For forty eight years, Professor Norman Thayer Jr (Henry Fonda, in his last film performance) and his wife Ethel (Katharine Hepburn) have holidayed at their New England cottage on Golden Pond. This time round they have an extra guest - Billy Ray (Doug McKeon), the son of their daughter Chelsea's (Jane Fonda) boyfriend, Bill. The generation gap is soon highlighted, with Norman and Billy clashing frequently and fiercely. However, as the summer progresses Norman begins to forge the kind of close relationship with the boy that he has always denied Chelsea, and comes to realize how much happiness he has missed out on with his own daughter. Fonda and Hepburn won Oscars for Best Actor and Best Actress.
Writer Ernest Thompson, who came up with the original stage play of On Golden Pond
and adapted it for film, is lucky to have two giants of the screen give dignity and breadth to his sometimes trite dialogue. Henry Fonda, in his last role, plays a prickly English professor at the disagreeable age of 80. Visiting his summer house by a Maine lake with his wife (Katharine Hepburn), the old man forges an unlikely bond with a lonely boy, comes to terms with his daughter (Jane Fonda) and suffers disorienting effects of mild dementia. Even playing a tired old man, Fonda is an absolute lion of a movie star, and Hepburn brings her special spirit to the part of his worried bride. The onscreen relationship between Henry and Jane Fonda naturally makes one think about their much-discussed difficulties off screen, but that's a side benefit in a movie that is really just a celebration of simple human decency. Directed by Mark Rydell (Harry and Walter Go to New York
). --Tom Keogh
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.