IMDb > Amber Waves (1980) (TV)

Amber Waves (1980) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
9 March 1980 (USA) See more »
He was tough, he was hard 'til fate came searching.
Two seemingly disparate men experience powerful life lessons when a wheat harvester gives a hitch-hiking... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 7 nominations See more »
(2 articles)
Under the Dome Books Mare Winningham as Mysterious Caretaker
 (From Boomtron. 4 July 2013, 7:06 AM, PDT)

Dennis Weaver: 1924-2006
 (From IMDb News. 27 February 2006)

User Reviews:
Interesting "lost" movie, nicely acted and nice to look at but not as moving as you might expect. See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Dennis Weaver ... Elroy 'Bud' Burkhardt

Kurt Russell ... Laurence Kendall

Mare Winningham ... Marlene Burkhardt
Fran Brill ... Suze Winter

Wilford Brimley ... Pete Alberts

Rossie Harris ... Dougie Burkhardt

Grainger Hines ... Gregg Burkhardt

Eloy Casados ... Dwight Willits
Bill Morey ... Ansel Porter

Michael Talbott ... Tork Torkelson
Robby Weaver ... Russ Hahn
Penny Fuller ... Fern Jensen

Ted Dykstra
Jack Goth
Kay Grieve
Lucetta Jenison
Cathryn Johnston
Les Kimber
Don MacKay
Margaret Martin
Walter Massey
Bruce McCloud
Murray Ord
Jon York
Ted Stidder
Tony Whibley
Kay Robinson
Dale Wilson
Jane Wilson
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

James Ralph ... Young Farmer (uncredited)

Directed by
Joseph Sargent 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ken Trevey 

Produced by
Stanley Kallis .... producer
Philip Mandelker .... executive producer
Original Music by
John Rubinstein 
Cinematography by
Donald M. Morgan 
Film Editing by
Michael Brown 
Casting by
Lynn Stalmaster 
Production Design by
Paul Barnes 
Sound Department
Tom Cornwell .... sound editor
Peter Harrison .... sound editor
Andrew Herbert .... sound editor
Michael Hilkene .... sound editor
Fred Judkins .... sound editor
Chris Large .... sound mixer
Eddie Nelson .... sound mixer
George Porter .... sound mixer
Terry Porter .... sound mixer
Jill Taggart .... adr editor
Russ Tinsley .... sound editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Chris Schwiebert .... camera operator
Calvin Sterry .... key grip
Bill Tenny .... gaffer
Casting Department
Janet Weir .... extras casting (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
98 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:


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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Interesting "lost" movie, nicely acted and nice to look at but not as moving as you might expect., 29 January 2004
Author: Jonathon Dabell ( from Todmorden, England

Amber Waves is a rarely-seen TV movie about wheat harvesters in the American midwest. As an Englishman, I found much of the film interesting purely because it is about a way of life totally unfamiliar to me. The landscapes are very nicely photographed, and the leading performances from Dennis Weaver and Kurt Russell are pretty engaging.

The story is about a grizzled old harvester named Bud Burkhardt (Weaver) who learns that he is dying from lung cancer. His attitudes to life are simple: work hard, be reliable and fight for your corner when you have to. However, he finds himself in a peculiar position, since he needs an operation desperately if he is to have any hope of survival, yet he doesn't have the time to be recuperating on a hospital bed when there's a harvest to be gathered. Should he put his life first, or his responsibility to deliver the crop? He hires an extra harvester in the shape of a young, failed magazine model (Russell) who initially hates hard labour, but soon comes to realise that the responsibility and drive of honest hard work is good for the soul.

There's nothing remarkable about the plot, which has elements of disease-of-the-week cliches and lots of long, loving sequences showing men driving around fields in combine harvesters. However, the engaging performances and the lovely photgraphy keep you interested. The film isn't as moving as I thought it might be (given the potentially tear-jerking storyline). There's one moving scene where Weaver phones his long estranged son and begs him to come home, but other than that the opportunities for powerful emotional scenes are generally missed.

On the whole, Amber Waves is a run-of-the-mill TV movie which has some nice touches and agreeable, interesting moments but doesn't quite hit the emotional level that it seems to be aiming for.

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