August 2nd, 1989



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The Buckman family is a midwestern family all dealing with their lives: estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good parent and spouse.

Release Year: 1989

Rating: 6.9/10 (21,776 voted)

Critic's Score: 82/100

Director: Ron Howard

Stars: Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest

The story of the Buckman family and friends, attempting to bring up their children. They suffer/enjoy all the events that occur: estranged relatives, the "black sheep" of the family, the eccentrics, the skeletons in the closet, and the rebellious teenagers.

Writers: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel

Steve Martin - Gil Buckman
Mary Steenburgen - Karen Buckman
Dianne Wiest - Helen Buckman
Jason Robards - Frank Buckman
Rick Moranis - Nathan Huffner
Tom Hulce - Larry Buckman
Martha Plimpton - Julie Buckman
Keanu Reeves - Tod Higgins
Harley Jane Kozak - Susan Buckman (as Harley Kozak)
Dennis Dugan - David Brodsky
Joaquin Phoenix - Garry Buckman-Lampkin (as Leaf Phoenix)
Eileen Ryan - Marilyn Buckman
Helen Shaw - Grandma
Jasen Fisher - Kevin Buckman
Paul Linke - George Bowman

Taglines: The director of "Splash," "Willow" and "Cocoon" brings you a comedy about life, love and the gentle art of raising children.

Release Date: 2 August 1989

Filming Locations: Gainesville, Florida, USA

Opening Weekend: $10,506,450 (USA) (4 August 1989) (1 Screen)

Gross: $100,047,830 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Martha Plimpton plays the older sister of Joaquin Phoenix. In real life, she dated his older brother River Phoenix for nearly five years.

Continuity: Helen is sitting in the chair, looking at the pictures, Julie comes in and they begin to argue. When Julie runs to her bedroom and Helen jumps out of the chair, the pictures fly all over the floor. In the next scene, when Julie is picking up the pictures, they are dropped in one pile on the floor.

Karen: Do you really have to go?
Gil: My whole life is "have to."

User Review

Are you someone's parent? Are you someone's child? SEE THIS MOVIE!!


When "Parenthood" first came out, I did my level best to avoid it, certain that it seeing it would be roughly akin to being embalmed with maple syrup. Then came that dreadfully slow night at home a couple of years later, faced with a choice on the ol' tube between endless reruns of "Three's Company" and HBO showing -- oh, no! -- "Parenthood." So I clicked on HBO, gritted my teeth, prepared for the worst . . .

And was wrong.

Ron Howard is one savvy filmmaker. Maybe one of the savviest, I'm not sure. But I do know that, to make "Parenthood," he combined his savvy with all the heart he could muster (which was plenty, apparently) and that the result is a masterpiece.

Virtually every aspect of parenting is examined; moreover, it is done in a way that -- miracle of miracles! -- causes you to think, and to feel, every bit as much as it makes you laugh. Throat lumping up? Not to worry, here comes another belly-laugh to smooth it out.

The key to the film's message may lie with Jason Robards' speech --"There's no goal line in parenting, no end zone where you spike the ball and that's it . . ." -- or it may lie with Keanu Reeves -- "You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to drive a car or buy a dog . . ." -- or it may simply be Gil Buckman's (Steve Martin) heroism in salvaging his emotionally disturbed son's birthday party; then again, it might be embodied in the frantic, stressed out stoicism of Dianne Wiest's single mom character as she comes to grips with her teenage daughter's choices and impending motherhood. But wherever you find it herein, the message is simple and profound: Parenthood is nothing less than heroism on a daily basis. Quiet, unheralded, underappreciated heroism.

One of the finest things about this movie is that nobody steps out of character. There are no miraculous revelations, no nick-of-time cavalry charges or character transformations. Characters here solve their individual dilemmas by growing WITHIN their characters. And realistically, at that.

It's been said that a really good story leaves its author crying as he/she writes the final pages. Sometimes -- not often enough -- a really good movie can leave a reviewer the same way as he finishes his commentary, crying and laughing simultaneously.

Well, don't just stand there! Someone get me a Kleenex!!


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