Longtime Companion
Longtime Companion

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Product Description

The late director Norman Rene and writer Craig Lucas made a pretty fine creative team on the stage and in the movies, and this 1990 drama about the evolving impact of AIDS on gay New Yorkers is their best cinematic achievement. The ensemble story follows the lives of nine or so characters as word of the so-called "gay cancer" eventually becomes a real force, killing several of them as the years go by. The film works well on a number of levels, not least of which is the enviable closeness of the characters, the script's wit, the bittersweet experience of loss, and a celebratory attitude at the end mixing wisdom with defiance. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews:

  • Good story line but skips a bit
    I'd heard a lot about this movie and finnaly got my hands on it. I expected a tear jerker like "It's My Party" but it only lived half up to the tear-pulling ideology. Longtime Companion is about a group of friends in New York when the sudden discovery of a "gay cancer" begins. The rumors start and one by one the friends drop like flies. The movie follows them through the 80's but you don't really get a good feeling for who is who and what is what. By the end i was a little confused as to what characters I was watching and who they were when the whole thing started. Longtime Companion is a good movie but its failing is that it skips around. You're watching one scene then suddenly it will display a date and you're suddenly somewhere else looking at an entirely different scene.

    Watch it twice and it will make more sense....more info

  • Wonderful Movie
    This movie is an unquestionable classic tracing the effect of KS (eventually called AIDS) on a small group of friends in the New York City area through the 1980's. It captures the feeling of those frightening first years more completely than any other movie I have seen. It also presents many `normal' gay men who do not fit the stereotypes so many others force them into. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone wishing to see a well-written, emotionally charged film about friendship and love during an extremely difficult time....more info
  • It Shouldn't Have Happened - But It Did!
    Longtime Companion is the depiction of a group of friends as they live through the AIDS crisis. For anyone that has had a friend or loved one die of AIDS, this is a movie that will help you cope. Everyone will identify with one character or another.

    The only thing that I have to say about this movie, other than it is absolutely fabulous, was that gay enough?, is that the ending will make you cry when you realize that: It shouldn't have happened but what if.......

    It doesn't matter what your sexual orientation is, this movie is a must see because it tells us what happened, not only with emotions, but with love and understanding....more info

  • Great Movie
    This movie is an eloquent and intelligent take on not only the first decade of the AIDS crisis, but on what it is to be gay....more info
  • Amazing Film - Second Rate DVD
    Longtime Companion is one of the most powerful films about the AIDS crisis. It depicts how a group of friends are affected, and the profound losses they suffer. The film ought to be seen by anyone who feels unaffected by the crisis, and everyone who unfortunately has. MGM did not anamorphically enhance this DVD, but did provide a widescreen transfer. The image is second rate. Also, there are no extra bonus features to speak of....more info
  • Superbly acted, compelling drama
    This is the best AIDS-related film ever made, and one of the best gay-themed films. It concerns a group of successful, close-knit friends in New York City. The film begins as the first word of the virus begins to show in the press, very slowly, then ends ten years later. The acting in this film is outstanding, and Bruce Davison got an Oscar nomination for his role. There are also some scenes which are so powerful that even some hardened viewers may be moved to tears. There have been some criticisms of this film, most of which are trivial. Examples: all the characters are affluent, attractive white men, and most of them are straight acting. However, that was a box office necessity, and so was the lack of sex scenes. I didn't mind any of those things, and neither will most viewers. There is only one legitimate complaint. That is, there are so many characters and jumps in time that, at times, the story is difficult to follow and character developement suffers. These are the reason I didn't give the film five stars. But this is still a worthy and moving film....more info
  • Excellent
    One of the best gay themed movies ever made....more info
  • A Celebration

