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On Golden Pond (1981) Poster

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Jane Fonda claims that the scene between Chelsea and Norman (Henry Fonda) where she tells him she wants to be his friend mirrored the real-life relationship between father and daughter. During one take when the younger Fonda unexpectedly grabbed her father's hand, Henry Fonda started to cry and ducked his head away from the camera, embarrassed by his tears. The take appears in the final film.
The brown Fedora worn by Henry Fonda belonged to Spencer Tracy and was given to Henry Fonda by Katharine Hepburn on the first day on the set. Henry Fonda, overwhelmed with the gesture, painted a still life watercolor of the three hats he wore in the film and gave the original to Katharine Hepburn as a gift. He had 200 lithographs made of the painting and sent one to every person who worked on the film. Each copy was numbered and personally signed by Fonda thanking each person by name. In her autobiography, Hepburn wrote that she gave the painting to screenwriter Ernest Thompson. After Fonda's death, she found the painting to be a sad reminder of him and Spencer Tracy.
In the scene near the beginning of the film where Norman Thayer (Henry Fonda) calls the operator to see if the phone is working, he looks at a framed photograph on the desk and asks "Who the hell is that?" While the picture presumably is an old photo of Norman, his wife, Ethel (Katharine Hepburn), and their daughter Chelsea (Jane Fonda), the photo (circa 1941) actually shows Fonda and four-year-old Jane with Fonda's real-life second wife (and Jane's real mother), Frances Seymour Brokaw.
James Stewart had wanted to star in the movie, but Jane Fonda bought the rights to the play before he could.
Katharine Hepburn hurt her arm in a tennis match a few weeks before filming. She almost pulled out, but Henry Fonda convinced her to show up to start shooting on day one. One scene was omitted from the film in which you see her pick up a canoe by herself with her sore arm. She never forgave Mark Rydell for editing that scene out.
Jane Fonda said she was able to cry in this movie because at the time of shooting, Katharine Hepburn was hiding in the bushes shaking her fists at Jane Fonda to get her to emote.
The movie's line "Listen to me, mister. You're my knight in shining armor. Don't you forget it. You're going to get back on that horse, and I'm going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we're gonna go, go, go!" was voted as the #88 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
The only ever film [to date, June 2015] in which a film's two top-billed lead actors playing a married couple won a Best Actor and Actress Academy Award each, they being Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn respectively.
Leftover footage of Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn driving around the New Hampshire countryside, as seen in the opening credits, was used for the opening of the 1982-90 CBS sitcom Newhart (1982).
"The Purgatory Cove" scene was shot in late September. To keep warm in the cold water both Doug McKeon and Henry Fonda had to wear wetsuits under their clothes. However, the water level was so low that they could have easily stood up and been only knee-deep in the lake. Katharine Hepburn was supposed to have a stunt double perform her "dive-in" scene for her, but instead she insisted on doing it herself. She dove into the frigid water without a wetsuit. Apparently, Hepburn was familiar to swimming in cold waters on the eastern coast of the USA and always regularly showered in cold water.
The name of the big fish that was described as humongous was "Walter the Trout". He was brought over from a local trout pond at the Castle in the Clouds in Moultonboro, New Hampshire. Billy and Norman really threw him back into the lake. People still hope to catch him, but after all these years the fish would be a distant relative.
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Henry Fonda currently holds the record for the longest gap between acting Academy Award nominations. Fonda's first Oscar nomination was for The Grapes of Wrath (1940) in 1940 whilst his second was for On Golden Pond (1981) in 1981, 41 years later. He received one other Oscar nomination in the period between his two acting nominations, that was for Best Picture producer of 12 Angry Men (1957) in 1957. Fonda won his Best Actor Oscar in 1982 for his final theatrical film performance in On Golden Pond (1981). Fonda the previous year in 1981 had won an Honorary Oscar for: "The consummate actor, in recognition of his brilliant accomplishments and enduring contribution to the art of motion pictures".
