Based on the play by Ernest Thompson, ON GOLDEN POND tells the deceptively simple tale of one family's summer. The story centers around the bickering but loving relationship between Ethel and Norman Thayer (Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda), an elderly couple who are spending their 48th summer at their New England country home and celebrating Norman's 80th birthday. When their independent, insecure daughter, Chelsea (Jane Fonda), and her new boyfriend, Bill Ray (Dabney Coleman), come for Norman's birthday, they also end up asking the couple to look after Billy Ray (Doug McKeon), Bill's teenage son, while they travel to Europe. Over the summer, Norman becomes closer to Billy Ray than he has ever been to his daughter, sparking Chelsea's long-repressed resentment when she returns. In this beautifully filmed story, there are many things going on along the surface of Golden Pond, including the presence of the loons--who represent all things wonderful about their summer house and their life to Ethel. Director Mark Rydell elicits deeply touching performances from his cast (particularly Henry Fonda in his final screen appearance), and the dialogue of Thompson's script is equally graceful. The odds were against this decidedly quiet, small ensemble piece when it was released in 1981, but the timeless material and the confident direction triumphed.
Academy Awards Best Actor 1981 Henry Fonda Oscar winning actor, ON GOLDEN POND
Academy Awards Best Actress 1981 Katharine Hepburn Oscar-winning American actress, ON GOLDEN POND, THE PHILADEL
Academy Awards Best Adapted Screenplay 1981 Ernest Thompson Playwright/Screenwriter/Dir.