absence of background music in some segments, detailed production design, and ambient sound effects all combine to convey a heightened sense of realism. Overall acting trends well above average. Jessica Lange is quite good as the mother who holds the family together and takes action against the FHA.

On the other hand, the setting and the characters tend to be stereotypical and shallow, except perhaps for the father.

Good editing keeps the plot moving. Even so, I don't think this film would fly today. It's too quiet, too introspective, too slow for modern, especially urban, viewers. Which is unfortunate, because the film speaks to ordinary people regardless of whether they live in cities or on farms.

Politically, I'm afraid that not a lot has changed in America since this film was released in 1984. Imperial institutions still oppress and tyrannize. And films like "Country", "The Grapes Of Wrath", and others, effectively document this tragic historical reality.
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Another solid performance by Lange...
moonspinner5511 July 2010
Iowa farm family, unable to turn a profit, is faced with foreclosure on their land by the bank; the husband--his pride bruised--slips into despair while his resilient wife (Oscar-nominated Jessica Lange) does her best to salvage whatever she can to keep the family together. She coddles her father (who blames her husband for losing the grip on the farm), she rallies other farmers for a peaceful protest...she even tries talking a neighbor out of committing suicide. A story on the loss of human dignity and self-worth, intensely felt and well-acted if cinematically pedestrian. The music score (with solemn piano solos) tells you what you're in for: a despairing portrait of our economic times. The point comes through, and yet the film isn't really moving or all that memorable. ** from ****
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Overall great movie for todays generation.
agriking97027 November 2012
Country was filmed in Dunkerton, IA. My grandpa owned the farm before and after the movie was made. There was a L shaped 120 acres around it. My dad's 1977 F-150 pickup was even in the scene when Gill goes to the FMHA office. We have a lot of news articles that people gave to us and what my grandma collected during that time. The movie was made long before I was born, but it's interesting to hear stories from my dad and my grandma. We have a video of my dad and grandpa burning down the house in the Spring of 1989. I live just a mile and a half from where the site is. All that is there is just the well from the house. Went up there and a took a brick that was laying on top with a pile of rocks.(probably from the barn)Its a great movie for todays generation to show how horrible these times were in the 1980s, that is wasn't all fun. A lot of farmers dissapered in these yrs......
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A film with something to say.
g-hbe22 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
My goodness, what a great film. I had other things to do today, but after watching the first 15 minutes of this I knew I was hooked. Great, natural performances by all the actors, and although the settings are bleak the photography captures the wide-open beauty of Iowa. (SPOILERS FOLLOW) Two scenes stood out for me - the part where Dad finally breaks and attacks his son and then his wife in a blind rage is truly shocking, then later we get to the auction where the farm is being broken up and sold off. A few small items are sold, but then the crowd come together and make paltry bids on expensive items, eventually uniting in a chant of 'NO SALE!', driving the auctioneers off the land. Also in this scene, we see the grandson bid for his grandpa's old bridle, and when he wins it he quietly hands it over to grandpa. Not a word is spoken in this moment. Moving indeed. There's no ending, happy or otherwise. Instead we see Mum & Dad reconciled and facing the future together. This film demonstrates that you don't need a blockbuster budget to make a superb film, just a good story, a director who doesn't need to hammer a point and good, solid actors.
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strong drama
vvjti27 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Strong film set in USA. Good acting in film based on trouble in USA farming in early 1980s. Main star is Jessica Lange. Good acting from Jessica Lange, Sam Shepard, Wilfred Brimley(grandfather), the children playing church going family. A family trying keep farm from controlled by loan company. The family have problem in USA winter making profit, debt to company. The father(Sam Shepard) feels frustrated. He studies the farms books. His frustration turns to his family at times, company official in company office and a bar. Loan company try to auction off equipment on farm. The film shows the detail of working on farm with tractors and working on land. A tornado causes some damage to tractor.
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