Time-Life Video

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Background[edit]

Time-Life Video was the home video division of Time-Life Films, established in 1977 to distribute content from Time-Life Films, Time-Life Television, BBC, Walter Wanger Productions, PBS, WGBH Educational Foundation, HBO, and a few other studios on the VHS, Betamax, and 16mm formats. Their most notable releases are Stagecoach (which, according to film review site Rotten Tomatoes, is their highest-rated title, at a 100% "fresh" critic rating), a western film released in 1939 that was directed by John Ford and starred John Wayne and Claire Trevor, and The Kinks: One for the Road, a live concert music video album by the rock and roll band, The Kinks. In 1982, the assets of the original Time-Life Video were rearranged to form Vestron Video, which reissued many of Time-Life's titles (including the aforementioned Stagecoach).

The rights to the company's library as of now are as follows:

  • Time-Life Films, Time-Life Television, HBO, and Masterpiece Productions in general: Home Box Office Inc.
  • British Broadcasting Corporation: BBC Worldwide
  • Public Broadcasting Service and WGBH Educational Foundation: PBS

Individual releases:

  • The Private Eyes: Hen's Tooth Video
  • My Brilliant Career: The Criterion Collection
  • The Kinks: One for the Road: Koch Records
  • Rust Never Sleeps: BMG Rights Management (Sony Music Entertainment)

Released under the Time-Life Video label[edit]

1979[edit]

Catalog number Title Country of origin Original year Length Version MPAA rating Film format Tape count Tape break placement (if applicable) Color Released Note(s)
???? Go Tell the Spartans USA 1977 114 min Standard version R Matted 1.85 1 N/A Color 1979 The original Avco Embassy logo that started the picture is intact.
???? And God Created Woman France/Italy 1956 90 min Uncut English language version NR CinemaScope 1 N/A TBD 1979 TBD
???? Stagecoach
From Masterpiece Productions
USA 1939 96 min Standard version NR Academy 1 N/A Black and white 1979 TBD

1980[edit]

Catalog number Title Country of origin Original year Length Version MPAA rating Film format Tape count Tape break placement (if applicable) Color Released Note(s)
???? Good Guys Wear Black USA 1978 96 min Standard version PG Matted 1.85 1 N/A Color 1980 TBD
???? Rust Never Sleeps USA 1979 111 min TBD NR Academy 1 N/A Color 1980 TBD
???? Sundown
From Walter Wanger Productions
USA 1941 90 min Standard version NR Academy 1 N/A Black and white 1980 After the formation of Vestron Video, distribution of this film on home media was lent off to other companies, namely distributors of public domain films.

June 1980[edit]

This point is where Time-Life would retire their brown clamshells for any new release in favor of the slightly more common gatefold boxes with a neon Time-Life marquee inside the box and a rainbow colored banner on the front of the cover, which would become their standard packaging for future releases. At the time, the company also introduced a new catalog numbering system: TLV XXXX (XXXX indicates a four-digit numbering system; 4000 from The Kinks: One for the Road was given as an example of this).

Catalog numbering systems (all start with "TLV"):
1000 series: Time-Life Films/Time-Life Television (and feature films)
2000 series: Walter Wanger Productions
3000 series: Public Broadcasting Service/WGBH Educational Foundation
4000 series: Live events (including concerts and music videos)
5000 series: British Broadcasting Corporation
6000 series: Short subjects (up to 60 min. in length)


Catalog number Title Country of origin Original year Length Version MPAA rating Film format Tape count Tape break placement (if applicable) Color Released Note(s)
4000 The Kinks: One for the Road USA 1980 54 min Standard version NR Video (NTSC-M) 1 N/A Color June 25, 1980 The sticker label incorrectly states the program runs for 60 minutes.
4001 Richard Pryor Filmed Live in Concert
From Home Box Office
USA 1979 79 min Standard version NR Matted 1.85 1 N/A Color June 25, 1980 TBD
???? Comedy Tonight
From Home Box Office
USA 1977 76 min Standard version NR Video (NTSC-M) 1 N/A Color June 25, 1980 TBD
1000 My Brilliant Career Australia 1979 101 min Standard version G Matted 1.85 1 N/A Color June 25, 1980 Released on home media in the US only a few months after being screened at the New York Film Festival on October 6, 1979, and being given a limited theatrical release on February 1, 1980.

1981[edit]

Catalog number Title Country of origin Original year Length Version MPAA rating Film format Tape count Tape break placement (if applicable) Color Released Note(s)
???? The Private Eyes
From New World Pictures
USA 1980 ?? min TBD PG Matted 1.85 1 N/A Color 1981 TBD
???? The Changeling Canada 1980 107 min Standard version R Matted 1.85 1 N/A Color 1981 Original 1970 MPAA rating card intact at the end.
???? The Greatest Adventure: The Story of Man's Voyage
Narrated by Orson Welles with official NASA films
USA 1979 54 min Standard version NR Academy 1 N/A Color 1981 TBD
???? Blonde Ambition USA 1981 84 min Standard version NR Academy 1 N/A Color 1981 Two packaging styles were released for this title: the standard gatefold packaging and the older brown clamshell packaging.