User Reviews (11)

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  • Year of the Gun was a thought provoking film that swept you into a political mind frame. I felt as if i was in Italy in 1978 and being taken on a tour of all of italy's troubles back then. The film is a mix of drama and suspense, it has enough of both to keep you entertained. It is fast paced with a lot of twists and turns and explores many different themes including politics, violence, love, treachery and sex. The only sour note comes from Andrew McCarthy, who doesnt have quite what it takes to be in a film like this. Valeria Golino is ok as McCarthy's italian lover and Sharon Stone, once again delivers a great performance as a photo journalist.
  • The acting is solid and the film well directed except in one place: The photojournalist survives a hail of machine gun bullets by hiding behind a car while taking picture of a bank robbery. Normally this would be OK, except the parts of the car she is hiding behind are the windows!

    The story is tight and very believable as it is set to the historical background of the capture and killing of Aldo Moro (Italy). The sequence of events is built on a series of coincidental events that demonstrate how you cannot trust anybody if you really want to keep a secret. The film also proves the saying ` if you play with fire you will get burned'.

    Filmed on location in Italy, the street scenes and interiors add the authenticity of the film.

    Secondarily, the film also explores the sexual weapon that women sometime use to achieve their own ends, and the unfaithfulness of men that succumb to it so easily. I gave this a 9.
  • The Red Brigade ( Brigatte Rosse ) was an Italian left wing terrorist organisation that in the 1970s launched a terrorist campaign to over throw the government of Italy and in its place have proletarian dictatorship that would lead to a classless Utopian society . Like its idealogical counterparts in the German Red Army Faction Brigatte Rosse had a problem mobilising the masses . This was undoubtedly due to the fact that hard left wing intellectualism fails to strike a chord in the human condition . Compare this to nationalist instincts that makes people in Northern Ireland want to join the IRA or the UVF or people living in the Gaza Strip or West Bank who join hard line Islamic terrorist organisations . By one of life's ironies the idea of left wing revolution in a democratic European state fails to appeal to few people except left wing middle class intellectuals hence the masses of Germany and Italy fail to mobilise and the terror caused by the German RAF and Italian BR quickly fizzled out

    YEAR OF THE GUN starts off by telling the audience that Italy in 1978 was on the brink of revolutian but was it ? True there was shootings and bombings and angry demonstrations against capitalism but as a potential revolution France in 1968 and Northern Ireland in the early 1970s both came closer than Italy in the late 1970s . As the story progresses the audience finds itself becoming more and more clueless to the situation at the time . Why are demonstrators flying red banners fighting with well dressed young men carrying crowbars ? You see the story soon starts ignoring Italian geo-politics and concentrates on the character of David Raybourne an American who has lived in America for several years and is in a loving relationship with an Italian woman . In fact there's so much time taken up with David's relationship you find your self looking at your watch wondering when something is going to happen

    There's two problems with the story , or rather one problem with the plot and one problem with the story telling . The plot when you stop to examine it becomes faintly ridiculous . David is writing a novel revolving around the Red Brigade and by an unlikely series of events the terrorists jump to the conclusion that he's a spy because the kidnap target in his novel is someone in real life the Red Brigade are planning to kidnap . I guess you're not supposed to think about this too much but aren't political thrillers supposed to be thought provoking ? The story telling itself is very poor because when Italian characters ( Who are almost always Red Brigade members ) get together they start speaking in Italian . Okay this is logical because for some reason in the cinematic world foreign characters suddenly start speaking in English when there's no English speaking characters present . Only problem is there's no subtitles and these frequent Italian speaking scenes mean any non Italian speaker won't have a clue as to what's going on which is a pity because I was wondering why the female terrorist likes to have men watch her when she goes to the toilet ! No I'm not kidding , there's a scene where this happens

