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  • This exuberant, irreverent, tender, glorious film is THE cinematic embodiment of the sixties. This is one of the greatest films ever made. The camera work sparkles. Plot becomes almost irrelevant. This movie invented music video. It is much more than a movie about this or that. It is a celebration of life, youth, craziness, dreams. It leaves you yearning for life, and makes everything look beautiful. Watch this film to see how limited and timid most films are. What a breath of fresh air!!!!!
  • Those were the days.1968 had happened and the times they were changing.

    A girl: "why didn't we protest before?

    another girl: "we did not know."

    "That time long ago when we thought our youth was eternal and the rebels were fighting in the mountains "

    The story of a twenty-year old young man who worked hard to go to college and then discovers that the world he wants to get into is worthless.Like in the magnificent Joni Mitchell song (sung by Indian singer (and activist) Buffy Sainte -Marie which opens and closes the movie),Simon is "captive on the carousel of time ,where the little horses go up and down".His tiny apartment is a time capsule: the "2001:a space odyssey" soundtrack, a photograph of Robert Kennedy,and Neil Young's "down by the river" .

    "The strawberry statement" could be subtitled "lost illusions ";the incident in the park was a real eye-opener;it's the failure of non-violence;that the "hero" should be "rewarded" for having been beaten up by the cops -whereas he was assaulted by one of his mates in the showers- clearly indicates that it's no use singing "give peace a chance" For those who lived through those troubled times and who did not realize they were "helpless" (like Neil Young sings in his classic also included in the soundtrack),"the strawberry statement" will remind them of that time when we could imagine that we were a brother hood of men and that strikes and songs and demonstrations could save the world.

    Like this? try these....

    "Alice's restaurant" by Arthur Penn

    "Harold and Maud" by Hal Ashby(also featuring Bud Cort)

    "Taking off" by Milos Forman
  • I've grown older, I've grown sedated - this was the first time in I don't remember how long that a movie really made me FEEL so much. The music, the camera-work, the speeches, the feeling of just wanting to c h a n g e so much! I got completely wrapped up in it, especially, like someone else wrote, since the state of the world is at it is today; it makes this movie feel more accurate than ever! Why, oh why, aren't there revolutionaries like these on the streets and in the universities of today? One thing though. The movie very accurately portrays women of this time and this movement, and by that I mean they are portrayed either as sexual objects, passive jewelry for the revolutionaries (men) to lean on in their "headquarter" (in this case the dean's office)or as frail and beautiful little birds the men have to care for. It is true that this is how women of the movement were treated - as someone who could make coffee whilst the men drew up revolutionary plans of how to overthrow the government - that is until women fought back and started their own revolution. I just wish that when revolution comes next time, there will be no sexism in its lines...
  • This movie will be of interest to anyone curious about the mores, attitudes, fashions, and lifestyles of the those involved in the radical student movement of the late 1960s. It presents a compelling portrait of the times. Personally I was left with the impression that the students were largely naive, spoiled idiots, and I found it difficult to sympathize with their agenda and methods. Nevertheless, I did feel for the duration of the movie that I was immersed in a reasonable, realistic representation of those times. The movie presents a more reality-based view of the late 60s than hippy freakout pieces like "Easy rider," for example, so you the viewer is advised to look at it as a kind of window into an era gone by.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The review by "kellyadmirer" is pretty spot-on regarding THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT. It is not hard to perceive -- or ridicule -- both the naiveté and the shallow thinking of many '60s radicals from the perspective of 40 years later, but naive and shallow they were. For the first 90 minutes or so of THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT, screenwriter Israel Horovitz and director Stuart Hagmann were able to perceive that naiveté and shallowness at roughly the time it was happening -- and gently satirized it. In the last 20 minutes or so, however, they change course about 150 degrees and, suddenly, the student "revolutionaries" become martyrs, victims of The Establishment and its brutal police lackeys.

