Sometimes a man's true strength lies in his power to grow from the forces that sting the heart and cut deep into the soul. Peter Fonda (Easy Rider), in 'the performance of his career (Newsweek), received a Best Actor Gold... more »en Globe and an Academy Award(r) nomination* for his portrayal of a man who escapes one war only to find himself at battle with an even greater enemyhis wounded spirit. Featuring an uncommonly fine cast (Rolling Stone), Ulee's Gold comes wonderfully close to magic (Los Angeles Times)! Third-generation Florida beekeeper UleeJackson (Fonda) may have gotten out of Vietnam alive, but he left a part of himself behind. Now he methodically tends his bees, carefully provides for those who need him and vigilantly keeps his emotions at bay. But when both his family and his livelihood are threatened by a long-buried secret, Ulee must break through his emotional walls, find the strength to change and begin life anew. *1997: Actor« less
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 12/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Fonda has definitly inherited his father's gift for acting as he turns in a remarkable performance in "Ulee's Gold". Fonda plays Ulee Jackson, a Viet Nam vet, now the soul operater of the family beekeeping business. Ulee was the only one to survive his unit during the war due to his tenacity, and now he must call upon that strength again as he tries to hold his dysfunctional family together.Ulee seems to have lost his way since the death of his beloved wife, and tries half-heartedly to raise his two grand-daughters, and his bees.
His son incarcerated, and daughter-in-law a drug addict are no help to him. A situtation arises, his son's co-horts in a robbery are now holding a very drugged up Helen(the daughter-in-law) hostage for money that was hidden by Ulee's son during the robbery. Ulee must rescue Helen and keep his family safe from these dangerous men.In the process Ulee finds renewed stength in himself, realizes the immense power of family, and also opens up to a new lady friend(Patricia Richardson) who has been a tremendous help to the family.He finds Gold in more than the Bee's honey!This is a powerfully moving and emotional film. It was directed by Victor Nunez who was nominated by ALMA as outstanding Latin Director, and recieved other international awards for this film. The performances by the actors are incredibly intuitive to their rolls.Peter Fonda was bestowed a Golden Globe and the NY Film Critics award for Best Actor, and was also nominated in that category for an Oscar,Patricia Richardson(Home Improvement), also gives an outstanding performance as the caring neighbor in a new format for her. Jessica Biel who plays Ulee's oldest grand-daughter, is exceptional as the rebellious, hormonally charged teenager, and recieved The Young Artists Award that year.Vanessa Zima who plays the youngest is excellent as the seemingly all knowing youngster. Also turning in fine performances are Steven Flynn and Dewey Weber, and of course...The Bees who make all that golden honey!The beautiful cinematography(filmed mostly in the Tupelo swamps of Florida) shines through in this MGM edition of this DVD. The picture and colors are sharp, clear and bright in the widescreen format, and there is a standard format(although there isn't too much of a difference there) on the other side if you prefer. The sound is good in Dolby Digital stereo surround, and the soundtrack beautfilly done and befitting the film.No special features to speak of but it does come with a nice "making of" booklet, the original theatrical trailer, and you have the choice of viewing it in English or French or with subtitles in those languages.All in all an excellant film (and DVD), that might have been somewhat overlooked the year it was released(1997) as there were some huge blockbusters that year(i.e.Titanic).If you have never seen it you are in for a treat. If you already know you love it, you will not be dissapointed with the DVD.
Go for it.....Laurie"
Good Lord! They slipped an action film right past me!
takintime | Raleigh, NC USA | 05/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a real treat. Normally I have no use for "action" films at all. And despite the slow, steady pacing of this flick, that is exactly what it is--a re-defining of "action" films. You doubt it? Just watch how many times Ulee finds himself in dangerous situations demanding action--kidnappings, hostage situations, removing his overdosing daughter-in-law from the drug den she has called home for far too long, staring down the barrels of guns weilded by two lunatic sociopaths who don't have two brain cells to rub together. These are situations in which somebody has to do something! In other films that would have meant blood and gore in a host of possible situations--shootings, explosions, car crashes, or at the very least a bone-crunching karate kick or two. Not Ulee's style, so it doesn't happen, but in the end you realize that as plodding and unpretentious as he is, Ulee is a man of action. And furthermore, he gets excellent results.If you insist that blood, gore and violence are necessary components of an action film, you may not care for this one. However, if you are adventurous and want to see a whole new spin on the theme--not to mention a chance to see Peter Fonda proving that he is just as appealing as he ever was--by all means, see this film. It's a real treat for anyone, especially those of us who have aged along with Fonda and might at this stage of our lives wondering if we have really accomplished anything worthwhile. A wonderful film! Fonda at his best and a story that works well, as well as working out right. You can't reasonably ask for more."
