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Coming Home

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Mark Kermode | 17:39 UK time, Friday, 30 April 2010

Having spent rather more time in hotel rooms recently than I would like, I'm thinking about all those great "coming home" movies like Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and I wonder just what is it that makes some of them so special?

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  • Comment number 1.

    I would say "Falling Down" with Michael Douglas is a fantastic 'coming home' movie, as well as David Lynch's "The Straight Story", even though he leaves his physical home to arrive at an emotional one. Also, this may not qualify, but Vincent Gallo's "Buffalo '66". I know after I submit this, I'll have better answers, but those are some ones that immediately come to mind.

  • Comment number 2.

    The Great Escape

  • Comment number 3.

    ...also from my top 10: Deliverance and The Deer Hunter.

  • Comment number 4.

    Certainly not outside the box but Midnight Run is an old favourite. There's a few 'coming home' elements going on at the same time. There's the titular, increasingly nightmarish 'run' itself but also interesting that De Niro's character sort of goes home, halfway through the movie when he visits his ex-wife and daughter - of course it's not really home; much to his misery it's her new husband's idyllic house - it's a touching family moment, one of many successfully sentimental pieces in an unusually moving action buddy movie and boys' own adventure. Great chemistry with De Niro and Charles Grodin and tight plotting too - two areas in which the abysmal Bounty Hunter are put to shame.

  • Comment number 5.

    PS If that's too conventional for you, I suppose the bloke in The Passion of the Christ sort of goes home.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well my fav and I'm suprised you didn't mention it is Saving Private Ryan.

    A group of men, led by Tom Hanks set out to reach Private Ryan and to safely return him home (as well as themselves) to the US.

    Overall it is excellent despite some stereotyping, US flag waving and the usual Spielberg love of sentimentality. Even if the actual plot is flimsy Spielberg expertly puts us as close to experiencing the horrors and the humanity within war as I hope we'll ever be.

    Another shout out would be 101 Dalmations (animated version)

  • Comment number 7.

    Planes, Trains and Automobiles is probably my favourite film of all time. It is certainly John Hughes finest film, a film which gets quite overlooked whenever magazine article or tributes the master director are published or shown. We always see clips or read interviews regarding his famous teen movies but for Planes Trains and Automobiles perfectly encapsulates the power of Hughes as a director. The ending is heartbreaking and never has a piece of music so perfectly served as a recurring motif during emotional scenes as The Dream Academy's "Power to Believe". Not only is the film a story of wanting to get home but it's a story of friendships, the breaking down of barriers of intolerance, class difference, and of course the love of family and friends. Unfortunately the emotional power of the film often gets overlooked and people just refer to it as a "madcap comedy" but this is truly a masterpiece no matter what you call it or genre you lump it in.

  • Comment number 8.

    The Wizard of Oz - 'nuff said.

  • Comment number 9.

    The obvious one is probably The Wizard of Oz. Also, I think Moon deserves a mention.

    Doesn't Michael Caine in The Prestige say that drowning feels like coming home?

  • Comment number 10.

    Not necessarily my favourite, but because I can't think of anything and because nobody has mentioned it before: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

  • Comment number 11.

    For me it's got to be "The Warriors", classic movie all about trying to get home, Excellent movie

  • Comment number 12.

    E.T. "Phone home." Home is where the heart is, literally.

  • Comment number 13.


    Good call.

  • Comment number 14.

    Back to the Future

  • Comment number 15.

    Rabbit Proof Fence,starring Kenneth Branagh, was a great "coming home" film. Even though the two out of three mixed race aboriginal sisters do indeed make it back to their town following this fence it's evidently clear in the end of the film ,based on a true story, they never really did reach "home" as they knew it, suffering further pain and loss in the family and from the warped government.

  • Comment number 16.

    Does 'The Brave Little Toaster' count?

  • Comment number 17.

    My favourite critic quoting my favourite comedian :o)

    I've gotta second (or is that third?) The Warriors!

  • Comment number 18.

    I like that film After Hours - eerily captures that fear of being on the wrong side of town and wanting to get home!

  • Comment number 19.

    The film that immediately came to mind was Lynch's Straight Story and lo and behold it got mentioned by Jonah in the very first comment.
    i think there are many films that feature a return to home in an emotional sense. As someone else said, home is where the heart is. And Wizard of Oz is a prime example for sure.

