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Empire Falls
Empire Falls
Actors: Nesbitt Blaisdell, Michael Brockman, Kate Burton, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dennis Farina
Genres: Drama
UR     2007     4hr 0min

Adapted by author Richard Russo from his 2001 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, EMPIRE FALLS is a portrait of the gritty drama and human comedy that make up everyday life in blue-collar America. On a daily basis, goodhearted r...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Nesbitt Blaisdell, Michael Brockman, Kate Burton, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dennis Farina
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Hbo Home Video
Format: DVD - Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/28/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 4hr 0min
Screens: Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 02/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This review refers to "Empire Falls" DVD edition (HBO Films)..

Well, let me just repeat my title of this review...WOW! What a superb mini-series this was. I don't have cable,and never had the opportunity to view this one. So when I found this at my local video store and saw the cast, I figured it had to be worth a try. Other times, I have bought a film solely on the promise of a great ensemble, but have on occasion been disappointed(anyone remember "Dr T. and the Women?, yeah I thought not!). This one though, has the stars shining brightly, and a story that will hypnotize you from first frame to last. It stars Ed Harris, and here's the rest...Paul Newman,who will make you smile in every frame he is in, Joanne Woodward(I only wish those two would have had some screen time together), Philip Seymour Hoffman, Helen Hunt, Robin Wright Penn, Aidan Quinn,Theresa Russell,Dennis Farina, William Fitchtner and Estelle Parsons...WOW! I would also make mention of the younger stars Lou Taylor Pucci and Danielle Panabaker as the ones to watch for in the future. And oh yeah, all these greats were wonderfully directed by Fred Schepisi(Mr.Baseball/The Russia House).

The story, based on the novel by Richard Russo, grabbed me right from the start. A small town in Maine is the setting, but this could be anywhere in America. On one side of town, the rich, powerful owners of what seem to be everything and everybody in Empire Falls. The Whitings. Woodward is the matriarch, and has control over the everyday workers in the town. Ed Harris is Miles Roby, your everyday middle aged man. Mrs Whiting seems to have a particulary tight hold on him. When Mrs. Whiting says jump, he says how high? He's an easy going guy, and seems to just flow with the program, while everyone around him, his father, his ex-wife, his brother, his daughter,the town sheriff, and even the regular customers at the restaurant he's been running for 25 years for Mrs. W., all have some drama going on in their lives.We wonder why he puts up with things as they are? What kind of hold does everyone have over him? His life is a puzzlement, and as he flashes back to his childhood, the pieces come together. What will it take for Miles to become his own man?

The answers to the questions, come beautifully in this film. It seemed to say it's never to late for anyone to bloom. The huge cast worked incredibly well together. Just like real life, it had some of everything. Some humor, some family drama, a tragedy, and of course love. Exquisite photography of the location surroundings, and charming music also added greatly to the series.

I purchased this series as two separate DVDs(at the store). Volume 1 and 2. It doesnt say here that there are 2 DVDs, but it appears that both parts are included here, as it lists "The Making of Empire Falls" as one of the features, and that is included with the 2nd DVD that I have. The picture is gorgeous and presented in a letterboxed format(16:9). There is Audio Commentary(on both parts). The sound is excellent in 5.1 (with the choice of 2.0 in English and Spanish), and there are subtitles for the film only(not the features) in English, French and Spanish. It is rated TV-14.

To compare prices and availabilty by buying the 2 volumes separately:
Empire Falls (Every Small Town Has a Big Story) Vol. 1and Empire Falls, Volume Two

There are 8 chapters and an epilogue, and I tried, but couldn't stop after just one!

4/12/10 update: it looks like this is only available from outside merchants at this time and not from Amazon direct - Please check with the sellers to make sure you are getting both volumes. And BTW I can tell you now for sure this series will stand up to many repeat viewings.

One of 2005's Best Films
Mr. Bey | Riverside, CT United States | 01/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've always been pretty pleased with most of what HBO's movies and Empire Falls is no exception. Though it starts off slow the superb acting just draws you in and I enjoyed every minute of it. If you enjoy any HBO movies than you will love Empire Falls.

