American Flyers (1985) (NTSC)

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Released 28-Jan-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 112:27
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By John Badham

Warner Home Video
Starring Kevin Costner
David Grant
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Lee Ritenour

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, plenty!
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    American Flyers is a rather limp, 1980s family drama peppered with some cycling scenes and presented on a pretty ordinary DVD.

    Following the death of their father, the relationship between the Sommers Brothers and their mother is somewhat strained. Marcus (Kevin Costner) returns home to St. Louis to entice his younger brother, Davie (David Grant), to leave the clutches of his over-protective and domineering mother (Janice Rule). A road-trip ensues and the cyclist brothers travel with Marcus' girlfriend, Sarah (Rae Dawn Chong), and a hitch-hiker, Becky (Alexandra Paul), to Colorado. In Colorado, the two brothers will compete in the Hell Of The West cycling race against Marcus' nemesis Barry 'Cannibal' Muzzin (Luca Bercovici) and the Russian gold-medallist cycling team (I did say "1980s").

    During the road trip, the brothers begin to deal with their family problems, and they both come to terms with the loss of their father.

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Transfer Quality


    Sadly, like a few of Warners' recent releases, this movie is presented in NTSC, and apart from the limitations of the NTSC transfer, the source material is also quite hazy and grainy.

    As with a few of these recent NTSC Warner releases, one nice feature is that there are two presentations of the movie on the two sides of the disc. On one side, the widescreen transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, while the flip-side of the disc has a 1.33:1 version of the movie.

    The image is soft throughout, and lacks clarity. The shadow detail is poor.

    The colour is dark and murky, and it suffers from a burnt-orange tint throughout.

    There were no major problems with MPEG artefacts, but despite the softness, the image often appeared pixelated. Film-to-video artefacts were present in the form of aliasing, such as the shimmer on the blinds at 18:23. Film artefacts appear throughout, but they are mostly just small flecks.

    English and French subtitles are present on the DVD, and the English subtitles are accurate.

    This is a single layered disc, so there was no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Originally released theatrically in Dolby Stereo-Surround, apart from the English Dolby Stereo-Surround audio track, this DVD also contains a French Dolby Stereo-Surround audio option.

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine on the default English Dolby Digital stereo-surround audio track.

    The musical score is credited to Lee Ritenour, and it is mainly comprised of 1980s Miami Vice style music.

    The surround presence and activity is very limited, and the mix is very front-heavy.

    The subwoofer slept through this movie.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras, which frankly did not bother me with this title.


    A simple menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is static and silent.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This is exactly the same disc as released in the US -- it even includes the FBI copyright warning.


    American Flyers is a rather dull movie which in my opinion is not worth renting or buying. I assume that some Kevin Costner and/or cycling fans might give this a spin, but everyone else should look elsewhere.

    The video quality is limited due to the source material and the NTSC transfer.

    The audio quality is very limited, and front-heavy.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Monday, February 03, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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