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Release Date: May 16th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1974

The Longest Yard (1974) - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Over 30 years before Adam Sandler applied his gross-out slapstick style to the remake, Robert Aldrich’s The Longest Yard hit audiences hard and fast back in 1974. The Burt Reynolds-starring action-comedy is back on the field courtesy of Kino Lorber Studio Classics with a stellar new 2160p presentation aided by Dolby Vision HDR that easily scores a touchdown against previous releases. While the supplements package lacks anything new aside from an audio commentary with film critics Alian Silver and James Ursini, the beautiful new transfer provides a long-overdue corrective to lackluster DVD releases before it. This release comes Recommended!

Hollywood great Burt Reynolds (White Lightning, Semi-Tough) leads the downfield charge in this raucous, rough-and-tumble comedy-drama coached by legendary director Robert Aldrich (Vera Cruz, The Dirty Dozen). Reynolds plays one-time pro quarterback Paul Crewe, now behind bars for leading the state police on a wild chase in a “borrowed” car. Eddie Albert (Hustle) is the sadistic, scheming warden who recruits Crewe to form a team of convicts to go up against the warden’s polished, semi-pro team of prison guards in a championship game. Crewe has agreed that his crew—dubbed the “Mean Machine”—will provide only passive resistance to the squad of brutal guards. But the gridiron showdown turns into a gritty game of cunning strategy as the Mean Machine defies the warden’s iron-fisted control and attempts to go the distance in The Longest Yard. Featuring Ed Lauter, James Hampton, Michael Conrad, Bernadette Peters, Richard Kiel, Anitra Ford, Robert Tessier, Charles Tyner and a rowdy roster of real-life football greats, it’s survival of the fiercest. And the funniest!


• Brand New HDR/Dolby Vision Master – From a 4K Scan of the 35mm Original Camera Negative
NEW Audio Commentary by Film Critics Alain Silver and James Ursini, Authors of WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO ROBERT ALDRICH?: HIS LIFE AND HIS FILMS (4KUHD & Blu-ray)
• Audio Commentary by Star Burt Reynolds and Writer/Producer Albert S. Ruddy (4KUHD & Blu-ray)
• Doing Time on THE LONGEST YARD: Featurette (Blu-ray)
• Unleashing THE MEAN MACHINE: Featurette (Blu-ray)
• Theatrical Trailer – Newly Mastered in 4K (Blu-ray)
• Newly Commissioned Art by Sean Phillips
• Triple-Layered UHD100 Disc / Dual-Layered BD50 Disc
• Optional English Subtitles

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
English SDH
Release Date:
May 16th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


“I think he broke his fucking neck!” It’s the line that I always return to when watching Robert Aldrich’s much-underrated football action-comedy, The Longest Yard. Not only does it exemplify the kind of crude humor that writers Tracy Keenan Wynn and Albert S. Ruddy dole out throughout the film, but it’s also perfectly indicative of the intoxicating mixture of downbeat, near-bleak drama and uplifting, uproarious comedy that both undercuts and bolsters the story. And having Burt Reynolds at his most gruff and masculine? It was the perfect choice for a movie that makes no excuses for the domestic violence that puts Reynolds’ character in the pen but has a rather huge bone to pick with the American prison system and the authoritarians running the show.

The Longest Yard kicks off things in high gear as former professional football player and drunk Paul Crewe (Reynolds) bounces his girlfriend Melissa (Anitra Ford) off the wall after a fight, takes her Citroen SM sports car on a wild joyride that results in a rollicking, high-speed chase with police and ends up getting arrested after beating up two cops at a local dive. Crewe is sentenced to 18 months at Citrus State Prison, but little does he know that Warden Rudolph Hazen (Eddie Albert) is a football fanatic who manages a semi-pro team consisting of all the prison’s guards. Once Crewe is reluctantly tasked with playing in an exhibition game against the guards, he and James “Caretaker” Farrell (James Hampton) form a team of some of the most dangerous inmates in the prison. The prize? To get revenge against the guards.

There’s something rather despairing about the plotting of The Longest Yard, specifically in how dire prison life is outside of forming the football team. Aldrich’s raw energy and straightforward attitude are a perfect match for the story, as this is so much more than just an action-comedy about some prisoners getting revenge against some fascistic guards. Aldrich takes things a step further, taking the themes of dignity and betrayal and showing how they don’t apply to the black prisoners. The prison system was built to punish and denigrate these people, and Crewe’s avoidance of most of that ire strikes hard. It’s the kind of thing that pushes the film to the next level, showcasing a bunch of people up against an impossible force and choosing to rebel still.