    I'll give my vote, however, to Mary Poppins -- which could be described as the story of a man learning how to come home (literally and figuratively) as a father rather than "lord of my castle, the sov'reign, the liege", to embrace the chaos of love.

    When we first meet him, he is returning home from work and he sings,

    A British bank is run with precision
    A British home requires nothing less!
    Tradition, discipline, and rules must be the tools
    Without them - disorder!
    Catastrophe! Anarchy! -
    In short, we have a ghastly mess!

    Mary Poppins disrupts this order and leads him to a very different understanding of home and himself in it. The last time we see him arriving home he has lost his job and is a new man, skipping and full of laughter. A spoonful of anarchy goes a long long way.

  • Comment number 20.

    Duncan Jones' Moon comes to mind - his cry of "I just want to go home", remains the film's most affecting line.

  • Comment number 21.

    For me it would have to be Burt Lancaster in 'The Swimmer', sometimes you can never go home.

  • Comment number 22.

    Mark, are you sure Linda hasn't kicked you out?

    My vote was going to be for Field of Dreams but you mentioned that, so how about;

    Silent Running


    Get Carter ( the Michael Caine version)

    Plead forgiveness, I'm sure she'll let you back!

  • Comment number 23.

    I also have to add Stand By Me to the list.

  • Comment number 24.

    Planet of the Apes, the original not the shocking Tim Burton remake, is always a good (if obvious) one.

    And while Apollo 13 is a good example, what about Big, where the main character quite literally returns to his 'childhood home'?

    And continuing on a size theme, The Big Blue is a brilliant example of a film that demonstrates one man's conflict between his desire for love and his desire for the freedom of home.

  • Comment number 25.

    For a twist on the coming home theme I wold suggest Alien and One flew over the cuckoo's nest. Their both films about struggles to survive, escape and get home.

  • Comment number 26.

    This may be stretching it a bit but I remember several years ago being on this road trip that took a turn for the worse, feeling extremely miserable hundreds of miles away from home and finding Almost Famous on one of the channels in my hotel room. There's that scene towards the middle of the film where everybody is on the bus singing Tiny Dancer and William turns to Penny Lane and tells her he has to go home... it was a very cathartic moment for me.

    Barring that, Back to the Future is always great.

  • Comment number 27.

    For a recent example, Coraline was a great coming home movie.

  • Comment number 28.

    'the dream team'
    'wings of desire'
    ...& agree with andygoth about 'one flew over the cuckoo's nest', & would add 'starman' (think that's the name - jeff bridges...brain turned to mush)
    ... & 'up'

  • Comment number 29.

    I would have to say 'Gladiator', the central thrust of the narrative is about Maximus getting home to his family. At the start of the movie this is in the literal sense of getting home to Italy, hence his detailed description of his idllyic home to Marcus Aurelius. Even after this version of his home is destroyed by Commudus with the brutal murder of his wife and child, Maximus's home still survives as the symbolic act of meeting with his wife and child in the afterlife, in 'Elysium', which is shown in the emotional climax of the film as we see Maximus walking through corn fields towards his house in 'Elysium', his wife and child waiting for him. On a lighter note, I love Plains,Trains and Automobiles!

  • Comment number 30.

    Army of Darkness

    Bruce Campbell is hilariously agitated throughout the film. I love his self centered attitude towards getting home, thats his whole thing. Strangely when he gets home in the end he has two different reactions. Depending on which version of the film you see!

  • Comment number 31.

    After Hours.

  • Comment number 32.

    Not going home:

    Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid
    Bonnie And Clyde
    any Star Trek
    2001: A Space Odyssey

  • Comment number 33.

    Both going home and not going home: The Fugitive

  • Comment number 34.

    going home and not going home: The Time machine, Journey to the centER of the earth

  • Comment number 35.

    The Exorcist.

    Demon trapped in young girl employs uses reverse-psychology to ensure lovely priests sense him back home.

    Such a misunderstood film.

  • Comment number 36.

    Having been beaten to Saving Private Ryan, and in the spirit of thinking outside the box, I'll go for The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

    Brad and Janet both want to get home, as do Riff Raff and Magenta. And don't forget Doctor Scott wants to get Eddie home too.

    And let us hope, and for those who do, pray, that this film, like so many other travesties, is NEVER remade.

  • Comment number 37.

