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First film to ever deal with AIDS
preppy-323 August 2005
A gay man (in a happy monogamous relationship) becomes a buddy with another man dying of AIDS. They slowly become closer and closer...

I was one of the few people to actually see this in a movie theatre back in 1985. It played at a VERY small art house cinema and was the first film ever made to deal with AIDS. It was written and directed by a gay man (Arthur Bressan Jr.) who, sadly, died of AIDS two years later.

It was shattering. At the time I was a closeted gay man with no gay friends and knew nothing about AIDS. This movie really opened my eyes. It didn't scare me from coming out though--it does have the gay, HIV- couple who clearly love each other. The acting was great and it all built up to a powerful climax that left me crying (I wasn't alone--everyone else in the theatre was in tears also).

This is a powerful, depressing film but it should be required viewing for everyone! It's also sad that Bressan is no longer with us. He had the courage to make this film and it is well-written and directed. This has disappeared completely since 1985 and was overshadowed by "Longtime Companion" in 1990. That's too bad--I'd love to see this again.

Powerful and moving. A 10.
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moving, sad, emotional, excellent
crew-top15 June 2006
A film I happened to see late at night on Channel 4 (UK) while channel hopping a few years back. My attention was grabbed within minutes. Its the most moving and realistic film to deal with the way AIDS affects lives. This film does not rely on Hollywood sentimentality. No big budget scenes and special effects. In fact the quality was almost that of a home made movie. But then again, the film was meant to put you so much closer to the actors and the story. So what better way that apparently watching someones home movie? It works. See how people are forced to questions their own prejudices, sees how others live and how their values and beliefs may not be the same as yours, but are just as valid. If you get to the end and never have at least the starting of a tear in your eye at any point, then you heart must truly be made of stone. Wish I knew if it was available on DVD or even VHS somewhere.
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Tomorrow is the first day in the rest of your life
poopybum16 June 2001
This has to be one of those films that should always be remembered for the way it handles, the then not widely known journeys for people who have Aids. It starts by showing the misconceptions that people had about Aids and how to catch it. There are many moving parts to this film and I deny anyone that has feelings not to get emotional and need to dry their eyes. I hope one day to be able to get hold of a video so that I may be able to see the end without using too many tissues to dry my eyes.
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1985 was a very hard year for gays, but some people wanted to help
Red-12513 October 2018
Buddies (1985) was written and directed by Arthur J. Bressan Jr.

The movie stars Geoff Edholm as Robert Willow, a young gay man dying from HIV/AIDS. David Schachter portrays David Bennett, a young man who volunteers to be a "buddy" to Robert.

The buddy concept was new to me. Humanitarian groups would assign people to visit people dying from HIV/AIDS if they had no other support system. This must have been common, because many gay men had partners who were dying or had died, and people were afraid to go near people with HIV/AIDS because no one knew how it was transmitted.

This film could have been just a sentimental movie about people dying from a dread disease. It was much more than that. It showed us the human face of people dying from HIV/AIDS, and a human face to those brave enough to help them maintain their dignity.

This movie must have been made on a tiny budget, because the two main characters are about the only actors we see. Many people who would normally have appeared on screen were just speaking parts. The sets were essentially just a hospital room and a gymnasium. (David isn't naturally athletic, but he works out so he won't be a "wimp.") Still, it was effective as a two-person film, so the low budget didn't really interfere.

It's hard to say that you "enjoy" a movie like this, but I can say that I learned from it and am glad that I saw it. It was shown at Rochester's great Dryden Theatre at The George Eastman Museum. The movie was presented as "ImageOut of the Archives" by ImageOut, the excellent Rochester LGBT Film Festival. It will work on the small screen.

