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On Golden Pond

88 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Doug McKeon, Dabney Coleman
  • Directors: Mark Rydell
  • Writers: Ernest Thompson
  • Producers: Bruce Gilbert
  • Format: NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Universal Music Group
  • VHS Release Date: July 1 2001
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630273973X
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,189 in Video (See Top 100 in Video)
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Product Description

Writer Ernest Thompson, who came up with the original stage play of On Golden Pond and adapted it for film, is lucky to have two giants of the screen give dignity and breadth to his sometimes trite dialogue. Henry Fonda, in his last role, plays a prickly English professor at the disagreeable age of 80. Visiting his summer house by a Maine lake with his wife (Katharine Hepburn), the old man forges an unlikely bond with a lonely boy, comes to terms with his daughter (Jane Fonda), and suffers disorienting effects of mild dementia. Even playing a tired old man, Fonda is an absolute lion of a movie star, and Hepburn brings her special spirit to the part of his worried bride. The onscreen relationship between Henry and Jane Fonda naturally makes one think about their much-discussed difficulties offscreen, but that's a side benefit in a movie that is really just a celebration of simple human decency. Directed by Mark Rydell (Harry and Walter Go to New York). The DVD release has widescreen presentation, director's commentary, documentary footage on the making of the film, theatrical trailer, notes and information about the production, and optional Spanish subtitles. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Shirley on Nov. 8 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This review refers to the VHS edition .....
Old age and all the problems that go with it, have turned Norman Thayer(Henry Fonda)into a curmudgeon.He is forgetful and thoughts of dieing are foremost in his mind. It doesn't seem to bother his wife Ethel much though(Katherine Hepburn).Always in high spirits and happy to be alive. Her biggest woe is worrying about him. The Thayers are spending their 48th year at their summer home On Golden Pond. It will be Norman's 80th birthday, and joining in the celebration will be their daughter Chelsea(Jane Fonda), who Norman has never been able to connect with emotionally.
Chelsea brings with her to the lake her fiance(Dabney Coleman) and his 13 year old son Billy(Doug McKeon)who has some emotional problems of his own. Billy is left to spend the summer with the older couple, which was not what the 13 year old had in mind for a fun vacation.Norman and Billy form an unusal bond over the summer as Ethel watches her husband's renewed zest for life.
The film is one of those that the expression "I laughed. I cried" really is true. The story is an emotional rollercoaster, that you'll want to watch over and over.Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn shine and both recieved best Acting awards in 1981 for their on screen magic. All I could see in the scenes with Henry and Jane together was love. Even when their characters were at odds they too loved each other, and managed to work through it.An incredible acting job by the young Doug McKeon, and Coleman excellent as he goes toe to toe with Henry Fonda.
The music and the scenery are as beautiful as the movie. The pond with the sun shining, the woodsy areas, the loons ever present, were a joy to watch. Directed by Mark Rydell, who seemed to find the beauty of life. Fonda's last film, he left us with one that we can treasure for years to come.
Kick back and enjoy.........Laurie
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nix Pix on Dec 21 2003
Format: DVD
"On Golden Pond" was a moderately successful, off Broadway play until Jane Fonda decided that it would be the ideal vehicle to help shore up the rift between she and her father, Henry. But under director, Mark Rydell's command, the film version became a tender, poignant and loving account of old age and loving through the ages. Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda (who had never worked together before)were ideal as Ethel and Norman Thayer. Jane is Chelsea, Norma's headstrong, rebellious daughter. See the parallel yet? What followed was a tear-jerker that never became maudelin or trite.
TRANSFER: A really handsome looking transfer indeed. Though plagued by hints of edge enhancement throughout, this updated, remastered anamorphic DVD transfer is much more rich and varied with its color palette than the previously issued DVD. Film grain is still present but greatly reduced over the previous DVD. Fine details tend to get lost during the darker scenes, but over all, the film elements hold up remarkably well. Blacks are black. Contrast and shadow levels are bang on. The audio has been remastered to 5.1 with impressive results and a natural sounding spread across all five speakers.
EXTRAS: A good documentary on the film's cameraman and a little nothing on Kate Hepburn's career that, unfortunately, shows too little in the way of clips from Hepburn's illustrious film career. Also, the "Loving Through Time" documentary that was far superior to either of these - included on the previously issued DVD - is absent here. It follows the film's development and creation and its popular aftermath far more succinctly than anything featured on this disc. Also, the trailers included on the previous DVD release are not reproduced on this disc.
BOTTOM LINE: My advice is to get both versions of this film on DVD. Though this is clearly the better looking and sounding DVD of the actual film transfer - the other DVD is essential for its extra features content.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Anderson on Nov. 25 2003
Format: DVD
"On Golden Pond" is one of the top 10 best films released in 1981. It won three Oscars: Best Actor(Henry Fonda in his last movie role), Best Actress(Katharine Hepburn, her forth in her career), and Best Director(Mark Rydell). Its unique plot gives it further joy to the audience. Its theme of Norman'(Fonda) anger increasing dramatically because of getting old always has its twists and turns. The emotion is never lost. While Norman tries to reconcile with his estranged daughter, Chelsea, many life changing events occur that keep the audience interested. Such mix of events, plus a few others, are combined wonderfully by the writer. He accomplished a more difficult challenge considering there aren't many characters. The screenplay lives up to the original stage version. The acting is wonderful. Besides the Oscar winning actors who performed brilliantly, Jane Fonda's performance as Chelsea is great. The entire cast add their own emotional value to the dramatic plot. Such movie quality makes "On Golden Pond" highly enjoyable to watch. This will keep many entertained many more years to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Theodore Illenberg on Aug. 24 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This is one fantastic movie. Henry Fonda provided his best in his final movie. The story centers around Norman Thayer's estranged daughter (Played by real life daughter Jane Fonda) who visits her parents at their summer home on Golden Pond. She brings along her Fiance' and his son. The daughter and the boys father leave for Europe, leaving the boy with the older couple. The freinship that developes between the boy and Norman Thayer is teriffic. In an age where movies treat elderly people with contempt, it is good to see that older people can be treated with dignity and respect. Older people tell some fantastic stories (some of them are even true). The friendship developes over Norman and the boy's attempt to catch the fiendish catfish known as Walter. When there is an accident Norman is thrown from the boat. He then clings to a rock calling for his daughter. This especially sd because if you see this movie their relationship is not exactly close. Of course, the boy and Norman are rescued. The daughter and the boys father return from Europe married. At the very end of the movie norman and his daughter begin to patch up their relationship.
This movie is a possitive exzmple of frienship and trust. The boy was rejected by his mother and has to live with his father (Who does love the boy). But because of his mother's rejection he has a lot of anger and resentment. It takes him a while to trust Norman. The entire cast gave a stellar performance. Even the loons deserve an Oscar!
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