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Bill / Bill: On His Own (Double Feature)
Bill / Bill On His Own
Double Feature
Actors: Mickey Rooney, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt
Genres: Drama, Television
UR     2007     3hr 20min

Based on a true story Mickey Rooney portrays Bill a 40-year-old mentally retarded man with an I.Q. of 50 unable to read or write living in the brutal rough and tumble of New York City. He must learn the ways of the city or...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Mickey Rooney, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television
Studio: Bci / Eclipse
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/15/2007
Original Release Date: 12/22/1981
Theatrical Release Date: 12/22/1981
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 3hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Excellent Price for Excellent Films
Samantha Kelley | USA | 09/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD set is a thrill for fans of the underground favorites Bill and Bill: On His Own. Mickey Rooney is at his best playing the mentally disabled Bill Sackter, a real life friend of the director. For two movies that ran an average of $25 each before this release, this $12 DVD is a real bargain.

Bill is absolute sentiment, but with such a fine actor in the leading role, it is difficult not to fall for the baited hook. Mickey Rooney plays Bill, a man whose life has not been easy. He spent almost 50 years in an insane asylum and lives with the threat returning there if he cannot keep himself out of trouble. Bill is extremely innocent and easily taken advantage of, so trouble is not unknown to him. However, a film maker named Barry (Dennis Quaid) takes an interest in him as a subject and becomes his friend.

The story is simple, but the plot doesn't have to be complex. Rooney is absolutely fascinating to watch. It is easy to forget he is acting; he makes the character so realistic and very lovable. Of course the editing and the music aid that, but really it is Rooney who pulls through. Quaid is also interesting here too in an early role. Even through his character's frustrations and imperfections, he makes his character notable and interesting.

Bill: On His Own is the sequel to Bill. In this second movie, Barry moves to California to start a new career, leaving Bill behind to be a "good man" on his own. Bill finds that independence isn't easy, even when he lives with a loving group of people. He finds a potential new friend in student of social work Jenny (Helen Hunt) who pushes Bill to learn to read and count. Her insistance frustrates him and makes him feel like a "low grade man," but her intentions are good.

One forgets that Rooney is acting, even though he's a familiar face. Hunt is less likable than Quaid's character is, but she represents a common factor when dealing with the mentally disabled. Teresa Wright also appears as Mae, Bill's guardian. Her face will be familiar to classic movie fans for her appearances in films like The Pride of the Yankees and The Best Years of Our Lives."
Just like I remember
C. Martin | 01/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Bill" was my first Mickey Rooney movie. I believed he really was a mentally challenged individual and was shocked later when I saw him in other movies.
I enjoy both of these movies. It was fun to see a couple of well-known actors of today in these two movies where they were quite young: Dennis Quaide and Helen Hunt.
Recomended for anyone who enjoys old made-for-TV movies."
Very powerful; brings tears to my eyes
Joe Anthony (a.k.a. JAG 1) | Massachusetts, USA | 05/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For years I managed to get along with a very old VHS copy of the movie "Bill" about a mentally retarded man who spends over 40 years in a mental institution and through the help of a friend manages to find a good life for himself. Now that it is out on DVD (along with the sequal: "Bill On His Own"), I was anxious to own it, as it is one of my favorite movies.


"Bill" is a very heart-warming story. It involves a very human struggle to understand those who are different. It is as much about mental retardation as it is about ourselves and what is important to us, on a human level. Though it was made for TV, I always thought of "Bill" as a powerful and moving story worthy of comparison to any other "big screen" movie. Indeed, it could be Mickey Rooney's BEST performance bar none. The chemistry between Bill's friend Barry (played by Dennis Quaid) and Bill is strong and touching in a very real sense. As a side-line, Barry and his wife Bev reveal how they each struggle to understand Bill. As one is ready to give up on Bill, the other comes through for support.

"Bill: On His Own" was more a curiousity for me. I had not seen it in years since it first aired on TV back in the 1980s, and I don't even remember watching it from the beginning. The sequal (like most sequals) seems to lack some of the magic of the first movie. There are, however, some interesting things going on. A young college student (played by a VERY young Helen Hunt) struggles as she tries to understand what true success means as a person is dealing with people on a human level as opposed to a clinical level. We also get a look at Bill's life in a group home where he lives with a nice old lady (May); a mildly retarted, cynical, sarcastic, but ultimately caring handyman (Kenny); and a moderately retarded woman (Angela). They are, inded, a family and the lady who portayed Angela made such an outstanding performance that I found myself wanting to know more about her character (as well as the others in the group home).

The sequal also explored how the local Jewish community discovers Bill's Jewish background and reaches out to him as a Jew, and even helps him to celebrate his bar-mitzfah (albeit, Bill's understanding of his religious identity remains unclear as he did, in the first movie, recite Christian prayers and is even identified (in the second movie) by his friend May as someone who goes to church with her every Sunday; and although Bill wears a Star of David that the rabbi gave him, he also has a cross in his room.)

After a series of disappointments, Bill's coffee shop burns down, and he goes to visit his old friend Barry in California who manages to help Bill find his inner strength.

The original "Bill" is an OUTstanding movie; it moves along more smoothly and never fails to leave me without a little tear in my eyes. "Bill: On His Own" is a nice sequal, but doesn't quite capture the chemistry and emotional power of the first movie.

I teach a psychology class to high students and I show them the movie "Bill" as we cover the chapter on learning and intelligence which also discusses menatl retardation. Because the high school also has a program for students who are retarded, some of my students do community service with the mentally disabled kids. My students really like watching "Bill" which is quite a testament in that teenagers usually go in for action movies with car-chases and crude jokes.

"
So glad it's now on DVD!
Kimberli Rose | Tennessee | 08/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I absolutely love these two "Bill" movies! I viewed them first as a child and had looked and looked for them forever! I saw the old VHS versions selling on EBAY for upwards of $25 a piece and was so thrilled to find it had finally been re-issued on DVD. This is a heartwarming family film that everyone who has compassion for fellow human beings should enjoy. It should be mandatory viewing for children to teach them the beauty of being different. I highly recommend these movies to everyone!"