Tough Guys (1986)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 3-Feb-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 99:18
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jeff Kanew

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Burt Lancaster
Kirk Douglas
Charles Durning
Alexis Smith
Dana Carvey
Darlanne Fluegel
Eli Wallach
Monty Ash
Billy Barty
Simmy Bow
Darlene Conley
Nathan Davis
Matthew Faison
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $14.95 Music Burt Bacharach
Carole Bayer Sager
James Newton Howard

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish Titling
French Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    What would $450,000 in cash get you? About 30 years jail if you happen to steal it and then proceed to be caught in the act of burglary. And that's exactly what happened to Harry Doyle (Burt Lancaster) and Archie Long (Kirk Douglas) when they tried to rob a train.

    This movie is set after Harry and Archie are released from jail. After their 30 years of rehabilitation, they decide to go straight and start a life as rather old, but honest citizens. The problem is that modern society is not what it used to be and the two find it decidedly harder and harder to cope with life outside jail. Slowly but surely they are pushed back to their criminal past - but will they be able to resist? Or should they just do that one last job or two? The copper (Charles Durning) that busted them all those years ago thinks that the two need a gentle prod to ensure they stick to a life of crime. Once a thief, always a thief is his impression. Add to this concoction the amusing hit man played by Eli Wallach and you have an interesting mix of characters and an additional level to the plot for a while.

    Whilst overall this is a predictable movie, it's still light, fun entertainment. It does take a while to get going, but this time does allow for the development of each character to suggest his individual breaking point which is, after all, what the show is about.

    Whilst these two have starred together in films before such as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1957 or Seven Days in May in 1964, they are both more relaxed and content in this role. They don't have to prove how good they are at acting as their past acting history speaks for itself. Instead, they just portray two frustrated elderly gentlemen who don't want to grow old. They play their respective roles perfectly and were well cast to provide a funny insight into what old-time crooks might get up to once they leave the slammer. There is a subtle message for those that pick it up, but we all know that jail is bad...right?

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    This is how all transfers of a similar age should be done, with attention to detail and a clean impressive DVD the final result.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is very clear with nice sharp images that only soften in the background of some shots when additional depth of field is required. Shadow detail is well controlled also, with a good level of detail being available in every shot. While there are very few dark scenes, there are a few points where lighting would have been an issue, but not in this particular case. There is no low level noise.

    The colours are natural and lifelike with a good balance between the dark and light shades. The outfit worn by Archie Long for a portion of the movie is the brightest and most vibrant example.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen and aliasing is very mild on the few instances where it rears its head. Film artefacts are quite common throughout the transfer but usually are restricted to tiny specks of dust. They are quite hard to see during the program, although the introduction contains the worst sections. However, they too are minor, albeit easier to see because they stand out from the background colours. Still, in comparison to other films from this age range, either this was a better clean-up or the master was well looked after.

    The English subtitles that I checked were close to the spoken word with minor alterations on some sentences.

    This disc is single sided and single layered and therefore is not affected by any layer changes.

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


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD. When the disc is inserted, the first thing you are prompted for is a choice of language, so strictly speaking there is no default language for this disc, although English is highlighted. The tracks are English, French and Spanish. All are presented as Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtracks. I listened to the English version in its entirety.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    There are an amazing number of directional front sound-stage effects with good examples at 19:19, 27:34 and 49:57 to pick just a few. In most instances it involves dialogue where it moves across the stage in perfect unison with the on-screen image. Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    The music is from multiple sources including Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and James Newton Howard. Every title was a perfect fit for the movie and provided a nice backdrop to the show, which added to the movie's enjoyment. It was also well balanced with the dialogue increasing and decreasing in volume as required.

    The surround channels were subtly used for music and added ambience, with good examples at 41:10 and 41:33. Both instances feature music with ambience from the rear and good directional sound across the front. The volume in the rears was well balanced with the front sound-stage and added a great deal to the overall "feel" of the movie by including this additional surround information for your ears.

    The subwoofer was not utilised by this soundtrack. It was missed for some loud noises as the front speakers did not seem to contain quite enough bass information. This may well be how the original sounded but any future releases would benefit from some more bass being included in at least the front sound-stage area.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There are no extras available on this disc.


    The menu is very well designed with professional graphics being made from the on-screen footage. It is 16x9 enhanced. The main menu features a still image altered from the movie and no audio.

R4 vs R1

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

    I was unable to find another version of this particular movie. Amazon in the USA even mentioned the following;

"NOT YET RELEASED: The studio is currently not producing this title on DVD, but to be notified . . ."

    So at this stage we have the best and apparently only version.


    Overall, this is a fun, easy-to-watch movie that shows probably the last time these two screen legends paired up. Together with other household names, you could certainly do a lot worse than to watch this movie one rainy day. The overall quality ensures that it is a worthwhile purchase if you decide to go down that route.

    The video quality is remarkable and I must say I was expecting a Pan and Scan version with a lot of problems. I take my hat off to those that were involved in storing the original and then transferring it to DVD.

    It is great to have a surround-encoded track included as all-too-often only a Dolby Digital 2.0 track is included with these types of titles. Again, thanks to all involved!

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersWhatmough Classic Series C31 (Mains); C06 (Centre); M10 (Rears); Magnat Vector Needle Sub25A Active SubWoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Vincent C

Comments (Add)
Um...... - cztery REPLY POSTED