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Radio Flyer (1992)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  21 February 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 10,126 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 10 critic

A father recounts a dark period of his childhood when he and his little brother lived in the suburbs.


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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
The King
Geronimo Bill
Sean Baca ...
Older Fisher
Chad (as Garette Ratliff)
Noah Verduzco ...
Victor Hernandez
Isaac Ocampo ...
Jorge Hernandez
Kaylan Romero ...
Jesus Hernandez
Abraham Verduzco ...
Carlos Hernandez
T.J. Evans ...
Big Raymond


A father reminisces about his childhood when he and his younger brother moved to a new town with their mother, her new husband and their dog, Shane. When the younger brother is subjected to physical abuse at the hands of their brutal stepfather, Mike decides to convert their toy trolley, the "Radio Flyer", into a plane to fly him to safety. Written by Alexander Lum <aj_lum@postoffice.utas.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Somewhere inside every person...someplace inside every heart...is a power that turns fear into courage...and makes dreams take flight. ...Powered by imagination. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for theme (child abuse) and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 February 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Força da Ilusão  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)


$4,651,977 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The train station in Novato, California where the boys walk the tracks was not shown in any detail because it was damaged by fire in the early 1980s. The restoration did not begin until 1995. See more »


At the end of the movie when Mike talks about going to college, you can see the postcard that his brother sent him years ago. But as the postcard turns around, you can see that although the message is the same, its obviously not the same one in the previous scene. The original one (at 105:19), it is in black ink, has two circles and a square in the cancellation mark, has "jeronimo bill" split across two lines, and is signed "Boddy". At 105:29, it is in blue ink, has one circle and a square in the cancellation mark, has "jeronimo bill" on one line, and is signed "Bobby". See more »


Older Mike: We called him 'The king', because... that's what he liked to be called.
See more »


Referenced in Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) See more »


Blues Eyes Crying in the Rain
Written by Fred Rose
Performed by Sons of the Pioneers
Courtesy of the RCA Records Label of BMG Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Only worthy for the excellent performances of Wood and Mazzello...
11 July 2011 | by (Edmonton, Canada) – See all my reviews

I remember the first time I watched Radio Flyer was in 1992-93 (pretty much around the time it first came out); I was 14 years old and had somehow been through the same situation the two brothers (wonderfully played by then-child actors Elijah Wood and Joseph Mazzello), so I found myself having some heavily mixed feelings about the film's content; today, I see it in a more "objective" light, but its plot and message remains as conflicting as the first time.

The story itself is kind of biter-sweet and quite dark for what is supposed to be a family film (the scenes involving abuse, although mostly off-screen, are nonetheless upsetting), but then it goes on and becomes a monstrous wreck by the third act. No wonder so many people have speculated about the true nature of what happened towards the end, and gave "their own theories".

The real deal, though, are the two young brothers. Elijah Wood and Joseph Mazzello (about 9 and 7 years old, respectively, when they did the film) each give a powerfully dramatic, breakthrough performance that just could not be parallelled by any other child star in a while -until, of course, Haley Joel Osment got an Oscar nomination for THE SIXTH SENSE, a mere 7 years later-. They both manage to be believable, incredibly adorable and painfully devastating, alternatively, without ever recurring to the cliché of "smart-aleckiness". Interestingly enough, they both went their respective ways to establish what was a somewhat solid career for a while as child performers: Mazzello got his big break with Jurassic Park, while Elijah Wood played opposite Macaulay Culkin in The Good Son (while Culkin was able to bring his own career down with said film), both released in 1993.

Anyways, without veering away from the topic. The rest of the cast are mere adult presences (except for the other kids playing the bullies) who only pave the way for our two youngsters to shine the way they did. Particularly Adam Baldwin, it was a very good idea to barely show his face at all, because he was truly loathsome in his role as the source of the kids' sorrow.

In all, despite all the fantastic elements inherently present in the storyline, had they handled the core of the plot with a little more "maturity", perhaps the outcome would have been a lot different. That's why, sadly, the film remains a below-average experience, only redeemable by the terrific turns of Mazzello and Wood (both now all grown up and not as noticeable as back then). If the film is to be seen, it should be only for them two. Which is also why I give the film 5 out of 10.

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