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Until the End of the World [VHS]
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Product Description

Shot on location in numerous countries, this ambitious Wim Wenders fantasy takes Sam Neill, Solveig Dommartin, William Hurt, and a ragtag group in pursuit around the world and back again. Though set in 1999 under the shadow of impending disaster as a wobbly nuclear satellite threatens to Chernobyl the planet, the leisurely gait of their worldwide escapades has a distinctly '40s-era decadence. The ultimate object of their quest is a machine that records visual information from one person and reconstructs it in the brains of others--granting the miraculous power of sight to the blind for one thing, but even more mystically, enabling a person's dreams to be recorded. When the film seeks resolutions on the most intimate questions of the human soul which dovetail with the possibility of a destroyed world, the film is hampered by the VHS running time, which subtracts several hours from the laser disc version. But numerous joys, not least among them Jeanne Moreau and Max von Sydow as Hurt's parents, inhabit this thought-provoking film. --Alan E. Rapp

Customer Reviews:

  • Where is the DVD?
    I have found this movie more difficult to describe than any other I have seen. This isn't because of plot complexity or character development. It's because with Until the End of the World, you are getting what essentially becomes three films. This movie's massive story arc (and mind you, I have only seen the VHS version which is something like two hours shorter than the laser disc) can be broken down into three seperate stories. They are not even acts when you dislocate them from the larger "end of the world" plot. I've never seen such a sprawling narrative work so well in a film. The characters are unpolished and even the good guys are shady. This film violates every modern Hollywood sceenplay rule and does it perfectly. One of the reasons I bought a DVD player was in the hopes that this movie would be released in that format at some point. I've only ever seen the VHS version of this film and have seen that more times than I can count. DVD! DVD! Where's my DVD?...more info
  • Great movie but wait for DVD!
    This is a great movie. But don't get it on VHS! Reason: 1) this movie deserves widescreen treatment and CD sound, 2) this VHS version is SEVERELY cut. The directors cut will have something on the order of 100 extra minutes. I just read on Wim Wenders personal web site that he is currently re-master the movie for DVD release. I don't know when it will be done, but trust me--this is one movie you want on DVD....more info
  • my "most wanted movie"
    never saw the original theatrical release it just was not distributed in the island I live on
    but I saw a technically flawed (colors and definition )VHS version and could not buy a laserdisc version (just one month too late production discontinued ) it is one of the most inspiring movie I ever saw
    probably rating just under citizen kane ,metropolis or lost horizon
    I wait with impatience to see this movie on DVD...more info
  • A haunting movie, one of my favorites.
    There are some rare movies that seem to expand the limits of film and reveal possibilities only heretofore imagined. This film is one of them, which shouldn't be a surprise, considering that it IS a Wim Wenders film. I wish I could explain WHY this movie is so haunting, so powerful and why it tugged so strongly at my heart - but that would be like trying to explain the magic of a beautiful symphony. If you like movies that have a straight plot, from beginning to end, be forewarned - this movie may not be for you. The movie can be loosely explained (very loosely) as a man trying to escape a killer while traveling through 15 cities and 8 continents. But it is far, far more than the plot outline can reveal. If you like movies that make you think about the human condition, in all its variations, this is a great pick. Take a chance and prepare to have your mind blown by this one! William Hurt is at the top of his form here, although I imagine this must have been a very hard role for an actor, like working on a tightrope without a net....more info
  • Another vote for putting UTEOTW on DVD
    Rather than review this brilliant film, let's use this forum to petition for its release on DVD, with a high quality transfer and all the additions it deserves (something comparable to the amazing DVD presentation of Fight Club).

    What does it say that I could go out my door right now and in 15 minutes buy DVD versions of "Dude, Where's My Car?," "Cruel Intentions 2," "Beverly Hills Ninja," and "Happy Gilmore" and films like Until the End of the World and Chinatown are being held back?...more info