Empire Falls is a small town set in New England where life is simple and everyone knows everybody. But for Miles Roby, a man who has been working in the same grill for most of his life, there's something missing. He feels that Mrs. Whiting who owns the grill has it in for him and he doesn't seen anything extraordinary happening in his life. He's been through a divorce and his ex-wife Janine is about to get remarried something his daughter Tick doesn't want to happen at all. Miles also has to put up with his senile father Max who thinks everyone has it in for him.

Miles frequently has flashback of his childhood when his mother was still alive and he tries to remember Charlie Mayne who he hates but he can't really figure out what happened to him. His daughter Tick is also trying to connect with a tortured boy who she tries to help but realizes he's beyond her saving. Miles also struggles with the feelings that Mrs. Whiting's handicapped daughter Cindy has for him. Miles is just a guy who doesn't think that he should be spending the rest of his life flipping burgers at the same old grill and he wants more with his life.

Empire Falls is driven by an all star cast of Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Newman, Aidan Quinn, Dennis Farina, Joanne Woodward, and so many more. It is a heartwarming adventure and it is a must see.
If only the movie theaters showed this kind of film more
Algonquin Round Table | USA | 06/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I haven't seen a good movie in the theaters for a while, but this HBO movie - incredible.

The cast doesn't disappoint, the screenwriters did a fantastic job converting the details of the book into a movie.

This should be released on DVD for people to buy or rent. Good storytelling in film isn't plentiful, but here you get a rich, moving experience.

Paul Newman plays a great jackass. I laughed, I cried, it was better than CATS."
Perfect in every way.
Robert M. Penna | Albany, NY | 01/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This HBO adaptation had four things going for it that almost guaranteed its success before a single camera began rolling.

The first was the fact that it was based upon Richard Russo's award-winning book of the same name. The second was that Russo himself wrote the adapted screenplay. The third was the incredible, all-star cast; and the fourth was that it was an HBO production. Each of these elements contributes to a mini-series now available on DVD and one that is not to be missed.

Let's start with the story. No one, absolutely no one, captures small town America the way Richard Russo does. Unlike some writers whose only real acquaintance with this setting seems to be either a brief glimpse from the Interstate or, worse, some other Hollywood writer's impression, Russo writes as though he actually spent years in the former mill towns, sitting at the diner, the tavern, or the doughnut shop soaking in the lost dreams and dead-end futures that haunt many of the residents of these communities. But unlike writers who see only despair in such a setting, Russo captures -but never makes light of- the small victories that the locals do grab onto to make life worth living. Odd as it may seem to the Sacks Fifth Avenue set, it IS possible to have a fulfilling life without ever owning a Gucci...and Russo is the master of introducing audiences to such lives. It is the audience's further fortune to have Russo acting here as his own screenwriter. The tweaks, cuts and short cuts necessary to make a novel into a workable screen presentation were thereby handled lovingly by their creator. He did not leave in too much, he did cut too much. True, the mini-series format gave him extra room to work, but he did the most with it and the audience is the clear beneficiary.

The casting is spot-on. Ed Harris plays the central character, Miles, with an easy grace that belies the fact that this is acting, while Paul Newman has a ball playing Miles' irascible and irredeemable father, Max. Two other casting bull's eyes were scored with Philip Seymour Hoffman as the enigmatic Charlie Mayne, and William Fichtner as Deputy Jimmy Minty, a role that clearly anticipates his current starring slot in TV's "Invasion." The rest of the cast is similarly perfect and there is not a bad performance in the lot.

HBO has shown time and again that when its name is on a production, the result is going to truly be something worth watching, even if the usual Hollywood glitz is not attached to it. Instead of making a splash, HBO seems to be intent upon producing quiet gems, and that is what this film is. Read the book, and then see the movie. Or do it the other way around. But whatever you do, do not miss this film.