MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington

Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Picks of the Week: Box or Multiple Sets. The Godfather/The Godfather 2; Braveheart/Gladiator;

CO-PICK: “The Godfather”/”The Godfather 2″ (Four Stars)
U.S.; Francis Coppola, 1972  (Paramount)
     Francis Coppola’s restored versions of the first two parts of one of the greatest of gangster sagas and American movies. An offer we can’t refuse, with a cast that can’t be topped: Marlon Brando as Don Corleone, Al Pacino, James Caan and John Cazale as his three sons, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire and Morgana King as Corleone womeny, and Richard Conte, Sterling Hayden, Richard Castellano, Al Lettieri, Alex Rocco, Lenny Montana and Abe Vigoda as fellow denizens of the dark world of Mafia crooks and crooked cops — not personal, strictly business.
     You’re better off with the restoration of the entire Godfather Trilogy, including the more controversial 1990 Part Three. But since a number of viewers feel that Last Chapter is a letdown, they may prefer this shorter package, since it contains the two movies that few argue over. They’re great films, in any case: two masterpieces from an era when our movies were more ambitious, more daring and more adult — and an era when you definitely didn’t want, as Jimmy Caan put it, to have your brother coming out of there with just his dick in his hands… 
CO-PICK: “Braveheart”/”Gladiator” Double Feature (Two Pack) (Four Discs) (Four Stars)
U.S.-U.K.: Mel Gibson/Ridley Scott, 1995-2000 (Paramount)
This is an excellent package, economical and satisfying, and it works whether you’re a history buff, an action fanatic, or just plain a movie-lover. The contents: Two Best Picture Oscar-winning historical adventure films, Braveheart and Gladiator, with two Australian superstars, Mel Gibson and Russell Crowe, in full sword-slashing hero form. The scripts are literate, the underlying history is at least visible, the action is furious, the direction is stylish, and the casts are first-rate. I like them both.
Includes: Braveheart (U.S.: Mel Gibson, 1995) Three and a Half Stars. It may not have deserved the 1995 best picture Oscar. (Many of the winners don’t.) But this lavish period epic about the 13th century Scottish revolt led by William Wallace (Gibson) is an exciting, chest-thumping Rob Roy of a show and still director-star Gibson’s best movie.
The settings are lush, the action is exciting and brutal and the picture is as politically incorrect as you’d expect. The unusually good supporting cast includes Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan (as England’s Edward I), Brendan Gleeson, Catherine McCormick, Ian Bannen, Alun Armstrong, Angus Macfadyen and Brian Cox.
Also: Gladiator (U.S.: Ridley Scott, 2000) Four Stars.
This one may not quite have deserved the Best Picture Oscar either, but it’s as sweeping and entertaining a Hollywood historical adventure epic as you‘ll find, and classier in the visual department than Braveheart. (Of course; Ridley Scott was the director.)
The story is essentially the same one (or very similar) that director Anthony Mann and screenwriters Ben Barzman and Philip Yordan (a longtime black list victim and his longtime front) told in their 1964 Samuel Bronston epic, The Fall of the Roman Empire (the movie that led to the fall of the Bronston Empire), but with more changes and more fictionalization. Russell Crowe is the warrior/gladiator/hero Maximus where the equivalent in The Fall of the Roman Empire, played by Stephen Boyd is general/hero Livius. But Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen and Richard Harris play the same roles (loony emperor Commodus, heroine Lucilla and the meditative Marcus Aurelius) that Christopher Plummer, Sophia Loren and Alec Guinness did for Fall. The rest of the cast is stellar, noble and Roman  (well, more stellar, bonle and British, actually) as well: Derek Jacobi, David Hemmings, Oliver Reed (who died in mid-film) and Djimon Hounsou.  
The Fall of the Roman Empire was underrated and Gladiator a little overrated, but both of them are very entertaining ways to watch Rome fall, especially if you don’t have the time to read Gibbon‘s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (and you probably don’t). Rest in peace, if possible, Oliver Reed.

Extras: All the extra features from the Sapphire editions of Braveheart and Gladiator.

Be Sociable, Share!

One Response to “Wilmington on DVDs. Co-Picks of the Week: Box or Multiple Sets. The Godfather/The Godfather 2; Braveheart/Gladiator;”

  1. Paul Nagle says:

    Good Morning Michael:

    Thank you for the shout-out for “THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE”. However, it should be noted that the screenplay (and the crucial and deep research that preceded the outlining of the complex storyline) was the result of a collaboration between Ben Barzman and the Italian screenwriter and journalist Basilio Franchina, who deservedly shared the screen credit. In his de facto role as The Bronston Studio’s chief creative officer, Yordan contributed his customary script editing and production re-write services.

    — Paul Nagle


awesome stuff. OK I would like to contribute as well by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some amazing and easy to modify. check it out at All custom premade files, many of them totally free to get. Also, check out Dow on: Wilmington on DVDs: How to Train Your Dragon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Darjeeling Limited, The Films of Nikita Mikhalkov, The Hangover, The Human Centipede and more ...

cool post. OK I would like to contribute too by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some amazing and easy to customize. check it out at All custom templates, many of them dirt cheap or free to get. Also, check out Downlo on: Wilmington on Movies: I'm Still Here, Soul Kitchen and Bran Nue Dae

awesome post. Now I would like to contribute too by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some beautiful and easy to modify. take a look at All custom premade files, many of them free to get. Also, check out DownloadSoho.c on: MW on Movies: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Paranormal Activity 2, and CIFF Wrap-Up

Carrie Mulligan on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Great Gatsby

isa50 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Gladiator; Hell's Half Acre; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Rory on: Wilmington on Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

Andrew Coyle on: Wilmington On Movies: Paterson

tamzap on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Magnificent Seven, Date Night, Little Women, Chicago and more …

rdecker5 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Ivan's Childhood

Ray Pride on: Wilmington on Movies: The Purge: Election Year

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon