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Norman Jewison directed this subdued character study of the effect of the Vietnam War on a small-town Kentucky family -- based on the novel by Bobbi Ann Mason. The film centers upon 17-year-old Samantha (Emily Lloyd) who lives in Hopewell, Kentucky with her Uncle Emmett (Bruce Willis), a quiet, laid-back veteran of Vietnam suffering from post-traumatic stress. Samantha's father was killed in Vietnam when he was 19-years-old (almost her age now), and her mother Irene (Joan Allen) has remarried. Samantha finds some old photographs of her father, and she becomes obsessed with finding out more about him. Irene, who has moved to Lexington with her second husband, wants Samantha to move in with them and go to college. But Samantha would rather stay with Uncle Emmett and try to find out more about her father. Her mother is no help, as she tells Samantha, "Honey, I married him four weeks before he left for the war. He was 19. I hardly even remember him." Finally Samantha, Emmett and her grandmother (Peggy Rea) go to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Finding her father's name in the memorial releases cathartic emotions in Samantha and her family. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

  • Release date:September 15, 1989


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Bruce Willis Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1989 Nominee


Bruce Willis
as Emmet Smith
Emily Lloyd
as Samantha Hughes
Joan Allen
as Irene
Kevin Anderson
as Lonnie
John Terry
as Tom
Peggy Rea
as Mamaw
Judith Ivey
as Anita
Ken Jenkins
as Jim Holly
Jim Beaver
as Earl Smith
Richard Hamilton
as Grampaw
Heidi Swedberg
as Dawn
Jonathan Hogan
as Larry
Patricia Richardson
as Cindy
Mike Smith
as Veteran at dance
Howard Feuer
Daniel Jenkins
as Dwayne
James E. Gaines
as Soldier
Aaron Michael Lacey
as Billy Knight
Joe Ross
as Principal
Rebecca Reynolds
as Nurse
Stephen Tobolowsky
as Pete


Norman Jewison
Cynthia Cidre
Frank Pierson
Russell Boyd
James Horner
Composer (Music Score)
Lou Lombardo
Jackson de Govia
Production Designer
John R. Jensen
Art Director
Norman Jewison
Richard A. Roth
Michael Jewison
Associate Producer
Charles B. Mulvehill
Executive Producer
Aggie Guerard Rodgers
Costume Designer
Howard Feuer
Ric Kidney
Production Manager