The Waltons (1971–1981)
20 user 4 critic

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story 

On Christmas Eve 1933, the Waltons prepare for the holiday. However, John Walton, who was forced to take work in another part of the state, has not returned home yet, and his family are becoming increasingly worried.


Fielder Cook


Earl Hamner Jr. (novel), Earl Hamner Jr. (screenplay)

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Patricia Neal ... Olivia Walton
Richard Thomas ... John-Boy Walton
Edgar Bergen ... Grandpa Zebb Walton
Ellen Corby ... Esther Walton
Cleavon Little ... Hawthorne Dooley
Dorothy Stickney ... Emily Baldwin
Josephine Hutchinson ... Mamie Baldwin
William Windom ... Charlie Snead
Andrew Duggan ... John Walton
Woodrow Parfrey ... Ike Godsey
Judy Norton ... Mary Ellen Walton
Mary Beth McDonough ... Erin Walton (as Mary McDonough)
Kami Cotler ... Elizabeth Walton
Eric Scott ... Ben Walton
David W. Harper ... Jim-Bob Walton


The Walton family is about to celebrate another Christmas. It's during the '30s and the Depression. John Walton promised to be home soon but seems to be late. John-Boy tells his sibs about Christmas and all that stuff. When John hasn't showed for hours, Ma sends John-Boy out to find him. Will John ever get home to celebrate Christmas with his family? This movie spun off the TV series "The Waltons". Written by Dylan Self <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

19 December 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CBS See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ellen Corby (Grandma Esther Walton) and Edgar Bergen (Grandpa Zeke Walton) previously played another married couple, Trina and Peter Thorkelson, in I Remember Mama (1948). See more »


In one scene, the Waltons listen to "Fibber McGee and Molly" on the radio. However, the film takes place in 1933 and that program did not debut until 1935. In addition, the specific episode they're listening to is from 1947. See more »


John-Boy: Is Daddy home yet?
Olivia: Not yet. Who was that that let you off down by the gate?
John-Boy: That was Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin. They gave me a ride home in their pappy's sleigh.
Olivia: What am I gonna do with you, boy? I send you looking for your daddy and you end up joyriding with two old lady BOOTLEGGERS!
John-Boy: I wasn't joyriding, Mama. They took me to look for Daddy. We got right far but there a tree down in the road stopped us dead.
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Alternate Versions

The original TV showing had an introduction sequence before the film began. This introduction is featured on the newly released DVD version of the film. See more »


Follows Spencer's Mountain (1963) See more »


Away in the Manger
Traditional lyrics, tune attributed variously to William J. Kirkpatrick (uncredited) or James Murray (uncredited)
Performed by Children Chorus
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Quintessential Christmas Movie!
25 November 2005 | by kenkuhlSee all my reviews

My family watches this film every Holiday Season without fail. I think the "catch" for our children is the bickering Walton children. The scene in the barn when they are cracking walnuts and talking about not growing up or the youngest saying she is not going to have babies but "puppies" when she grows up is precious. The oldest Mary Ellen calling one of the others a "piss ant" is one of our favorite scenes. The only scene that has always caused us some concern is the Missionary Lady's gift that is broken and the way the children leave it lying on the road. The story is so deep, at so many levels and introduces all the Walton Mountain characters so well, it is not surprising the TV show had such a long run...

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