    The collective Alien tetralogy is a "coming home" movie, it could be argued; Ripley is Earth-bound at the beginning of Alien then "delayed" for some 257 years, finally returning at the end of Alien: Resurrection... or did she, having died at the end of Alien 3 (my personal favourite of the series)? *scratches head*

  • Comment number 38.

    Eleanor's comment reminded me of Tron by mentioning Jeff Bridges.

    I don't think I have a favorite, so here's some other ones I thought of that I don't think have been mentioned yet:

    Groundhog Day... The Perfect Storm... Cast Away... Munich... Last King Of Scotland...Appocalypto... Rescue Dawn... District 9... Empire Of The Sun... The Band's Visit... The Jungle Book... The Return ( Russian movie)... The Lord Of the Rings trilogy is about 'there and back again', I think.... A Midnight Clear... and Gattaca (don't want to give the ending away but 'going home' is mentioned at the end of it... it's probably a stretch, though). And was it Toy Story 1 or 2 where the toys are trying to get back home?

    I hope it's not against the Good Doctor's rules to submit more than one...

  • Comment number 39.

    Rescue Dawn's sits alongside Saving Private Ryan as a let's-get-home war film, though I think it reaches its conclusion more successfully, perhaps because it's far more stripped-down and primal in the way Herzog deals with the urge as instinct more than morality. This isn't to say it lacks emotion, but that for me is what Herzog does so well, is give nihilism and the meaningless of everything a joy, a visceral truth which one can find even the most tentative comfort in.

    Pan's Labyrinth could also be linked to the idea of coming home (though in a slightly more abstract fashion), as Ofelia's central journey is an attempt to go back to her mother's womb, it being the time at which she was happiest. Whether she finds similar solace eventually becomes a little less important (it could be said), because she manages to find a home for her brother despite EVERYTHING around them prohibiting this.

    Sunshine's also a good choice a similar way to Moon, though there's much more of a two-way choice in the former. The crew desperately want to go back but know their job is to reach further and further away first (and therefore risk not returning, natch).

  • Comment number 40.

    I wouldnt say favourite is the right word, but 1968's The Swimmer starring Burt Lancaster is a movie that sticks in your mind about trying to get home. On TV it would be the original Prisoner or Life on Mars/Asdhes to Adshes that the Dr will have seen them.

  • Comment number 41.

    'Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey' ofcourse! I'm talking the J. Fox remake. That Golden Retriever was my greatest (and hairiest) male role model.

  • Comment number 42.

    Why not 'come home' to a job on Film 2010? You say that your tastes are too leftfield for such a mainstream job, but how mainstream is a job reviewing films on Radio 5? Answer: very.

  • Comment number 43.

    I still hold AI: Artificial Intelligence in high regard, and it again does something similar to Herzog. David doesn't really find himself at home, but he touches on a moment of feeling back home. The end is much less sentimental and far more tragic than people gave it credit for. David finds a home, but is given it for only a day. It's my kind of happy ending, one in which the way contentment is found is through understanding our own lack of longevity, our mortality.

  • Comment number 44.

    Rabbit Proof-Fence leaps to mind instantly but so does Local Hero. Local Hero is about, well it is partially about, discovering somewhere new that you immediately fall in love with that when you do go “home” you can think of nothing but going back to this new loved place that should be home.

  • Comment number 45.

    Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. The whole film revolves around the tragedy of searching for a home that just doesn't exist anymore.

  • Comment number 46.

    Most of the pixar movies feature coming home to some extent - Toy Story & Toy Story 2, A bugs life, Finding Nemo and Bolt all have strong themes around the idea of trying to get home.

    Is there a distinction to be made between films where there is a very brief setup, and then the bulk of the movie is about getting home, and films which comprise a great big journey which finish up with the coming home bit ?

  • Comment number 47.

    I would have to say that the most enjoyable film, and I think one of the best films to do with trying to get home is Toy Story. As others have said lots of Pixar films are about trying to get home such as A Bugs Life and Finding Nemo but for me the ultimate is Toy Story.

    However if you just want a really good film about someone trying to get home then surely The Shawshank Redemption is the film of choice. It revolves around a man who wants to get out of prison and get "home".

  • Comment number 48.

    What about Up? The old man literally takes his home with him to find another home.

  • Comment number 49.

    What about "Garden State"? It's a coming home movie sort of. I think that would be my favourite.

  • Comment number 50.

    I can't think of a film that longs for the warm embrace of home more than Moon

  • Comment number 51.