    Stunning and engaging film - I rank as one of the best films I have ever seen (and I work for a studio, I see most everything). Enormously frustrating that it is not available yet on DVD. Pace can be slow, but if you allow yourself to be drawn in you'll enjoy the experience. Cinematography and art direction especially impressive. Again, why do studios shove so much dreck into the marketplace and neglect the true gems in their distribution catalogues that could find a wider and enthusiastic audience on DVD?...more info
  • If you're not hooked in the first 15 minutes, turn it off
    Back in 1991, we went to see Thelma and Louise at the theater and found the line too long to bother. Hastily looking for another option, we took a flyer on UTEOTW. I became an instant Wim Wenders devotee within 15 minutes. Later, I bought the laser disk, and discovered what I knew to be true, namely that for every person who loves this movie, there are at least a half dozen who don't get it. I recall an evening several years ago when long lost friends came to visit and in the midst of a discussion of movies, I began raving about this one. They were keen to watch it, but within thirty minutes of starting the disk, they were nodding. Everyone went to bed before the first hour was over and I stayed up alone to watch it through, one more time. One need make no apologies for an admiration of this film and its many qualities. But it is a hard sell, I think. I still find it one of the most intriguing films I know, but I don't offer to show it for guests any longer....more info
  • Visionary
    Among the complaints leveled at Wim Wenders' amazing "Until the End of the World" the most common seems to be that the film falls apart in the final third; but for me, it is one of the most riveting and profoundly disturbing half-hours I have spent in a theater. Throughout Solveig Dommartin's pursuit of the elusive Sam Farber/Trevor McPhee (William Hurt), Wenders examines how technology invades our privacy, making it nearly impossible for Hurt's character to slip Claire's grasp. In this seemingly Utopian vision of the future, all movements are traced with GPS precision, and society's citizens are little more than thrill-seeking voyeurs. Then, in the final episode, after the world has "ended", the director asks the crucial questions he has been leading us toward: What happens when technology finally invades and distorts our memories? What becomes of privacy when even our dreams are subject to public -- and to our own -- scrutiny? More than our latter-day cinematic obsession with serial killers and increasingly bizarre horror stories, Wenders considers one of the most urgent philosophical challenges facing 21st Century humans: How do we distinguish ourselves from the technology that both serves and enslaves us? How do we prevent our becoming merely a cog in the wheel?

    From the brilliant cinematography to the haunting soundtrack (that works well on its own -- AMG says it is perhaps the best of the 90s), this is filmmaking at its finest. It's a shame Americans can't see it on DVD....more info
  • Interesting and Intriguing, But By the End, Will It End?
    Wim Wenders' "Until the End of the World" is one of the most fascinating films I have ever seen. It is a mixture of apocalyptic fears, anti-technology, dream interpretation, and addiction, which involves an international cast of characters and leaps from continent to continent at a dizzying pace. The plot is more than a little confusing, but essentially deals with Solveig Dommartin's character searching for William Hurt, who could (or could not) be an international industrial spy. Sam Neill plays Dommartin's boyfriend, and to say that their relationship is an open one is an understatement... The last quarter of the film drags... I would recommend it, but at over 2 1/2 hours long, it requires concentration and patience. However, you rarely get an opportunity to view films this creative, so it is worth seeing....more info
  • DVD, Please
    This is also one of my all time favorites, haven't seen it in awhile, have the CD and the VHS buried here somewhere; and hoped it would be easier to finally get a new DVD version - But I don't live in Germany, I live in the Bronx for chrissakes. Is Wim Wenders holding out? It's time for a Region 1 release!!...more info
  • One of my favorite movies
    A wonderful film and the soundtrack is great. It's a shame that the soundtrack CD doesn't include ALL of the music in the film....more info
  • Where's The Region 1 DVD?!
    I mean really - what's the holdup??? Seems like the rest of the world gets this on DVD but not the U.S. ...more info
  • Gets Better with Age
    Back in the 90s, I knew there was a new movie that U2 was providing the music for and I said great, can't wait to see it. Then I saw it... the US cut of Until the End of the World. And I said what? Why did I want to see this piece of crap? It made NO sense at all.

    Flash forward to 2005. I hear there's a director's cut. I think, well, I'll give it a shot. Lemme be the first one to tell you... WOW! I'm glad I did.

    Four hours and forty some minutes of bliss. (Though the last hour could have been whittled down a bit.) William Hurt is great, alternately obssessive and tortured, funny and sparkling. Not his best performance I've seen but top three. I cringed in the US version every time he came on the screen.

    There's a lot more I can say but 15 years has given me a lot of good perspective, traveling around the world, growing as a person (I hope) and it's just one of those films that has to be seen to be believed. Or believed when seen.

