Cross Creek (1983)

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In 1930's Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings moves to Florida's backwaters to write in peace. She feels bothered by affectionate men, editor and confused neighbors, but soon she connects and writes The Yearling, a classic of American literature.



(book), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Norton Baskin
Ellie Turner
Mrs. Turner
Floyd Turner
Tim's Wife
Bo Rucker ...
Charles Rawlings
Tommy Alford ...
Postal Clerk
Norton Baskin ...
Man in the Rocking Chair
Terrence Gehr ...
Store Keeper


In 1930's Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings moves to Florida's backwaters to write in peace. She feels bothered by affectionate men, editor and confused neighbors, but soon she connects and writes The Yearling, a classic of American literature.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The true story about the woman who wrote "The Yearling"! See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 October 1983 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Cross Creek - Ich kämpfe um meine Freiheit  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$200,000 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The fiddle tunes Rip Torn's character plays, and the style in which they are played, are authentic to the region and era. They are based closely on recordings of Cush Holston, an old time fiddler who was from rural north Florida and recorded at an advanced age at a folk festival in 1960. The tune Torn sings is Holston's "Coon Dog," and the instrumental he plays before this is also from Holston, "Have a Hood Time Tonight." The actual playing for the film was done by a Florida old time musician who had studied and researched the music of Holston. See more »


[first lines]
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: [voiceover] My journey to maturity began in New York, in 1928. I was married to Charles Rawlings, the newspaper man and yachting enthusiast. I had been trying to write stories that I thought would be most likely to sell - gothic romances were extremely popular - and I had written dozens. I was desperate to express myself. Even as a child I'd been consumed with the desire to be a writer.
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Referenced in The Making of 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial' (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Retreat in the Backlands
31 December 2002 | by (Cleveland, Ohio) – See all my reviews

Novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings took to the backwoods of Florida in 1927 to work on her literary projects.

She left behind a husband who was unwilling to relocate, and fashioned a working studio in the most rural of southern locations.

The trials she experienced, both creatively and physically, are depicted in this slow-moving, yet well-intentioned enactment.

Filmed in lovely Technicolor in Marion and Alachna Counties, Florida by John Alonzo, to the accompaniment of a lush score by Leonard Roseman, the movie attempts to capture Rawling's varied experiences in pursuit of her writing goals.

Like many films of true-to-life creative artists, one has little factual evidence as to the accuracy of this tale. The challenges Rawlings faced in attempting to first write her "Gothic novel" and getting rejected by a publisher, are carefully acted out.

Only when she changes her subject to that which she is actually experiencing there in Florida does her publisher accept the manuscript.

Since there's not much dramatic about a writer "pecking away" at a typewriter, the script finds other things to depict. When a local girl has an emotional "turn" involving a pet deer, and when the focus is on our heroine's saving her farm crops from devastation, another plot begins to be recalled.

One realizes this is the story of the woman who finally wrote the beloved family classic, "The Yearling."

The film version of that novel, after a failed attempt in the early forties with Spencer Tracy, was finally brought to the screen in 1946 by Director Clarence Brown, with Gregory Peck. That movie captures the essence of Rawlings' work, again in a beautiful Florida setting.

"Cross Creek" may perhaps appear to lack focus or be too deliberately paced for some tastes. At the same time, it has its heart in the right place in expressing Rawlings' unusual "artist retreat," as well as her steadfast dedication to her craft.

For those who think writing is easy, this may be a stark awakening as to the tenacity it often takes to birth a respectable literary work.

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