    Some good calls above; (e.g. Warriors is a classic that instantly springs to mind). I'll add:

    The Odyssey is the template for all 'journey home, overcoming obstacles along the way' stories.
    Armand Assante stared in decent big budget 90's TV version, whilst Kirk Douglas stared in a pretty good 50s movie version, titled after its hero, Ulysses. Everyone remembers the Cyclops.

    A Town called Alice. About Australians held as POWs by the Japanese in WW2, quite gritty for its era (50s). The ending is surprisingly moving.

    Hertzog's Little Dieter Needs to Fly. Documentary, about another POW, this time of the Vietnamese; the story is just so remarkable.

    The Outlaw Josey Wales. Not so much about a journey home, as a journey to find a home and family. One of Eastwood's best westerns.

    Get Carter (Cain version). Mentioned also by 27 above.
    Such a great, multi-layered, cynical and bleak film. Jack Carter returns home to confront the ghosts of his past and meet his destiny.

    In a similar vein, Vanishing Point.

    The Third Man. A journey to his past by Joseph Cotton, to find everything has changed, even his friend is now his enemy. Wonderful ending too where the girl walks past, ignoring him completely. There is nothing left for him there; who has betrayed who?

    I Am David. Movie of Anne Holm's novel set right at the end of WW2, about a orphan who escapes from a concentration camp and travels west trying to find a home. The scene where the dog dies so David can escape recapture can reduce a room of macho guys to tears.

    Captain Courageous. The Spencer Tracey version is very good.

    Apocalypto. It grew on me after a second viewing.

    Jack London's Call of the Wild and White Fang; though the books are far better than any movie adaptation so far.

  • Comment number 52.

    "Back to the Future" has been mentioned already, but I think it's worth mentioning how those films play with the idea of Home. It's not just a place, but it's also a time, but if you mess with time, you risk changing the basic nature of your home - to the point where it ceases to be the home you knew.

    In "Leon", Jean Reno's character talks about how Mathilda starts him thinking about "putting down roots". His life has been nomadic up till that point, and he has to move a couple of times during the movie. He doesn't quite get to fulfil that wish, of course, but the film ends with Mathilda digging a hole for his pot plant - so it can put down roots of its own.

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned 'Midnight Express' yet - terrific story about a young American's horrific experience in a Turkish prison. The fact that it was a true story greatly added to the movie experience.

    'Spartacus' is also essentially a 'going home movie' with the Roman slaves trying to flee the Italian Peninsula and make it back to their respective homelands.

  • Comment number 54.

    Have to agree with many of the great choices listed above - Gladiator, Alien, Moon (Duncan Jones is the new Ridley Scott - Mute is going to be awesome).

    Here's a few odd (or maybe contrived) choices:

    - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro find Las Vegas so revolting they eventually become desperate to leave and return 'home' to civilisation
    - The Bourne films: Jason Bourne trying to get back to being David Webb (spoiler alert :S)
    - The Shining: in one interpretation, Jack's spirit returning to the Overlook Hotel and destroying all who would interfere with his blissfull solitude...

    The Shawshank Redemption is an odd one - on the one hand, Andy is trying to break free and get back 'home' to the freedom he once knew; on the other hand, he doesn't simply go back to his old life, and much of the film is about institutionalisation, how prison/ hell becomes home.

  • Comment number 55.

    Catch 22
    Around the World in 80 Days
    Chicken Run
    Lord of the Flies
    The Man Who Fell to Earth
    The Pianist
    Cool Hand Luke
    Touching the Void
    Three Days of the Condor
    The Gauntlet
    Shackleton (TV)
    War of the Worlds (2005)

  • Comment number 56.

    The entire Lord Of The Rings Triology, to me, is a home coming film. Though it is essentially a journey, it is still a journey with the one thought in the backs of the minds of the hobbits: Getting home.
    The scene on the erupting Mount Doom highlights this perfectly as the Hobbits, Frodo and Sam try to remember what home actually looks and tastes like. And there is of course the long ending showing how they all settle in back at home.
    Added to this Aragorn's journey throughout the three films his is journey back to Minas Tirith to become King, another coming home story.

    Another possible film which is a coming home story is The Last King Of Scotland. The main character grows tired of home and moves to the first (Well second) place he lays his finger on for a change. In the end Uganda proves to be too volatile a place for Nicholas and so the climax is his journey home, back to safety.

  • Comment number 57.

