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The Boy Who Could Fly
The Boy Who Could Fly
Actors: Lucy Deakins, Jay Underwood, Bonnie Bedelia, Fred Savage, Colleen Dewhurst
Director: Nick Castle
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
PG     2003     1hr 54min

A poignant, uplifting fable about a young girl and her relationship with a mute boy who dreams of flying. Together they learn if you wish hard enough, anything is possible.Year: 1986Director: Nick CastleStarring: Lucy Deak...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Lucy Deakins, Jay Underwood, Bonnie Bedelia, Fred Savage, Colleen Dewhurst
Director: Nick Castle
Creators: Adam Holender, Steven Poster, Nick Castle, Patrick Kennedy, Brian E. Frankish, Gary Adelson, Richard Vane
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Family Life, Family Films, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/08/2003
Original Release Date: 08/15/1986
Theatrical Release Date: 08/15/1986
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 54min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 26
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

They don't make 'em like this anymore.
Inspector Gadget | On the trail of Doctor Claw | 07/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I'm so tired of modern family movies full of fart jokes or movies where teenagers make love to pastries and it's supposed to be funny and then they staple on some superficial message at the end in an attempt to be poignant and balance out all the trash that came before. Every other week we are tortured with some nonsense of this calibre and whenever I wish for a movie that stands out from the crowd I have to go back in time and consider some overlooked gem. The Boy Who Could Fly is exactly that.The characters seem so real and their emotions genuine, it builds at a slow pace but it never gets boring and story development is consistent. This is not a ferociously loud summer crowd-pleaser or something bloated with pointless SFX. Very few movies have the power to make a whole story out of characters and situation alone without feeling the need for some ridiculous set piece or blaring thrash metal guitars.In fact Bruce Broughton's score is the wonderful opposite of that. The performances, especially the two leads, are flawless and the direction is far more refined than the typical. Everything in this movie comes together perfectly to make a film so unique and charming. If you have lost your faith in the current dreck that graces our screens and if you want a family movie with some meaning and subtext then check this out. And keep an eye out for director John Carpenter as on of the Coupe De Villes.The DVD is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and in Dolby 2.0. It has an introduction by Jay Underwood and director Nick (Michael Myers) Castle, they also feature in a commentary with Lucy Deakins and Fred Savage."
"Eric, Can You Really Fly?"
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 03/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mrs. Michaelson (Bonnie Bedelia) and her two children Milly (Lucy Deakins) and Louis (Fred Savage) have just moved into a new neighborhood following the recent death of their husband/Father. They hope to begin a new life and make new friends as the try to deal with the grief of their loss.

While trying to deal with her own personal grief, Milly finds an unexpected friend in Eric (Jay Underwood) the strange boy next store who never speaks and stands on the roof of his house with arms spread as though he were an airplane getting ready to take flight.

After a little investigation she discovers that Eric lost both parents in a plane crash and hasn't spoken or communicated with anyone since. Milly decides to break through the wall he has built around himself and lead him back to wholeness. As you might have guessed by now feelings other than just friendship soon develop between the two disinfranchised teenagers.

'The Boy Who Could' is an absolutely wonderful tale of hope, belief and the healing power of love. Lucy Deakins is one of the most charming and beautiful young women I've ever seen on film and was absolutely perfect for this role. The entire cast is excellent as well, especially Fred Savage as the little brother.

Truly one of the four or five greatest family movies ever made!"
I Believe I Can Fly
Irishgirl | Idaho | 02/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ahhh, "The Boy Who Could Fly." This is a film that I grew up with and still share with my family today. This is a true inspirational film that is for all ages and families across the miles and sends a wonderful message to those who have been through pain, been down on their luck, or just simply want to believe in something positive. This message is brought forth through an unlikely pair who with their friendship and love, literally learn to fly.

Millie Michaelson (played by the lovely Lucy Deakins) is a shy 14 year-old who, along with her mother (played by the talented Bonnie Bedelia) and kid brother Louis, (played by a very young Fred Savage) is struggling to come to grips with the tragic death of her father. They are the new family on the block, at work and at school as they try to rebuild their lives after moving into a new home. They all struggle with the normal hassles of life. Louis, who tries to act tough and wants to be a soldier like the G.I. Joe's he plays with, faces neighborhood bullies who won't let him get around the block and keeps getting in trouble at school. Millie, who becomes friends with Geneva (played by the hilarious Mindy Cohn), goes through the coming-of-age rituals of adjusting to a new school and the popular girls and the temptations of alcohol. Mrs. Michaelson struggles with learning how to use a computer in the insurance business (and keep in mind, this movie was made in 1986 when computers were still relatively new).

