Family tensions explode for a loving couple, Ethel and Norman Thayer (Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda in Academy Award winning performances) at their New England summer cabin on Golden Pond. Their daughter Chelsea (Jane Fonda) has come to visit with her new lover Bill (Dabney Coleman) and his tough young son, Billy (Doug McKeon). The three generations collide. But what begins as a stubborn battle of wills between Norman and Billy slowly turns into a relationship that Chelsea always wanted with her father and Norman discovers how much he has missed by denying his daughter's love.
Ernest Thompson (play) Ernest Thompson (screenplay)
Katharine Hepburn (Ethel Thayer); Henry Fonda (Norman Thayer Jr.); Jane Fonda (Chelsea Thayer Wayne); Doug McKeon (Billy Ray); Dabney Coleman (Bill Ray); William Lanteau (Charlie Martin); Christopher Rydell (Sumner Todd (as Chris Rydell)). Please contact SFC to add other cast members and characters.
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A 'Bitter-Sweet' Drama I Actually Like
Mark Banks (United Kingdom)
'On Golden Pond' was advertised in my TV-guide as a 'bitter-sweet' drama; and that description alone usually sends me scurrying. But in all honesty, that wording is probably the closest to describing the emotions this film puts you through. Like it or loathe it, life is not a bed of roses for everyone, there is suffering and anguish and heartbreak in the world, but what 'On Golden Pond' does is to put forward something of an optimistic outlook on life's imperfections. The film is fully deserving of its five Oscar nominations and three wins: the screenplay, the direction and above all the chemistry between the actors are all exemplary. In terms of the Christian messages to be taken from 'On Golden Pond', peace, reconciliation and forgiveness are perhaps top of the list. But so too are themes of compassion, patience and charity ever-present. Perhaps the key wisdom-imparting scene (perhaps a small 'spoiler' ahead) is Ethel's revelation to Chelsea (her daughter), that whilst she might be afraid of her father, actually, he is probably afraid of her too. This then provides the opportunity and the impetus for Chelsea to reach out to Norman her father, with love and trust. 'On Golden Pond' may have a couple of self-proclaimed oldies in the leads, but this is a film that most generations of adults will find enjoyable and uplifting.