Based on the play by Ernest Thompson, ON GOLDEN POND tells the deceptively simple tale of one family's summer. The story centers around the bickering but loving relationship between Ethel and Norman Thayer (Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda), an elderly couple who are spending their 48th summer at their New England country home and celebrating Norman's 80th birthday. When their independent, insecure daughter, Chelsea (Jane Fonda), and her new boyfriend, Bill Ray (Dabney Coleman), come for Norman's birthday, they also end up asking the couple to look after Billy Ray (Doug McKeon), Bill's teenage son, while they travel to Europe. Over the summer, Norman becomes closer to Billy Ray than he has ever been to his daughter, sparking Chelsea's long-repressed resentment when she returns. In this beautifully filmed story, there are many things going on along the surface of Golden Pond, including the presence of the loons--who represent all things wonderful about their summer house and their life to Ethel. Director Mark Rydell elicits deeply touching performances from his cast (particularly Henry Fonda in his final screen appearance), and the dialogue of Thompson's script is equally graceful. The odds were against this decidedly quiet, small ensemble piece when it was released in 1981, but the timeless material and the confident direction triumphed.
1981 - Academy Awards - Best Actor Winner
1981 - Academy Awards - Best Actress Winner
1981 - Academy Awards - Best Adapted Screenplay Winner
Dave Grusin - Composer, AUTHOR! AUTHOR! (1982)
David Grusin - Composer, AUTHOR! AUTHOR! (1982)
Mark Rydell - Director/Actor/Producer
Terry Carr - Producer/Director
Katharine Hepburn - Oscar-winning American actress, ON GOLDEN POND, THE PHILADEL
Katharine Houghton Hepburn - Oscar-winning American actress, ON GOLDEN POND, THE PHILADEL
Ernest Thompson - Playwright/Screenwriter/Dir.
Dabney Coleman - American Actor
Billy Williams - Director of Photography
Henry Fonda - Oscar winning actor, ON GOLDEN POND
Heny Jaynes Fonda - Oscar winning actor, ON GOLDEN POND
Christopher Rydell - Supporting Actor
Chris Rydell - Supporting Actor
Stephen B. Grimes
Jane Fonda - Oscar-winning American actress, KLUTE, ON GOLDEN POND
Robert L. Wolfe
While spending their 48th summer at their New England country home, an elderly couple discover much about themselves and their family. Director Mark Rydell's quiet, reflective film won three Oscars at the 1981 Academy Awards.
ON GOLDEN POND was shot on Squam Lake in New Hampshire, where the residents opposed the shooting originally. Director Mark Rydell brought Katharine Hepburn to a town meeting, however, and she won the town over. Henry Fonda made his final film appearance in ON GOLDEN POND. It's the only film in which he performed with one of his children. Jane Fonda bought the rights to the play with the idea that her father should play the lead. Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda had, almost incredibly, never met before working on the film. The old hat Henry Fonda wears in the film was given to him by Hepburn--it belonged to her great love, Spencer Tracy, and, before Tracy, to Western director John Ford, who gave Fonda his start. The film won 3 Academy Awards: Best Actress for Hepburn, Best Actor for Fonda, and Best Screenplay for Thompson. ON GOLDEN POND is dedicated to its editor Robert L. Wolfe, who died shortly after post-production. "Special thanks" is given in the credits to Roger Spottiswoode.
"...A class act....Major, meaty roles for Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda....[They] work superbly together..." - 11/18/1981 Variety
"...[Its stars] add more than color....ON GOLDEN POND has the bite of good old cheddar..." - 12/04/1981 New York Times, p.C10
"[A] film played, for which Henry Fonda won his only Oscar....Rarely has Jane's vulnerability been so evident." - 11/01/2005 Premiere, p.121