Release Year: 1978
Director: Hal Ashby
Writers: Waldo Salt (screenplay), Robert C. Jones (screenplay), Nancy Dowd (story), Rudy Wurlitzer (uncredited)
Starring: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern, Penelope Milford, Robert Carradine, Robert Ginty, Mary Gregory, Kathleen Miller, Beeson Carroll, Charles Cyphers
Rating: Won 3 Oscars: Best Actor (Jon Voight), Best Actress (Jane Fonda), Best Original Screenplay. Nominated for 5 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Bruce Dern), Best Supporting Actress (Penelope Milford), Best Editing. Won 2 Golden Globes: Best Actor – Drama (Jon Voight), Best Actress – Drama (Jane Fonda). Nominated for 4 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Bruce Dern), Best Screenplay. Won 1 award at Cannes: Best Actor (Jon Voight). Nominated for the Palme d’Or.
Sunday Classic #298, week 10 2020
Sally’s (Jane Fonda) husband has gone off to fight in the Vietnam war. While he is away she volunteers at a veteran hospital where she meets and falls in love with the paralyzed veteran Luke (Jon Voight).
Coming Home is on the one hand a touching romantic drama and on the other hand a Vietnam War drama, but manages to combine the two strains wonderfully, resulting in a moving a beautiful film. Fonda (Monster-in-Law, 2005) is the “perfect” captains wife who moves in finer circles until her husband is deployed. She then decides to do some volunteer work at a messy and under-funded veteran hospital where she meets Luke, whom she knew in her youth. Voight (Midnight Cowboy, 1969) stars as Luke who is at first a bitter paralyzed and scarred man, but grows back into himself through his friendship and relationship with Sally. The two are absolutely wonderful together and the supporting characters around them are all interesting. Dern (Nebraska, 2013) is also excellent as the conservative-minded officer, who goes willingly to fight but returns a broken man. There are many facets to the film and many different angles, reminding us that the best Vietnam movies are those who do not see it conflict through a black & white lense. On top of that, the romantic drama is top notch. Last but not least, the score is impressive – consisting of mega hits of the 1960s and 70s. Everything from The Beatles to Rolling Stones. Highly recommended!
The opening scene was unscripted and everyone in it, apart from Jon Voight, were Vietnam veteran voicing their own opinions about the war. Voight was supposed to way in, but chose to stay silent.
The character of Luke WIlson was loosely based on the real life paralyzed veteran Ron Kovic, whose autobiography was released around that time. Kovic would later be portrayed by Tom Cruise in the film Born on the Fourth of July (1989).
Coming Home is one of only 12 films (by 2020) in movie history to be nominated for an Academy Award in the “big five” categories as well as in all acting categories.