Genre: Mystery and Thriller, Drama; Starring: David Arkin, Barbara Baxley, Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum, Lily Tomlin, Keenan Wynn; Director: Robert Altman; Author: Joan Tewkesbury; Seasons: 1, 2, 3; Runtime (in minutes): 160; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Choose your superlative: Nashville is (a) Robert Altman’s masterpiece; (b) the greatest movie of the ’70s not to feature a Corleone among its cast of characters; (c) the artistic apex of a year that also included Jaws and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (how far we’ve fallen since 1975!); or (d) a stingingly acute, funny, smart portrait of America’s political-entertainment-industrial complex that is every bit as meaningful 25 years later. All of the above apply to this long-awaited DVD, a fine-looking wide-screen transfer that preserves the film’s sun-saturated look and overlapping, sometimes muddy dialogue (with 24 major characters fighting to be heard, there’s a lot of cross talk). Only two complaints: Although the disc includes a not-particularly-illuminating commentary by Altman, as well as a brief interview, it would have been great to hear from some of the actors — especially the spectacular female ensemble (Shelley Duvall, Barbara Harris, Geraldine Chaplin, Karen Black, and Oscar nominees Lily Tomlin and Ronee Blakley). And, considering the movie was once so long that Altman toyed with releasing it in two parts, why not include some deleted scenes? No matter: For any serious collector, Nashville is a must-own, especially since repeated viewings only enhance it. A

Originally posted August 11 2000 — 12:00 AM EDT

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