    The Toy Story films - two of my favourites, period - most definitely deal with the idea of "getting home", and explore it rather deeply. The first film involves the two travellers learning to get past their differences and self-interests and work together towards a greater goal, while the second brings this full-circle by having one venture out and risk their neck again for the sake of the other's safety. Furthermore, Buzz has to remind Woody of the very motivations for being at home that were taught to Buzz previously.

    It goes without saying that I wait with anticipation to see how they continue the trend in the upcoming third instalment.

  • Comment number 58.

    Hi Dr K

    What about 'The Haunting' (I'm talking about the Robert Wise version here). 'It's a Wonderful Life'. Has anyone mentioned Lassie?I was also thinking about the end of 'The Railway Children'.

    Some war films have a "home" feeling about them, from the likes of 'Colditz' to Too 'Late the Hero'.

    As someone else has mentioned, 'Shawshank Redemption'? I realise I'm casting my net pretty wide here, in a tenuous link sort of way.

    What about 'Planet of the Apes'?

  • Comment number 59.

    Another twist are the films where someone isn't intending on going home but ends up finding themselves at home. I'm thinking of films like Local Hero where Mac is the city boy in the country. (Done in a much more sickly way in Doc Holiwood)

    Mac ends up back at his apartment, standing on his balcony, looking at the lights of the city. Then it cuts to the phone box ring back at Ferness with the guitars and saxophone of Mark Knopflers 'Going Home' blaring out as the credits roll.

  • Comment number 60.

    I’ll throw the net wide and hit the seventh seal in which max von sydow journeys back to his home and his wife from the crusades but meets death on the way

  • Comment number 61.

    MirrorMask immediately popped into mind. Flawed but visually stunning and poignant. As for stretching the net wider... How about The Piano? Holly Hunter is forced to halfway around the world to marry into a home, and into a set identity, but ends up building one for herself.

  • Comment number 62.

    I guess you'd have to mention Shawshank Redemption in the list of best films where the main plot is 'trying to get home'.
    Groundhog day is probably worth a mention too.
    Also, if horror films are included I'd say Blair Witch Project would fall into this category.

  • Comment number 63.

    Oh, and how could I forget The Warriors. Personally one of my favourite films.

  • Comment number 64.

    A great 80s kids film, The Goonies - A group of kids go on a great adventure for One Eyed Willie's treasure, so they can buy back their homes that the real estaters are trying to destroy.

  • Comment number 65.

    Shawshank Redemption
    The land before time
    The pianist
    Deer hunter
    The road
    The lion king!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    Further to my Alien tetralogy comment (#37), remember the Hovis advert Sir Ridley Scott directed years ago? Isn't the accompanying tune entitled 'Coming Home'?

  • Comment number 67.

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

    I just watched it last night so that will be my choice.

  • Comment number 68.

    I decided to keep to DVDs I own.

    Apart from the aforementioned Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Flight of the Phoenix and Apollo 13, I've got - some are totally out of the box:

    Falling Down
    Con Air
    Die Hard 2 - trying to get his wife home safely
    Doctor Zhivago - epic attempt to get back to his wife after being conscripted
    Saving Private Ryan
    Face/Off - attempting to get back home with his normal face
    Genevieve - the hilarious race home
    Gladiator - tries to get home to his wife and kid, eventually gets home to them in Elysium
    Groundhog Day - trying to get back to his normal life
    Home Alone - mother trying to get back to her child.
    Ferris Bueller's Day Off
    Kermit's Swamp Years - trying to get Kermit's friend home.
    TV - Long Way Round
    Road to Perdition
    Scott of the Antarctic
    The Great Escape
    The Italian Job chase
    The Muppet's Wizard of Oz
    The Wizard of Oz
    Shawshank Redemption
    The War of the Worlds - Tom Cruise version
    Trading Places

  • Comment number 69.


    I left out Back to the Future and Chicken Run

  • Comment number 70.

    Hands down as you already meantioned, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, plus its by John Hughes and who could argue with that!

  • Comment number 71.

    I know this isn't a film but surely the best example of the 'desire to come home' would be the television series "Quantum Leap" - where the main character Sam is effectively 'Slaughterhouse Five's Billy Pilgrim - "unstuck in time" - and his Sisphean task of righting wrongs in order to finally get back to his own time (and his own body)...

  • Comment number 72.

    Why is he called Dr. K

  • Comment number 73.