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Henry Fonda won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role as Norman Thayer, Jr. At age 76, actually specifically 76 years and 317 days, Fonda was the oldest ever actor to win the Best Actor Academy Award. Fonda is also the only actor to win the Best Actor Academy Award aged in his seventies. Fonda however was not the oldest actor to win an Academy Award for acting as George Burns won a Supporting Actor Oscar for The Sunshine Boys (1975) at age 80, actually specifically 80 years and 69 days. Fonda won the Best Actor Oscar for On Golden Pond (1981) with it being his final theatrical feature film.
The only film where father and daughter Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda ever appeared together. The pair also portrayed a father and daughter in this picture.
Star Barbara Stanwyck was on call to replace Katharine Hepburn in the event Hepburn was unable to appear in the film due to the surgery she had underwent just prior to production. Stanwyck had star teamed with Henry Fonda in pictures in three earlier movies: The Lady Eve (1941), You Belong to Me (1941) and The Mad Miss Manton (1938). The most recent of these, which were two of the films from 1941, having being made and released about forty years prior to On Golden Pond (1981).
"Gertrude", the canoe featured in the film, was included in an lot in the sale of the Estate of Katharine Hepburn during the two-day auction hosted by Sothebys in 2004. The canoe was sold for $19,200 to entertainer Wayne Newton.
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This film about exactly two decades later had its source play produced as a live television production which was by that time rare for TV theatrical presentations since the invention of videotape in the late 1950s. It starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer who had both famously previously star teamed in the classic Hollywood musical The Sound of Music (1965). The pair played the roles played by Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda respectively in this cinema movie, whilst Glenne Headly played the film role played by Jane Fonda. The tele-remake On Golden Pond (2001) was first broadcast on CBS on 29th April 2001 just under about a year less than twenty years since this film first debuted in December 1981.
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Apparently, stars Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn had not only never worked together, but had never even met prior to working on this picture, despite having mutual friends and acquaintances.
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Henry Fonda (Norman Thayer, Jr.) and Jane Fonda (Chelsea Thayer Wayne) were the first parent and child to receive Academy Award acting nominations for the same film. This was for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively. The only other time that this has happened was when Diane Ladd and Laura Dern were both later Oscar nominated for Rambling Rose (1991).
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Katharine Hepburn won her fourth and final Best Actress Academy Award for this role [to date, June 2015]. This still makes Hepburn the all-time record holder for this Oscar category. Hepburn also won for Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), and The Lion in Winter (1968), the latter being a tie for the Oscar with 'Barbra Streisand' for Funny Girl (1968) (1968).
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Henry Fonda was unable, due to ill-health, be present at the 1982 Academy Awards ceremony to accept his Best Actor Academy Award for On Golden Pond (1981). His award was accepted on his behalf by his daughter Jane Fonda. A statement relating to this reads: "Henry Fonda was not present at the awards ceremony. His daughter and co-star Jane Fonda accepted the award on his behalf".
The only ever star-teaming and film collaboration of then veteran Hollywood actors Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn.
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When Katharine Hepburn comes drifting in to the marina on the Thayer's boat she had to get divers to direct her in to the dock.
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Henry Fonda's second best actor Academy Award nomination and only ever win in this category except for an Honorary Oscar awarded to Fonda the previous year for "the consummate actor, in recognition of his brilliant accomplishments and enduring contribution to the art of motion pictures".
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Charges were set at the front of the Thayer's boat so that it blew up prior to hitting the big rock in Purgatory Cove. The vintage wooden U22-Sportsman Chris-Craft boat proved so durable that it bounced off the rocks without any damage during the early takes of the scene.
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The dead loon appears to be coated with crude oil when the boy first lifts it out of the water; this movie was made just five years after the infamous disaster with the Argo Merchant oil-tanker, raising public awareness of this growing and extremely serious environmental hazard.
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The picture was Universal's big American Christmas release in the USA for 1981 though the film was also distributed in some territories by 20th Century Fox. Conan the Barbarian (1982) was supposed to have the yuletide time-slot instead, but when Universal deemed the film too violent for a Christmas release, it was pushed back for a later release in 1982.
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The boat used in the film was on display at Holiday Isle in Key Largo in the late 1990's. The resort also housed "The African Queen" from _The African Queen_ which had also starred Katharine Hepburn.