    A Celebration

    Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

    "Longtime Companion" was the first major movie to deal with the AIDS epidemic and that was in 1990. The movie follows the lives of a small group of friends from the time that AIDS was first mentioned and referred to as the gay cancer (in "The New York Times" in 1981). When we knew nothing about AIDS it was called GRID (gay related immune disorder). "Longtime Companion" deals with the way if effects the lives of the friends as they look at it with the "it can't happen to me" mentality until we see fewer and fewer friends live as the movie progresses.
    The term longtime companion is the way "The New York Times" referred to the surviving partner in the obituaries of the times. During the movie, the viewer also feels as if he has become a longtime companion. We share the lives of the men in the movie from the discos, to the bathhouses, to Fire Island, and we feel their grief as they watch their friends die. In this stunning film, written with taste and compassion, the characters are realistic and the actors who portray them are excellent. The emotion is riveting and it is rare to see homosexual love portrayed so beautifully in a production made by a Hollywood studio. We see that gay men are indeed equal to straight men and that loving is a human emotion. As AIDS became the central event in our lives, it became matter if fact that death was coming at the prime of life. As an awareness of AIDS and giving the disease a human face, the movie is splendid.
    It is about an era of gay life that shocked us and yet was applauded by others. In a frank and direct manner, "Longtime Companion" showed the awful aspects of the disease and the effect that death had on our heroes in the film. AIDS made no apologies as it devastated us. It took our brothers and sisters, our partners, our friends.
    What really makes this movie so special, aside from being the first film to deal with AIDS, is the way it depicts gay men and their friends. There are no stereotypes, no caricatures. The men we see here are depicted honestly in their struggle with death and illness. It is a wonderful portrayal of the events of the times. It shows the sense of confusion we harbored about the disease that was robbing us of life and love, the misinformation, the lost feeling and the angst of not knowing what to do for those suffering and for their friends and their companions.
    Every performance in the movie is stellar. As we are introduced to the group of friends, we spend time with them. We vacation on Fire Island, the most famous of gay resorts and we are in the hospital visiting with them as they or their friends and lovers are struck with AIDS. Obviously it was not easy to make a film of this kind when it was made but the delicate and honest script and excellent acting make this is a landmark film about the disease that had, by the time the movie was made, taken the lives of many young men--both straight and gay.
    This is a brave, no a heroic, film It does not paint a beautiful picture of those dying from AIDS. Instead it shows the reality of the horrible death that many suffered and the devastation of those that loved them and cared for them. It captures the honesty about AIDS and its effects and does so through very touchy vignettes of the lives of a group of friends. Your heart will ache as you watch the film--for the loss of a character and for the love you see.
    The ending of the film is one off the most amazing and heart wrenching experiences of my life. Moving and celebratory, it is a surreal episode that brings everyone together--the dead and the living--at a big party o the beach. It appears to say to me that, with hope and activism, with attention to and financial aid, we may find a solution to the plague that has taken so much from us.
    ...more info
  • Terrific Story
    Longtime Companion is an excellent film! Compelling story line and definitely creates an accurate reflection of gay life when Aids first broke in the US....more info
  • Dreary And Not All That Watchable
    I respect the ultra-realism of Longtime Companion, and have no doubt this landmark production accurately conveys the horror that is HIV/AIDS, and tells how this plague arrived unforeseen in the 1980's, ending what had been a golden age of American gay existence, taking so much life and causing so much misery in that community and beyond, yet not only does a portrayal of that tragedy make for a dreary viewing experience, but Longtime Companion isn't a movie with much more to it than its central message. Longtime Companion (which derives its title from the term that showed up in so many obituaries at the height of AIDS--"...survived by his longtime companion...") lacks a plot that runs deeper than a showcase of deaths and ruined lives, and its characters are basic stereotypes: the hot young guy, the co-habiting couple, the rich, older type, etc. Overall, it doesn't have a lot to it except a single message, and single message films normally don't work that well, especially when there is as little depth as there is here....more info
  • Superb
    Longtime Companion is a brilliantly realised film that can't fail to touch the hardest of heart's. I think the main reason the film works so well is because it doesn't preach about the subject matter. And the cast, particulary Bruce Davison, give deeply felt, flawless performances. The fantasy reunion scene at the beach at the end is still incredibly moving and I would recommend this film unreservedly....more info
  • Longtime Companion - One Of My Favorite Films!
    "Longtime Companion" is one of my desert island movies! It is a beautiful blend of informative, realistic, heartbreaking, hilarious and deeply moving. Craig Lucas has painted a vivid, realistic portrait of the ascent of AIDS awareness - in both the gay and straight communities - while drawing you in to the lives of a circle of friends who you will come to love as your own, with brilliant performances from Bruce Davison, Mary Louise Parker, Dermot Mulroney, and the list goes on. This film is both important, for its message, and beautiful, for its sensitive handling of the complex issues surrounding AIDS and friendship. Buy it - you will be glad you did!...more info
  • Captures the times beautifully
    "Longtime Companion", the first full-length chronicle of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, remains as fresh a look today as when it was made in 1990. Beginning with the discovery of a "gay cancer" in 1981, the film follows a group of loosely-knit friends on a year-to-year basis throughout the decade, and does so with empathy and humor. There are many fine performances, including a moving one by a young Campbell Scott.

