This is one of the most honest films ever made about the aftermath of war and what it does to the people around it. Fonda, Voight, and Dern give stellar performances in this gut wrenching drama that is the true definition of adult filmmaking. Also Ashby's use of music here is incredible as he puts it in the background of each scene to signify a time, place, and mood no matter where his characters are at.
one of the worst soundtracks i can remember from any movie and im trying to not be hyperbolic. it was trite to the point of absurdity. Beast of Burden just sounds silly today in any movie. Its associated with such extreme melodrama. Filmmakers can be a lot more imaginative and i know it was made in '78, still not an excuse. jon voight was super cool though.
What could have been an easily cliché film is elevated to greatness by Ashby's relaxed direction, tight editing, and a career-best performance from Jon Voight. I'm still trying to decide if the soundtrack (comprise of hit-after-60s-hit) is phenomenal or obvious. Either way, the last five minutes broke my heart. Bravo, Hal.
Simply spectacular. The performances are universally brilliant - Jon Voight utterly disappears as a cripppled Vietnam Veteran. The sound design is unlike anything I've heard, the way Ashby uses music as an undertone - never cutting to the music or bringing too much attention to itself. Visually, this is about as iconic and gorgous as 70s southern California films get. A wonderful film that I've put off for too long.
Very, very good film, with Ashby patching up what could have been a very slow paced narrative with his trademark editing and constantly interesting soundtrack. The main fault is the last twenty minutes, and the melodrama it descends to as the filmmakers try to find a way to reconcile the characters. The conclusion isn't awful, but the climax is.
This movie hasn't aged well at all. Not at all.
Just saw it again recently and it's little more than a curio at this point in time.
It was up against "The Deerhunter" for Best Picture of 1978. Michael Cimino's film deservedly won.