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Return to Mayberry (1986)

After being away for awhile, Andy Taylor returns home to Mayberry to visit Opie, now an expectant father. While there, he ends up helping Barney Fife mount a campaign for Sheriff.


Bob Sweeney

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Andy Griffith ... Andy Taylor
Ron Howard ... Opie Taylor
Don Knotts ... Barney Fife
Jim Nabors ... Gomer Pyle
Aneta Corsaut ... Helen Crump Taylor
Jack Dodson ... Howard Sprague
George Lindsey ... Goober Pyle
Betty Lynn ... Thelma Lou
Howard Morris ... Ernest T. Bass
Maggie Mancuso ... Charlene Darling (as Maggie Peterson-Mancuso)
Denver Pyle ... Briscoe Darling
Hal Smith ... Otis Campbell
Rodney Dillard Rodney Dillard ... Rodney Darling
Doug Dillard Doug Dillard ... Doug Darling
Mitch Jayne Mitch Jayne ... Mitch Darling


This was a reunion bringing back most of the characters from The Andy Griffith Show. It begins with Andy Taylor returning to Mayberry and planning to run for his old job of Sheriff but when he arrives, he discovers that his old deputy and friend, Barney Fife, is planning to run also. So Andy decides to back down. And at the same time there are some strange things going on, and Barney's stumped, so Andy has to help him out. Also Barney's planning to propose to his old girlfriend Thelma Lou, and Opie, Andy's son is about to become a father. Written by <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Romance







Release Date:

13 April 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Return to Mayberry See more »

Filming Locations:

Arroyo Grande, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Andy and Helen had a baby after moving away from Mayberry (this was depicted in Mayberry R.F.D. (1968)). In this movie, however, there is no mention of Andy, Jr. See more »


When Andy and Thelma Lou meet for the first time in the cemetery, as they hug, on the far shot Thelma Lou's arm in over Andy's arm; however when the camera view changes for the closeup, Thelma Lou's arm is now under Andy's arm. See more »


Followed by The Andy Griffith Show Reunion: Back to Mayberry (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

nostalgic, a treat for long time fans
4 October 2016 | by zschifferzSee all my reviews

The Andy Griffith Show is one of the most iconic sitcoms of all time. First airing in 1962, the show follows the life of a sheriff in a small, fictional town called Mayberry in North Carolina. The record setting show came to an end in 1968, and left dedicated watchers wanting more. There were spin off series such as Mayberry R.F.D and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., but they never found the same success that the Andy Griffith Show had. And so, in 1986, Andy Griffith reprised his role as the small town sheriff. The made-for- TV movie, Return to Mayberry, is a heartwarming trip down memory lane that will leave fans, new and old, swelling with nostalgia.

As the title implies, Sheriff Andy Taylor is heading home to Mayberry. A familiar tune sounds in the opening scene, as a we watch a car drive through the scenic landscape of North Carolina. The song has been modernized, replacing the traditional whistling with instrumentals, but the melody is unmistakable. The town itself seems to have been preserved in time. Opie (Ron Howard) is an expecting father and head of the local paper, and Otis (Hal Smith), the lovable town drunk, has sobered up and now drives an ice cream truck, but otherwise the mythical town hasn't changed a bit. The entire film is just one big tug at the heartstrings, as it so closely follows the style and structure of the Andy Griffith Show.

It is clear however, that this movie was made especially for long time fans of the TV show. The overlying plot is juvenile at best. A new face in town, a young, aspiring businessman, enlists the help of the infamous Earnest T. Bass (Howard Morris) to rustle up some hijinks and mayhem in order to attract customers to the small town. Their plan? A lake monster. Even in the original show, they wouldn't have had a conflict so childish. If the writers wanted to reach a broader audience, they should've made the main storyline more applicable to older viewers.

The original Mayberry set was long gone by the time of production, but the recreation of the fictional town was remarkable. The scene designers did a phenomenal job at capturing the simplicity and charm of the original set. Mayberry itself may be fabricated, but its viewers familiarity with the town gives it a sense of intimacy that was flawlessly recreated in Return to Mayberry.

This movie is exactly what long time watchers of the Andy Griffith Show wanted to see. Andy is the same wise, cunning, and sweet- hearted man, and the rest of the town, both the people and architecture, are just as they were originally. Sixteen members of the cast from the TV series returned for the reunion movie. The bond between these actors was so prominent, and simply a delight to see.

This 1986 homage to the classic sitcom is a perfect conclusion to the Mayberry storyline. Return to Mayberry is by no means an award winning film, but it gives viewers one last look into the lives of the people of Mayberry - the nicest place on Earth.

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