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A woman in her sixties, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.


Chloé Zhao


Jessica Bruder (based on the book by), Chloé Zhao (written for the screen by)
6 ( 4)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 227 wins & 135 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Frances McDormand ... Fern
Gay DeForest Gay DeForest ... Gay
Patricia Grier Patricia Grier ... Patty
Linda May Linda May ... Linda
Angela Reyes Angela Reyes ... Angela
Carl R. Hughes Carl R. Hughes ... Carl
Douglas G. Soul Douglas G. Soul ... Doug
Ryan Aquino Ryan Aquino ... Ryan
Teresa Buchanan Teresa Buchanan ... Teresa
Karie Lynn McDermott Wilder Karie Lynn McDermott Wilder ... Karie
Brandy Wilber Brandy Wilber ... Brandy
Makenzie Etcheverry Makenzie Etcheverry ... Makenzie
Bob Wells Bob Wells ... Bob
Annette Webb Annette Webb ... Annette
Rachel Bannon Rachel Bannon ... Rachel

The Rise of Frances McDormand

Actor Frances McDormand, known for her Oscar-winning performances in Fargo and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Nomadland. "No Small Parts" takes a look at her long, eclectic career in film and television.

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Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, NOMADLAND features real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells as Fern's mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West. Written by Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some full nudity. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Many of Frances McDormand's co-stars, such as Charlene Swankie and Bob Wells, had no idea she's a Hollywood star. Bob still did not know this until they shot an emotional scene in which Fern remembers her late husband, Bo. Afterward, he said to McDormand privately that it meant a lot for her to tell him that story and that everything was going to be OK. She subsequently revealed to him that her husband's name was actually Joel Coen and he was still alive, which surprised Bob as he learned that McDormand was in fact an actress. See more »


At the Thanksgiving celebration in Mendocino, David Straithairn's character likens the wineglasses clinking, very clearly, to 'the bells of ACROsanti.' Both his pronunciation and the subtitle spelling agree. He is referring to, however, the bells of ARCOsanti. See more »


Fern: It's strange that you encourage people to invest their whole life savings, go into debt, just to buy a house they can't afford.
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Written and Performed by Ólafur Arnalds
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User Reviews

There are no secret meanings here
28 January 2021 | by edkolanSee all my reviews

I believe that all bad ratings are given by people who just never traveled and did not feel these subtle details that are shown in the film. The film shows very accurately and vitally the fact that the spirit of adventurism and freedom lives inside the main character. There are no secret meanings here, even dialogues from different people about the philosophy of life are just part of the ordinary life of any person. Deep down, each person can decide and control the balance of their future and the right to make mistakes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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USA | Germany



Release Date:

19 February 2021 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nomadland See more »

Filming Locations:

Arizona, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$503,000, 21 February 2021

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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