    I highly recommend this over three leisurely evenings (the Italian version comes on three DVDs) and the lack of English subtitles heightens the confusion that some of the characters feel over the course of the story. If you can get your hands on this, do....more info
  • Until the Release
    I can't wait for a US release of this film. When it came out in '91, I saw it in Paris at the Kino. I was mesmerized and couldn't leave the seat for several minutes. Over three hours of gorgeous, gorgeous, haunting, globe trotting, heart rending, beautiful film! And the music! When I got back home to the US I was shocked to find it turn up on some reviewers list of all time worst. Had the seen the same film? Were the reviewers deranged? Had film taste in the US forever gone in the toilet? No. The film had been massacred! Cut to two hours for US distribution! Unrecognizable! Just can't wait to see her again... ...more info
  • When can we get this on DVD?
    For some reason, this film has been severely neglected in the US market. I can say unequivocally that this is my favorite Wenders film. The cast manages to convey an odd sense of detachment and alienation which pervades the setting, a cyberpunked future that captures Gibson and Sterling's visions far better than anything I've yet seen (especially the execrable Johnny Mnemonic). It's on my short list of actually good cyberpunk films (Blade Runner, Strange Days, and this one). It is epic-length, to be sure, even on the cut version I saw in the US, but Wenders manages to hold your attention through an atmosphere which is dreamlike and hypnotic (in keeping with the final goals of the protagonists). It is just this strange quality which makes the end portion of the film as effective as it is--you begin to question how much of a grasp on reality we have in the first place, let alone how much value it is to lose ourselves alone in technological coccoons made of dreams. Much food for thought for the here and now, and I am mystified as to why we can't get it on DVD here in the USA. Gimme!...more info
    Every time I've watched this movie it brought me a great disappointment for not having it on DVD and made me sorry for not having the complete experience both on the audio and the video aspect. Other then that it's just a perfect movie, most probably the best of it's kind. It's just that it cries out for the digital version on DVD....more info
  • One of my all-time favorites
    I love this movie. Super creative, unpredictable and moving. I've got a lousy VHS copy that's painful to watch. The DVD possibilities here are enormous and it's a crime we have to wait....more info
  • Strange favorite
    This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love movies that are enormous, gorgeous sprawling gestalt views of the human condition. My all-time favorite movie is La Dolce Vita, which IMO is the greatest example of a movie that enscribes the whole experience of being human.

    Like La Dolce Vita, Until the End of the World is a massive, epic story with convolutions that are played out in luscious and exotic places where dreams turn against the dreamer.

    Also, the music is beautiful; the acting is convincing and fun; the photography is jaw-dropping; and the story is imaginative and profound.

    So...where is the director's cut DVD? Does anyone have wim wenders' email address? I am in desperate need of the scene where the plane drifts to the surface of the outback against the backdrop of a very beautiful Peter Gabriel song. Anyway, thank you Mr. Wenders. You may feel one way about this movie, but I am in love with it....more info

  • An Obscure Classic
    The first time a saw this film was a in a summer school class on road movies. It blew me away. This sprawling, surreal, and intelligent science fiction thriller is one of the most unique films I've ever seen. German director Wim Wenders goes globe-trotting in search of a device that can let blind people see, but in each country he adopts a different genre for the picture. It is inthralling if you stay the course, but you must understand that nothing will make sense for a least an hour. Supposedly there is a five hour director's cut floating around somewhere that is even cooler....more info
  • Great most of the way, then implodes
    Director Wim Wenders has a very good movie going here for the first three-quarters of it, but then it hits a brick wall and dies. On the brink of a nuclear catastrophe, a woman (Solveig Dommartin), disenchanted with her boyfriend (Sam Neill) is involved in a car accident with two bank robbers. Along comes William Hurt, who steals some of the heist money (and her car) from Dommartin, who in turn gets angry enough about it to track Hurt down. This leads to an around-the-world chase, which is the most exciting part of the movie. But then everyone ends up in the Australian outback, and this is where the deadly brick wall sets in. In the desert Hurt's parents, Max von Sydow and Jeanne Moreau, are involved with video technology that allows the blind (Moreau) to see and also for people to see their dreams. What a let down! The action comes to a dead halt and our interest sags, if not dies, with it. It was so good at first, and maybe that's still worth a recommendation to watch (along with high praise for Hurt and Dommartin), but be prepared to be disappointed before it's all over. ...more info
  • Please Please Please on D-V-D
    Please persuade the distributor to release the fully restored 3-5 hour version on DVD - better yet, Make this the first film on HDVD as it was one of the first filmed (partly) in HDTV!...more info
  • an underappreciated classic
    It is simply baffling that this film is not available on DVD. It is a classic and beautiful film...raising the bar for what other artist directors can aspire towards. Invest the effort to track this film down and be rewarding with a new, wider horizon in your life....more info
  • Brilliant
    I have seen this movie in bits on the Tele now owning it I look so foward to sitting thru it in it's entirity. A very large bowl of *hotair* popped salt but some garlic melted into the butter a mug of hot chocolate and the phone off the hook. A complex movie but wonderful concepts and insightful projections of the future, all twixed into an adorable - Love Story - ...more info
  • Misunderstood classic
    Wim Wenders established himself as the quintessential art house foreign film director in the 1980s. He had his critically claimed road movies and the well loved "Wings of Desire" under his belt. His style is hard to pin point, but if there is one word that could be used, it is exploration. Whether it be in travels or in the human condition, it is something that his characters do. "Until the End of the World" epitomizes exploration, and consequently, begs for repeat viewings.

