Stars: Patricia Neal, Richard Thomas, Edgar Bergen, Ellen Corby, Cleavon Little
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 100 minutes
A true television classic, The Homecoming was the second movie (after 1963's Spencer's Mountain) based on Earl Hamner's autobiographical writings about love, pride, faith, and survival in rural America during the Great Depression. The Homecoming introduced the Walton family, a 1930s mountain clan living a hardscrabble existence that forces patriarch John Walton (Andrew Duggan) to seek work, far from home, in the city. When John fails to return home, as promised, on Christmas Eve, his iron-willed wife Olivia (Patricia Neal) keeps a lid on their children's worry. Oldest son John-Boy (Richard Thomas), who privately dreams of becoming a writer but worries about disappointing his parents, is dispatched to find his dad. Graceful yet harder-edged than the subsequent TV series The Waltons (which recast several characters and ran for nine years), The Homecoming reveals, albeit understatedly, much about the pain of poverty even as the family draws strength and closeness through endurance. --Tom Keogh
Grandpa, do we got something to show we own Walton's Mountain?
You can't own a mountain any more than you can own an ocean or a piece of the sky. You hold it in trust. You live on it, you take life from it, and once you're dead, you rest in it.
I'd just as soon not think about that part.
You're not ready for it yet.
Sheriff, why don't you wait until after Christmas to lock Charlie up? He's a man of his word, he won't run out on you.
You double dog right he won't. He's going to jail.
Christmas ain't no time to be locking a man up in that old, drafty jail of yours. I could die of pneumonia before morning. You want that on your conscience that I died of pneumonia on Christmas?
You should've given that some thought while you was stealing them turkeys and hams.
You know what's in that tablet, Mama? All my secret thoughts. What I feel and what I think about. What it's like late at night to hear a whipoorwill call and hear it's mate call back. The rumbling of the midnight train crossing the tressel at Rockfish, or just watching the water go by the creek and knowing some day it will reach the ocean, wondering if I'll ever seen an ocean and what a wonder that would be. You know, Mama, sometimes I hike on over to the highway and I sit and watch the buses go by and the people in them and I'm wondering what they're like and what they say to each other and where they're bound for. Things stay in my mind, I can't forget anything and it all get's bottled up in here and sometimes I feel like a crazy man. I can't rest or sleep or anything until I rush up here and write it down in that tablet. Sometimes I think I really am crazy.
Good night, John Boy.
Good night, Elizabeth. Good night, Daddy.
Good night, Son. Good night, Mary Ellen.
Good night, Daddy. Good night, Mama.
Good night, Mary Ellen. Good night, Jim Bob.
Good night, Mama. Good night, Erin.
Good night, Jim Bob. Good night, Ben.
Good night, Erin. Good night, everybody.
Is Daddy home yet?
Not yet. Who was that that let you off down by the gate?
That was Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin. They gave me a ride home in their pappy's sleigh.
What am I gonna do with you, boy? I send you looking for your daddy and you end up joyriding with two old lady BOOTLEGGERS!
I wasn't joyriding, Mama. They took me to look for Daddy. We got right far but there a tree down in the road stopped us dead.
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