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And the Band Played On

A movie directed by Roger Spottiswoode

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The music was playing but there were no people left to hear

  • Jan 21, 2000
Pros: Very informative

Cons: The loss of many people

Growing up during this era, the AIDS 'conflict' seemed to happen everywhere else but here. Just like all conflicts (i.e.; Viet Nam) this epidemic would never affect anyone I know. Unfortunately, someone I worked with contracted AIDS when it was the little known virus that the government refused to acknowledge. We were all unaware at the time just how encompassing it would become. Of course, since the government released no information, we shied away from this individual, fearing we would 'catch' it by contact - like shaking hands!

I must admit when this movie came out I was still AIDS dumb. In fact, I watched this movie having no idea what it really was about and became totally involved in it. I have since watched it several times.

Matthew Modine played his character with a vengence (and I was happy to see that the doctor was still fighting for AIDS victims in the end) and Alan Alda played his part true to form. Richard Gere gave a stellar performance as the typical reluctant victim accepting this disease. Phil Collins portrayed the bath house owner with panache.

Unfortunately, until the AIDS virus was contracted by the local rich WASP (Swoozie Kurtz) the government officials, blood banks, CDC all refused to acknowledge perhaps this disease was not just transferred through gay sex. Surprisingly once her money started talking they started walking!

This movie was surprisingly informative - I am amazed the government allowed it to be released, unless that was their way of saying they were sorry. As usual, with most epidemics, a little information will go a long way, but they refuse to give it up.

After viewing this movie I truly wanted to go out and sock someone in the nose. I have never been so affected by our lack of social conscience since I saw an old movie (many moons ago) called Solider Blue, regarding the murder of a peaceful indian tribe by our government. I was pleased to have the opportunity to see the fight that these people put up to help eliminate this disease and realize if we had just been given some of this information when it was needed, the disease could have been better controlled.

I have lost many friends to AIDS, and not all of them were gay. I have many friends today suffering from this disease. We are not afraid or ashamed to speak of heart failure, diabetes, flu, or any other manner of illness but shy away from this killer. This is not a GAY disease but a tragedy. I recommend you see this movie and realize we can all do something to help others less fortunate than we. Please visit the following site - for your friends, your family and yourself:

This is the AIDS Memorial Quilt site .... well worth viewing


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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


The movie based on the book by author Randy Shilts that brought the A.I.D.S. epidemic to the public's attention and chronicled the political neglect this devastating disease faced at its onset. Shilts later died of complications brought on by A.I.D.S.
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Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Release Date: 1993
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: Warner Home Video (June 05, 2001)
Runtime: 2hr 20min
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