6.8/10
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89 user 47 critic

Fly Away Home (1996)

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A father and daughter decide to attempt to lead a flock of orphaned Canada Geese south by air.

Director:

Carroll Ballard

Writers:

Bill Lishman (autobiography), Robert Rodat (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Daniels ... Thomas Alden
Anna Paquin ... Amy Alden
Dana Delany ... Susan Barnes
Terry Kinney ... David Alden
Holter Graham ... Barry Strickland
Jeremy Ratchford ... Glen Seifert
Deborah Verginella Deborah Verginella ... Amy's Mother
Michael J. Reynolds ... General
David Hemblen ... Dr. Killian
Ken James Ken James ... Developer
Nora Ballard Nora Ballard ... Jackie
Sarena Paton Sarena Paton ... Laura
Carmen Lishman Carmen Lishman ... Older Girl
Christi Hill Christi Hill ... Older Girl
Judith Orban Judith Orban ... Teacher
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Storyline

Amy is only 13 years old when her mother is killed in an auto wreck in New Zealand. She goes to Canada to live with her father, an eccentric inventor whom she barely knows. Amy is miserable in her new life...that is until she discovers a nest of goose eggs that were abandoned when developers began tearing up a local forest. The eggs hatch and Amy becomes "Mama Goose". The young birds must fly south for the winter, but who will lead them there? With a pair of ultralight airplanes, Amy, her dad and their friends must find a way to do it. Written by Martin Lewison <lewison+@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A family of orphaned geese who lost their way. A 14 year old kid who will lead them home. To achieve the incredible, you have to attempt the impossible.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for an opening accident scene and some mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 September 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Father Goose See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,708,044, 15 September 1996, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$24,506,082, 12 January 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS (8 channels)| Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Amy's fake nose ring was Anna Paquin's attempt at being humorously rebellious, to see what the crew would say if she had pierced her nose mid-shoot. She found the fake ring in a 'neat junky jewelry store' in Toronto, and got it for free. To her disappointment, her attempt at being rebellious was well-received, as Carroll Ballard decided to use the nose-ring gag in the film as well. See more »

Goofs

The end of the movie mentions "all 16 geese including Igor", but there are a total of 17 geese including Igor. In flying scenes, 16 geese can be seen in the air while Igor remains on the ground or with Amy. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Thomas Alden: Amy? It's your dad.
Amy Alden: Dad?
Thomas Alden: I came down from Canada. I've come to take you home.
Amy Alden: Where's Mom?
Thomas Alden: Um...
Amy Alden: Mum died, didn't she?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Amy's birds return the following year to Amy's surprise as she wakes up one morning. See more »

Alternate Versions

The phrase "holy shit" has been removed from UK versions. See more »


Soundtracks

10,000 Miles
Produced by Mark Isham, John Jennings, and Mary Chapin Carpenter
Performed by Mary Chapin Carpenter
Courtesy of Columbia Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Story of Returning to Joy
8 April 2002 | by dcombs100See all my reviews

The greatest challenge any of us will ever face is how to regain the ability to reach for joy after the loss of a loved one. Especially, when that loss is abrupt and occurs at an age before one has developed the capacities to manage it. That is the over-arching and powerful theme that "Fly Away Home" manages to evoke so beautifully.

It's difficult to pin-point which of the masterfully developed elements of filmmaking that make this movie such a joy to watch again and again. But, surely, it all comes down to the great story-telling ability of Mr. Carol Ballard. Everything is harnessed to tell the story (a basic element of drama surprisingly ignored these days in Hollywood) of a girl who loses her mother at a critical point in her life, and has to find a way to the rest of her life, while reeling from the trauma and uncertain of how to survive her grief.

The discovery of an abandoned nest of Canadian geese eggs is the simple overlaying metaphor that takes us on her journey. The great difference between this movie and other movies of its type is that Mr. Ballard resists the temptation to explicate the transcendent story of Amy's emotional triumph over her loss and grief. Simply put, the story is about the geese, but it's really about Amy's recovery and reconnection with her future, with her life, though there isn't one line of dialogue explaining that to the viewer. It seeps out of the story through the masterful, chekovian performances of Anna Paquin as Amy and Jeff Daniels as her father. This theme is supported with such unerring consistency in the music (Mark Isham at his most sublime), the cinematography, editing, lighting, art direction and casting. All of the casting is just perfect. Especially in the sense that none of the actors ever seem to be pulling anything out of their "bag of tricks" or doing some bit you've seen them do before. The quality of the work is such that much of the dialogue in the movie seems spontaneous and almost ad libbed. The final sequence is a thing of sublime, subtly powerful beauty that is rarely seen in movies these days. A powerful, wordless climax. Something that happens so effortlessly, because the story that comes before has been told so completely and with such skill. I cry every time I watch it.

Thank you, Carol Ballard, for this beautiful gift of compassion and belief.

Note: Did Anna Paquin actually move from little girl to adolescent in the course of making this movie, or is it more of the master magicianry of Carol Ballard and his team?


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