War of the Buttons
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Customer Reviews:

  • One of my favorites
    I've seen this film six times now and each time is a good as the first time. The story is very whimsical, funny, poignant and perfectly enjoyable. Along with THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH and WAKING NED DEVINE, I think that THE WAR OF THE BUTTONS is tops among Irish films. The young actors who dominate the film are exceptional and genuine, and the film explores the way in which adolescents begin to move into becoming young adults and some of the harsh realities of life. Why Warner Bros. has not released this on DVD is my big question. I just bought the tape and then transfered it to DVD myself. This film is a winner across the board, and everyone I know that has seen it loves it and is affected by it....more info
  • Gem of a movie - wish it were out on DVD!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!
    Deceptively simple.

    This movie looks at adult's wars/history through the eyes of a group of Irish school children. Historical events that they study in the classroom get re-interpreted and played out in the conflict between the two groups, leading to an escalation that *nearly* ends in tragedy. It makes for an exploration of all that is noble and petty in any conflict, adult or child. It deals with not only violence between the boys (and girls), but child abuse and a whole village's complicity-through-silence. It is funny and moving and sad at times, but manages to end with good triumphing over near-tragedy.


    There are a few things I would want to discuss with any kids before I watched it with them. The first is the issue of child abuse, and the second is the nostalgic boys-will-be-boys attitude that the adults have towards their children's violence (and which permeates the film itself). Children sensitive to death, injury or peril of characters may find the conflicts between the gangs less distressing than the child abuse and the death/injury (non-graphic) of animals....more info
  • War of Buttons, great movie
    War of the Buttons is a great movie. It's about the boys(beween 11 and 15 years old)of two irish villages. The boys from Ballydowse are more creative and a little more poor than the ones from Carrickdowse. Although the boys from Carrickdowse are also very friends. They fight because of the traditions and the pride of getting the war's trophey: the enemies cloths'buttons. This fights are very creative and funny but they live them as if they were ina real war. It's ok for teens between 11 and 15 years old but any adult would enjoy it too. It's a pitty that the main characters haven't appeared in any other movie. John Coffey )as Geronimo) was great....more info
  • You need 100 stars for this one!
    I cannot believe this has yet to come out on DVD. I finally broke down and ordered the VHS. This movie is an excellent family film. You don't have to be Irish to appreciate the story told.

    5 stars is just not enough! ...more info
  • Great Movie
    I first saw this movie when I was a little, and I have to say it is one of my favorite movies. If only they came out with a DVD!!! I would recommend this movie to absolutely anyone.... Great Irish movie!!!...more info
  • charming film...
    Just wanted to say that this film is a very entertaining picture that anyone can enjoy. I too would like to know if anyone has any idea on when this film may be out on DVD?...more info
  • Read the book (in French if you can)
    This movie is entertaining enough. Parents should use judgement, of course, because the themes may not be acceptable to all.

    On a different note, this film is an adaptation of a French film adaptation of an early 20th century novel by Louis Pergaud. Both film's turn Pergaud's serious (though oft times funny) social/political commentary into a childish romp. The book addresses some heavy themes that were major issues during the French Third Republic. It is well written and multi-layered. I highly recommend reading it. But be warned if you do, the films will seem silly and rather unrelated. ;)...more info
  • A Great Comedy for all!
    I loved all the details and funny events in this Irish comedy that was really, really good in every aspect. i recomend this film to any person that watches videos...more info
  • Great characters and story
    I loved this movie, my friends and I were horrified when boys our age were running around with...er...no clothes on. That didn't make the movie any less great, I reccomend it to all ages- there isn't any nudity I would consider vulger, it's quite safe, harmless far away shots I remember. the accents were good and I thought the characters were great!...more info
  • A brilliant family film!
    Another brilliant Irish film! War of the Buttons is adapted from a French book and film and is (apparently) set in County Cork, Ireland. It centers on two rival gangs of pre-teen boys (and a few girls), the Ballys and the Carricks from neighboring towns, Bally Dowse and Carrick Dowse. By their dress, the Carricks appear to be "the haves" and the Ballys the "have nots." The Ballys and the Carricks each are lead by brave, honorable, respectable boys, Fergus and Geronimo; each has its own traitor/coward/bully, Riley and Gorilla, respectively.

    WotB captures the adventure and fun of childhood. While most of us didn't necessarily run in neighborhood gangs, many adults will be reminded of days spent in the woods, building forts, pretending to stage battles, exploring uninhabited areas, forming groups and following leaders.

