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Four Friends

By Doug Thomas

After winning an Oscar for his first screenplay (Breaking Away), Steven Tesich mixed fact and fiction in a telescopic view of the '60s. Like Tesich, Danilo (Craig Wasson), immigrates to America (Easy Chicago, Indiana to be exact) with his Yugoslavian parents. The center of his life is two other high school friends and the woman all of them are in love with: Georgia Miles (Jodi Thelen), a flower child even before she finds the movement. Georgia and Danilo are probably meant for one another but are too swept up in the '60s to settle down. The men fall in and out of Georgia's arms and through all the touchstone issues of the '60s: Vietnam, civil rights, hippies, sexual politics, and drugs. Director Arthur Penn shies away from the Pomp and Circumstance of later '60s-themed films like Forrest Gump; these characters witness the '60s more than participate. Even the soundtrack is different: it's void of hit songs, continually returning to a beautiful onscreen musical motif. What makes (The New York Times put the film on their 1981 Top 10 list) or breaks the appeal to the viewer is Tesich's tendency--successful or not--to reach for the "big scene," bursting with bravura emotions, most notably in the huge, tragic surprise that is the film's turning point. If you're caught up in Danilo's plight, the movie will make your list of favorites that no one else knows about.

 

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"I am french and I discovered Four Friends (Georgia's friends in French) when I was 15. For me, this film tales the little story of Danilo in the big history of the 60's, when people talk about these years I can't help myself seeing scenes of this film. Danilo is definitely what we call in France the 'anti-hero', I can't forget the scene he got very drunk and fight with a man, he vomited on him and back to his house he watched Armstrong walking on the moon as the whole world at this moment!"

--ValerieFromMarseille



 

FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)DVD unavailableSoundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Arthur Penn

Stars: Craig Wasson, Jodi Thelen, Jim Metzler, Michael Huddleston, Reed Birney, Glenne Headly, James Leo Herlihy

Released: December 11, 1981

Availability: VHS


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