Grand Canyon (1991)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  17 January 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 12,345 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 116 user | 21 critic | 15 from

Grand Canyon revolved around six residents from different backgrounds whose lives intertwine in modern-day Los Angeles. At the center of the film is the unlikely friendship of two men from ... See full summary »


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Alley Baron
Destinee DeWalt ...
Candace Mead ...
Claire's Baby
Lauren Mead ...
Claire's Baby (as Loren Mead)


Grand Canyon revolved around six residents from different backgrounds whose lives intertwine in modern-day Los Angeles. At the center of the film is the unlikely friendship of two men from different races and classes brought together when one finds himself in jeopardy in the other's rough neighborhood. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the 1980's, director Lawrence Kasdan brought you "The Big Chill". Welcome to the 90's. See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 January 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Au coeur de la ville  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$33,243,020 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Steve Martin's character Davis is based on aggressive action film producer Joel Silver. See more »


During Mack and Simon's breakfast scene, the position of the napkin holder, ketchup, and sugar change during the scene. The sugar level in the shaker changes from 3/4 full to full and back to 3/4 full. See more »


[first lines]
Davis: You know what your problem is? You're always talking about X. But you're thinking about Y. You gotta learn to talk about Y. Forget about X. X is gonna take care of itself.
Mack: What are you talking about?
Davis: I'm just asking you to hear yourself. Listen to what you're really saying and under what you really saying: control, control, control. When are you gonna realise nothing can be controlled? We live in chaos. It's the central issue in everyone's life. Mack, look around you. Everyone in ...
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Referenced in The Big Lebowski (1998) See more »


She's Leaving Home
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Last line sung, with modified lyrics, by Kevin Kline when Robbie goes to camp
See more »

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User Reviews

extraordinary, defies its genre, visual poetry

"Grand Canyon" is the rare, fleeting example of a movie handled so truthfully from the start that the journey overwhelms the give-away ending. For a superb 137 minutes flashing by, directing, acting, and screenwriting hit a nearly flawless note. Sucking on this bottle for instant gratification, however, is contra-indicated. Grand Canyon does not leave home with a nursemaid. Those who lust for predictable Hollywood spin with contrived drama and only fantastic elements of human life will feel unsatisfied with Director and Screenwriter (with Meg Kasdan) Lawrence Kasdan's stubborn defiance of proper genre hygiene. Kasdan's visual poetry draws us in to a world of separate images, forcing potential connections to jack-knife through the mind. Yet Kasdan provides no answers, at least not quickly. The radomness deliberately provokes preconditioning that "everything happens for a reason in the movies". Nothing connects. Nothing makes sense in the formula way wished subconciously. After all, one sees movies to escape life, not to immerse in it. The viewer's frustration peaks and the introspective see Kasdan's point about life's overwhelming radomness. Grand Canyon's scenes unfold throughout L.A. and Kasdan brilliantly plays on everyday scenarios of commutes, dodgy neighborhoods, and family tension until familiarity and frustration forces the viewer to hold these images as their own. The tension of the film binds with our personal emotions about how alienating life can be, about how alone we really are. For those who evaluate their suspended belief on his terms, Kasdan has a rich reward. He spoons us our medication precisely when we need it and not when we think we do. Yet by now there is little desire to fast-forward. We are entering with a sort of intrinsic trust into Kasdan's world. He has established that to "get" his story we need every word, each nuance. Kasdan's pace does not disapoint but takes off as the relationships form. His cuts and dialogue sync perfectly to the state of his characters as they (and we) make the connections. Grand Canyon truly gallops just a step in front of its audience beckoning with analytical gestures into its emotional content. But just as his message of alienation seems drilled one too many times Kasdan lifts the man-hole cover off a new hole and declares alienation isn't really what he's talking about at all. The isolating radomness is exposed as a delicate lure that creates humanity and a sense of fragility in the viewer; an understanding of the shared poignancy of coming and going ultimately, alone. We see Kasdan is really speaking of how the life's randomness heightens the beauty of connections to others simply because life usually makes no sense and of the responsibility to light the candle for people simply because we grope in darkness ourselves. In a movie as abstractly symbolic and thought provoking as "Apocalypse Now", Kasdan creates what could be Apocalypse Now's alter ego, the gentle side. His characters unveil a chosen logic, a purposeful proactivity that seems heroic in their chaotic world. However, the superb acting eliminates the possibility that Grand Canyon is populated with two dimensional goody-two-shoes. In fact, it is not so much of a stretch to imagine these characters were ourselves in their situations, a refreshing twist from the standard "wannabe" Hollywood fantasy. Kasdan does not exude easy answers, but seems to nudge us, asking "what would you do?" as we realize how precisely his everyday, chaotic world mirrors our own and how many untapped choices might be right here with us the moment we finish watching his movie and begin our life.

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