Coming Home: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Kino Lorber
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (17th January 2024).
The Film

"Coming Home," directed by Hal Ashby and released in 1978, is a poignant and emotionally charged film that explores the complexities of love, war, and the human spirit. The film stands as a powerful critique of the Vietnam War, providing a unique perspective on its impact on individuals and society.

One of the notable strengths of "Coming Home" lies in its well-crafted characters, portrayed by an exceptional cast led by Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern, and Penelope Milford. Voight and Fonda would both go on to win Oscars for their lead roles and both Dern and Milford earned Oscar nominations for their supporting roles. Fonda's portrayal of Sally Hyde, a woman grappling with the emotional toll of her husband's deployment, is particularly compelling and astounding. Her nuanced performance captures the internal struggles of a woman navigating love, loneliness, and newfound independence.

Jon Voight delivers a standout performance as Luke Martin, a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran. Voight's ability to convey the physical and emotional challenges faced by his character adds depth to the film. The chemistry between Fonda and Voight is palpable, creating a powerful narrative that explores the transformative nature of love in the face of adversity.

Hal Ashby's direction is both sensitive and thought-provoking. The film's pacing allows for the gradual unfolding of the characters' stories, and Ashby skillfully integrates the personal with the political. The use of real footage from the Vietnam War enhances the film's authenticity, grounding the narrative in the harsh reality of the conflict. Ashby would also earn himself a Best Director Oscar nomination for this film among its eight total nominations that year.

"Coming Home" also succeeds in its exploration of the anti-war sentiment of the late 1970's. The film deftly addresses the psychological trauma experienced by returning veterans, challenging societal norms and shedding light on the struggles they face upon reintegration into civilian life. The juxtaposition of the personal and political elements is a testament to Ashby's skill in weaving a multi-layered narrative.

Some critics argue that the film occasionally leans towards melodrama, especially in certain emotional scenes. However, it can be argued that the heightened emotion serves to underscore the profound impact of war on the characters' lives. "Coming Home" remains a timeless and affecting exploration of the human cost of war. Through its powerful performances, well-developed characters, and astute direction, the film stands as a testament to the enduring effects of conflict on individuals and society. It remains a significant contribution to the cinematic landscape, providing a thoughtful and compassionate perspective on the aftermath of the Vietnam War.


Kino Lorber had previously released this film back in 2014 on a 25GB disc, this is a new re-issue on a 50GB disc and features the same transfer from a decade ago, the bigger disc space allows for greater bandwidth. The image is presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen mastered in high definition 1080p 24/fps and using AVC MPEG-4 compression. Despite being a decade old transfer the image looks fairly solid, there are moments of softness that take away some detail but these are mostly due to the film technology of the day and the use of soft lighting. The colors are well balanced, skin tones appear natural, there is some noise in the back levels but it's in anyway distracting. Grain is present, which is nice to know that DNR wasn't applied the transfer embraces the film format. There was some instances of dirt and specks but they were few and far between. Overall it's a good solid image.


A single audio track i presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono (48kHz/16bit), The film prioritizes dialogue and the rocking 70's era music and thus the track presents it well, it's mostly clean and clear but there was a instance were the track had a pop for a moment, this was an issue with the older release and it looks like it wasn't fixed for this release. Seems like an easy fix but alas... otherwise this track is fine, just nothing to write home about. Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired only.


Kino Lorber has re-issued this film with all the same extras as on the previous 2014 release.

First up is a feature-length audio commentary with actors Jon Voight, and Bruce Dern, and cinematographer Haskell Wexler. Originally recorded back in 2002 for the DVD release this track features the three participants recorded separately and cut together. The participants all comment on how proud they are of the film, share stories from the production, on working with Ashby, the impact the film had on their careers, it's a great track that offers some insider knowledge into the making of the film.

Next up is "Coming Back Home" a 2002 featurette (24:55), basically a promotional EPK created for the old DVD release and features some interviews with key cast and crew, as they comment on making the film, the process involved, and on screening the film at the Cannes Film Festival among other things.

"Hal Ashby: A Man Out of Time" is another archival 2002 featurette (15:24), this time taking a closer look at Ashby, his process, and career.

Finally we have the film's original theatrical trailer (2:03).


Packaged in a blu-ray case with first pressings including a cardboard slip-case.


"Coming Home" is a gripping drama that features some incredible performances from this cast that will leave a lasting impression on the viewer. Kino Lorber has re-issued this film on a 50GB disc, while the film has more bandwidth allowing for a less compressed image it still retains the old transfer, audio, and extras.

The Film: A Video: B Audio: B- Extras: B+ Overall: B


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