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The Ice Storm (1997)

R | | Drama | 26 November 1997 (USA)
In suburban New Canaan, Connecticut, 1973, middle class families experimenting with casual sex and substance abuse find their lives beyond their control.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
William Cain ...
Ted Shackley
Mrs. Gadd
Libbets Casey


In the weekend after thanksgiving 1973 the Hoods are skidding out of control. Benjamin Hood reels from drink to drink, trying not to think about his trouble at the office. His wife, Elena, is reading self help books and losing patience with her husband's lies. Their son, Paul, home for the holidays, escapes to the city to pursue an alluring rich girl from his prep school. And young, budding nymphomaniac, Wendy Hood roams the neighborhood, innocently exploring liquor cabinets and lingerie drawers of her friends' parents, looking for something new. Then an ice storm hits, the worst in a century. Things get bad... Written by Emory Herbertson <shrikes.fox@worldnet.att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The American Dream was over. But the hangover was just beginning. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and drug use, including scenes involving children, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

26 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La tormenta de hielo  »

Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$75,183 (USA) (28 September 1997)


$7,837,632 (USA) (8 February 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Gene Siskel selected this as the best film of 1997. See more »


When the train arrives, it has the Penn Central logo on the front. At the time, Penn Central operated the commuter railroads throughout the Tri-State Area. However, electric multiple units such as the M-2 Cosmopolitan would not have used that logo. The first batch was owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, and all of those trains would've had the state seal on the front. See more »


[first lines]
Train Conductor: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. This train, originating from New York's Grand Central Station, is back in service. Next stop will be New Canaan, Connecticut. New Canaan, Connecticut next stop.
Paul Hood: [narration] In issue 141 of the Fantastic Four, published in November, 1973, Reed Richards had to use his anti-matter weapon on his own son, who Aannihilus has turn into the Human Atom Bomb. It was a typical predicament for the Fantastic Four, because they weren't like other superheroes. ...
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Features M*A*S*H (1972) See more »


Too Late to Turn Back Now
Written by Eddie Cornelius
Used by permission of EMI Unart Catalog Inc (BMI)
Performed by Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
Courtesy of EMI Records
Under license from EMI Capitol Music Special Markets
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User Reviews

A movie of raw emotional power. **** out of ****
6 August 1999 | by (Michigan, USA) – See all my reviews

THE ICE STORM (1997) ****

Starring: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, and Katie Holmes Director: Ang Lee 113 minutes Rated R (for strong sexual content, and for drug use & language)

By Blake French:

Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm" is such a provocative and unsettling experience that it made Gene Siskel's top movie of 1997. Since then, Siskel has recently passed away. But Being an avid film reviewer and buff, I thought that it would be appropriate for me to screen "The Ice Storm" for a second time, this time in full awareness of Siskel's thoughts on the film. After careful inspection, I think that I agree with my favorite movie critic's opinion, and feel obligated to post a review explaining why.

Watching "The Ice Storm" is a unique occurrence. Movie's don't get this powerful every time one visits a local multiplex. The story is basically a series of sins and involvement's that dig the characters deeper and deeper into an emotional crater.

The time period is about thirty to forty years ago. Kevin Kline and Joan Allen are Ben and Elena Hood. They have a son whose 16, Paul, and a sexually confused 14 year old daughter named Wendy. This is not a happy family and the film never pretends otherwise.

Ben is having an adulterous affair with his neighbor's wife, Janey Carver. Her husband, Jim, is pretty much unsuspecting, but Ben's wife is dubious of her mysteriously acting spouse. The Carvers also have teenage children named Mikey and Sandy. Mickey is ready to explore a sexual underworld with Wendy, and she is prepared to experiment with whoever comes down her path first.

Elena is caught stealing from a local party store one day and that triggers an effect that causes her to react openly to her husband about his involvement's with Janey Carver. When Ben and Elena visit a wife swapping party where the guests put their keys in a dish to see who an individual will sleep with, things become even more adulterous with the Carvers.

The film is propelled by unique, one of a kind performances by all the actors in the cast. Sigourney Weaver, receiving a best supporting actress nomination for her performance, is superb, in a slutty, whorish kind of a way. Joan Allen is also perfection delivering a sense of egresses and desire without ever speaking that much. Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, and Adam Hann-Byrd all act well as the teens. Basically all the one screen appeal of "The Ice Storm" is top class.

But there is something more than just the on screen appeal with this movie. Something that allows the audience to experience a feeling of confusion along with the characters. We can become so involved in the story because all the story consists of is a pile of heavy sins. We feel the character's needs. Relate to the issues. Things happen that struck me so profoundly that I find myself listing the film on my list of top 100 movies of all time. In the last scene of "The Ice Storm" a key character brakes down and cries like a baby, with his family next to his side. We look back at all the wrongdoing he has done, at all the sins he has committed, and all the reasons he has to cry, and we fell his pain--and somewhere, deep down, we try to forgive him.

38 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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