Exerpts from the NY Times review December 11, 1981
To get quickly to the point, Four Friends is the best film yet made about the sixties, that harrowed time of war, prosperity, and broken promises, of turning on and dropping out to colors described as psychedelic, when establishment came to be written with a capital “E.”
Four Friends, directed by Arthur Penn and written by Steven Tesich, initially suggests a sort of big-budget The Return of the Secaucus Seven. It’s a film that embraces the looks, sounds, speech, and public events of the sixties, but not in the way of a documentary. It has the quality of legend, a fable remembered. Because Mr. Penn and Mr. Tesich see everything in terms of legend, even a tumultuously funny barroom brawl near the film’s end becomes not only a brawl but also a revivifying re-creation of all barroom brawls in all of the Western films the four friends grew up with.
The film’s high point, though, is the extended interlude relating Danilo’s courtship and marriage to the sweet, slightly distant New York society girl (Julia Murray), whose father (James Leo Herlihy), treats Danilo as a rival, and whose mother (Lois Smith) looks on in the profoundly troubled way of someone who knows a terrible secret. Nothing Mr. Penn has directed before quite matches the impact of these scenes and of the performances of Miss Murray, Mr. Herlihy, Miss Smith, and Reed Birney, who plays the scion of the family and Danilo’s Northwestern roommate.
1.52GB | 1h 54m | 832×468 | mkv