Gardens of Stone (1987)
Set in Washington D.C. during the Vietnam War era, Gardens of Stone concentrates on the trials and tribulations of the Arlington National Cemetery home guard. James Caan plays career soldier Sgt. Clell Hazard, who has come to the sad conclusion that Vietnam is unwinnable and that America should withdraw as soon as possible. His attitude is contrasted to that held by Private Jackie Willow (D.B. Sweeney), who wants nothing more in life than to go into battle for his country. Though Hazard cannot officially dissuade Willow from this yearning, he pulls a few surreptitious strings to change the lad's mind, including encouraging a renewed romance between Jackie and his former girlfriend Rachel (Mary Stuart Masterton). After so many big-budgeters, Coppola determined that Gardens would be a deliberately "small" picture, concentrating on personalities rather than opulence; the director's father, Carmine Coppola, supplied the music, while Peter Masterton and Carlyn Glynn, the real-life parents of Mary Stuart Masterton, play Mary's on-screen dad and mom. Gardens of Stone was adapted by Ronald Bass from the novel by Nicholas Proffitt. … More
as Sgt. Clell Hazard
as Jackie Willow
as Samantha Davis
as Sgt. Maj. 'Goody' Ne...
as Capt. Homer Thomas
as Betty Rae
as Lt. Webber
as Pete Deveber
as Lt. Webber
as Cpl. Flanagan
as Pvt. Albert Wildman
as Col. Feld
as Mrs. Feld
as First Sgt. `Slasher'...
as Col. Godwin
as Don Brubaker
as Navy Captain
as Lt. Colonel
as Lt. Atkins
as Lt. Horton
as Blue Lieutenant
as Wedding Friend
as ANC Driver
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Critic Reviews for Gardens of Stone
Unjustly underrated upon its release, Gardens of Stone is a quiet, respectful film filled with emotional power, exceptional acting (especially by Caan), and technical virtuosity.
Seems to take its name not so much from the Arlington Memorial Cemetery, where much of the action takes place, but from the stiffness of the characters it portrays.
Subtle and elegiac, Coppola's anti-Vietnam War meditation is one of the director's most misunderstood films.
There's a pervasive and worrying sense of the central issues being gently but undeniably fudged.
"sheer dreariness directed with fists of ham"
A handsome but fragmentary film that can't decide which story to tell.
There's a curious ambiguity in Coppola's feelings about the soldiers and their life.
Francis Coppola's 1987 Vietnam meditation was his best film in a while, though it's still something less than satisfying.
Audience Reviews for Gardens of Stone
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