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On Golden Pond

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Original title
On Golden Pond
Running time
109 min.
United States United States
Ernest Thompson. Play: Ernest Thompson
Dave Grusin
Billy Williams
Lord Grade, ITC Entertainment, IPC Films. Distributor: Universal Pictures
Drama | Family Relationships. Old Age / Elderly. Melodrama
On Golden Pond was a successful Broadway play before Ernest Thompson adapted his own work into the screenplay for the film version. Norman Thayer Jr (Henry Fonda) and his devoted wife Ethel (Katharine Hepburn) are in the twilight stage of their lives. They arrive at their summer house, on Golden Pond, to spend the summer months and to celebrate Norman's 80th birthday. Norman is not coping well with age. He is showing some signs of memory loss, which is resulting in anger, frustration and fear. Ethel on the other hand still has her faculties in abundance, and is the assurance and emotional support that Norman secretly craves at this difficult time of his life.

Their daughter, Chelsea (Jane Fonda), arrives with her dentist boyfriend, Bill Ray (Dabney Coleman) and his thirteen year old son, Billy Ray Jnr (Doug McKeon). Chelsea's relationship with Norman is clearly strained as they arrive for his 80th birthday. There are many deep-seated and long-standing issues between the two, which is a source of frustration for Ethel as she constantly calms rough waters. In a gesture of goodwill, Norman and Ethel agree to look after Billy Ray for a month while Chelsea and Bill go to Europe. In this time, the teenager and the old man, both with rather large attitude problems, develop an unlikely friendship.
1981: 3 Academy Awards: Best Actor (H. Fonda), Actress (K. Hepburn), Adapted Screenplay 10 Nominations
1981: 3 Golden Globes, including Best Movie - Drama. 6 nominations
1981: New York Film Critics Circle: Nominated for Best Actor (H. Fonda)
1981: Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Nominated for Best Actor (Fonda)
1982: BAFTA Awards: Best Actress (Hepburn). 6 Nominations inc. Best Film
1981: Writers Guild of America (WGA): Best Adapted Drama Screenplay
1981: Directors Guild of America (DGA): Nominated for Best Director
1982: Karlovy Vary Internacional Film Festival: Best Actor (Henry Fonda)
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