But from the moment Millie first sets foot in her new home, she finds out that they have not moved into any ordinary neighborhood. The strange boy next door instantly intrigues Millie. Eric Gibb (a magnificent performance from Jay Underwood) lives with his lazy, alcoholic uncle (played by the convincing and entertaining Fred Gwynne) and does not speak nor does he show emotion. But one thing he does do is sit on the windowsill and pretend to fly. Nobody can seem to get through to him and nobody can really understand him accept that he may be autistic. But Millie learns that Eric's own deep dark tragedy concerning his parents is likely reflected in his obsession with flying.

Eric is in Millie's class at school, taught by Ms. Sherman (played by the late, extraordinary Colleen Dewhurst). Sherman, who has been helping Eric for quite a while, notices a connection between he and Millie. She sees Eric doing things around Millie that no doctor could do with him. Millie agrees to help Ms. Sherman by spending time with Eric in an effort to break him of his emotional disturbances and keep him out of the mental institution and the workers there who have been after him. Millie reads to Eric, plays with him in gym class, has lunch with him everyday at school, makes paper airplanes with him and he even comes home with Millie for dinner with her family.

As Millie and Eric get closer, Millie seems to find the true Eric hiding behind his emotion-less face. The two develop a very special relationship. All the while, dramatic things happen, which test their love and friendship for one another, from Millie's concussion during a fall, to Eric's run-in with the institution, to the chase they have with the institution workers, to the dramatic climax on the roof. But the hardest test of all comes after their flight, however from that day forward, things start taking a better turn for Millie and her family and even Eric's uncle.

But in the long run, Millie and her family realize that Eric was perhaps a symbol of what we can all do if we try, wish and love enough. When we feel like life is too much we can remember Eric Gibb and how he could teach us all to fly. I think Millie taught Eric to really fly in more ways than one. Millie was there for Eric during a time of need and she lifted him out from under his shell if you will. In turn, Eric taught Millie to fly with his inspiration to wish, dream and love. And look what came of it? Millie learned that anything is possible if we wish, dream and love enough. Louise Fletcher made a brief appearance as a psychiatrist, Dr. Grinada who talked with Millie after she had gotten a concussion. She told Millie: "Sometimes you have to believe in a little magic, especially when there's so much pain." And rightfully so. Both Millie and Eric have dealt with tremendous pain in their lives, but with each other, they both learned to fly together.

This movie is absolutely superb for the family. It sends such a positive message to those who may feel discouraged in life. But it is also inspiring to those who do not get discouraged easily. It's just a nice, feel-good story; a true heartfelt drama with plenty of real emotion, and even action. The cast is outstanding. All do a tremendous job. Lucy Deakins and Bonnie Bedelia are excellent at portraying deep emotion from tears to anger. Jay Underwood does a superb job of playing the emotionally disturbed Eric Gibb. He is so believable. He can go from having no emotion to just the right amount of it at the right time. Jay is indeed a very versatile actor who can touch on all the human emotions effectively. Then there's little Fred Savage, who actually adds comic relief to the film with his macho attitude. Mindy Cohn is awesome as Geneva. She may play a small part, but she's such a kick. The music of the film is beautiful and they even throw in some special effects complete with fireworks, as you'll see in Millie's dream sequence. The special features are a real treat, with a really cool theatrical trailer, and introduction featuring Jay Underwood and a commentary with Underwood, Lucy Deakins, Fred Savage and director Nick Castle. Together, they are quite an entertaining bunch who sound like they're decent ordinary people have a great time talking with one another and the audience about their personal experiences with the film and various other stories.