    I've never read James Kunen's book, on which the film is based, but I recall having little sympathy for the Colombia University students whose attempted takeover of that institution in the spring of 1968 is the basis for THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT. I entered college the following year, but I thought of myself as an educational consumer rather than an owner or investor in the institution I attended. If I didn't like the fact that the university was doing military/defense research or offering ROTC classes, I could always go to school elsewhere. The students were transients; the trustees, faculty and staff (and in the case of the state university I attended, all of the citizens who supported it) were the ones with the long-term interests of the school at heart. Students who called for "strikes" to protest policies they didn't like were playing at being proletarians. Hell, I was in school to get out of the working class.

    I guess my antipathy to most student protests of this ilk (as opposed to anti-war statements and demonstrations that respected the rights of the non-political or apolitical members of the university community) may have blinded me to the satirical edge of THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT when I first saw it at the end of my freshman year. The national traumas of the 1968 Chicago convention riots (in which Mayor Daley's police definitely over-reacted to largely peaceful protesters) and the Kent State shootings of May 1970 were still fresh when this film arrived in theaters. That may have led Horovitz and Hagmann to add the climactic scene of the film (which changes the tone drastically) for the sake of timeliness. Of course, the contrast between the preceding 90 minutes of idealism and pseudo-revolutionary rhetoric with the stark reality of the last 20 minutes may have been the filmmakers' point -- but if so, they do a lousy job in setting up the ending. The sudden radicalization of Simon is pretty hard to believe, and the film ends ambiguously, as though Horovitz and Hagmann are afraid to come down on one side or the other.

    Up until that transitory moment of radicalization, however, THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT contains some shrewdly observed scenes. The obsessive horniness in the midst of "revolution," the verbal masturbation of the student politicos, the "non-violent" radicals' fascination with violence, and the resentment of the working class cops toward the "privileged" college students are well-portrayed. But the need for a big, dramatic and yes, violent climax really undercuts the subtlety of most of the film. Too bad, because it reduces THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT almost to the level of cliché.

    For Hollywood filmmakers -- concerned mainly with attracting the college-age population that most obsessively went to the movies -- portraying "the Sixties" meant depicting the "counterculture" and ignoring the fact that most Americans weren't a part of it. THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT is a movie about a rather small, if heavily publicized, slice of The Sixties -- and a rather wishy-washy film for all the sly humor that promises so much for the first 90 minutes, and then falters.
  • When me and my friends saw this movie first in the seventies, it became one of our favorite movies. It seemed to me like a glorification of youth and freedom, which I had never encountered before. This and the great music (John Lennon, Neil Young and others) helped this movie to get cult status in former East Germany.
  • Rilchiam-15 February 2002
    Sorry, but it did. I read the book first, which was absolutely priceless. It was the journal of James Simon Kunen (called Simon in the movie), who was a jock at Columbia when the student uprising got started, and half-heartedly joined the protestors, mostly because the squares weren't meeting his needs. He had a wonderfully cynical, pessimistic attitude.

    So what do they do for the movie? First they change the setting to San Francisco! Why? Then they make his character into a complete wimp; I cringed at almost every line. And they add all this gratuitous violence, despite the fact that there was almost no violence in the real-life uprising. What struck me about the book/journal was how disorganized everyone was. The protestors didn't have a clear plan. Some of the Columbia students opposed the protestors, and *they* didn't have a clear plan. The cops were powerless to do much of anything to the protestors except occasionally put handcuffs on them and herd them around, and the administration flipped back and forth constantly between trying to compromise with the students and threatening to expel everyone. What I got out of it was that revolution sounds like a great idea, until you get into the dean's office and realize that you don't know what to do, besides pose for a photo in his leather chair while holding a joint.

