George Roy Hill's adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's whimsical antiwar black comedy--an immensely popular novel at the time of the film's release because of its implicit condemnation of the war in Vietnam--stars Michael Sacks as the placid Billy Pilgrim. He's become "unstuck in time," as the author describes him, or more prosaically, he's had a nervous breakdown as a result of a recurrence of the trauma of witnessing the horrific Allied firebombing of Dresden in 1945. The desultory narrative has Billy jumping from his war experience to his future on the planet Tralfamadore with the buxom Montana Wildhack (Valerie Perrine), then to an episode of shock therapy, then to an episode in his childhood, and then to his life as a relatively unhappy suburban optometrist. Throughout, the naive Billy remains a curious mixture of kindness and detachment, the best combination of qualities one could have, the author seems to imply, for surviving in a world of meaningless suffering. Vonnegut's novel may be unfilmable, and Hill may have been too cautious a choice as director, but he does a good job of conveying many of the qualities of the author's elusive style. Michael Sacks possesses the requisite air of innocence for his role, and Ron Liebman gives a great performance as a choleric fellow G.I.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - American author
Gilmer McCormick - Actor/"Silent Night..."
Lucille Benson - American Actress
Henry Bumstead - Production Designer, MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004)
Harry Bumstead - Production Designer, MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004)
Ron Leibman - American Actor
Roberts Blossom - American Actor
Holly Near - Actress/Slaughterhouse 5
Kevin Conway - American Character Actor
Valerie Perrine - Actress, LENNY, SUPERMAN (1978)
George Roy Hill - Director
Perry King - Cody Allen of TV's "Riptide"
Sorrell Booke - American actor, DUKES OF HAZZARD (1979)
Karl Otto Alberty
Glenn Gould - Canadian Pianist
Eugene Roche - American Character Actor
Michael Sacks - American Supporting Actor
John Dehner - American Character Actor
Dede Allen - Editor
Corothea Carothers Allen - Editor
- Format: DVD
- Run Time: 104
- Color Format: Color
- UPC: 025192354922
- Genre: Drama
- Rating: R (MPAA)
- Release Date: May 2004
An aimless bumbler is pushed into service during World War II and later winds up in a German prison camp known as Slaughterhouse 5 . But his life takes a strange turn when the ties that bind him to normal time and space loosen. Flipping from the war to an extraterrestrial zoo, the hapless hero sees different phases of his life but never quite understands what is expected from him.
Shooting locations: Minnesota and the Czech Republic. George Roy Hill chose to shoot in the city of Most outside of Prague because its architecture most closely resembled that of Dresden and because the city itself was unavailable, since it was still part of East Germany at the time. In the mid-1990s a group named Billy Pilgrim, named after the main character of Vonnegut's novel, released a few CDs.
"[I]t's a finely crafted lost treasure from New Hollywood's short-lived heyday." - 08/01/2005 Uncut, p.138