On Golden Pond

On Golden Pond

4.5 7
Director: Mark Rydell

Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda


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Originally released on DVD by Live Entertainment (later renamed Artisan Entertainment) in 1998, and a fine disc in its own right, this re-release adds plenty to make this an even better version. Unlike the initial release, though, this one provides an anamorphic transfer in the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it's never looked better. Billy Williams' gorgeous


Originally released on DVD by Live Entertainment (later renamed Artisan Entertainment) in 1998, and a fine disc in its own right, this re-release adds plenty to make this an even better version. Unlike the initial release, though, this one provides an anamorphic transfer in the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it's never looked better. Billy Williams' gorgeous photography shines in every respect, from the naturalistic lighting to the amazing golden hues. Fortunately, a few scratches on the print are hardly noticeable and not enough to create a distraction. Grain is also kept to a minimum. The remastered 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is also new, but you would be hard pressed to notice much of a difference from the optional two-channel surround track. The 5.1 track is a little more full, but certainly doesn't show off the capabilities of multi-channels. As for supplements, a charming, though all too short, tribute to the life and career of Katharine Hepburn is included, as is an exceptional documentary on the film's production, particularly the work of Williams. Through interviews with the cinematographer himself and many others involved in the production, a clear understanding of the photography and the crew's love of this film can be found. Finally, a commentary track from writer Ernest Thompson is included, in addition to one by director Mark Rydell, which was on the original DVD release. Both men provide plenty of anecdotal information, which is worth listening to and helps make this disc all the better.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
As America staggered out of its post-Vietnam Carter-era late-'70's numbness, films became one of the means to healing the country's psychic wounds. Consequently, 1981's On Golden Pond became one of a string of films anchored by the generational theme of parent-child rapprochement. One of the things that set this film apart from its contemporaries was the first-time pairing of real life father and daughter Henry and Jane Fonda. In order to evoke the requisite nostalgic tone, director Mary Rydell's film is seeped in sepia-golden hues courtesy of veteran cinematographer Billy Williams III. The film's conflict resolution process is too pat and the direction too self-congratulatory to allow it status as a classic, but there is genuine pathos plus some remarkable work done by Katharine Hepburn and Best Actor Oscar winner Henry Fonda. The elder thespians raise their roles from what could have been clichés (the doting wife, the dottering coot) into the realm of archetypes. The supporting characters fare less well, as the script sometimes short circuits their development in order to get to the next big emotional moment. Despite these complaints, On Golden Pond succeeds because of its appealingly humane plea for generational healing and the wonderful work of Hepburn and Henry Fonda.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Live / Artisan
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital]

Special Features

Widescreen version; Reverse-spiral, dual-layer disc; Director's commentary track; Documentary; 2.0 Dolby Surround; Digitally mastered; Interactive menus; Scene access; Spanish subtitles; Theatrical trailer; Production notes; Cast and crew information

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Katharine Hepburn Ethel Thayer
Henry Fonda Norman Thayer Jr.
Jane Fonda Chelsea Thayer Wayne
Doug McKeon Billy Ray
Dabney Coleman Bill Ray
William Lanteau Charlie Martin
Chris Rydell Sumner Todd

Technical Credits
Mark Rydell Director
Jane Bogart Set Decoration/Design
Terry Carr Producer
Dianne Crittenden Casting
Gary Daigler Asst. Director
Bruce Gilbert Producer
Stephen B. Grimes Production Designer
Dave Grusin Score Composer
Emad Helmey Set Decoration/Design
Dorothy Jeakins Costumes/Costume Designer
Barry Primus Casting
Ida Random Production Designer
David Ronne Sound/Sound Designer
Kay Rose Sound Editor
Martin Starger Producer
Ernest Thompson Original Story,Screenwriter
Tom Tuttle Makeup
Billy Williams Cinematographer
Robert Wolfe Editor