    But that doesn't sell tickets. So they have a big, loud riot scene, ending with a totally campy freeze frame. (I was waiting for Bruce Davison to die in that manner when I saw him in X-Men! No such luck.)
  • This is the perfect movie for anyone interested in the truth about the sixties, the lengths we went to, and how America learned that its people are pretty powerless against the powers that be. Kim Darby is perfection in her role, as she always was, and is! The climax is a living nightmare ... yet, total reality! This movie also shows you why so many Americans turned to drugs, why America is what it is today. When a nation feels powerless, the majority of that nation turns to fantasy / science fiction, and anything else that will make them forget what they have no power to change. This movie showed us the end of hope, and self-respect ... and the beginning of this mess we leave to future generations ..... oblivion!
  • I guess I agree that this wasn't a "great movie," but it was better than other reviewers have claimed. Honestly, most movies from this period don't stand up all that well. It was an experimental time and experiments usually go bad. That's the nature of attempting to be creative. Most Hollywood crap barely tries for competent and rarely considers creative.

    For no other reason, the context of Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air" (on of the all time greatest rock songs) is worth experiencing this movie. A pretty damn good version of "Give Peace a Chance" can be found here, too.
  • JohnSeal14 February 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    Will this significant film ever get a DVD release? Probably not, assuming that music clearance is an issue--and when one of the artists involved is Neil Young, the odds probably lengthen. Bruce Davison is excellent as Simon, a straight college student who finds himself caught up in the seething ferment of campus politics in the late 1960s. The film accurately depicts the confusion and unfocused rage of young people in those far off days, when issues as disparate as the Vietnam War and town-gown relationships united a broad coalition of activists. In retrospect it's easy to see the flaws in such a 'wide-net' approach--heck, it's a flaw that plagues what remains of the 'New Left' to this day--but the film is an invigorating reminder of a time when real change actually seemed possible. An MGM production, The Strawberry Statement recently aired in a heavily redacted, pan and scan print on TCM: almost all the cuss words and nudity is cut, and there's even some fogging in a shower scene to protect us from Davison's penis. Happily, the film is strong enough to withstand such indignities and is still worth seeing.
  • guybroster26 November 2001
    I caught this film about 1am in the morning whilst sitting up just surfing the channels...I was bored. I came into it about ten minutes in and thought straight from the off that the picture and sound quality was atrocious...so I thought I'd watch it or a laugh. I was actually very surprised how good it was. Once you look past the low level of production, the story is gripping and the scene at the end was one of best scenes I have ever watched in a film.

    If you ever get a chance to watch this, give it a chance..you wont be disappinted
  • I don't know what you think, but this is the most disturbing film I've ever seen in my life. In fact, it's the only disturbing film I've ever seen in my life! I stayed awake in bed for hours thinking about it, thinking about the very horrific ending that I won't tell you what it is. I'm only 14, but this is one of the best movies I've ever seen. I especially liked the brilliant use of camera work.

    The story focuses on the Columbia University communist riots in 1968 that I had no prior knowlege of before I saw this masterpiece.

    10 out of 10.
  • Style tells the story here or at least what there is of it. But don't expect much dialog or exposition. Instead it's a swirling camera and incessant movement that impart mood and progression. Simon's an ordinary college student until he's drawn into the student protests of the turbulent 1960's. There he more or less discovers a 'true self' and becomes a leader of the movement, along with his now co-activist Linda, drawn together by the exhilaration of events.

    Despite frustrations with what seems at times a self-indulgent approach, there are some good touches. Catch how Simon's previous life is summed up by the regimentation of the rowing team. There's even an overlay of barbed wire to emphasize the point. I guess that makes up for the absence of a peek into his home life. Moreover, Simon's fantasy moments are also strategically inserted, thereby avoiding dialog to account for his actions. Thankfully, however, the device is not over-used.

    On a more personal note-- as a student activist (SDS) of the time at a large metropolitan university, I'd like to offer a couple observations. The movie barely mentions the war then raging in Vietnam. Yet in my experience, it was a prime motivational factor, especially with the draft breathing down so many male necks in behalf of a bloody politician's war. Also, there's almost no political theory discussed even briefly in the movie's fast-moving kaleidoscope. Instead, the movement's leftist orientation is imparted visually by repeated images of an iconic Che Guevara.

