Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)

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Released 9-Oct-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 137:05 (Case: 135)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (73:02) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stephen Herek

Magna Home Entertainment
Starring Richard Dreyfuss
Glenne Headly
Jay Thomas
Olympia Dukakis
William H. Macy
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Michael Kamen

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"

    Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) is a musician and composer. After playing clubs for a living he decides to accept a job as a music teacher at a high school. He intends this to be a short term proposition until he puts together enough money to allow him to pursue his first love, composing, full time. Initially he finds it tough going, as the students have no real interest in his classes and the school orchestra, which he conducts, is absolutely awful. The gruff but earnest Principal, Ellen Jacobs (Olympia Dukakis), keeps Mr. Holland on the right path while the taciturn and puritanical Vice Principal, Gene Wolters (William H. Macy), has a problem with his use of Rock and Roll in teaching music appreciation. Despite the obstacles, Holland succeeds in building a rapport with his students who come to appreciate his unstinting efforts to help them. When his wife, Iris (Glenne Headly), announces that she is pregnant, he is initially taken aback as the realisation dawns that this short term teaching gig looks like turning into a career. The arrival of their son, Coltrane (played by Nicholas John Renner as a child, Joseph Anderson as a teenager, and Anthony Natale and as an adult) is a joyful occasion but joy turns to sadness when they learn that their son is profoundly deaf. As Holland is unable to effectively communicate with his son, this leads to a rift developing between them and puts Iris in the position of being the go-between, mediator, and translator of their relationship.

    This is without doubt an extremely involving and moving story which still manages to stay on the right side of being considered overly sentimental. Be warned, though, that it's unlikely that you are going to be able to sit through this without shedding a tear or two at the very least and it is even possible that you'll be shedding a whole lot more than that. Without giving any more of the plot away, there are several very touching moments that will be tugging at your heart strings as Holland composes his "Opus", although not the musical one that he dreams of, but rather the one that is his life.

    In 1996 Richard Dreyfuss received Best Actor nominations for this role for both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. Although he didn't win, there is absolutely no doubt that he has put in a superb effort in this film. A special mention must be made of  Jean Louisa Kelly, who plays student Rowena Morgan, for her absolutely stunning rendition of  Someone To Watch Over Me.

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Transfer Quality


    This is very good transfer with only a few minor problems.

    This transfer presents the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the movie and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    Both the sharpness and shadow detail were consistently very good throughout the movie. No low level noise was evident, however some minor edge enhancement was visible occasionally.

    The colour palette of this movie uses a lot of earthy tones. The colour appeared very slightly muted to my eyes.

    Excellent quality source material was utilised for this transfer which is evident in the fact that there was only the odd small mark to be seen. There were no compression artefacts and only some minor infrequent aliasing to mar the image.

    I sampled about 10 minutes of the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles, which is the only option provided, and found them to be just about word perfect. These are presented in easily legible yellow text near the bottom of the picture and, as nice touch, rather than just being positioned in the centre of the screen in the usual manner, they are placed near the character who is speaking.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring during Chapter 15 at 73:02. This is not one of the the best layer changes of have seen as the freeze is quite noticeable.

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


    There are two audio tracks present, these both being English, with one a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and the other a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. I listened to the 5.1 option in its entirety and sampled the 2.0 option for comparison purposes. Not unexpectedly the 5.1 option provides an improved audio experience with superior fidelity and detail compared to the 2.0 alternative.

    There were no problems with the quality of the dialogue with it all being quite clear and not afflicted with any faults. Nor were there any issues apparent with the audio sync.

    As this film is about a musician and music teacher you would expect nothing less than an excellent musical score and in this you won't be disappointed with Michael Kamen's beautiful and moving score interleaved with some well known and loved popular songs including John Lennon's Imagine and Beautiful Boy and Jackson Browne's The Pretender, as well as plenty of great classical music mainly from Bach and Beethoven, and to round out the mix contributions from George Gershwin including Someone To Watch Over Me.

    The surround channels had a fairly limited part to play, really only providing some ambience and support for the music.

    The subwoofer really didn't have anything to do other than to support the musical score which it achieved without calling any particular attention to itself.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are limited to a single very short featurette.


    The menu is presented in an aspect ratio of  1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. The menu is accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 audio as well as animation. There are also animated transitions between the various menus.

Featurette (4:57)

    This is just a piece of promotional fluff which is not worth the effort really. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and includes Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and English subtitles.

R4 vs R1

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

    The region 4 and region 1 versions of this disc are identical as far as the content is concerned. Otherwise the R1 disc has a French Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track in place of the local version's English one. The major difference between the two versions is that the R1 is not 16x9 enhanced which makes the local version the disc of choice.


    Mr. Holland's Opus is a moving film about a man who never achieves his dream of being a great composer but nonetheless makes a significant contribution to the lives of those he teaches.

    Both the video and audio quality are excellent.

    The extra is not worth the (thankfully limited) space it occupies.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-655A [SACD & DVD-A], using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

Other Reviews - Tory Favro
DVD Net - Jules F
The DVD Bits - Shane A

Comments (Add)
R1 is NOT anamorphic - Jace REPLY POSTED
Excellent - Capt Argo (My bio, is nothing to write home about !)
Michael Kamen 1948-2003 - wolfgirv
you spelled realisation wrong its realization - REPLY POSTED
Re: Spelling - Neil
Re: Spelling -
re: Spelling -
Re: Spelling - Neil