    The film is a lot of fun for kids. Though rated PG, there is one scene in which a bunch of the boys are completely nude, their exposed behinds for all to see. In our home, that triggered a few questions and comments from our young daugther. Other than that and several mild curse words, WotB is kid-friendly.

    More than the fun, the film teaches great life lessons. Peacemaking, forgiveness, friendship, helping others, loyalty, bravery and honor are all major themes. No one could possibly miss the positive messages underlying -- or taught through -- the conflict.

    WotB is a great family movie. Even if the kids aren't around, the adults can enjoy it. ...more info
  • I love this movie - it needs to be on DVD!!!
    I first saw this movie years ago, and I fell in love with it right away. The scenery is beautiful, and the boys in the film are great. The story is simple but so fun. I wanted to be right in there with the kids, fighting their 'battles.' I really hope this film comes out on DVD, because I don't have a VHS player anymore. It's really a gem....more info
  • Fantastic Movie!!!
    This is such a great movie. I do not understand why it has never made it to DVD. I blame the hippies!!!!!!...more info
  • extordanary for all ages
    Wow! This movie was so awesome after I rented it I had to buy it. I was visiting freinds and they rented this movie and we all watched it from a 3 yr old (who didn't fuss at all) to 40yr old. We all loved it!!!! I had to buy 2 copies, 1 for me and another to send to the family I first watched it with!!...more info
  • Fantastic movie
    I haven't viewed the downloadable version of this movie yet, but I'm glad to see that it's being made available again in some format.
    This is the story of the children of two towns and the war between them. Humorous and at some moments stirring or touching, its a great movie for the whole family, though there is some nudity when the boys decide that fighting naked is the best way to avoid getting dirty clothes.
    Since my vhs copy bit the dust years ago its been entirely too long since I've seen this one, I look forward to changing that....more info
  • A brutish Irish adaptation of a playful French novel. What does this say?
    Colin Welland may have won an Oscar for his Chariots of Fire (Two-Disc Special Edition), but in his adaptation of the Louis Pergaud novel set in the early 1900's France and later filmed by Yves Robert in 1962, this move to Ireland lacks the playfulness and innocence of the original and makes these kids from two rival camps way more brutal and warmongering with hateful language. As an Irishman, all I can say is "Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?" Sorry, but this film is full of hateful words, destructive and nearly criminal behaviour that makes Irish lads from Carricks and Bally to be nothing more than Montagues and Capulets from Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet and the Sharks and the Jets from West Side Story (Special Edition DVD Collector's Set). This is not a film about the playfulness and innocence of childhood, but rather the mean-spirited, thoughtlessness of unsupervised children who are learning at an early age to be full of vengeance (frankly observed by watching their parents!). The fact that these boys crush a beautiful fox with a large rock while a girl gang member calls them "Pigs" is exactly how I felt about them also. Not recommended for family viewing unless this is what is acceptable to you as a parent. I find gang warfare abhorrent and derive no sense of value from this adaptation. I find none of these boys or girls charming or lovable.

    Rachel Portman soundtrack (Emma: Music From The Miramax Motion Picture is extremely typical of her work, but is fitting to the film.

    John Robert's direction is dull and lifeless and lacks all of the innocence and cuteness of the Yves Robert French film. Occasional shots of the Irish countryside do nothing to alleviate the underlying violence in this film . This film is so inferior to the original "La Guerre des Boutons" and so removed in French playfulness to Irish hatefulness that I cannot recommend it for any reason other than if your childhood was full of gang warfare and disrespect and you find that alluring and cute....more info
  • Must. Have. DVD. Release.
    This unibox thing is a start but this film needs to be preserved legitimately on DVD....more info
  • great movie for all ages!
    War of the Buttons became an instant hit at my house the first time we watched it. I loved it, my husband loved it, and all three of my sons (ages 5-13) loved it too. It brought back memories (for the adults) of times when neighborhood "wars" were an innocent, character-building tradition. My kids liked it because the fun and creativity shown were so infectious. The movie actually inspired them to leave the Nintendo occasionally, to play outside more. The copy I'm buying is my second -- my husband loaned the first to someone at work and we can't get it back! War of the Buttons is truly a great movie for kids....more info
  • DON'T LET THIS FILM DISAPPEAR!!
    This is a wonderful movie. I am a middle school English teacher and have been showing this movie to my students for years. They all love it and ask to see it again and again. If it is not put on DVD, I'm afraid it will soon disappear and that would be a great shame. ...more info
  • great movie
    i love this movie and have since i was a kid. i first saw it in a movie rental place and thought the name was kind of funny so i picked it up and i thank myself for that day every time i watch the movie, which i now own. its a story about two villages in ireland who have this kind feud and every day the kids from each village have a 'war' that ends before dinner time. its an enchanting tale of innocence, adventure, and community. i would definitely recommend it to all people of all ages. a timeless movie for all!!...more info
  • Unrealistic Fictional French Tale Set in Eire
    This film could have been a five star story had the script-writers done a better job of adapting this French tale to the realites of children in 1960s County Cork, Eire. It's so far-fetched, that only a young American audience would be gullible enough to swallow its fantastic plot. The script-writers did a poor job of allowing the children to be children with the values of children; instead they imposed adult values on them so that it is a film about children by adults. Rather than do a film for children, they did a film for adults about children. Telling is the absence of a single football throughout the film!

