Midnight Cowboy/The Usual Suspects/Thelma & Louise/Platoon [4 Discs] [DVD]

This collection of four famous films includes a pair of Best Picture Academy Award winners - Midnight Cowboy and Platoon - as well as Thelma & Louise, and The Usual Suspects.
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Midnight Cowboy/The Usual Suspects/Thelma & Louise/Platoon [4 Discs] (DVD)  1969 - Larger Front
  • Midnight Cowboy/The Usual Suspects/Thelma & Louise/Platoon [4 Discs] (DVD) 1969
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Synopsis

Midnight Cowboy
Based on a James Leo Herlihy novel, British director John Schlesinger's first American film dramatized the small hopes, dashed dreams, and unlikely friendship of two late '60s lost souls. Dreaming of an easy life as a fantasy cowboy stud, cheerful Texas rube Joe Buck (Jon Voight) heads to New York City to be a gigolo, but he quickly discovers that hustling isn't what he thought it would be after he winds up paying his first trick (Sylvia Miles). He gets swindled by gimpy tubercular grifter Rico "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) but, when Joe falls in the direst of straits, Ratso takes Joe into his condemned apartment so that they can help each other survive. Things start to look up when Joe finally lands his first legit female customer (Brenda Vaccaro) at a Warhol-esque party; Ratso's health, however, fails. Joe turns a final trick to get the money for one selfless goal: taking Ratso out of New York to his dream life in Miami. One of the first major studio films given the newly minted X rating for its then-frank portrayal of New York decadence, Midnight Cowboy was critically praised for Schlesinger's insight into American lives, with the intercut mosaic of Joe's memories and Ratso's dreams lending their characters and actions greater psychological complexity. While they may have been drawn by the seamy content (tame by current standards), the young late '60s audience responded to Joe's and Ratso's confusion amidst turbulent times and to the connection they make with each other despite their alienation from the surrounding culture. Midnight Cowboy became one of the major financial and artistic hits of 1969, winning Oscars for Best Picture (the first for an X-rated film), Best Director, and former blacklistee Waldo Salt's screenplay. Though the one-two punch of Midnight Cowboy and The Graduate (1967) proved Hoffman's range and Voight's Joe Buck made him a star, both lost Best Actor to classical cowboy John Wayne for True Grit. The film was later re-rated R by the MPAA. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

Thelma & Louise
Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon play Thelma and Louise, two working-class friends who together have planned a weekend getaway from the men in their lives. Thelma's husband, Darryl (Chris McDonald), is an overbearing oaf, and Louise's boyfriend, Jimmy (Michael Madsen), simply will not commit. Though the road trip starts out as a good time, the pair eventually wind up at a bar. A tipsy Thelma ends up in the parking lot of the bar with a would-be rapist. Louise shoots the man dead. The two decide that they have no choice but to go on the run. They eventually meet up with a young criminal named J.D. (Brad Pitt), whose cowboy spirit rubs off on the timid Thelma. The pair is pursued by a police officer (Harvey Keitel) sympathetic toward their plight. He chases them to the Grand Canyon, where the women make a fateful decision about their lives. Directed by Ridley Scott, Thelma & Louise brought first-time screenwriter Callie Khouri many accolades including the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

The Usual Suspects
Near the end of The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey, in his Oscar-winning performance as crippled con man Roger "Verbal" Kint, says, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." This may be the key line in this story; the farther along the movie goes, the more one realizes that not everything is quite what it seems, and what began as a conventional whodunit turns into something quite different. A massive explosion rips through a ship in a San Pedro, CA, harbor, leaving 27 men dead, the lone survivor horribly burned, and 91 million dollars' worth of cocaine, believed to be on board, mysteriously missing. Police detective Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) soon brings in the only witness and key suspect, "Verbal" Kint. Kint's nickname stems from his inability to keep his mouth shut, and he recounts the events that led to the disaster. Five days earlier, a truckload of gun parts was hijacked in Queens, NY, and five men were brought in as suspects: Kint, hot-headed hipster thief McManus (Stephen Baldwin), ill-tempered thug Hockney (Kevin Pollak), flashy wise guy Fenster (Benicio del Toro), and Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), a cop gone bad now trying to go straight in the restaurant business. While in stir, someone suggests that they should pull a job together, and Kint hatches a plan for a simple and lucrative jewel heist. Despite Keaton's misgivings, the five men pull off the robbery without a hitch and fly to Los Angeles to fence the loot. Their customer asks if they'd be interested in pulling a quick job while out West; the men agree, but the robbery goes horribly wrong and they soon find themselves visited by Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite), who represents a criminal mastermind named Keyser Soze. Soze's violent reputation is so infamous that he's said to have responded to a threat to murder his family by killing them himself, just to prove that he feared no one. When Kobayashi passes along a heist proposed by Soze that sounds like suicide, the men feel that they have little choice but to agree. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Platoon
Oliver Stone's breakthrough as a director, Platoon is a brutally realistic look at a young soldier's tour of duty in Vietnam. Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) is a college student who quits school to volunteer for the Army in the late '60s. He's shipped off to Vietnam, where he serves with a culturally diverse group of fellow soldiers under two men who lead the platoon: Sgt. Barnes (Tom Berenger), whose facial scars are a mirror of the violence and corruption of his soul, and Sgt. Elias (Willem Dafoe), who maintains a Zen-like calm in the jungle and fights with both personal and moral courage even though he no longer believes in the war. After a few weeks "in country," Taylor begins to see the naïveté of his views of the war, especially after a quick search for enemy troops devolves into a round of murder and rape. Unlike Hollywood's first wave of Vietnam movies (including The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, and Coming Home), Platoon is a grunt's-eye view of the war, touching on moral issues but focusing on the men who fought the battles and suffered the wounds. In this sense, it resembles older war movies more than its Vietnam peers, as it mixes familiar elements of onscreen battle with small realistic details: bugs, jungle rot, exhaustion, C-rations, marijuana, and counting the days before you go home. This mix of traditional war movie elements with a contemporary sensibility won Platoon four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, and a reputation as one of the definitive modern war films. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Dustin Hoffman
    Dustin Hoffman - Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo
  • Jon Voight
    Jon Voight - Joe Buck
  • Sylvia Miles
    Sylvia Miles - Cass
  • John McGiver
    John McGiver - O'Daniel
  • Brenda Vaccaro
    Brenda Vaccaro - Shirley

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