    The strike we mounted at my school failed to come off when an important student group opposed it. As a result, the movement there soon faded away. In the movie, however, the police violently overwhelm the student strike. Nonetheless, the police action appears over-dramatized even if correct in essentials. This latter I base on what I experienced at the so-called Century City riot of June, 1967, in west LA. There an all-white march of mostly respectable adults ended at a hotel where President Johnson was to speak. Planners however failed to provide an exit route and the crowd soon overflowed with bunched up marchers. Both police and protesters panicked and a melee ensued in which many folks were beaten bloody with batons. It's probably the biggest police-white people fracas in LA since that time. I mention this as a perspective on the movie's portrayal of a police take-over of striking students. Over-done though I believe the depiction is, the movie is still correct in the use of random police violence. And though hippie-style free love is at least implied in the movie, my experience was that the political side of protests was clearly distinguishable from hippie-type cultural protest.

    Anyway, the film's disruptive style is rather frustrating. But that may be the movie-makers intended effect since the protest movement itself disrupted convention. In that sense, the finished film would amount to an intentionally awkward combining of style and content in order to better depict turmoil surrounding real student protest. To me, however, some essentials that depend more on words than visuals get unfortunately left out.

    All in all, I think the movie does capture a sense of new-found-freedom as the students rebel against a background of 1950's conformity. At the same time, the protest gatherings also provided an educational exposure to many of the country's most vital but suppressed realities. Sure, SS may not be the best student movie of that time, but it does have its moments.
  • A somewhat naive university student becomes involved with anti-establishment counter-culture in the late 1960's. Episodic, uneven film barely holds together but provides honest performances and impressively detailed look at its subject matter. (Rating: A-minus)
  • You had to be there or at least you have to be intrigued by the on-going concept of polarization (which is what "The Strawberry Statement", both the James Kunen source book and the movie, is really about). Others may want to give the film a wide berth which should be easy enough to do as ownership complications with the music rights continue to keep this interesting counter-culture film from a DVD release.

    The title comes from a statement made by a Columbia University administrator in response to student demands for more say in the decisions being made by the school's administration. He said something to the effect that the opinions of the students on these issues meant no more to him than whether they liked the taste of strawberries. Needless to say this simply played into the hands of the most radical of the students and became a rallying cry for the protests that would rock the university.

    The film transports the events from NYC to a fictional university in San Francisco, at least in part because "The City By the Bay" was quick to offer its location to film makers; even though the area was busy with its own considerable student protest events (The Free Speech Movement, The Oakland 7, and People's' Park come to mind).

    Taking its character motivational elements and cinematography style from Haskell Wexler's "Medium Cool" (1969); it is all about a "Man With A Movie Camera" (1929) observer gradually being pulled through his lens into the action itself. A little broken camera symbolism. In both there is a surprisingly authentic feeling romance, which serves as both a tension release and as a source of character motivation.

    The action he has been observing is essentially a "Hellbound Train Effect" as the young students aggressively test the system and the authorities stubbornly refuse to defuse the situation.

    The film includes a great period soundtrack which I owned before I had even seen the movie. The songs nicely complement what you are seeing on the screen. Neil Young's "The Loner" gets an especially good montage effect. Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game" (sung by Buffy Sainte-Marie) bookends the film and the morphing of the hero (played by Bruce Davison) from distanced jock (crew team) to involved student.

    There is a curious foreshadowing of Davison's signature role in "Willard", a film he made just a year after "The Strawberry Statement". Instead of conversations with a house of rats he talks to the cockroaches in his kitchen. There is probably a profound symbolic commentary there but just exactly what it is escapes me.

    Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
  • The money men at MGM let the kids act out in this shrill protest film against the establishment (themselves)in this sloppy and incoherent tract made fresh on the heels of the Kent State Massacre. It is one bad temper tantrum.