    Battlefield Earth! Terl, John Travolta, just wants to go home and will do anything to make it happen. The rest of the cast just want to get out of the movie...

  • Comment number 74.

    "Midnight run" where Robert De Niro's character just want to bet back to LA before midnight. It also feature one of my favourite ending?last lines in any film,, De Nrio lets the pain in the arse goodie-goodie guy he has brought across America free, is rewarded.However because the cab driver can't change a $1000 note, he has to put up the collar says "looks like I'm" walking and set off on foot in the pouring rain.A brilliant mini satire on the narrow minded car culture of America

  • Comment number 75.

    As already mentioned, animated features are an endless source of going home plots, from Toy story 1&2, to Wall-e, to Jungle book, to the Lion King.
    Variations on a theme include Shrek who just wants all the fairytale critters to clear off to enjoy his swamp-home in peace but has to go on a quest to achieve his goal, and Up which turns the concept on it's head and finds that having flown it all the way to South America and lugged it to the perfect location by a waterfall on a towrope, home is a metaphorical ball and chain which has to be ditched to make a fresh start in life.
    Belleville Rendezvous pits a Portugese grandma against the French Mafia in trying to rescue her kidnapped grandson from the fictional City of Belleville. Possibly the most original use of a pedalo in a transatlantic rescue mission. Most kidnap plots fit the bill really (Ruthless People, Raising Arizona, City of Lost Children spring to mind).
    I'm sure there must be more...
    As another variation on a coming home theme, I'd also suggest Beetlejuice where the recently deceased ghost couple discover their home has had a gaudy 80's makeover courtesy of tasteless new owners. As they are cursed to stay there forever they resort to hiring the services of a dodgy bio-exorcist to allow the necessary freedom to get the decor back to something they recognise as home.

  • Comment number 76.

    'Toy Story' has to be the quintessential coming home film, as good as if not better than, I think, 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' and 'Back to the Future'.
    Its entire plot is based around getting home and not to mention that is was such a revolutionary film and just such an enjoyable watch. I still watch it on a regular basis and laugh every time. Lets just hope the 3rd will live up to such massive expectations.
    A.I. is another great call.. Do love that film..

  • Comment number 77.

    How about,
    The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Tommy Lee Jones promises to take a dead body home)
    Twelve Monkeys (Bruce Willis trying to find how a virus drove everyone underground so that the whole world can return home)

  • Comment number 78.

    One of the great "coming home" films is the Ealing classic "Passport to Pimlico". the simple story of inhabitants of a street in post-war London who discover they are actually not British but citizens of teh ancient kingdom of Burgandy. They embrace their new found freedoms and liberties by declaring themselves independant and thus throwing away their dreaded ID cards and ration books. Their hard fought independance comes at a cost including border controls, customs posts at the end of the street and the breakdown of law when their tiny state becomes overrun with spivs and black marketeers and the police are powerless to help. The citizens come together finally and at the end of the film "come home" to England with a street party that ends in a traditional British downpour. As returning Burgundians say - you don't know when you are well off until the things you rely on at taken way! A very salutory lesson.

  • Comment number 79.

    I'd have to go with the wonderful and intricately plotted Spanish film "Timecrimes".
    A film where the protagonist will quite literally become complicit in any deed no matter how selfish, cruel or dangerous just to get back to his previous everyday existence.
    So maybe he never quite "gets home" in the truest sense but ends up having to settle for something as close as he can feasibly get.
    Funny and horrible in equal measure.

  • Comment number 80.

    It's surprising that Lost in Translation hasn't been mentioned, although it's not strictly about getting home.

  • Comment number 81.

    If one is to delve into the existential side of things, Jim Jarmusch's Down By Law could be categorised as coming home film due to the seemingly constant search for an anchor which the three protagonists endure.
    Lurie's pimp and Waits' disc jockey squander their established positions of privilege and end up parting at a crossroads, unsure of what the future will hold for them.
    Benigni's italian tourist however, far removed from his de facto native soil, finds an unexpected home in the cottage together with Nicoletta Braschi's character.
    If one wishes to spin that thought further into meta-territory, it's worth noting that Benigni and Braschi got legitimately married just a few years after...

  • Comment number 82.

    Dear Dr. K,

    To be honest the greatest film I've ever seen about the idea of "going home" has gotta be Watership Down.

    Perhaps the greatest mediation on migration to a new home for a better a life, how much you have to risk and how much you will sacrifice to find a new home for the generations that will follow you.

