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The Longest Yard (1974) (4K UHD Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A former pro quarterback who ruined his career with a point shaving scandal is sent to prison where a sadistic and power hunger warden asks him to put together a team of inmates to play against the semi-pro team of prison guards.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A sports picture about American football on the surface only, 1974’s The Longest Yard starring Burt Reynolds is more about fighting against the system and people coming together even when the odds are against them.

Ex-star footballer Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds) ends up in prison after a violent outburst with his girlfriend and stealing her car. Crewe is redirected to a prison run by the power hungry, football enthusiast Warden Hazen (Eddie Albert) who wants him to help the prison’s semi-pro football team of prison guards. Crewe at once runs into trouble with sadistic head guard and team leader Capt. Knauer (Ed Lauter) who sees him as a threat to his power and position with the Warden.

When Crewe puts a proposition to the warden to setup a tune-up game for the team, the warden instructs him to put together a team of his fellow inmates to play the guards. Crewe, who ruined his career for point shaving, has a tough time gaining the trust of his fellow inmates, but eventually he does. With his pardon hanging in the balance, he is determined to do well, but the warden turns the tables on him and threatens to charge him with a felony and on decades to his sentence unless he throws the game.

The ultimate showdown closes out the film and takes up a half-hour. It is one of the most intense and well-filmed sports matches in cinema history, with Reynolds’ Crewe rallying his team for a pivotal play (“We’ve come too far to stop now, let’s do this”), the intensity, the kinetic energy, and the feeling of the underdogs possibly coming out ahead – even if there are murderers among them – is palpable.

The film is not without its historical issues that leave it feeling very much weighted to its time. The casual racism, homophobia, and misogyny all come to mind. We first meet Reynolds’ character slapping and slamming his (apparently) Sugar Mamma into a wall and throwing her to the ground before stealing her car. Then there are the racial slurs, the emasculation of the black men during the football match – there is so much that could be unpacked, but it was 1974.

  • Burt Reynolds, John Steadman, and Robert Tessier in The Longest Yard (1974)
  • Burt Reynolds and Anitra Ford in The Longest Yard (1974)
  • Eddie Albert in The Longest Yard (1974)
  • Burt Reynolds and Ed Lauter in The Longest Yard (1974)
  • The Longest Yard (1974)
  • Burt Reynolds in The Longest Yard (1974)
  • Burt Reynolds in The Longest Yard (1974)
  • The Longest Yard 4K Ultra HD Combo (KL Studio Classics)

The Video

The Longest Yard comes from a brand new 4K Dolby Vision HDR master from a 4K scan of the original camera negative. This is a beautiful scan and restoration that has crisp detail and a clean source with a thinly layered level of grain. The few instances where some mild scratches or faint tramlines can be seen are easily overlooked. Colors, like caretaker’s red jacket, look vibrant and natural. Flesh tones are good and not overcooked. The Dolby Vision is very mildly applied with no real noticeable increase in overall brightness or dazzle in the specular highlights, but there is good sheen on the helmets during gameplay and so on.

The Audio

Kino Lorber brings the original monaural mix for The Longest Yard to 4K Ultra HD in a lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. The sound has good clarity and dynamics given its 1974 vintage and the scenes with the big game have sufficient energy.

The Supplements

The audio commentaries are the stars of the bonus features included with this release, especially the one with Reynolds and Ruddy, although the commentary with Silver and Ursini is an easy listen with lots of detail.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary by Film Critics Alain Silver and James Ursini, Authors of Whatever Happened to Robert Aldrich?
  • Audio Commentary by Star Burt Reynolds and Writer/Producer Albert S. Ruddy

Blu-ray Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary by Film Critics Alain Silver and James Ursini, Authors of Whatever Happened to Robert Aldrich?
  • Audio Commentary by Star Burt Reynolds and Writer/Producer Albert S. Ruddy
  • Doing Time on The Longest Yard: Featurette (SD; 00:11:38)
  • Unleashing The Mean Machine: Featurette (SD; 00:11:02)
  • The Longest Yard—Trailer (1080p; 00:04:04)
  • Semi-Tough – Trailer
  • Fuzz – Trailer
  • Shamus – Trailer
  • White Lighting – Trailer
  • Hustle – Trailer
  • Gator — Trailer

The Final Assessment

This is a classic that is better than it should be and appeals to more than just sports fans as the focus is not just on the football but on the characters, the system, and the power dynamics. Burt Reynolds puts on one of his finest performances surrounded by a strong supporting cast and this Kino Lorber Studio Classics 4K release is superbly presented.


The Longest Yard is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo May 16, 2023, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.


  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: Paramount Pictures | Long Road Productions | Ruddy Productions | Kino Lorber Studio Classics
  • Director: Robert Aldrich
  • Written By: Tracy Keenan Wynn | Albert S. Ruddy
  • Run Time: 121 Mins.
  • Street Date: 16 May 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH
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A former pro quarterback who ruined his career with a point shaving scandal is sent to prison where a sadistic and power hunger warden asks him to put together a team of inmates to play against the semi-pro team of prison guards.The Longest Yard (1974) (4K UHD Review)