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Troy Garity, son of Jane Fonda, and grandson of Henry Fonda has a small uncredited role in this film, as a young boy on a jetty. It was the only time that young Garity worked with his grandfather Hank Fonda. Jane Fonda's appearance here with her son Troy Garity and dad Henry Fonda has marked the only ever time three generations of Fondas have appeared in the same movie.
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Final theatrical feature film of actor and star Henry Fonda. This picture was also the penultimate film and television production of Fonda whose final film was the made for television Summer Solstice (1981). On Golden Pond (1981) is not about a summer solstice but is about a summer vacation at the title's location.
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There was and still is a boathouse on the Thayer's property but the film crew filmed around it so that it wasn't shown.
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The number of times that the Thayers had spent at "Golden Pond" was 48 with this film depicting their forty-eighth summer vacation there.
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The original Broadway production of the film's source "On Golden Pond" stage play opened at the New Apollo Theater in New York on 28th February 21 1979 (after five previews starting on the 21st of that month) and ran for 126 performances until it closed on 16th June 1979. The roles of Norman Thayer (Henry Fonda) and Ethel Thayer (Katharine Hepburn) were played on Broadway by Tom Aldredge and Frances Sternhagen respectively. The latter was nominated for the 1979 Tony Award (New York City) for Best Actress in a Play, the only member of this Broadway stage production's cast and crew to get Tony nominated.
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The film's source published play written by Ernest Thompson states as its setting in the introduction as: "The Thayers' summer home on Golden Pond in Maine" / "The living room of a summer home on Golden Pond, in Maine. The Present". The film though is set in New England in the USA but was actually filmed in New Hampshire, USA.
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One of a number of early-to-mid 1980s films that actor-comedian Dabney Coleman made at or distributed by the 20th Century Fox studio. The movies include Nine to Five (1980), Modern Problems (1981), On Golden Pond (1981) and The Man with One Red Shoe (1985).
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The movie was originally intended as a vehicle for all three acting members of the Fonda family - Peter Fonda, Jane Fonda, and Henry Fonda - but no part could be found for Peter who being Jane's brother couldn't really portray her romantic partner role of Bill Ray due to the incestuous connotation - this part being cast with actor Dabney Coleman.
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Debut cinema movie of actor Troy Garity, son of Jane Fonda, and grandson of Henry Fonda, who appeared uncredited as a young boy on a jetty.
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Final theatrical feature film edited by editor Robert L. Wolfe.
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The movie's closing credits dedication states: "This film is respectfully dedicated to the memory and talent of ROBERT. L. WOLFE" [See: Robert L. Wolfe].
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The picture was entirely shot on location in New Hampshire with interiors mostly being filmed at a house in the Winnespausaukee Lake district.
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Notable buzz-phrases heard in the movie included "old poop", "suck face", and "San Frantastic".
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Two of the characters virtually had the same name. They were Bill Ray and Billy Ray (or Bill Ray Jr.) played by Dabney Coleman and Doug McKeon respectively.
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The film was made and released about two years after its source stage play of the same name by Ernest Thompson had been first performed in 1979.
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The names of the significant boats seen in the film on golden pond included the small canoe "Gertrude", the "U.S. Mail" delivery boat, a vintage 1951 mahogany "Chris Craft" motor boat, and the classic motor launch vessel the "Thayer IV".
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Second of two consecutive back-to-back movie collaborations of actors Jane Fonda and Dabney Coleman and who recently had together played office secretary and horrible boss respectively in Nine to Five (1980).
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The second highest grossing film at the North American box-office in the USA for the 1981 year being runner-up only to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
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In the movie's final scene, Katherine Hepburn says a line that is not included on the movie's soundtrack - the line: "Hello Golden Pond, we've come to say goodbye"
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Actor Dabney Coleman distinctively sports a beard for his character of Bill Ray in this picture.
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First of two consecutive cinema movies with watery water-related titles directed by director Mark Rydell whose next theatrical feature film was called The River (1984) which was made and released around three years later.
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The Mad magazine parody of the picture spoofed its two elderly stars' aging by naming its mag comic strip "On Olden Pond".
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Cameo 

Troy Garity: Uncredited, the son of Jane Fonda, and grandson of Henry Fonda, as a young boy on a jetty.
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