    John Frankenheimer was once a highly regarded director who made THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE , BLACK Sunday and SECONDS and who would later make the highly entertaining RONIN . Unfortunately at this stage of his career he was making rubbish like the ecological horror movie PROPHECY and Marlon Brandos swan song that featured a bunch of genetically engineered mammals having acid house parties and shooting each other ( You know the movie I'm talking about ) and in terms of directing this is no different except perhaps that it resembles a TVM in standards . The sound mix is rather poor too A messy political thriller that won't educate you about 1970s European politics and almost certainly won't thrill you much either
  • this may not be john frankenhiemers best work but is not one to overlook. i feel at the time of its release andrew mccarthy career was already over and although he does a fare job of it he did not help it's release and sharon stone was not yet a house hold Italian politics of the 70's doesn't really sound that inviting.

    however this little film is exiting,intriguing and well plotted. you feel for andrews plight and you feel lost in a world you don't really understand just like andrew. weather intentionally or not it works for me i don't it want all laid out. the actions of the red brigade are not answered just like the news we watch every night. john frankenhiemer made the best of a hard subject and the last third of the movie is very tense. with a good twist and a message that has not dated.

    also the DVD quality is very good but where are the subtitles and how about some extras, the deleted scene is odd to say the least. if your a sharon stone fan its a must one of her better early performances.
  • jazerbini17 September 2015
    An intriguing film and despised. I do not understand why not give due weight to this film. Already I watched several times and every one of them I realize their best value. The story is very good, comes to political issues of an Italy relatively new, still very much alive in our memory. And the treatment of the film is very close to the reality of the facts. The cast works very competently. Sharon Stone is one of his good moments. Valeria Golino may have done their best work here and Andrew McCarthy surprised with his performance. The action scenes are well done, with some small mistakes, but perfectly acceptable in situations such as those portrayed in the film. In summary this is a great film, but you need to give a little more attention to it.
  • From the first moment I felt myself well entertained. I did not check the specifics, before after watching it, so I was surprised that it was made so many years after the kidnapping of Aldo Moro. The lighting and filming was stimulating from start to finish. And nothing wrong with the cutting neither. I remember nothing about the sound, so it much have done its job well. The filming ( the grittyness/grain ) and the format, made it seem a true timepiece, that maybe because of that, sometimes balances on the edge of kitsch.
  • John Frankenheimer made two beautiful films in his 40 years as a director, "The Birdman of Alcatraz" and "The Fixer". Both of these were about terrible conditions faced by a man in prison. Both of these films glorify suffering and the individual's ability to adapt and survive. They are both well worth seeing.

    It was when he stepped out of prison that Frankenheimer had trouble. He was considered an action director, but the action in his films generally matched the average action scenes in a television police show of the period. He also tended to have witless one-dimensional characters, either all good guys or all bad guys. Among his witless and tedious concoctions were "the Manchurian Candidate," (Good Americans against evil Chinese Communists) "French Connection II," (Good Americans against Evil French Drug Dealers) and "Black Sunday" (Good Americans against Evil Palestinian Terrorists).

    This movie has to be ranked as the worst of all these racist artless, thriller-less Conservative Catholic diatribes. In it, we have a good American against evil Italian Communists - the Red Brigades.

    Frankenheimer wants us to know that he considers the Red Brigades evil. So he has to make them do something evil or sadistic in just about every single scene. See the Red Brigades attack police at demonstrations. See the Red Brigades attack and burn cars and smash store windows. See the Red Brigades kill innocent bystanders, See the Red Brigades kidnap and kill politicians, See the Red Brigades paint graffiti on walls...

    According to Wikipedia, in the 70's and 80's, about 75 people died over a ten year period due to the Red Brigades - this total probably includes members themselves who were killed by Italian police. This movie shows the Red Brigades killing about 75 people in one week. None of the serious political issues of the time period are shown.

    I lost a lot of respect for Andrew McCarthy, Sharon Stone, and Valerie Galina for being in this boring and stupid cartoon.