Scene Index

Side #1
0. Scene Index
1. On Golden Pond [3:35]
2. Welcome Back [7:16]
3. Buzz Off [1:57]
4. Nitwits [2:23]
5. Strawberries [4:28]
6. Letter from Chelsea [5:01]
7. Pretty Face [2:54]
8. Talking to Friends [2:37]
9. Hello, Norman [3:34]
10. Indoor Plumbing [2:24]
11. Charming Ambiance [7:05]
12. Skinny Dipping [2:07]
13. Suck Face [1:52]
14. Keeping Billy [2:32]
15. Happy Birthday [1:14]
16. Lucky Man [2:22]
17. Intense Competition [1:10]
18. My Father [3:08]
19. Good-bye, Kid [1:10]
20. It's a Good Word [1:04]
21. Dumped [1:19]
22. Dive, Boy! [2:38]
23. A Secret Place [4:49]
24. Lighting Fires [4:23]
25. Out for a Spin [2:31]
26. Purgatory Cove [6:56]
27. Reverse [2:28]
28. Rescue [2:21]
29. Juvenile Delinquents [1:19]
30. My Husband [3:46]
31. It's Walter [:51]
32. Talk to Him [5:01]
33. Back Flip [:57]
34. Good-bye, Norman [1:26]
35. Call a Doctor [6:01]
36. End Credits [2:00]


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On Golden Pond 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Henry Fonda couldn't have ended his career with a better picture. It has a great message. Kate and Hank are wonderful (in their only appearance together). Interestingly enough, the fishing hat that Hank wears throughout the film was given to him by Kate on the first day of filming. It belonged to none other than Spencer Tracy. Great film!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'On Golden Pond' was a moderately successful, off Broadway play until Jane Fonda decided that it would be the ideal film catalyst in shoring up a rift between her and father, Henry Fonda. Henry is clearly one of a handful of genuine and consummate professionals. But his personal life is one so tragically marred by an inability to bond or even feel close to anyone, that in the latter half of the 1960s ¿ following Jane¿s very public protest against the Viet Nam war ¿ he all but cut ties with his daughter for nearly ten years. Despite this separation, Jane remained one of her father¿s ardent fans, employing producer, Lord Gray and director Mark Rydell to reinvent the story for the big screen. Under Rydell's command, the film version of ¿On Golden Pond¿ became a tender, poignant and loving account of the impending gloom associated with old age and the loving that remains true throughout the ages. Henry Fonda is Norman Thayer Jr., a weary curmudgeon who seems unwilling to accept what the years have done to his body. He tells his wife Ethel (Katharine Hepburn) that he¿s thinking of getting a job, but later, while walking down an old town road in the country, he becomes disorientated, panics and is forced to realize that his memory is not what it used to be. Norman¿s confusion is a bitter pill to swallow, made all the more difficult when he learns that his estranged daughter, Chelsea (Jane Fonda) is coming up to the cottage with her new fiancée Bill (Dabney Colman) and his young son, Billy (Doug McKeon). When Chelsea and Bill leave Billy with Norman and Ethel for a few weeks to run off and get married, Norman and Billy takes an instant dislike to one another. But their temperaments are quashed somewhat by Ethel¿s consistently good natured prowess at drawing the family together. Gradually Billy and Norman become the best of compatriots, especially after a near fatal boating accident almost puts an end to their friendship. When Chelsea returns she finds a humbled Norman ready and willing to accept her back into the fold. The resulting reconciliation between the two is visceral and heartbreaking, because one has the sense that both Jane and Henry, as Chelsea and Norman, have put their differences in the past. Henry Fonda was not well at the time of production to the point that, when Mark Rydell recalled Fonda for a private screening of the film only several months later, he suddenly realized that indeed Henry was not long for this world. On Oscar night Jane accepted his Best Actor statuette, simply stating on her ailing father¿s behalf, ¿I¿ll bet he¿s saying, hey, ain¿t I lucky¿as though luck had anything to do with it.¿ In contrast to Fonda¿s ill health, Katharine Hepburn¿s viral toughness positively glowed. On several occasions her temperament collided with Rydell¿s direction, particularly during a sequence in which Hepburn grabs a canoe by herself, hoists it overhead and carries it down to the lake. That sequence does not survive in the final cut and Rydell has commented that he doesn¿t believe that Hepburn ever forgave him for the edit. During the sequence in which Ethel discovers Norman and Billy barely clinging to a rock after their boating accident, it is Katharine Hepburn and not a double that actually dives into the icy waters and swims to their rescue. By all accounts Hepburn was a great lady. On this occasion she was also a tower of strength. ¿On Golden Pond¿ has been made previously available on DVD in a regular edition and now, a Special Edition. It isn¿t often that I recommend one buy both versions of a single film, but on this occasion I feel that recommendation is justified. The original disc was not enhanced for widescreen televisions and is therefore a write off in terms of its picture quality. However, it does contain the very poignant, very emotional recollections of the making of the film entitled, ¿Loving Through Time.¿ This documentary is not included on the Special Edition. The Special Edition is
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