When we get to the football game against the guards, the differences between the original film and the remake can’t be understated. Aldrich takes the game, which occupies the final 40 minutes of the movie, as an opportunity to track the moral ascension of Paul Crewe amongst all the hard hits. In Peter Segal’s 2005 remake with Adam Sandler, that moral ascension is completely lost to slick blockbuster style and the constant gags that make it even more clear that this is supposed to be an outright comedy. That’s part of why I always come back to Aldrich’s original effort, as the man was already so cocksure about the moral decisions that compromise an individual and posits it within an actual prison, where all thoughts and actions are carefully monitored and controlled.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-rays
“In this institution, to get along, you go along.” The Longest Yard is presented by Kino Lorber Studio Classics with a two-disc (4K & Blu-ray) release that comes in the standard black case with a slipcover over it. The 4K disc is a BD100 and the Blu-ray is a BD50. Both discs boot up to standard menu screens to play the film, set up audio and video or browse bonus features.

NOTE: We haven't been able to pull disc-sourced images as of press time, as soon as we can we'll circle back to update the review and hopefully include a video sample.

Video Review


The Longest Yard was shot on 35mm and spherically, therefore being a really great candidate for the 4K Ultra HD treatment. This new HEVC-encoded 2160p transfer is sourced from a new Dolby Vision HDR master, featuring a 4K scan of the original 35mm negative. From the beginning, I was immediately impressed with the level of detail available at the source without removing any of the softness inherent to it. Those 70s-era beige tones in Crewe’s girlfriend’s apartment look clearer than ever, and exteriors in general are rendered beautifully without the Dolby Vision HDR layer blowing everything out. The football game that occupies the final act is probably the most impressive section in the presentation, as it really brings out the green turf, dirt and sun shining on the helmets in ways I didn’t know was available at the source. Aldrich was always straightforward and workmanlike with a pride and energy like no other.

Now, for some middling news. This being a film shot on 35mm in the early 70s, I was expecting there to be much more grain in the presentation. This isn’t exactly a negative mark on the transfer, but kept thinking how clean and crisp everything looks here. That being said, I didn’t notice any DNR or edge sharpening throughout. The source is also in very good condition with only short sections of damage to be found. Flesh tones look terrific as well, which you can clearly tell from all the sweat and blood in the final act. This is a very pleasing presentation that’s emboldened by an unobtrusive Dolby Vision HDR grading.

Audio Review


The provided DTS-HD MA 2.0 track certainly sounds a hell of a lot better than the age-old DVD release from Paramount. The film has a fun soundtrack filled with hits that’s rendered much more clearly in this track. Dialogue and music are balanced well, and the dominating soundscape of players on the field really does sound wonderful. Source is in great condition, with very few nicks and bumps to find throughout.

Special Features


As mentioned earlier in the review, the supplements package is a bit bare, but I do want to highlight that the vintage extras are still worthwhile despite being brief. In Doing Time on The Longest Yard, screenwriter Albert S. Ruddy and star Burt Reynolds recount their experiences with Robert Aldrich, who certainly comes off as the no-nonsense filmmaker he was popular for being.

Disc 1: 4K UHD

  • Audio commentary by film critics Alain Silver and James Ursini
  • Audio commentary by star Burt Reynolds and writer/producer Albert S. Ruddy 

Disc 2: Blu-ray

  • Audio commentary by film critics Alain Silver and James Ursini
  • Audio commentary by star Burt Reynolds and writer/producer Albert S. Ruddy
  • Doing Time on The Longest Yard (SD 11:56)
  • Unleashing the Mean Machine (SD 11:30)
  • Theatrical trailer (SD 3:54)

Robert Aldrich’s tough, mean and hilarious 1974 film, The Longest Yard, is finally available on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray for the first time ever in the US with a stunning new transfer and great encode from the folks at Kino Lorber Studio Classics. This gruff action-comedy still smacks of Aldrich’s workmanlike talent, although I was particularly drawn to just how downbeat everything is this time around. The new 2160p presentation aided by Dolby Vision HDR looks wonderful and the provided audio track is a big upgrade over previous DVD releases. This release comes Recommended!