    You might enjoy this film if you have been captured by the Red Brigades and they have given you a choice of torture or watching this movie. Well, actually, they would probably would not give you a choice, but would torture you by making you watch this movie. The fiends!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    David Raybourne is an American journalist covering political news in Italy during the 1970's.

    He gets involved with the Red Brigades when trying to help Alison King, who photographed them in action and discover the mafia net is at all levels...


    I've seen some bad films, but Frankenheimer has made some decent movies in the past, and this was supposed to be factual, so it had my attention.

    McCarthey is woefully miscast in this, and the film consists of him and the bloke from To Live And Die In L.A, eating sandwiches and drinking wine.

    It's supposed to be some controversial movie about the Red Brigade movement, but in fact it's nothing more than McCarthey being a dirty old man and pursuing Stone while Golino is waiting at home for him.

    Dialogue is beyond bad, and its filmed in such a way, it looks really really cheap, like true movies cheap.

    It's a torturous watch, and its no wonder McCarthy didn't really get any more starring roles after this, and Stone had to be more...revealing.

  • From right away, I wanted to yell at this film: get your plot straight, and tell it properly! OK, so, it would seem that David(Andrew, who returns to Rome to author a book, that turns out to be fictional - though it uses the real names of people, seeming to potentially get them in serious trouble... and in a twist that wouldn't have played out in a Saturday morning cartoon, what he writes is mistaken as documenting it) is with this chick who is divorcing a wife-beater and who she has a son with. And terrorists(who are only made out to look pure evil, which I could have understood if this had been made back in '78, but not in '91, where it was becoming clearer that calling such individuals and organizations freedom fighters can be more reasonable) are causing bad stuff to go down in Italy, though it's never made clear to what end, or if the government really *is* corrupt. All we know is that they're Communist, rendering this potentially a propaganda tool for the red scare. If we could at least care about the characters, however, the very introductions to our main characters ensures that they are wholly unappealing human beings(Stone is almost getting herself killed taking freaking photographs, obnoxious McCarthey wants to blow people up that we know nothing about(at that point or at all), etc.) and I couldn't care about them for the rest of this. Not one person in this had me engaged. Frankenheimer does infuse some scenes with tension and excitement... although this is definitely a thriller, with next to no real action, if it can be effective when it is there. The filming isn't bad, and the editing, as well(if some of the FX shots and stunts are poorly hidden). There is some moderate to strong language and a little female nudity and sexuality(at least one of the sequences is hot and with Sharon(the two are connected) in this. The DVD comes with a trailer. I recommend this to those who never support the people rising against those in power. 5/10
  • It's 1978 Rome. Violence is in the air threatened by the revolutionary Red Brigade. American David Raybourne (Andrew McCarthy) returns to write for a small paper and a fictional book about them. His friend Italo Bianchi (John Pankow) is a leftist American lecturer at an university. His girlfriend Lia (Valeria Golino) is the estranged wife of rich and powerful Marco. Photo journalist Alison King (Sharon Stone) is also after the Red Bridgade and sees Raybourne as a possible lead. This is a fictionalized account of events leading to the real kidnapping and murder of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.

    The directing from John Frankenheimer seems inferior or obsolete. The tension needs to be higher. This feels more like a 70's movie. Instead of three lead American characters, I would prefer to see a movie about Italian characters in this Italian drama. I'm not that interested in these Americans although the political intrigue seems compelling. The Americans can always walk away from any danger. It's an extra layer that separates these characters from the intensity of the story.
  • Warning: Spoilers

    There are three redeeming features about this terrible film. 1. An exciting fight scene, ending in sex. 2. A Student riot. 3. A Speedy motorbike chase, ending with a murder.

    Apart from that, this film is surprisingly unpromising and McCarthy delivers one of the worst performances i've ever seen he might as well be a plank of wood for all he's worth. The location of rome could be shot well, but in dank, dark colours and photos of run down cobbled houses, he fails at th easiest of opportunities. This is almost as boring as the videos they show in history lessons at high school!

    Frankly, Disappointing. **/****