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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by John Sayles
USA 1996


A keen observer of America’s social fabric, writer-director John Sayles uncovers the haunted past buried beneath a small Texas border town in this sprawling neowestern mystery. When a skeleton is discovered in the desert, lawman Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper), son of a legendary local sheriff, begins an investigation that will have profound implications both for him personally and for all of Rio County, a place still reckoning with its history of racial violence. Sayles’s masterful film—novelistic in its intricacy and featuring a brilliant ensemble cast, including Joe Morton, Elizabeth Peña, and Kris Kristofferson—quietly subverts national mythmaking and lays bare the fault lines of life at the border.


One of the most acclaimed movies of the 90's! When the skeleton of his murdered predecessor is found, Sheriff Sam Deeds unearths many other long-buried secrets in his Texas border town.


Theatrical Release: March 14th, 1996 (South by Southwest Film Festival)

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Review: Criterion - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:


Also available on Blu-ray from Criterion (that is included with the 4K UHD):


Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Spine #1202 - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime 2:15:21.154         

2.39:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,564,997,969 bytes

Feature: 40,245,467,136 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.62 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

2.39:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 97,019,149,394 bytes

Feature: 95,467,386,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 77.99 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Bitrate 4K Ultra HD:


DTS-HD Master Audio English 2039 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2039 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:


Edition Details:

4K Ultra HD disc

• No extras


Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

• New conversation between Sayles and filmmaker Gregory Nava (38:05)
• New interview with Stuart Dryburgh (18:19)
• Trailer (1:46)

PLUS: An essay by scholar Domino Renee Perez

4K Ultra HD Release Date:
January 16th, 2024
Black 4K Ultra HD Case

Chapters 16




NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: Criterion 4K UHD (January 2024): Criterion have transferred John Sayles' "Lone Star" to 4K UHD and Blu-ray. It is described as a "New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Sayles and director of photography Stuart Dryburgh." This 4K UHD transfer has a Dolby Vision HDR pass. The 2160P image is gorgeous - strongly earthy browns like a 'Zane Grey novel cover' in the Texas landscapes (Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Laredo), strong detail in close-ups and exquisite contrast. I see minor teal but the overall HD presentation is marvelous. I was extremely pleased right from the first scenes. The package also includes a Blu-ray with the film and special features.

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 70 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages recently: Suspect Zero (software uniformly simulated HDR), Count Dracula (software uniformly simulated HDR), Full Circle - The Haunting of Julia (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Warriors  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (software uniformly simulated HDR), Blackhat (software uniformly simulated HDR), Mark of the Devil (software uniformly simulated HDR), Barbarella (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Last Picture Show (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Knew Too Much (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rope (software uniformly simulated HDR), Frenzy (software uniformly simulated HDR), American Graffiti (software uniformly simulated HDR), East End Hustle (software uniformly simulated HDR), Three Days of the Condor (software uniformly simulated HDR), Witness (software uniformly simulated HDR), Fascination (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lips of Blood (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Others (no HDR), It Came From Outer Space (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rosemary's Baby (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Last Wave (no HDR), The Train (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Trial (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Walkabout (software uniformly simulated HDR), Black Magic Rites, The Night of the Hunted (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Rape of the Vampire (software uniformly simulated HDR), Gorgo (software uniformly simulated HDR), Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Man From Hong Kong (software uniformly simulated HDR), One False Move, The Tall T (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cold Eyes of Fear (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rules of the Game (no HDR), The Manchurian Candidate (software uniformly simulated HDR), After Hours, Rain Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Changeling (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Night of the Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR), 12 Angry Men (software uniformly simulated HDR), Branded to Kill (no HDR), Picnic at Hanging Rock (software uniformly simulated HDR), Two Orphan Vampires (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shiver of the Vampires, Drowning By Number (software uniformly simulated HDR), Serpico (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cool Hand Luke (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Seventh Seal (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Maltese Falcon (software uniformly simulated HDR).

On their 4K UHD, Criterion use DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (24-bit) in the original English language - with some Spanish spoken. "Lone Star" has instances of gun violence and other aggression. It can punctuate scenes with surprising depth via the lossless. The score is by, frequent John Sayles collaborator, Mason Daring (Matewan, Eight Men Out, Prefontaine) and supports the film's atmosphere, mystery and suspense. There is plenty of other music - establishing the west Texas border town locale and switching timeframes - including songs by Conjunto Bernal, Fito Olivares Y La Pura Sabrosura, Carmen Y Laura, Isidro Lopez, Freddy Fender, Little Walter, Big Joe Turner, Duke Levine & Mike Turk, Little Willie John, Los Lobos, Lucinda Williams, Ivory Joe Hunter, Lydia Mendoza, Gaytan Y Solis, Little Willie John, Chelo Silva and others. Both discs offer optional English (SDH) subtitles - and the 4K UHD is region FREE, playable worldwide and the second disc Blu-ray is Region 'A'.

There are no extras on the 4K UHD disc. They are all on the second disc Blu-ray with a new 40-minute conversation, recorded for the Criterion Collection in Los Angeles in 2023, between Sayles and filmmaker Gregory Nava where the Lone Star director/writer/editor talks about the development and production of the film and his career in independent cinema. There is also a new 18-minute interview with cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh who discusses his work on Lone Star, challenges and successes - recorded for the Criterion Collection in New York in 2023. Lastly is a trailer and the package has a 10-page liner notes leaflet with an essay by scholar Domino Renee Perez.

John Sayles exceptional "Lone Star" is a Western-mystery film rife with subtle genre motifs and gun-on-hip mythology themes - effectively utilizing flashbacks between two eras. It also explores the relationships of fathers and sons + mothers and daughters across ethnicities; Buddy and Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper and Matthew McConaughey), Otis and Demore Payne (Ron Canada and Joe Morton), and Mercedes and Pilar Cruz (Elizabeth Peña and Míriam Colón as Mercedes Cruz.) Many consider it Sayles' masterpiece. Remarkable are the single camera shots (without edits) shifting beyond 20-years in time. A small-town with close proximity to the border has issues that are addressed with honesty and frankness. Certainly this one of the very best modern-made westerns. It's brilliant and a 100% keeper film that fans have wanted in the best format for decades (I don't recall it being on Blu-ray until now!) Criterion's 4K UHD release with the new 4K digital restoration, supervised by Sayles and Dryburgh, and interview extras make this an irresistible purchase for the many fans of the film and new format adopters. I enjoyed this so much. Our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze


Menus / Extras




1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM



1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM



1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM



More 4K UHD Captures











More full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K Ultra HD Captures for Patreon Supporters HERE



Box Cover

CLICK to order from:


Also available on Blu-ray from Criterion (that is included with the 4K UHD):


Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Spine #1202 - Region FREE - 4K UHD



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