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Desert Bloom (1986)

 -  Drama | Family | Romance  -  August 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 772 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 8 critic

The story involves Rose Chismore's youth. She flashes back and remembers her coming-of-age. Her recollections are sometimes less than sweet, particularly those of her troubled and alcoholic... See full summary »



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Title: Desert Bloom (1986)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rose Chismore
Jack Chismore
Lily Chismore
Aunt Starr
Robin (as Jay D. Underwood)
Desiree Joseph ...
Dee Ann Chismore
Dusty Balcerzak ...
Barbara Jo Chismore
Mr. Mosol
Tressi Loria ...
Laura Rasmussen ...
William Lang ...
Jim McCarthy ...
Ann Risley ...
Mrs. Muratore
Rick Schieffer ...
Mr. Brandal
Irene Goodnight ...
R.C. Volunteer


The story involves Rose Chismore's youth. She flashes back and remembers her coming-of-age. Her recollections are sometimes less than sweet, particularly those of her troubled and alcoholic step-father. Her memories of Robin, her first-love, are much happier and she also recalls her colorful Aunt Starr -- who's visit is fun but also detrimental to her family's health. The setting of 1950s Las Vegas' bomb testing is increasingly significant to the development of the story. Written by Melissa Portell <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family | Romance


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

August 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Flor do Deserto  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$416,393 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Winona Ryder auditioned on video for the part of Rose, which eventually went to Annabeth Gish. See more »


Referenced in E! True Hollywood Story: Winona Ryder (2002) See more »


Written by Vaughn Horton
Performed by Patti Page
Courtesy of Polygram Special Projects
A division of Polygram Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

28 February 2011 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Sensitively told coming-of-age film set against Las Vegas and the early years of atomic testing. Rose (Annabeth Gish) is thirteen and very much wants to connect with stepdad Jack (Jon Voight), an alcoholic WWII veteran still possessed by the demons of combat. Trouble is, she's operating on one track, while he's operating on two, such that just when they seem at last to converge, he goes off on a delusionary binge. Movie is notable for the exceptionally fine performances of these two actors. Gish, tottering atop two gawky legs and peering out from the cosmetic curse of horned-rim glasses, is the very real, aching embodiment of adolescent angst. Hers has to be one of the finest, least mannered renderings of teen-age yearning and self-doubt in many, many years, and made even me, a hardened old curmudgeon, feel kindly toward the hopelessly pubescent. Voight's character is less sympathetic and more complex. Victimized by the evils of war and beset by alcohol and impotence, he's having trouble with his masculinity in a house full of women. He wants to fulflill a positive role for his wife and stepdaughters, but the inner turmoil keeps erupting unpredictably.You want Jack and Rose to connect, to heal one another's emotional wounds, but circumstance is against them.

Movie leaves off on suitably ambiguous note as atomic test parallels emotional family blowup. We know time will take care of Rose's problems, but what of Jack. Film is not so much about dysfunction as it is about adolescence and the walking wounds of war, such that you'll remember the characters long after the various plot complications have subsided. What a fine piece of non-commercial movie making this is thanks to Sundance Productions and writer-director Eugene Corr. Their work along with that of the entire cast shows once again why "the obscure little movie with something to say" continues to be one of our finest film traditions.

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