    Watership Down has so many threads and does not hold back when showing death on screen (particularly when you realise that it was made for children).

    The central theme though is migration and the journey to a new home which is something that everyone I'm sure can relate to.

  • Comment number 83.

    In terms of profound impact I think Alive is one of the most important coming home movies.

    The subject matter of desecration to surivive is an important human tale to tell.

    I think the parallels in the script are so vast.. the moutain is dead but alive are the characters.

    They literally climb mountains to survive and return to their home.

  • Comment number 84.

    Hi there Mark!

    I would have to say my favourite 'going home' movie is District 9. There's the human element of the story, in which Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is desperately trying to get back home to his wife, and his life before 'the incident'. Then of course there's the aliens, who are simply stranded in District 9 and unable to get home. I know the film has other themes and ideas, but I think at the centre it is very much a 'going home' movie.

    Many thanks Dr. K!


  • Comment number 85.

    In Forrest Gump, Forrest travels the world but always ends up coming home. From his time in the army to looking for jenny, his travelling always end with his coming home, probably because he feels safe there, though sometimes he feels the need to leave and travel. :p

    He just wants Jeeny to come home to him, when she feels she doesn't even have a proper home. A huge part of Forrest gump is trying to come home or trying to find your home. :D

  • Comment number 86.

    W I T H N A I L & I

  • Comment number 87.

    Wim Wenders's "Paris, Texas". Harry Dean Stanton's character is brought back home and then he struggles to actually come back, to come back being a father, a husband. A beautiful journey.

  • Comment number 88.

    some excellent choices suggested 'wizard of oz', 'moon', 'warriors' and of course 'planes, trains & automobiles'

    my choice would be 'ice cold in alex'

  • Comment number 89.

    The Wizard of Oz, The Phantom Tollbooth (1970), and that "Rosebud" film ... what's it called? ... Oh yeah: Citizen Kane!

  • Comment number 90.

    Without a doubt Scorsese's After Hours which draws you into it's dark and paranoid surreal world with fantastical wonder. "All I want to do is go home" Griffen Dunne says, running for his life from an angry mob. Second I would say The Warriors; A great fun movie for all ages. And Planes, Trains & Automobiles would rear up in 3rd place, cause while it is uproariously hilarious, it also reveals great hurt and truth - unlike any comedy I have ever seen before or since.

  • Comment number 91.

    Casablanca is about two people trying to get 'home' (but which two?)

    It's about a lot of other things as well

  • Comment number 92.

    Rabbit Proof Fence

  • Comment number 93.

    Every time I thought of one, I saw it already posted so I won't bother repeating them.

    My additions to the list are:

    Oh Brother Where Art Thou
    Spirited Away
    Old Boy (vengeance for being denied the ability to go home)

    I want to include The Man Without A Past too because when you think about journeys home it is that emotional pull to that place where you belong that keeps the story going. The Man Without A Past is about a man who can't get back home because he's lost his memory. It is about his personal journey to find a new (or create) a new home.

  • Comment number 94.

    About Schmidt.

  • Comment number 95.


    And Solaris.

  • Comment number 96.

    And ofcourse the most obvious but almost forgotten coming-home-filmtitle: COMING HOME (1978)! Hal Asby's vietnam movie

  • Comment number 97.

    I meant 'Ashby' to avoid any confusion...

  • Comment number 98.

    Hello Dr. kermode.

    I think that the only movies about homecoming for me would be The Lord of the Rings because nobody wants to really go where they must go. The Hobbits are constantly tempted by the idea of giving up their task and go back home. The lord of the Rings is a movie about going away to save your home so that you can return there in peace. I also think that the Lord of the Rings is about remebering home and comparing it to the harsh world outside, much like the book "The Hobbit".

  • Comment number 99.

    Mark, one could argue that The Exorcist is in a sense a 'coming home film'!

    A good story is always about getting 'there'. Whatever that my be. 'There' is often portrayed as a comforting save place leaving the wilderness behind. Home!

    Stuck on an exotic island far away from home, a classic coming home scenario. Think of 'Castaway'.

  • Comment number 100.

    Die Hard is the quintessential "coming home" movie. Even in the beginning, all John wants to do is for his wife and kids to move back to New York so things can be normal again. He's essentially an extremely capable everyman who doesn't want to be a hero, but has to, and just wants to get rid of Hans and his crew so he can just go home.


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