    It is the dawning of the Age of Aquarious (Tune in, turn on, drop out.) and the kids have had it with the hypocrisy of their square and out of touch elders who lack their social conscious and righteous dude ethos. Simon (Bruce Davison) a jock on a crew team is at first bemused by the social action of a student group that takes over the dean's office but soon sees the light and is radicalized and ready to stand against the big bad oppressive monolith known as the system. Along the way he hooks up with an innocent and out of touch co-ed (Kim Darby's fashion statement says it all) who soon finds herself dragged into the maelstrom. Things ratchet up and we soon have the fascist pigs gassing and pummeling the beautiful people while an indifferent public at large looks on and in one case wonders if her laundry is done.

    Made during a period (Easy Rider) when moguls thought youth was on to something and bank rolled their ideas The Strawberry Statement's let it all hang out style of patchy editing and bad acid camera-work is one visual downer as it clumsily jostles you along with leap cuts from one tantrum to the next. Prolific scribbler Israel Horovitz's scenario is filled with all the requisite cliché blather that puts the students into realpolitik mode but he seems at a loss to flesh out his characters beyond their smug sarcasm and hip attitude.

    There's an excellent soundtrack of Neil Young tunes along with CS&N and a warbly rendition of Circle Game by Buffy Saint Marie that supplies some energy to this torpid and hackneyed lecture that the US has lost its moral compass but unfortunately the overheated passions get lost in the fog of tear gas and self righteous tedium all haphazardly put together by a director (Stuart Haggman) and cinematographer (John Woolsey) who look like they cut one too many film studies classes.
  • The film is a bit underrated with good young cast and wonderful soundtrack. Kim Darby (what ever happened to her?), Bruce Davison (after Last Summer), Bud Cort (right after M.A.S.H. and before Brewster McCloud; just before), and Bob Balaban (between Midnight Cowbody and Catch-22) are all perfectly cast, but I'm surprised the script by Israel Horovitz seemed shallow at times.

    This came out the same year as Getting Straight with Elliott Gould, but didn't seem to do any business. The ending is quite powerfully effective, but too many dead spots to get there. Certainly worth checking out for student protest films at the time.
  • Naive university student becomes involved with anti-establishment counter-culture in the late 1960's. Episodic, uneven film barely holds together but provides honest performances and impressively detailed look at its subject matter. Similar to "Medium Cool" (1969). Viewers may also enjoy "The Revolutionary" (1970). (Rating: A-minus)
  • dahlgren-17 December 2005
    I saw this film when it first came out. I was all raw nerve endings and felt totally disenfranchised at the time. The gym scene will remain with me until I die. The movie said exactly what I felt back then. After the movie I got into my 1965 Mustang and drove around for hours trying to understand how this type of activity could go on in a 'free' nation (keep in mind I was young and impressionable). I wonder if I would find it somewhat laughable now or would seeing it again rekindle that flickering flame of unrest? I have found a place to order it on DVD and will do so as soon as possible. Note: Unbelievably, I started a 20 year career in Law Enforcement within 7 years of seeing this movie. Life is odd.
  • Movies we remember have touched us. I saw "The Strawberry Statement" 30 years ago and I still remember it and want to talk about it, so it must have made a powerful impression on me, right? Yes, indeed, it did. This movie is an artistic documentary about the Flower-Power Age of youth, innocence, love and unselfish interest in the improvement of societal conditions: in humanity, justice and equality. It's about fighting with flowers in hands against those holding batons. It's about kindness and meaning well, yet raising ferocious opposition in those whose only ambitions are about power over others. I remember long hair flying in the air and sunshine everywhere. I remember the taste of strawberry which reminds me of the red colour of love... and blood.