    In short, it's the fictional confessional tale of the character Marie and her childhood growing up in a tiny village in West Cork called Ballydouse. The plot follows the antics, at times illegal and criminal, of two boys, Fergus and Jerome, from separates sides of the river who eventually end up in reform school - not for something they actually did, but for something they were responsible for causing (although they should have been disciplined long before things got out of hand, and would have in true life). One of those two boys is now her husband and the other is their oldest friend.

    In long, the story begins with the boys from the Ballydouse side of the river confronting the boys from the Carrick side on the bridge that connects the two. An argument ensues with profanities unfamiliar to an American audience but very bad to an Irish one, and a Carrick boy nicknamed Gorilla grabs a Bally boy and dangles him upside down from the bridge. At any second the Bally boy may slip from the grasp of his tormentor and fall head first into the river below. While the life of this young lad is being threatened, the post man sits in his car and only timidly advances towards the lot. Fergus comes to the rescue, but not before Jerome (aka Geronimo) calls off the Carrick goons.

    Instead of realistically running home and telling their parents how the young Bally boy was nearly murdered, the Bally boys later quietly retaliate by conducting a guerilla mission to vandalize the church in Carrick. The destruction of private property is unsettling, especially against the church and if that really had happened in Cork, their own would of stopped them in their tracks.

    During the raid on the church, one of the lads is spotted by a Carrick man. The boy is so stunned with fear when he's seen, that he drops his basket of eggs. The scene is humorous as he is brought inside the man's home so his wife can tend to him, and it turns out to be the home of the Carrick leader Jerome. Jerome's father determines the boy to be in shock and funnels shots of whiskey down his throat - without any gagging, coughing, or screaming from the boy who presposterously sucks them down like a seasoned adult. When they send him home with a basket of eggs from their hen house, he asks "one for the road?" in very adult and unrealistic fashion.

    The next day, the Bally boys row out to the middle of the river to spy through binoculars on the efforts of the Carrick priest to repair his sign. They are confronted with sling-shots ("catapults") by the Carrick boys on the other side. "Murphy's Dunes after school", says Fergus.

    At Murphy's Dunes, the Ballys bait the Carricks with their youngest lads who taunt the Carricks into pursuing them into a trap, where the older ones capture one Carrick with a net. It turns out to be the same kid who endangered the life of the Bally boy the day before. In a horrible, illegal, and criminal scene, Fergus pulls out a pocket knife. They torture the boy and threaten to castrate him. Instead, they cut off his buttons, shoe laces, and belt. Then send him back. Hence, the war of the buttons.

    Back and forth it goes, each side taking their knives to the buttons of the other, until another very bad and unrealistic scene where the Ballys go to battle completely nude against the Carricks. Bare-bottomed boys running around outdoors indecently exposed. Just doesn't happen in County Cork! Idiotic and stupid are the script-writers. In real life, these boys (who never acted before) were actually made to indecently expose themselves for the camera people and directors filming them. These adults should be ashamed of themselves for imposing adult humour on what otherwise would have remained a sterling coming-of-age story.

    Things grow worse and worse, each side trying to trump the other until Marie is very nearly killed by an out-of-control downhill tractor. With the destruction of the tractor and threats of lawsuits against each parent of every child that participated in the wars for buttons, each kid got a thrashing from their parent and Fergus and Jerome were sent to reform school.

    Why did they do it? "...for the hell of it - what else is there", explained Fergus. With no afterschool sport, not a single football, cricket bat, or rugby ball anywhere in this film, what did the parents of this fictional village expect their kids to do? A silly movie that can be enjoyed by those who can suspend their knowledge of reality....more info