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A Great American Tragedy (1972) HD online

A Great American Tragedy (1972) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Drama
Original Title: A Great American Tragedy
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Writers: Caryl Ledner
Released: 1972
Duration: 1h 15min
Video type: Movie
A middle-aged aerospace engineer has his whole life changed when he is suddenly laid off from his job. Unable to find work because of his age and a bad economy, he watches his bills pile up, his wife forced to go back to work, and his marriage start to break up.
Credited cast:
George Kennedy George Kennedy - Brad Wilkes
Vera Miles Vera Miles - Gloria Wilkes
William Windom William Windom - Rob Stewart
Sallie Shockley Sallie Shockley - Carol
Kevin McCarthy Kevin McCarthy - Mark Reynolds
Hilarie Thompson Hilarie Thompson - Julie Wilkes (as Hilary Thompson)
James Woods James Woods - Rick
Natalie Trundy Natalie Trundy - Paula Braun
Nancy Hadley Nancy Hadley - Trudy Stewart
Tony Dow Tony Dow - Johnny
Marcia Mae Jones Marcia Mae Jones - Claire
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Norman Burton Norman Burton
Stephen Coit Stephen Coit
Regis Cordic Regis Cordic
Peter Dane Peter Dane

Reviews: [5]

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    While I fully appreciate the dissatisfaction LebowskiT1000 posted about this film (I presume by his name, he likes the Coen Brothers and Terminator 2), I think he cynically dismisses an exceptionally compassionate and well-acted film about the experience of the unemployed middle-aged American professional because it doesn't provide easy answers and an idyllic happy ending. I wonder if Lebowski would pan "No Country For Old Men" because the innocents get killed and the murderer gets away in the end! That's reality, my friend! Anyone who's been "job eliminated" after 50 will tell you there are no easy answers and that happy endings sometimes take years if they are ever achieved at all. Your life gets royally messed up and it will never be quite the same. THAT is the POINT of what Lebowski has mistaken for a non-ending. The fear of NOT KNOWING whether life will ever be good again is a feeling this film's ending accurately represents. Most people live in denial as if it could never happen to them and this film qualifies as true art by making them aware of what they already know, don't know that they know, and fearfully don't want to know. With unemployment hovering around 10%, this film should be released on DVD because it relates to millions. William Windom's supporting performance is sublime.
  • avatar


    ...because 1970 marked the first time since the Great Depression that a well educated man(almost all engineers in 1970 were men), with a good position in his company, could lose his job through no fault of his own. This was part of the great "engineering recession" that lasted from 1970-1973 and was mainly caused by the fact that the government needed its money for bullets in the Vietnam War, we had made it to the moon in 1969, and the government had no money for designing fancy expensive defense gadgets, in particular aerospace gadgets. Thus aerospace engineers, the kind of engineer George Kennedy plays in this film, got hit particularly hard. The ones who were over 40 had the same problem those over 40 hit by the Great Recession starting in 2008 had - nobody wants to hire you for a professional position because you are too old. What they tell you is "you are not a good fit". Or "we'll call you if something comes up".

    George Kennedy plays the out of work aerospace engineer, and as the film opens he is cleaning out his spacious office - he obviously had a good career - as he has been laid off. Vera Miles plays the supportive wife. Even though his job search yields nothing - as does those of his engineer friends - he insists on throwing the big Fourth of July barbecue bash that the family has every year. It really is not about putting on a show for the friends and family as it is a way of stating that his self worth is still the same as it has always been.

    I remember a particularly poignant moment is when Kennedy is driving down the street and the engineer friend he had that kept saying "prosperity is just around the corner" is spotted by Kennedy's character pumping gas back in the days when people were actually employed to do that for customers. Kennedy has a look on his face that says "Is that going to be me?".

    I haven't seen this film for 45 years when it first ran, and it has never been on DVD and likely never will be. It was on VHS at one time, but is out of print. It will never be on DVD because being booted by your company after decades of service - if you last that long - for no reason has become the "new normal". Nobody remembers that for the first 25 years after WWII anybody who wanted a job could find and keep a job.

    Why do I remember this so well? Because I am an engineer and my dad was an engineer. I remember every Friday as a teenager in the early 1970's dreading him coming home and saying he had lost his job. It was a real possibility. It happened to one of his carpoolers and it happened to my uncle with a catastrophic impact to their respective finances.
  • avatar


    It starts out with a guy,and his family who have worked all their lives to get ahead,and he loses his job. A lot of people are going through that now. George Kennedy,and Vera Miles do a real good job of trying to keep the marriage together through tough times. This shows how what happens to one person effects everyone around Mr. Kennedy.The movie must have been shot in not very many locations,as the back yard is seen in most of the movie.You have to remember this film was made back when the story was more important than the "special effects" films that are being made today. It had a good ending. I like movies with good endings.I haven't seen it in a long time. Would like to find it on DVD.
  • avatar


    I give this film a 10 because of the effect it had on my life.

    Like the main character, I am also an engineer, but I was just graduating from college at the time. The country was just getting into recession in 1973, and I wrestled with which path to take. This film depicted exactly the situation I was concerned about: becoming an over- specialized engineer without a job.

    As a direct result of the film, I turned down some really good job offers from Fortune 100 companies and decided never to put my destiny in the hands of someone else. I've worked for myself ever since.

    Corny, but true.

    The film itself...I hardly remember it. But does it matter? It spoke to me.
  • avatar


    I'm not really sure what to think of this film, a bit over-dramatic in my opinion. I love how you can always tell where the commercials would be inserted because of the fade-out and the sound of the music. All in all, I don't think I'd recommend this film to anyone, not because I thought it was bad, but just because it's rather pointless, personally I didn't get anything out the movie, it wasn't thought-provoking, it wasn't terribly interesting, there wasn't much of a moral lesson (other than "don't give up"), there was virtually nothing to it. The film can literally be summed up into a sentence or two. Man loses job, man can't find new job, man gets desperate, man realizes his family is more important than a job, man continues seeking new job, the end.

    So, in the end, I wouldn't recommend seeing this for any other reason than to perhaps see James Woods in one of his first roles ever. Other than that, there really isn't much to be missed. I'd strongly recommend watching something else.