    The title itself holds so many meanings. There are two literal ones. The first being that the film involves a chase around the world for the elusive William Hurt character. The second being the fear that the world would end at the turn of the millenium.

    But that doesn't even begin to scratch the clever layering of meaning within the film. Wenders loves exploring the depth of the characters, even after the chase is over, he lets us visit with them a little longer. While we're doing that, the characters are going deeper and deeper in trying explore themselves through the use of devices that allow people to see their dreams. And we do get to see this in the American 158 minute version. Although this is regarded by the director as a heavily truncated version of his vision, it's still highly watchable and entertaining.

    The film is also notable for it's interesting look and concept. Wenders isn't venturing too far into the future here, but places subtle glimpses of what he felt it might look 9 years from when the film was made in 1991. He actually does a credible job and shows a genuine curiosity for science in this film.

    This also boasts one of the best soundtracks period. Wenders has had some allegiances with some great bands or artists over the years. Included here are prominent Wenders collaboraters U2 and Nick Cave as well as a number of alternative icons like R.E.M., Elvis Costello, and the wonderful score by the nearly infallible Graeme Revelle.

    The structure of the film can be very off putting for the regular film goer and I must admit that when I first watched it, it through me for a loop. Wenders is not satisfied with giving you merely a human drama or action story and is known for shifting gears in his films. What starts as cat and mouse chase story shifts into an exploration of the human condition through the use of dreams, looking into people's obsession with them. It makes for an odd watch that if you are pleased with, you might have another go round.

    This is an excellent movie surely worthy of another look and possibly a DVD release. It wasn't well understood when it came out and Wenders grand idea probably wasn't ready for the US quite yet. I'd be willing to give this film another while, be it the 158 minute version or 280 minute trilogy version available in other regions. While many may disagree, I do think Wenders succeeded in creating his ultimate road movie - and a little bit more....more info
  • Best movie ever
    Great locations the world over evoked with sensitivity and style, hip people, love, friendship, connecting with the mother, confronting the father, references to technology, thoughts on dreams, movies and literature, superb soundtrack. The greatest movie ever!
    ...more info
  • Let's get this going
    By far, this is one of my favourite films of all time. I am so keen to see the diecrto's cut - I would be willing to spend a day or two watching it with no problem - so I bought the VHS tape, but I would happily have bought a no-frills DVD (like the one I have for Deliverance, among others) just to have this on disc. As cheap as it is to transfer this to a disc now, it just seems mean to not do so. Let's get it going for goodness sake....more info
  • Thought provoking and stylistic
    I concur with another's (from Tel Aviv's) comment that this needs to be made available on DVD. The U2 Actung baby soundtrack and the world geographic and futuristic visuals are very engaging.

    While some commented on finding the story line jumbled and/or implausible, they are probably used to having all of their questions answered. The story made me wonder what is truly important (given the finiteness of life, time and the planet) and made me question whether technology and communication's untethered advances will lead us to advances in civilization. Or steer us to become more hedonistic and individualistic.

    It's fun. It has action and romance, and as such makes a great after-dinner, couples kinda' movie....more info