    "Longtime Companion" seeks to reflect but also to educate, reminding viewers that the deaths of these friends held meaning not only for their intimates but for the larger community as well. AIDS may not make the headlines it once did, but it still warrants a good deal of medical attention through research and human consideration for those who have the disease. It would be fascinating if an updated "Longtime Companion" could ever be made....more info
  • The way it was
    The thing I remember most about this film when I saw it in the theater in 1990 was its honesty. On every level. Great care was taken to accurately depict one particular community at one particular time--when AIDS was first being diagnosed as "the gay cancer," up through the mid-eighties, when attending monthly funerals was commonplace for gay men and their friends. Though HIV/AIDS had been around for a decade when this movie was made, there was no effort on the part of the filmmakers to whitewash the past. They not only show the ugliness of the disease, they show the ugliness of people's response to it. Even within the gay community there was a tendency for people to fingerpoint, accusing the first victims of being more promiscuous than themselves, or more excessive users of amyl nitrate and recreational drugs. There was fear of contamination, reluctance to touch or kiss, and even intimacy within monogomous relationships was hampered. People reached deperately for New Age cures, and Louise Haye was the reigning goddess of self-healing. By choosing to depict a five-year period, the filmmakers allow the viewer to see the lives of a group of friends evolve and deepen. Some of course succumb to the disease and die, others wrestle with their losses and rethink their lives. In the end, the survivors try to become part of the solution; they become visiting volunteers and political activists. For all its authenticity, the film is not depressing. This is incredible ensemble acting at its best. Campbell Scott, Bruce Davison, and Mark Lamos give especially moving performances, but there are no slackers in this cast.

    By the time the movie was released, the face of AIDS was already changing and the filmmakers were criticized for focusing exclusively on gay victims. I felt then, and I continue to believe, this is a misplaced criticism. All fiction is self-limited. LONGTIME COMPANION is the story of one small group of friends who are affected by an unknown and dreadful disease; and it shows how each of them responds to the challenges thrown at them. Yes, they were wealthy or middle-class white men who spent summers together on Fire Island. But LONGTIME COMPANION is not a celebration of their insular lives. In fact, by the end of the film, one of this insular group, Campbell Scott's character, is shown working as a home care volunteer who visits a Latino man. I think the filmmakers, like GMHC at the time, were aware that things were starting to change. It seems to me that the film's critics, even in 1990, had forgotten that AIDS was first announced in the New York Times as "gay cancer" and later as "Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome" before being called AIDS. But that said, we need to remember that there are many other people's stories that are worth telling, including those of people living and coping with AIDS in Africa. My only hope is that these stories will be told with all the accuracy and sensitivity that went into the making of LONGTIME COMPANION.

    The DVD has no significant "extras," but the transfer is excellent....more info
  • Excellent daring movie

    This movie really touched me so much.
    it makes you want to be more daring in your life by accepting who we are. And ofcourse be proud about it.

    I loved the actors, they were amazing in depecting the emotions and hard situation.

    I wish this epidemic called AIDS will be wiped from our lives for ever....more info
  • A Classic FINALLY back in print! :)
    I've been lucky enough to view an advance promotional copy of MGM Home Entertainment's brand new dvd version of the classic AIDS themed film, "Longtime Companion."

    Well, I have to say this film has never had such clear sound and beautiful picture quality. The Letterbox transfer is perfect and the Stereo is VERY nicely done. We watched it on a very large, THX system and the sound was channeled very well.

