113 user 38 critic

On Golden Pond (1981)

PG | | Drama | 12 February 1982 (USA)
Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.



(screenplay), (based on his play)

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
William Lanteau ...
Sumner Todd (as Chris Rydell)


The loons are back again on Golden Pond and so are Norman Thayer, a retired professor, and Ethel who have had a summer cottage there since early in their marriage. This summer their daughter Chelsea -- whom they haven't seen for years -- feels she must be there for Norman's birthday. She and her fiance are on their way to Europe the next day but will be back in a couple of weeks to pick up the fiance's son. When she returns Chelsea is married and her stepson has the relationship with her father that she always wanted. Will father and daughter be able to communicate at last? Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


when life is at its finest...when love is at its fullest... See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

12 February 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Am goldenen See  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$89,213, 6 December 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


"The Purgatory Cove" scene was shot in late September. To keep warm in the cold water both Doug McKeon and Henry Fonda had to wear wetsuits under their clothes. However, the water level was so low that they could have easily stood up and been only knee-deep in the lake. Katharine Hepburn was supposed to have a stunt double perform her "dive-in" scene for her, but instead she insisted on doing it herself. She dove into the frigid water without a wetsuit. Apparently, Hepburn was familiar to swimming in cold waters on the eastern coast of the USA and always regularly showered in cold water. See more »


Pieces of mail change between shots; in particular, there is no printed advertising flyer or newspaper in the first shots, and there is never a padded envelope containing Norman's meds included in the sheaf of envelopes that the postman delivers; after pulling out the letter from Chelsea and handing it to Ethel, he says himself that there is nothing else besides "bills and junk mail". See more »


Bill Ray: You're having a good time, aren't you?
Norman: Huh?
Bill Ray: Chelsea told me all about how you like to have a good time messing with people's heads. She does too, sometimes. Me, sometimes I can get into it. Sometimes not. You know, it's not imperative that you and I become friends. I thought it would be nice. I'm sure you're a fascinating person, and I thought it would be fascinating to get to know you, but that's obviously not an easy task. So you just go ahead and be as... poopy, to quote Chelsea, as you want...
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Spoofed in Night Court: Dan's Escort (1986) See more »


Happy Birthday to You
(1893) (uncredited)
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
Sung by all for Norman's birthday
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User Reviews

The tale of true and everlasting love
16 June 2003 | by See all my reviews

It's not many years ago I watched this film for the first time. Had to admit that before watching it I was a bit skeptical, I thought it would be just one of those boring hyper-romantic films but....

Finally when I got the chance to watch it I was breathtaken! This film is simply a masterpiece of a time that, unfortunately, is long gone. A time where love could last a lifetime and still be beautiful at the end of life. How many of those films are made today in this hasty divorce filled time? Not many I'd say!

It was such a beautiful experience to watch this film and in a strange way it made me also sad. Mainly because today's world isn't like that anymore for how many people can stay in love and care for eachother after 50 years? The theme of everlasting love, knowing eachothers habits through a whole life is really something very very special.

The roles as the elderly couple were also played with such an honesty that it was amazing and the music plus the landscape and the actual calmness of the film makes it into a film that won't ever be forgotten; at least it shouldn't be!

Of course it's romantic but it's also realistic and that's what makes it different from other socalled romantic films. There's a catch in it and there's something to think about too!

The beauty of these two old people and their relationship is something I believe many people will envy. Having been together for half a century and still being so much in love as the film shows.

A film that ought to be seen by people who still dare to believe in lifelong love and for those who don't - forget about it then you'll just waste your time or think "jee, that's ridiculous"...

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