The Bees' Knees or a Classic Film
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 08/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Watching "Ulee's Gold" again 6 years after it was released reminded me of how great a movie this is. Victor Nunez is an independent filmmaker who usually sets his films in Florida and sits on the board of the Sundance Film Festival. His excellent eye for talent is demonstrated by the introduction of Ashley Judd in 1993's "Ruby in Paradise." Being an independent feature explains why so much of this cast is actors from television. Not to diminish the sterling performance of Peter Fonda, this is an ensemble work that Nunez has directed. Each member of the cast is essential to its success; and it does succeed.As Ulee Jackson, Peter Fonda gives an amazingly understated but strong performance. You can see the storm of emotions that fly within the character as evidenced by the one scene where he lets his feelings fly as he tells off his daughter-in-law Helen with anger and venom. That edge or spark underlies all of the other well-controlled scenes so that even though Ulee may be quiet, he is always focused, always tense.The supporting cast is also excellent. TV's "Home Improvement" Patricia Richardson is excellent as the neighbor nurse who tries to help without intruding and winds up attracted to Ulee. That interesting relationship allows the mind to conjure up Ulee 2: The Sequel to see how things develop after this crisis point.Jessica Biel, the bad girl who posed nude for a magazine and got booted from TV's "7th Heaven" delivers another blockbuster performance as the young adult/late adolescent who wants to be a kid but who fights with her responsibilities to her family and loves them even as she sasses them. I probably won't select to see her in the upcoming "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" because it's not my kind of film, but she certainly shows the potential of an accomplished actress.The other supporting players are also excellent. Christine Dunford who has worked in TV (Ally McBeal, Law & Order) shows great range as the drug-addicted mother who is dragged out of her habit, and clings to her con hubby. Steven Flynn who also has worked in TV (Ally McBeal, NYPD Blue) as the big brain con Eddie Flowers is sufficiently creepy to keep our interest. His horny sidekick Ferris Dooley is played well by Dewey Weber. Ulee's son Jimmy in prison is played by Tom Wood ("The Fugitive," "Appollo 13") with an edgy performance, conflicting the loose morals that landed him in prison with his love for his wife and kids. Even little Vanessa Zima ("Zoe") as the younger daughter Penny does a good job of being sufficiently innocent.Nunez has created a marvelous ensemble piece. One could almost see this adapted for a compelling stage play. I was particularly struck by the metaphor of being calm amid the bees which paralells the tense human situation and Ulee's calmness in the face of possible tragedy. The film holds up well and will remain a classic film. Enjoy!"
Near perfect film.
S. McHale | Costa Mesa, CA USA | 03/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most of the reviews here on cast and the script do an incredible and convinging job portraying people in transformation. Peter Fonda goes from stubbornly independent to accepting help from those around him. His teenage grandaughter goes from insolent/resentful to helpful when she witnesses her wayward mother experiencing drug withdrawal (she understands her grandfather's strength and resilience from this). The mom goes from rabid, caged animal to a contrite and caring person when her withdrawal completes. Much of this is handled with little dialogue! It's in their faces. In a touching scene, the youngest grandaughter comes to her mom's rescue during mom's panic epidsode - she shows her mom a drawing based on an allegory whe witnessed that day where a beehive is tipped over from a bear attack. The bees are frightened, but the people around the bees as well as the bees themselves will be okay as long as everybody remains calm and sets aside their fears. Much of the dialogue in that scene happens off-camera, but you can just smell the tension easing during that scene. Not only was it well done, but it captures one of the essential themes to that movie.The movie may move a little for some but I did not mind. It gave me a sense of Ulee's life. I don't particularly like slow films myself (Sling Blande was way too slow for me), but this film handled the pacing just right."
A Rare Modern Gem
snoogycat | 06/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a gem of a movie. Ulee (Fonda) is a lonely and bitter bee keeper raising his two young granddaughters. Casey (Biel) is rebelling and Penny (Zima) is pulling inside of herself. As a favor for his jailed son, Jimmy (Wood), Ulee also takes in drug addicted daughter-in-law, Helen (Dunford). Neighboor Connie (Richardson) helps out with the situation. All is not well, however, because Helen spilled the beans to a pair of Jimmy's con partners (Flynn and Weber) that Jimmy hid part of the money to save for himself. Superbly acted movie!"