Preserved in a state of suspended animation for 500 years by the Nirvano gas in the gondola of their dirigible wrecked in the arctic ice wastes, Buck Rogers (Buster Crabbe) and Buddy (Jackie Moran) are rescued by scient... more »ists in the year 2500 to find the world under the despotic rule of Killer Kane (Anthony Warde) and his super gangsters. Using an arsenal of fantastic weapons created in Dr. Huer's (C. Montague Shaw) clandestine laboratory, the group attempts to seek aid from the planet Saturn to oust the tyrannical ruler only to find that his henchmen have already taken over control of the Prince of Saturn. After several harrowing adventures with the Zugg men, Buck and Buddy return to Earth only to be shot down, imprisoned and finally rescued to participate in a spectacular air battle to wrest control of the Universe from the sinister intergalactic despot.Approximately Released by Universal Pictures. Bonus Features: Animated Menu| Scene Selection| Photo Gallery| Bonus Serial Trailers. Specs: DVD9; Dolby Digital Mono; 241 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1939; SRP - $19.99.« less
Matthew L. Mutchmore | Indianapolis, IN | 09/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 12 chapter BUCK ROGERS serial, was shot between the Flash Gordon serials "Flash Gordon's Trip To Mars" and "Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe." Audiences seemed indifferent to it, so the plans for a sequel were scrapped in favor of continuing the Flash Gordon series. While the Flash Gordon serials are probably better, I really enjoy the Buck Rogers serial too.Buck Rogers has STYLE. Not to say that Flash didn't, but the Buck Rogers serial has:The Art Deco Headquarters of Killer Kane, with it's convenient topiary shrubs for hiding behind.The swirling mirror pool monitor screens.The equally Art Deco space ships, with sparklers as exhaust and that sound, something like a microwave oven and a car missing a muffler. These ships were so advanced, all they needed was a simple door with handle.A future full of wimps. Flash and Buddy easily push away or tackle anyone who they clash with.The groovy De-Gravity belts and the transporter.The Saturnian tram system.The exotic terrain of the planet Saturn, which in no way looked like a California desert.The Saturnian MUGGS, who should have all been nominated for academy awards.Okay, I'm being a little sarcastic. But I really do have a great love for this serial, even with all its many flaws. Terrible performances by some of the supporting characters, a few cases of severely bad stunt doubling, and the effects, well......they did their best with what they had to work with. I love the little dolls in the Saturnian tunnel trams.And Buck himself--Larry "Buster" Crabbe was so handsome. That wavy hair and that killer smile were all he needed. I wonder if the producers ever realized what kind of confusion they would cause in the years that followed, by casting the same actor for both Flash and Buck. It's always interesting to see a VHS version of Buck Rogers with a picture from Flash Gordon on the cover, and vice versa.Buck Rogers is a true pleasure to watch. It's so much fun, and it's the perfect length. It's over before it has worn out its welcome. And if you want more, then watch the next chapter. The menu screens are fun too, with the ships swinging around on visible wires. If only they would have included a booklet instead of advertising.This is well worth checking out, especially if you enjoy the Flash serials. Like the cover proclaims, it's a 12 chapter Thrill-O-Rama!"
VCI edition just fine
Roger Travis Jr. | Connecticut, USA | 06/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As I've been trying to collect some classic serials, I've been frustrated by the lack of specific information on the various editions. So let me first say that while the print is far from pristine, for the price this VCI edition is hard to beat.Second, let me say that I am astonished--to the point of feeling like my 10-year old self was had--how much of "Star Wars" Lucas lifted almost whole-cloth from this serial. Even the prologue as a steeply pitched crawl comes from Buck Rogers, not to mention countless scenes in the Millennium Falcon as the ship is chased by an evil-empire-like force of villains.So here's the advice I would have been happiest to have had a few days ago when I was trying to decide whether to buy this disc: if you love science fiction on film, or are interested in the popular culture of the late 30's and early 40's, BUY THIS DISC."
cinephile | Oklahoma | 05/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Chances are, if you're here, you've already made up your mind. People don't just stumble across a 1930s serial. So you're probably a fan of this kind of stuff.
Which means we aren't going to judge this like we would a new, slick, Hollywood release with top-notch actors. This is budget sci-fi made for kids of the 1930s. It's not sophisticated, the acting is a little stilted, and the science laughable. But if you wanted that stuff, you'd buy something else, right?
Comparing this to other serials, I think it's one of the best. Like all serials, it tends to bog down a bit after the first half. That's because most of the really new ideas get presented in the first chapters.
However, the inventive approach to effects and matte painting are really enjoyable. The story is just silly fun. The presence of a fairly non-stereotyped Asian actor is interesting (even though his acting's as bad as everyone else's).
If you're adding to your archive, don't miss this one. Cool ray guns, gravity belts, transporters..."
Original Buck Rogers
carl vanderheyden | indian springs, nv. USA | 07/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although not as good as Flash Gordon series which also starred Buster Crabbe this is still an enjoyable SCI-Fi classic. Long before Star Trek and Starwars were Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. I used to enjoy each episode back in the 50's when I was alot younger. There was only one Buck Rogers serial made and it followed the success of the first two Flash Gordon serials. Buck Rogers never had the popularity Flash Gordon, probably because it was an imitation. The charectors were never developed as well. Killer Kane was no where near as intimidating as Charles Middleton's great performance as Ming the Mercilous. Wilma Deering is just there and doesn't stand out as much as Jean Rogers does as Dale Arden in the Flash Gordon series.Charectors aside there is still plenty of adventure,space battles and unique effects to make this a worth while video for any one interested in early sci-fi. A classic and until recently very hard to find."
ALMOST AS GOOD AS FLASH GORDON
Tim Janson | Michigan | 05/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Buck Rogers has never been held in the same high regard as the Flash Gordon serial but when it comes right down to it, it's really quite good on its own merits. Obviously these two classic serial have one thing in common, and that is its star, Buster Crabbe. Crabbe was a gold medal swimmer in the 1932 Olympics and then became a movie star much like Johnny Weismuller. In fact Crabbe actually was up for the part of Tarzan that went to Weismuller. Crabbe would go on to play Tarzan later as well star in a string of Westerns but he'll forever be remembered as Buck and Flash Gordon by most fans.
In this 12 part serial, Buck and his sidekick Buddy awake from suspended animation in the 25th century to find the world ruled by the nefarious Killer Kane (Anthony Warde). Buck Gets help from Wilma Deering (Constance Moore) and Prince Tallen of Saturn to eventually overthrow the ruthless warlord and bring peace to the world. Filled with classic space opera adventure, spaceships on strings, cardboard sets (and acting) Buck Rogers was a true early sci-fi classic. While almost second rate on everything compared to Flash Gordon, it still rises above most other serials of its day. Wilma Deering was no Dale Arden and Killer Kane no match for the deviousness of Ming the Merciless but this is still a very fun, and nostalgic serial to pop a few bags of popcorn over. Action-packed, and never dull!"