    I have to give many votes of praise to MGM for re-releasing this wonderful title that was out of print for much of the 90's. I can't say how happy I am to see a quality, letter-box release of this movie! It's about time!! :)

    So, PLEASE, don't waste another dime of your money paying for the poor quality, out-of-print version Vidmark released of this in 1990. I know you're gonna have to wait until January for the official release of this dvd, but, believe me it's worth it!...more info

  • Tragedy and Compassion with a Wonderfully Comic Edge
    There are a great many gay themed films available today, but when Longtime Companion was released, it was but one of a small handful of films brave enough to paint gay characters with empathetic and intelligent brushstrokes - something that continues to beset filmmakers even today.

    Set during the late 70's and on into the 80's the film is a bare bones and ruthlessly truthful before-and-after portrait of the devastating effects of the AIDS virus on a small group of close friends/lovers and on the wider gay community. Very funny, extremely moving, occasionally upsetting, whether you are a gay viewer or not, this film is a courageous celebration of the strength and frailty of the human spirit. ...more info
  • Still one of the longtime best...
    This is one of the first gay themed movies I ever saw when I was coming out, so I am definitely partial to it. It was also the first movie I ever saw that delt with AIDS, so I was a bit scared since I did not know anything about it at the time. Now that I do know more and have seen the movie again and again, it's still the best. Lots of movies always lose their direction due to the change of events in life or advancement in things like medicine, so those movies fall out of place and just show their age. Longtime Companion is not one of those movies! It's theme is still true today, making it one of the best gay movies ever made....more info
  • How it was in the early 80's as AIDS appeared.
    I was 22 years old and partying freely with my friends on Fire Island when AIDS first appeared in a public way. The news paper articles, called it "gay cancer", and we joked at what seemed to be yet another attempt to disparage homosexual lifestyles. This movie has perfectly depicted the gay scene during that period, and absolutely captured the nature of groups of gay friends - male and female - as we lost dozens of our friends to this disease. The actors are absolutely wonderful, this movie is perfectly cast. The beauty of devotion and friendship, the ugliness of bigotry and lack of action to stop this disease are a perfect combination of the conflicts involed as AIDS began it's tragic invasion of America. As the "it can't happen to me" gave way to the fear, hysteria and blame, shining through was the indomitable spirit of the wonderful human beings who make up our gay community in unity, love, support and care. As a lesbian fully active in the gay community during the onset of AIDS, I lived this experience, it is absolutely spot on. This look back on the innocence lost of the gay community at the height of it's burgeoning acceptence into society is a landmark. This is a must own for anyone who is, or has loved and supported anyone, gay. ...more info
  • A Dose Of The AIDS Plague.
    This was a wonderful movie about a group of very good friends. The acting is realistic for the movies sake. It will definately pull at your heartstrings. Also full of the comapassion one hopes for in their end days/years. I was a caregiver so this was an important view. Highly recommended!!!!!...more info
  • you're gonna cry...
    I thought that *Longtime Companion* was an endearing tearjerker of a movie. This films is about a cluster of friends, dying one by one from AIDS during the 80's.

    The movie opens in 1980, with this particular circle of friends. Everyone is healthy and dandy. One man meets a hairy guy and they've maintained a relationship throughout the film. This movie immediately opens with all of them reading about this mysterious virus that seems to be attacking gay men. At first, it seemed to be associated with gay men who do poppers. This virus has earned a nickname, "gay cancer". It wasn't until a couple of years later that this virus was finally termed AIDS.

    The whole AIDS was not still not clear to people, including gay men. In this film, you'll see how some gay men are uncomfortable with AIDS and especially those afflicted. You'll see men afraid to have sex. Afraid to kiss. Heck, you'll even see one washing his hands and face vigorously after greeting his friend who is dying from AIDS.

    The time frame between the death of one friend to another friend having AIDS is quick. The movie jumps one year to another that surrounds an afflicted friends. You'll think that the movie doesn't build up enough for you to get emotional. Not true. You'll cry! So, have a box of Kleenex ready.