When I was a little kid. I loved this movie because all I knew was that it was about a flying boy that was strange. Well, it goes much deeper than that!
To Affinity and Beyond by garrie keyman
garrie keyman | Tuscacheague | 03/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As a rule, where cinema is concerned, I find what's bad rarely gets better, while what's good rarely gets worse. The 1999 Warner Bros. release of The Boy Who Could Fly remains true to the formula, this Nick Castle (The Last Starfighter; Dennis the Menace) family film as poignant and as delicately powerful today as it was upon its original 1986 theatrical debut.While this well-balanced and sensitively penned feature was both written and directed by Castle, the movie's five-star rating owes a great deal of its appeal to two of the best (then-)teenage actors I've ever had the pleasure to watch. As the 14-year old Millie Michaelson, Lucy Deakins offers a superbly layered performance depicting a girl shadowed by the loss of her father to cancer and her family's subsequent move to a new home and neighborhood. As Millie's mother (aptly portrayed by Bonnie Bedelia) struggles to cope with a husband's death and the stress of re-entering the workforce, Millie faces a loneliness sharply deepened by the rejection of her catty new classmates and the necessity of picking up an understandable parental slack.One of Millie's new neighbors is the curiously mute Eric (Jay Underwood), a lad steeped in a private world that no one is able to penetrate. Eric has lived with his softhearted amiable alcoholic uncle (Fred Gwynne) since the age of five, when Eric's parents perished in a plane crash. Since then, Eric has not spoken; his primary pastime consisting of perching in his bedroom window and staring skyward with his arms extended as if he were, himself, a plane. Underwood proves so convincing as Eric that not only can the audience easily forget he is not genuinely autistic, but they are gently transported into his world so faithfully that Eric's conduct makes absolute sense.At school Millie is paired with Eric in gym class, where her efforts at tossing a ball to the unresponsive boy - a teen normally scorned and ignored by his peers - begins to crack his seemingly impenetrable shell. Later, on a class trip, Millie imagines falling from a bridge while straining for a blossom just beyond reach. Like so many moments in this film, it is a beautiful piece of cinemagraphic artistry: a gorgeous visual depiction replete with sub-textual meaning. Hitting her head on the bridge rail, Millie is knocked unconscious and awakens in the hospital. She is no longer certain that her fall - and her subsequent rescue by Eric -- was a matter of sheer imagination, for after the doctors have departed, there stands Eric: lurking mutely by the billowing curtains just inside what appears to be a sixth-story window.Soon Eric's budding emergence is threatened; the pall of institutionalization further crippling his psyche when his uncle's drinking calls into question the man's fitness as Eric's guardian. Meanwhile, Millie's martial-minded younger brother, Louis (Fred Savage), is having troubles of his own: from facing territorial bullies, who won't let him circle the block, to recovering toy soldiers for whom he has been conducting backyard funerals as a private coping device following his father's death.At every turn this film proves both tender and realistic on the level of human hurts and the every-day variety of inner struggles that people encounter. The characters herein cope with pains so ordinary - so common to us all - that clearly these are the truest killing fields of the human heart. These are our silent battles, too: the loneliness of social rejection, the inexorable way life pulls us on following the loss of loved ones, the fight for the right to fearlessly navigate our world - be it the block on which we live or the planet at large.As the movie moves toward its climax, we have become convinced that the title is allegory: that this is, in fact, a movie about a boy who wished he could fly. This carefully orchestrated fooled-you structure of the script is partly what makes the movie soar. Sparing use of special effects does not detract, but heightens - making The Boy Who Could Fly one of the most down-to-earth flights of fantasy ever brought to the screen.This fit-for-the-family fare is polished to a fine sheen by strong supporting-cast portrayals, including Colleen Dewhurst (Anne of Green Gables) as the teacher who first pairs Millie and Eric in gym class, and Mindy Cohn (Facts of Life) as a bold, talkative neighbor who befriends Millie. While Underwood appears to have gone on to enjoy a long list of small-role and guest-shot appearances, it remains our loss, I'm sure, that there have not been more leading parts to this likeable actor's credit. Likewise, Deakins appears to be lower on the leading-player radar screen than she deserves, although I did have the pleasure of seeing her off-Broadway last year in The Women's Project production of Julie Jensen's Cheat. In any event, The Boy Who Could Fly, is an uplifting tale ranking among the few movies I can watch again and again. A keeper, this film is winningly underscored by Bruce Broughton's perfect-companion soundtrack. But be forewarned: settle in with a tissue or two before you pass the popcorn."