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War of the Buttons
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Customer Reviews:

  • Great Family show for young and young-at-heart.
    The scenery is beautiful and the music is wonderful. This film deals with various issues in a humorous way. This is the kind of atmosphere I'd love to have my own children grow up in....more info
  • Wonderful family story of two groups of Irish kids
    Wonderful, insightful family video of two neighboring groups of not-so-wealthy rural Irish kids who battle each other for bragging rights. Ensemble acting is superb as is the directing and cinematography. Background score beautifully supports the story and suggests the charm of the Irish countryside and coast. As each group "captures" kids from the neighboring village, the victors cut off the buttons, belts, school ties, shoe laces and suspenders of their captive and send him home to let "daddy do the hurtin'". The buttons are kept as war trophies. With each group trying to outwit the other, each battle is more fun than the previous highlighted by great surprises and clever dialogue. The ending clearly shows there are consequences to the mischievous actions of the leaders of the two groups. A sure winner for pre-teens and teens and exceptional family viewing. This film was a big hit with our Boy Scout troop and church youth groups. Many of t! he kids reported viewing it many times. Makes adults want to be kids again. The rating is certainly due to some very mild language and some exposed backsides. END...more info
  • I LOVE THIS MOVIE!
    Good movie. I loved it! I am fourteen, and my mother and my 28 year old sister also loved it. It is cute and funny, and my fave movie in the WHOLE world. All the little kids are cute and funny. This movie is funny, but also has underlying themes about war and stuff. "Why did we fight?" "For the hell of it." I love Irish accents. And I love this movie. Do yourself a favor, and watch it!...more info
  • War of The Buttons
    I love this movie! It's my favourite movie of all time, and has been since I was 10. Despite the fact that some of the scenery is artificial, the acting is magnificent, especially for such young kids. It's a wholesome movie, although there are some sad parts, for the whole family to enjoy.

    In short: I laughed, I cried, I yelled, I sang... it's a beautiful movie....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
  • Buttons and Backsides
    In an age of over-coached and over-couched potatoed children, this film about kids growing up in the Irish countryside speaks of a time long ago when we made our own fun before the advent of television. I grew up during World War II, wore Sergeant stripes, dug trenches, and made amphibious landings in old row boats. This movie was made for kids and is about, simply, growing up and making your own fun. It is about bullies and the playground and best of all, it is about friendship. There is one magical movie moment in the film that will remain with me always - the scene in the hideout when the buttons descend....more info
  • Boys at War
    A group of boys in Balleydowse are poor and don't have fancy things like the boys of Carrickdowse. So they begin a war. They don't know why, just for the hec of it, they say. So whenever one group captures the other's leader, they cut of their buttons and claim them as trophies from each battle. They not only compete in battle, but elsewhere as well. From selling the most charity tickets, to seeing who can come up with the worst cuss word, they always try to come out on top. But, without their knowledge, the two leaders become fast friends when challenged with being caught running away. Whether they leave together or get caught by their parents, you have to find out. But I guarantee you will love this movie. I did!...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
  • Maltin Schmaltin
    I have to disagree with Leonard Maltin that this movie tries to assert any profundities about war. I found the story delivered exactly what it aspired to, and that was the meaningful nature of "child's play". That as destructive and hateful as the children's actions appeared in the view of the adults, important social bonds were developed. It was also thought-provoking, in that it showed that adults often fail to see, in a child's "unacceptable" behavior, emulation of adults in their environment. Fergus and whats-his-face are not bad, as characterized by the adults in the movie. They're part of an important social structure in their miniature society. Excellent film. Five stars all the way....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
  • Must. Have. DVD. Release.
    This unibox thing is a start but this film needs to be preserved legitimately on DVD....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
  • someone
    I thought this movie was really cute. I had first seen it when a friend and I rented it on a whim, I really enjoyed it....more info
  • FOR ALL AGES
    This movie is one to be passed down from generation to generation. It is human nature in its buff from parent to child and of course the age old question of "Why?" It's a must see!...more info
  • It is a wonderful story of childrens dreams and memories,
    Well we watched this movie as an assignment in Ms. Kurz' english class at Everett High School in Everett Washington. We all watched the movie, laughed, thought it was funny, and had a good time watching it. If you are reading this Ms. Kurz I think I deserve an A. The movie was great and I thought it had a good moral and a nice thesis....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
  • If you've liked movies like "The Sandlot"...
    ...you'll love "War of the Buttons." This fanatastic movie about two warring towns is a must see. The young actors are fantastic, and the story is exciting and hilarious. Fergus, the leader of the Ballys, pulls together the kids of Ballydowse to form a 'democratic society' in order to defeat the Carricks. With strategies ranging from sneak attacks to nudity, they triumph over the Carricks only to end up in more trouble than they bargained for. This film is one of my favorites....more info
  • Irish children and village life are charming in this film.
    I highly recommend it as a charming, funny film. You will be glad to spend an evening at home with this in the VCR....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
  • Full of drama and a heart-warming war story of kids
    I believe that this movie is a wonderful one and is full of drama. This movie is about 2 towns who's children have found the devils play thing, extra time. This leads to a big war with the children capturing other kids and stripping them of their buttons as trophies. This film is rated PG. Not recommended for young boys with creative minds in fear of them starting a gang for "fun", though I do love this movie and believe it was made very well. It may be a little slow but this is sure to please you. Please e-mail me....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
  • 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
  • A REAL BREATH OF FRESH AIR!
    There aren't many movies that really grab me, but this one did...the previous 38 reviews will have given you all the plot details... The best thing about this film is the wonderful acting of this group of mostly-unknown Irish kids. There are only 2 or 3 in the whole crowd who are veteran movie actors (you'll recognise one of the boys --"Little Con" I think his name is??--- from Into The West.)They're funny and charming and utterly real. And as an added bonus-- Liam Cunningham, one of my all-time faves, is featured as their schoolmaster. I understand that this is a remake of a French film, and I wonder how it compares to the original. Must be at least AS good!!...more info