Buddies has a very strong IMDb rating of 8.2. Yes--it's that good. Find it and watch it.
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Devastatingly beautiful
brett-lyon10 January 2016
As a child of that generation, a peer who survived, I couldn't help but getting very wet cheeks about 10 minutes into the reel. This isn't just a downer/dying film though, it's actually quite uplifting, even erotic and funny for a few seconds. They don't hire actors like these and they don't produce movies like these today. There aren't stories like these today, and that's a very good thing. Still, like other remembrances of the things that brought humanity so far down in the last century, look at this and learn, and remember. Never forget this, the deeply human experience. This isn't a story about a cause or an idea, it's a high-res (before that term existed) depiction of an intimate, loving relationship between two people. This movie is way ahead of it's time,and the current time, early 2016.

The faults to be found with this film are probably all in the technical production value, it was shot in the early 80's and the sound is a little hard to grasp at times. But the cinematography, acting, story and soundtrack are monumental.
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Hard Hitting and Raw Drama
Michael_Elliott4 September 2018
Buddies (1985)

*** (out of 4)

This ground-breaking drama centers around Robert (Geoff Edholm), a New York City man who is in the hospital dying of AIDS. One day David (David Schachter) comes to visit him as a "Buddy" and the two of them quickly build a friendship, although David knows the story only has one ending.

BUDDIES was one of the very first films to deal with AIDS and homosexuality and it was directed by Arthur J. Bressan Jr. who was actually suffering from the virus while making this picture. In fact, the director would end up dying of AIDS a few years after this film and I think his ghost is hanging all over this picture.

I say his ghost is hanging all over this picture because the film really does come across as a first-hand account of what it was like to have this virus during the 80's and what it was like waiting to die. The film is certainly very depressing and it's rather raw in the way it takes a look at a life cut short and I think it's clear that the director was working out his own demons here.

As I said, the film is exceptionally raw and there are some brutal moments on hand here. As good as this film is, at the same time it's pretty hard to recommend it since the thing is so depressing as I'm sure most people aren't going to want to watch someone slowly dying. The film is about loss, the film is about not wanting to die and it's about regret. It's certainly not a very cheerful movie but at the same time it's so well-made that you can't help but get caught up in its emotions.

Both Edholm and Schachter are good in their roles. I wouldn't say either of them are great as there are a few weak moments in the performances but for the most part they hit all of the right notes and I'd argue that both of them help add tot he rawness of the picture. I thought both of them had a great relationship with each other and as the friendship builds you really do feel it.

BUDDIES isn't the easiest film to sit through but there's no question that it's an important picture and one that deserves more attention than it has gotten over the years.
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Thoughtful and moving
Woodyanders3 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Naïve typesetter David Bennett (a sincere and likeable performance by David Schachter) volunteers to work as a "buddy" providing companionship for people dying of AIDS. David gets assigned to look after angry gay activist Robert Willow (a fine and affecting portrayal by Geoff Edholm), who's been abandoned by his friends and family in the wake of his terminal diagnosis.

Writer/director Arthur Bressan Jr. treats the delicate subject matter with great care and sensitivity; his low-key style and incisive writing keep the primary focus on the often intense and probing relationship that develops between the two radically contrasting main characters, with an especially nice and satisfying arc for David, who learns to become more socially and politically aware about gay rights issues thanks to the deep bond he makes with Robert. Moreover, Bressan Jr. not only astutely captures both the stigma ascribed to AIDs victims and the paranoia concerning AIDs back in the 1980's, but also says something poignant and significant about the basic human need for company and emotional connection. This film's key triumph is the subtle way it puts an extremely human face on AIDS without ever becoming too maudlin or preachy about it. The fact that both Bressan Jr. and Edholm were eventually claimed by AIDS further underlines the heart-wrenching tragedy of the 80's AIDS epidemic. A lovely film.
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jeffolmsted3 August 2018
Mournful, angry, funny, smart, even sexy. Good score too.
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Digitally restored. Before the industrial narrative discourse of what was AIDS horrendous years of
aOzmeho28 September 2020
Necessarily crude but no less potent for that. In fact, as Koresky points out, its amateurishness only serves to give the film an extremely sensitive quality. One of those movies that feels like a UFO sighting; rarely seen, alien in conception and creation. You sense how open and urgent it feels, which counts for a lot and I was moved by it even in spite of its rudimentary aspects
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