Review: Gardens of Stone

Blu-ray: Gardens of Stone (1987)

Set in 1968, Sergeant Clell Hazard (James Caan in magnificent form) is disillusioned with the Vietnam war and sees America as being in an unwinnable situation.

Based at Fort Meyers’ Arlington Cemetery, Hazard sees far too many young bodies arrive for burial and despairs at the waste of life.

When idealistic soldier Jackie Willow (D.B. Sweeney) arrives at Fort Meyer with thoughts of going to the Academy and then onto the frontline in Vietnam, Hazard’s morals are pushed to breaking point, as Willow is the Son of a veteran Sergeant whom he was good friends with.

Does he protect Willow from an almost inevitable death in Vietnam, or allow him to follow his dreams?

Gardens of Stone is a powerful film with a cast on top form throughout. The aforementioned Caan and Sweeney are joined by James Earl Jones, Dean Stockwell, Anjelica Huston and Mary Stuart Masterson. Each of them bringing empathy and gravitas to their characters.

Under the direction of Francis Ford Copolla, Gardens of Stone draws you into its rich narrative as the futility of war becomes ever more obvious.

When asked to pick memorable movies about the Vietnam war, I doubt that Gardens of Stone gets mentioned before the likes of Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, et al. However, this fantastic release by Powerhouse films, accompanied as always by an informative and entertaining array of special features, will help to bring this riveting look at the human condition during war time more into public awareness.


  • High Definition remaster
  • Original stereo audio
  • War at Home (2018, 17 mins): new interview with multi-award-winning director Francis Coppola as he talks candidly about the production of Gardens of Stone
  • Audio commentary with filmmaker and critic Jim Hemphill
  • The Guardian Interview with Anjelica Huston (2006, 65 mins), archival audio recording of the celebrated actor in conversation with critic and producer Adrian Wootton at London’s National Film Theatre
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
  • New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Limited edition exclusive 32-page booklet with a new essay by Neil Sinyard, Francis Coppola and the cast on Gardens of Stone, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
  • World premiere on Blu-ray
  • Limited Edition of 3,000 copies

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Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.