Coming Home (1978)

Coming Home (1978) Movie Cast, story And Reviews

The 1978 film, Coming Home, directed by Hal Ashby, is a powerful drama that explores the emotional and physical toll of the Vietnam War on soldiers and their loved ones. The film stars Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, and Bruce Dern in lead roles and has been praised for its nuanced portrayal of complex characters and social commentary on the war.

Plot Summary

Coming Home is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s during the Vietnam War. The story follows Sally Hyde, a woman whose husband, Capt. Bob Hyde, is deployed to Vietnam. Sally is a volunteer at the local Veterans Administration hospital, where she meets and befriends Luke Martin, a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran. As Sally and Luke become closer, they begin a romantic relationship.

When Bob returns home from the war, he is physically and emotionally scarred by his experiences. Sally, who has become disillusioned with the war, begins to question her marriage and her beliefs. Meanwhile, Luke is struggling to adjust to civilian life and is faced with discrimination and neglect from the VA hospital.

The film explores the complex relationships between the characters and the toll that war takes on individuals and society.

Main Characters

Jane Fonda as Sally Hyde

Sally Hyde is a middle-class woman who volunteers at the VA hospital while her husband is deployed to Vietnam. She is initially naive and idealistic about the war but becomes disillusioned as she learns more about the realities of the conflict. Fonda’s performance earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Jon Voight as Luke Martin

Luke Martin is a former Marine who is paralyzed from the waist down after being wounded in Vietnam. He is bitter and angry about the war and the way he and other veterans are treated. Voight’s performance earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Bruce Dern as Capt. Bob Hyde

Capt. Bob Hyde is Sally’s husband and a career Marine who is devoted to his duty. He is traumatized by his experiences in Vietnam and struggles to reconnect with his wife when he returns home.

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Supporting Cast

The film also features strong performances from supporting actors, including Robert Carradine as Bill Munson, a young Marine who becomes disillusioned with the war, and Penelope Milford as Vi Munson, Bill’s wife.

Production and Filming

Coming Home was written by Nancy Dowd, Waldo Salt, and Robert C. Jones, and was directed by Hal Ashby. The film was shot on location in California and was released by United Artists.

Critical Reception

Coming Home was critically acclaimed upon its release and has since been regarded as a classic of American cinema. The film has a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is praised for its honest portrayal of the war and its impact on individuals and society.

Awards and Nominations

The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three, including Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay. It also won four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Social Commentary and Impact (continued)

Coming Home was released during a time of significant social and political unrest in the United States. The Vietnam War had become increasingly unpopular, and the film’s themes of anti-war sentiment and the mistreatment of veterans resonated with audiences.

The film also challenged traditional gender roles and was praised for its portrayal of strong female characters. Fonda’s portrayal of Sally Hyde was particularly groundbreaking, as she was one of the first Hollywood actresses to take on a politically charged role.

Themes and Motifs

Coming Home explores a variety of themes and motifs, including the impact of war on individuals and society, the mistreatment of veterans, and the role of women in society. The film also uses music as a motif, with several scenes featuring songs that reflect the characters’ emotions and experiences.


The film’s soundtrack features several iconic songs from the 1960s and 1970s, including “What the World Needs Now Is Love” by Jackie DeShannon and “Let’s Get Together” by The Youngbloods. The soundtrack also features an original score by composer Dave Grusin.

Legacy and Influence

Coming Home is widely regarded as a classic of American cinema and has had a significant impact on popular culture. The film’s anti-war sentiment and portrayal of the mistreatment of veterans continue to resonate with audiences today.

The film also inspired a number of other Vietnam War-themed movies, including Oliver Stone’s Platoon and Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.

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