The Waltons: Season 1, Episode 0

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (19 Dec. 1971)

TV Episode  |  PG  |   |  Drama, Family, Romance
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 651 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 3 critic

Story of the events that happened on Christmas Eve, 1933, to one rural American family.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Edgar Bergen ...
Dorothy Stickney ...
Josephine Hutchinson ...
Erin Walton (as Mary McDonough)
Eric Scott ...
David W. Harper ...


The Walton family is about to celebrate another Christmas. It's during the '30s and the Depression. John Walton promised to be home soon but seems to be late. John-Boy tells his sibs about Christmas and all that stuff. When John hasn't showed for hours, Ma sends John-Boy out to find him. Will John ever get home to celebrate Christmas with his family? This movie spun off the TV series "The Waltons". Written by Dylan Self <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language




Release Date:

19 December 1971 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Earl Hamner's two children Scott and Carrie are in the film as two of the children listening to the missionary lady. Carrie is the short-dark-haired girl in a home-made hat and Scott is the boy with paler hair, also wearing a hat. See more »


When the children are unpacking the Christmas ornaments, Jim-Bob jostles Elizabeth's arm and the ornament shatters. Erin can be seen mouthing Elizabeth's line: "You bumped my arm!" See more »


Claudie: Got another one?
Mary Ellen: [Quoting a Bible verse] What has man profited if he gains the whole world and loses a soul.
Claudie: Too hard to remember.
Mary Ellen: Jesus wept.
See more »


Featured in The Waltons: A Decade of the Waltons (1980) See more »


O Holy Night
Performed by Cleavon Little and Congregation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It's not Christmas without "The Homecoming"
20 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Homecoming" is steeped more in nostalgia and familial love and faith rather than empty sentiment. It also contains a very strong Christian message, which stems from the beliefs of its characters, not out of some ham-handed political agenda on the part of its producers.

It's essential for the children to see that there are people like Charlie Sneed (The Robin Hood Bandit) or the Missionary Lady in the world; people who in some way corrupt the meaning of Christmas, in order to realize the blessings they have. Hawthorne, the minister, is flawed, too, of course; he's not exactly doing the Lord's work by making whiskey runs for the old lady bootleggers. But, as he says, you can't feed your kids on faith.

Patricia Neal is the real treasure in this story. She was only 45; a reasonable age for a woman whose 7 children's ages span ten years. In 1965, when she was 39, Neal suffered a near-fatal stroke which left her temporarily paralyzed. She had to learn to talk over again. She had made a screen comeback in 1968 in "The Subject Was Roses," but this film was her *real* homecoming.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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