    I wish I could see this movie again in this age of DVD...
  • Had to respond to some of the extreme negative reviews. As one who was involved in the campus radical movement during the late 60s and early 70s, I found this film to be one of the most accurate representations of the student process of radicalization during that time...that includes the portrayal of guerrilla theater, the endless meetings where we tried to decide on whether to vote to have a vote, the demonstrations, and even the police/guard confrontations. I question whether those who are so negative had any personal experience with the period. I'm curious about the locations as I recognize San Francisco and New Orleans but cannot tell about the river sequences...nevertheless it was put together to make one city, in part due to campus jitters at the time about the story line. Particularly noteworthy with this film are the great Editing and Cinematography...also one of the greatest Music Compilations for a soundtrack. It definitely deserved the 2 awards is won at the Cannes Film Festival. Hats off to Director Hagmann as well. I just finished watching it again on TCM and was struck by the feeling of suddenly being drawn back in time and a feeling of reliving the experience. This is a fine film for us old revolutionaries from the 60s; actually a Screen Gem!
  • SnoopyStyle18 September 2017
    Simon (Bruce Davison) is an apolitical college rower in San Francisco. He is indifferent to the mounting protest on campus about stealing an African-American playground for the ROTC headquarter. He drops by to watch the protest and is taken with Linda (Kim Darby). He follows her into a student takeover of the administration building.

    This is a counter-culture film or a counter-counter-culture film. It could be a simple straight stiff turns hippie radical. It does take some unexpected turns. He's not a simple nice guy. There are darker edges. The couple has a difficult encounter with the very black people that they're trying to help. It's not all flower power. I don't buy the shopkeeper. His actions don't feel right. It would be so much better for him to placate and cooperate with the couple before calling the cops. Instead, he's raising his hands which make it less shocking to have him call for the cops. Anyways, it all struck me wrong. There are a couple of notable actors but mostly it looks like an amateur cast. Kim Darby is cute coming a year after True Grit. It all adds up to a lesser, interesting counter-culture film.
  • This film, not a great film, (along with Getting Straight and other well-intentioned films on the Student/rebels/whoevers/) had a really interesting plot (Berkeley) with a well-known playwright, Israel Horovitz) screenwriter and a total array of interesting (almost-exploitive value-packs) for the Left and Agnew/Nixon Right people, and it's a very mellow film with casting that was really Altman-like in appropriate-ness (that must be a word). Anyway, I could go on forever about this averagely-made decent non-descript film that nobody has really seen (and it won't change their lives-kind of film), but it's well worth the effort, not because of politics, or the times, or the music, because it has young characters going to College in the late 60's who are not Jerry Rubin or Abbie Hoffmann. They're idealistic young folk, who go on a cool journey - and all these young actors kick! Check this film out; even if you don't understand these TYPES; You don't need to even get hunter s. Thompson or Kerouac to understand what's going...on.

    I have the soundtrack (LP - ALBUM) of this movie), but still rent or buy this film. Somebody - where is it? Check it Out!
  • Eddardd6 October 2005
    Great love generation movie which shows how did life look like at the end of sixties... but its not about drugs,promiscuous sex or long hair... only the idea and a feeling that something must be done to change conditions in which they lived... Strike is essential word in these times(but not armed strike)and mister Che Guevara no T-shirts... Alongside with Free rider it is in mine opinion the most impressive hippie movie I've ever seen... Story is quite simple,only thing you have to think about are symbols. I really don't understand why isn't this glamorous film already a legend. And-I would almost forget-GREAAAAAT soundtrack...
  • the film is sometimes ridiculous, (the final climatic scene comes to mind in which the students dive, scream, yell!.. all to avoid the police viciously attacking them.. with what you can obviously see are in fact fake plastic batons that bend when they hit people) the film is sometimes widely unbelievable, (i won't go into the chances of a character changing his very made up mind almost from one shot to the next)... beside it's ridiculousness, besides it's flaws, beside these things: it's a striking, cool, funny film that really gets you involved in what's going on and really interested in the characters, the characters are believable, the acting is great and it's worth seeing however you manage to
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