    I love this movie and I cannot believe that I haven't seen it earlier. I often hear about older gay men retelling stories of the 70's and 80's on how gay life use to be as well as witnessing the deaths of their close friends to AIDS. Today, those affliced with HIV/AIDS are living longer, thanks to modern medicine. However, I cannot imagine what it was like, living in fear of a virus that seemed to be targeting gay men and the doctors could not seem to treat it.

    Overall, it's a good movie that's worth your time. Check it out with a box of tissues....more info
  • "Longtime" is compassionate and compelling
    Watching the development of friendship unfold between these characters left me in complete awe. I felt that I was able to share in not only the joys, but just as important the sorrows. The movie's realistic re-enactment of a time gone by, the ending reunion of the friends, and the promise of what could have been left me completely in tears....more info
  • The Plague Continues, and so does this Film
    A wise and satisfying drama, "Longtime Companion" was one of the first mainstream films to deal with the issue of AIDS and its devastating impact on the lives of gay men in the US. Bruce Davison shines in an Oscar-nominated performance and the rest of the cast is equally grand. But the disease itself is the main attraction here, both as a metaphor for all thats been lost and as a dramatic plot device for all the remains to do in the battle against it. Perhaps no other film - before or since - has captured the paradox of living with AIDS and dying FROM AIDS - two distinct life and worldviews that anyone with HIV, Cancer or other life-threatening ailments must confront on their own terms, day in and day out. ...A landmark achievement that won't soon be forgotten by anyone who has confronted a life-threatening illness of any kind, or those who love someone who has....more info
  • Compassionate Story of Our World Coming To Grasp with AIDS
    This movie debuted in 1990 during the height of the AIDS crisis. Plagued by 10 years of Republican leadership, our country was still not dealing with this disease head-on. The story, while fictional, is factual in it's portrayal of the horror of AIDS. This was one of the first feature length films to bring the crisis to the big movie screen. The story leads us from the early 80's to the present day, telling the story of a mysterious disease striking hundreds, then thousands. Interwoven are the stories of "real" people, friends and love lost, the painful echo of cries. Very haunting, well done movie. With Bruce Davison ("At First Sight") and an excellent supporting cast. Buy it used, rent it or urge the studio's to re-release it. We need movies like this until,

    ...until there is a cure......more info

  • Groundbreaking movie about AIDS
    As a serious attempt to dramatize the AIDS crisis by showing its impact on a small group of friends, "Longtime Companion" holds up well. The limitations evident when the movie debuted are still there: yes, the men (with the obligatory wise-cracking straight female friend) are all rich yuppies, and they're all white. They seem to exist on their own without any family members--though perhaps this is realistic; many gays and lesbians are indeed estranged from close relatives. More seriously, the omission of the latest news available then about the HIV virus and how safer sex could reduce transmission makes the health picture appear more dark than it in fact was, even in 1990.

    Ultimately none of this lessens the emotional impact of the intertwined stories of these characters, due to a quality script and superb acting. There are scenes that overwhelm even now with their power and truth, notably that of Bruce Davison gently helping his lover Mark Lamos let go of life, and the conclusion, that slips momentarily into fantasy in a most moving way. The promiscuous gay lifestyle is given its due, but so are stable, long-term relationships. One wonders why the careers of actors such as Campbell Scott and Dermot Mulroney have not taken off further than they have--hopefully it's not because they had the artistic courage to portray open, fully-rounded and attractive gay men.

    "Longtime Companion" still stands out as a carefully produced, well-written and non-judgmental portrayal of people coping with one of the darkest periods of modern American history....more info

    With eyes wide open, this movie was the first to ever really hit the nail on the head regarding the gay experience of AIDS in its earliest, scariest incarnations. Those of us who have lost friends to the first wave of the plague remember well the desperate sense of panic and confusion. The characters here are all well-played, and well-chosen/written -- I particularly loved Dermot Mulroney (yes, he was in My Best Friend's Wedding) and Campbell Scott. I think of this movie as a piece of history, sparingly written and filled with wit and humanity, it moves you and surprises you, and has taken on an even more poignant quality in these days of stronger medications and inhibitors that might have lengthened the many lives already lost....more info
  • very touching movie
    This is a very sensitive and touching movie I loved it. I frist watched it some 18 years ago I think, I was very touched by it....more info


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