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The Homecoming: A Christmas Story
The Homecoming A Christmas Story
Actors: Patricia Neal, Richard Thomas, Edgar Bergen, Ellen Corby, Cleavon Little
Director: Fielder Cook
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Television
PG     2003     1hr 40min

The Waltons' Love and Courage Face a Difficult Test. Patricia Neal, Richard Thomas, Edgar Bergen and Cleavon Little star in this award-winning drama that inspired the long-running, vastly popular TV series, "Waltons." S...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Patricia Neal, Richard Thomas, Edgar Bergen, Ellen Corby, Cleavon Little
Director: Fielder Cook
Creators: Earl Rath, Gene Fowler Jr., Marjorie Fowler, Lee Rich, Robert L. Jacks, Earl Hamner Jr.
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Television
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Family Films, Television
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/23/2003
Original Release Date: 12/19/1971
Theatrical Release Date: 12/19/1971
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Pilot for The Waltons
E. Hornaday | Lawrenceville, NJ United States | 07/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Starring Richard Thomas and Patricia Neal, this made-for-TV-movie was written by Earl Hamner and led to the popular series, "The Waltons." The stories were based on Hamner's childhood.(Note: This movie features a somewhat different cast than did the series. While the Walton children are the same, many of the other adult roles in this film, except Grandma Walton played by the late Ellen Corby, were recast for the series.)A homespun tale, the movie focuses on rural life during the Great Depression and the anxiety a family feels one Christmas when their beloved Father is overdue after being forced to travel to the city to find work and earn money for his family's survival.Each of the characters reacts to his departure in different ways. Ultimately, the oldest son, John-Boy, portrayed by Richard Thomas, takes important steps to manhood and toward his ultimate career as a writer.This film has a harsher, more real feel than did the series, and tackles such difficult subjects as racial bigotry and the economic underclass.The great Patricia Neal is spectacular in her portrayal of the mother. Tougher than the portrayal that came later by the gifted Michael Learned, Neal's Olivia Walton is a genuine force of nature who rarely displays her softer side. Life is very difficult, but love is always present in the Walton home.If you've never seen this movie, you owe it to yourself to view a more unvarnished, less "suburban" rendition of life in this beloved family. A scene in which little Elizabeth, who desperately wants a doll for Christmas, receives one -- with a cracked and broken face -- from a "charity" Missionary only after having to "perform" scriptures, is so raw that it hurts. "It's dead," the little girl sobs into her brother's comforting arms.This film is anything but dead. There is real life in every panel that reaffirms true family relationships and the Christmas spirit without being heavy-handed. Look also for a gifted supporting performance by the talented William Windom, who plays a Depression-era Robin Hood.If ever a TV-movie deserved to be released on DVD, this is it."
An Excellent DVD
B. Bomar | Shelbyville, TN USA | 01/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this movie when it was first on in 1971 and have watched it at Christmas most every year since. Years ago it was usually on TV around Christmas and I taped it in the early 80's and have been watching this tape in recent years. This year I purchased the DVD (for only about $11! - I think blank VHS tapes were that much in the early 80's). The quality is outstanding, even when viewed on my 19-inch computer monitor from a couple of feet away. You can clearly see every detail (1933 on the car license plate, prices on the wall in Ike's store, even snow flakes melting on someone's face). Picture quality on most DVDs made from TV shows or TV movies is nowhere near this good. Believe me, this DVD is a real bargain."
A True Holiday Treasure!
David Von Pein | Mooresville, Indiana; USA | 11/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Homecoming -- A Christmas Story" (full on-screen title) was made in 1971, and was the start of CBS' very successful series, "The Waltons". And what a great way to start! Patricia Neal gives a powerful performance as Olivia Walton, the head of the very large Walton clan.

This entire cast, in fact, seems ideally suited for his/her role in this program. The true feeling and spirit of the holiday shines through in every single scene of The Homecoming Christmas special, with the producers re-creating a quite realistic feeling that it is indeed Christmas 1933, during the height of The Great Depression. The writing, acting, and the atmosphere are all first-rate.

This is one of those programs that deserves to be watched every Christmas Eve, just like clockwork. Who could forget the great scene at the end of the movie, when John (Daddy Walton, played by Andrew Duggan) relays his encounter with Santa Claus. Watching him tell the kids of how Santa's sleigh "...went flying across the sky and landed right on top of this house!!", to me, is one of the best scenes in TV history. Watching that scene, you'd swear those kids were not actors at all -- but just wide-eyed excited kids hanging on Dad's every word. Thank you, Earl Hamner, Jr., for a timeless holiday special!"
A great holiday classic
M. Fields | Brooklyn, New York USA | 11/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As you may already know, this was the pilot for The Waltons t.v. series. Patricia Neal stars as Ma Walton. She does a fine job of it as well. Sometimes, it's a shock to see another person in a role you know so well but that's not the case here. In fact the whole cast did a splendid job. The Homecoming was so well cast that all of the child actors remained in their roles for the televison program. The roles of Ma, Pa and Grandpa Walton (played by Edgar Bergen)were recast along with the owner of the general store and the Baldwin sisters. Grandma Walton (Ellen Corby) continued the in role even after suffering a stoke a few years later. I give the producers high praise for not casting her aside like an old shoe.

If you think a Christmas t.v. show should be heartwarming, then you can't go wrong here. Set in the time of the depression, somewhere in the blue ridge mountains, lives a large family trying to make ends meet. There will be homemade gifts for Christmas but the children don't really mind. A far cry from kids of today. Here, people still attend church, look after their neighbors, children mind their manners and don't talk back to elders. It's the kind of place we older folks wish we could bring back, minus the lack of money of course.

The family is in a bit of a turmoil as they wait for their dad to return home for Christmas. Time passes but there is no sign of him. Neal is very convincing as the strong loving wife trying to hide her fear of what's happened to her husband from her children.

This is a great film for the kids to watch along with their parents. Parents, purchase with confidence. This film is kid friendly."