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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


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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?


Eva Marie Saint and Erin Gray both played Wilma Dearing in productions of Buck Rogers in the 21st Century, Eva Marie in the 1950s, and Erin in 1979-80s. See more »

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User Reviews

I was there... it was a great movie made by really good people!
17 February 2006 | by tex071205See all my reviews

20 years ago and a great movie! But I'm biased ... here are some tid-bits about actually being there. I was the guy sitting behind Doug McKeon in the class room scene as the teacher questioned him. It was October,1987. I viewed this movie with family members during Thanksgiving "87". It was presented by Hallmark as an alternative to football and aired Thanksgiving night. I love this movie. Its a great family show about how the 50's really were. // Here is some behind the scenes stuff. I was in 7 different scenes. A real masterpiece of acting ...Doug McKeon that is, not me. I got $40 bucks and a tuna-fish sandwich as an extra. It was a good day. (Actually 4 days) And, then my film career ended...I was 28 and washed up.(Actually,I had a blast...) Doug McKeon, Jason Robards and Aaron Gray,(my cousin worked with her in Battlestar Gallactica) as well as the director and his wife were very nice to us "extras". Doug McKeon talked to us between the "basketball game scenes" and really encouraged us. The set was hard-working but very laid back. The classroom scene was filmed at the SMU law school, in Dallas at 2am. They put huge spot-lights on the windows from the outside in order to make it look like daytime. Wardrobe dressed one guy in a 1950's black leather jacket, which was "not" the look for this low-key 50's movie - he was ejected from the classroom scene by the director! (They gave him an extra tuna-fish sandwich, and he felt better.) My girlfriend worked wardrobe ... thats how I got on the set. I didn't have an agent ... I told another extra this and he got bent! I said, "I'm just here for the tuna." I worked the movie at SMU and at the old Astro Drive-in in SW Dallas. They can-celled a proposed scene where the extras were to be sitting in various cars kissing (at the drive-in). Most of the men extras were gay and the ladies were freaking-out (murmuring) about AIDS. At that time, I think everyone thought AIDS could get transmitted by brain waves. There was a lot of paranoia and misinformation. The ladies knew which guys were gay. They started to get possessive toward the straight guys. This really gorgeous brunette came up and whispered in my ear that if the scene happened, she was kissing me. I thought ... if being an extra paid more, I could do this for a living...then I looked at that brunette again and thought ...ya know, I just might enjoy being poor. I took photos of the extras and still have em. The cute blond who played the bad girl (she was 18 in real life)in the drive-in scene was a model in from Europe, but she was originally from Dallas.(Sorry, I didn't memorize the names from the actor's list) In between scenes at Bubba's (on Hillcrest St. across from SMU) we would chat ... she was unusually nice to me ... I think she thought I was a real actor. She asked me if I was out from LA ... so in a kidding voice, I said, "yah, I gotta head back .. my agent says there may be some opportunities." I don't know if she knew I was kidding. A couple of years later, I ran into her at the Container Store. She was even prettier!// The scenes at the Law School went until 4am. The extras sat around all night and scarfed down all the food. After a long repeat scene was repeated for the last time, I went outside to get a Coke. I was looking down into one of the ice chests and saw nothing but melted ice - a voice above me said, "anything left to snack on?" I said, "no, its looks like nothing..." as I stood up the voice right in front of me was Aaron Gray. When my brain identified who I was talking to it quickly malfunctioned .. Aaron was standing 2 feet away talking to me ... I was star-shocked, so I made up my own language called, "mashed-potato-mouth" .. she was so beautiful, she laughed, she thought I was funny ... I will never forget her eyes. Aaron had flown in from LA and was heading back (I think) in the middle of the night. The director and his wife presented her with some beautiful flowers as she was leaving to go to the airport. The director was a class guy .. he had a limo pick up Aaron. //I later worked on another movie (my wardrobe friend got me on several sets) with the guy who played Lonny's (Doug's) friend in the college scenes. In real life he was later beaten up by some crazy dude at a party. He didn't look the same. I think he did some Dr. Pepper commercials. Hes probably a director today. // The guy who played the brother of Lonny's love interest in the movie (Aaron Gray was Lonny's or Doug's love interest)later became a big soap star. And, of course Jason Robards, Jerry Haines (Our local beloved Mr. Peppermint and local broadcaster during the Kennedy assassination in 1963)and all the actors of that generation were favorites of my dad's for years. Anyone who wants a movie the whole family can enjoy should see this one. Its a Holiday Classic at our house but is good to watch any time of year! Marc S. Robinson, Dallas

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