6 user

Breaking Home Ties (1987)

Inspired by a Norman Rockwell painting, this 1950s coming of age drama centers on a young man leaving home to attend college, where he will learn the lessons in becoming a man. While his family must deal with a life threatening illness.


John Wilder


John Wilder


Learn more

More Like This 

An Innocent Love (TV Movie 1982)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A gifted 14-year-old junior at the University of Washington replies to an ad of a 19-year-old freshman to be her maths tutor, paving the way for a friendship and a silent first crush. Will the kind genius master the lessons of the heart?

Director: Roger Young
Stars: Melissa Sue Anderson, Doug McKeon, Steven Bauer
Desperate Lives (TV Movie 1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A brother and sister get caught up in the drug scene in their local high school, with tragic results.

Director: Robert Michael Lewis
Stars: Diana Scarwid, Doug McKeon, Helen Hunt
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A mother forces her son to kill her father, based upon a true event in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1978.

Stars: Stann Babb, Ray Baker, George Bartenieff
The Comeback Kid (TV Movie 1980)
Comedy | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A down and out former minor league ballplayer finds romance and a renewed zest for life when he takes a job coaching a group of underprivileged kids.

Director: Peter Levin
Stars: John Ritter, Susan Dey, Doug McKeon
Stolen: One Husband (TV Movie 1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

An angry wife seeks revenge against her philandering entrepreneur husband who left her for a younger woman.

Director: Catlin Adams
Stars: Valerie Harper, Elliott Gould, Brenda Vaccaro
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A divorced mother may lose custody of her young daughter to her ex-husband after he learns that the little girl crawled into bed with the mother and her boyfriend.

Director: Leonard Nimoy
Stars: Diane Keaton, Liam Neeson, Jason Robards
Journey (TV Movie 1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Journey and his grandfather Marcus have to come to terms with each other's reactions to the loss when Journey's mother, Min, decides to leave Journey and his sister Cat to be looked after ... See full summary »

Director: Tom McLoughlin
Stars: Jason Robards, Brenda Fricker, Max Pomeranc
Dreams Awake (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

While on vacation a disconnected family gets stranded near mystical Mt. Shasta and amazing possibilities open up. A family drama grows into a spiritual mystery, and finally becomes a ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Alden Deal
Stars: Erin Gray, Gary Graham, Tim O'Connor
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

When Ethan's older brother Greg is found dead, the police rule the case a suicide, but Ethan suspects foul play stemming from Greg's recent involvement with a martial arts team called the ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry P. Jacobs
Stars: Ted Jan Roberts, Corey Feldman, Mako
Centennial (1978–1979)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The economic and cultural growth of Colorado spanning two centuries from the mid 1700s to the late 1970s.

Stars: Raymond Burr, Barbara Carrera, Richard Chamberlain
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A father tries to toughen his son by paying the neighborhood bullies to beat him up. The title comes from the lad's cry during one of the staged bouts.

Director: Adell Aldrich
Stars: Jamie Aff, Clinton Allmon, Matthew Anton
Tell Me My Name (TV Movie 1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
Director: Delbert Mann
Stars: Barbara Barrie, Dawn Greenhalgh, Arthur Hill


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Robards ... Lloyd
Eva Marie Saint ... Emma
Doug McKeon ... Lonnie
Erin Gray ... Carol
Claire Trevor ... Grace Porter
J. Eddie Peck ... Brad
Kristen Lux Kristen Lux ... Bonnie Jo
David Denney David Denney ... Roy
Parley Baer ... Sears
Norman Bennett
Tom Campitelli
Jerry Haynes ... Dr. Hendrickson
Jill Parker-Jones Jill Parker-Jones
Miles Mutchler Miles Mutchler
Abby Newman Abby Newman


Inspired by a Norman Rockwell painting, this 1950s coming of age drama centers on a young man leaving home to attend college, where he will learn the lessons in becoming a man. While his family must deal with a life threatening illness.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Leaving is never easy. Coming home can be even harder.




PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Norman Rockwell's Breaking Home Ties See more »

Filming Locations:

Dallas, Texas, 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?


The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Jason Robards, Eva Marie Saint and Claire Trevor. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Conceptually Very Near To Rockwell's Original Illustration, Honoured Here By This Luminous Film.
27 July 2008 | by rsoonsaSee all my reviews

A work produced for television wherein all connected with it might be proud, this highly nostalgic and sentimental piece utilizes original characters and situations drawn from the imagination of its writer and director John Wilder, directly derived from a well-known Norman Rockwell illustration that occupied the 25 September 1954 front cover of the Saturday Evening Post. The painting represents a father and son seated upon an old pickup truck's running board, obviously waiting for the appearance of a train, the lad clearly excited about his forthcoming journey, his father solemn, and the action opens with the illustration's figures becoming animated as we see Lloyd Welles (Jason Robards, Jr.) and his son Lonnie (Doug McKeon) preparing to separate, valise-toting Lonnie off to a university, having high hopes for his future, as have had many such young men from U.S. farms through the years, and this tautly plotted and executed production depicts the sorrow to his parents Lloyd and Emma (Eva Marie Saint with a typically strong performance) that is caused by Lonnie's departure. Emma is dying from leukemia, a condition that she keeps from her husband and son; therefore, when Lonnie is at school (on an athletic scholarship), the scenario presents emotional trials and other experiences for him separate from her grim state of health, these having additional significance by their occurring in an unfamiliar locale, while tension between Lonnie and Lloyd establishes a foundation for conflict and resolution from within the narrative. Lonnie's character forms as he finds that his life as an adult will not be a simplistic one, and maturity will come about only if he reacts to crises in a forceful manner. The truths that he learns will plainly be shared with his parents as well as with his high school teacher, Grace Porter (Claire Trevor in her final film appearance), during the same period, while Lonnie's first serious romantic relationships are underscored. A rural house used for the Welles homestead, located near Rockett, Texas, will be recognized by some viewers as it was also employed for the primary setting for Robert Benton's PLACES IN THE HEART. This work is filmed in north Texas with most footage shot in and near Dallas and Waxahachie, with Lonnie attending Southern Methodist University (S.M.U.). The picture was completed after about one month's shooting in November of 1987, its kaleidoscopic episodes being developed at, among other sites, Waxahachie's rail depot (featuring the Texas Southern Railroad), the no longer extant Astro Drive-In Movie Theater, and Bubba's, a well-known restaurant near S.M.U., a favoured hangout for university students. Lonnie's growth as a man is trenchantly portrayed, through a well-constructed script, as having parallel elements with his father's as a youth, and it is this brand of clarity within the storyline that bolsters a viewer perception that dramatic events upon the screen are akin to commonly perceived reality. There is nothing less than proficiency in the performances offered by the players, with McKeon's creative ad libbing skills having particular value. As shall be expected, Robards and McKeon are standouts, while other top-notch turns come from J. Eddie Peck as Lonnie's closest friend and Erin Gray as his sweetheart. For this film that accurately provides a period setting (1950s Texas), collective plaudits must go to those members of the crew who are most responsible for such as costuming (Joan Thomas), hair (Nena Smarz), editing (Gary Griffin), as well as all other facets of design. A nicely organized thematic score comes from Jerrold Immel, effectively serving this well-directed, written and cast motion picture.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed