Martin Ritt (Hud) directed this wonderful 1972 drama about a family of African American sharecroppers in rural Louisiana during the Great Depression. When the father is sent to jail for stealing food to feed his family, th... more »e others regroup in order to survive. Cicely Tyson brings grace and strength to her role, and director Martin Ritt pushes the story well past nostalgia toward an understated but obvious look at burgeoning self-determination among blacks (even the roots of future militancy). If Ritt, a white director, can't get any closer to the characters' experience than he already does, he is still a fine storyteller and this is a terrific tale. --Tom Keogh« less
"This great movie deserves better treatment on DVD. The "extras" are worthless, the picture transfer is rather faded and flat, and the movie is presented in "pan and scan" format instead of the original widescreen. Dolby Mono.This is a great movie with great music. Can't somebody see their way to giving it the DVD treatment it deserves?On the plus side, it is cheap, and if you love this movie, you can look past these flaws."
5 stars isn't nearly enough.
Chris Aldridge | Washington, DC USA | 08/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Sounder" is a film of sublime beauty- one of the most powerful films for anyone to see. Even though the title made no immediate sense to me (it's the name of the family dog), the plot and script is choice and proves what I've always believed regarding most scripts: less is more. Films which feature close, reverent African-American families are still rare in the 21st century, and this was a *1972* release- which broke ground when it was nominated at that year's Academy Awards for lead actor (Paul Winfield), lead actress (Cicely Tyson), screenplay (Lonne Elder III), and best picture. Only director Martin Ritt was not nominated- which was a travesty, but the Academy is historically famous for bonehead decisions. At any rate, I was happy to see a film which shows family supporting each other- even in the event of the father's absence. I won't say why that happens, but it's only temporary, and his third act return- staged against a long stretch of open farm field and spotlighting a barefoot Tyson and limping Winfield running into each other's arms- is a bewitching, magical, sequence in the film. Everyone is a standout, including Kevin Hooks's pre-teen who needs to grow up overnight and to Carmen Matthews as the neighbor who supports and tries to help the family. Even more amazing is that this is a G-rated film; your whole family- black, white, or brown- will absolutely cherish it. Nice to have in any recording, it needs to be released to DVD."
Chris Aldridge | 04/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This heartwarming movie is one you'll never forget. Sounder is certainly one of Martin Kitt's(Director) best. Both children and adults will feel elated after seeing this movie. Based on the best-selling book, by William Armstrong, this film will blow you away.
When Nathan Lee Morgan, played by Paul Winfield, has to steal food from a local neighbor for his family, and gets arrested, the whole family has to pull through life, and survive without the man of the house. The Morgans are black sharecroppers during the depression. The family consists of the oldest son, David Lee(Kevin Hooks), the father Nathan Lee, the mother Rebecca(Cicely Tyson), David's brother and sister, and of course, Sounder the family huntin' dog. This story portrays how horrible life for blacks was. In this great dramatic and adventurous story, you will learn about what blacks had to go through just to feel equal.
The actors and actresses were wisely picked for this movie. The whole Morgan Family 'walks the walk and talks the talk'. By this, I mean that the actors/actresses had the perfect southern accent, and the perfect southern hospitality. Whether it was dramatic or funny, the actors did a phenomenal job portraying their character.
The moral to this story, I think, is that all people should be treated equally, no matter what race or color of skin. Back in the early 1930s, blacks were treated very unequally. They weren't allowed to go to the same church, and were accused of many things that they never even did. This movie explains all of this, and shows how the Morgan Family survives these everyday rules.
The setting of this story is in Louisiana in 1933. As sharecroppers, the Morgan's don't own much but their own clothes and some food. Their house is owned by the man that owns the land they farm. Being sharecroppers means that they grow cotton and other goods on someone else's land, and then the owner sells the goods. A small profit from the goods is given to the sharecroppers. That is their only pay, except for having housing.
The background music in this movie is fit for it. All the music is very southern like. It is also all sung by African Americans. If the music was anything different, I don't think it would have been right. The visual effects on the other hand, weren't very realistic. Though there weren't many, the few that there were weren't very good.
This movie has its ups and downs. Though there are more ups than downs. This movie is rated G and is about 105 minutes. I would certainly recommend you and your family to see this great historical video. It is a family classic."
A timeless film
email@example.com | usa | 02/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this film still has strong quality and values in times of need.Cicely Tyson does a wonderful job at holding her family together.this is one of the best family films ever.it captures pain,struggle,joy&love all at once."
Claire O. Gudewich | Frederick, MD United States | 09/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After reading Sounder with my students I decided to let them watch the movie. This movie is wonderfully done and my students loved seeing the book come to life. This is a great movie to add to your collection."