Great Performances (1971– )
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Beyond the Horizon 

On a Connecticut farm, James Mayo's two sons both love Ruth Atkins. Robert, the younger son, is sickly and dreams of escaping to a romantic life somewhere "beyond the horizon." Andy is ... See full summary »


Eugene O'Neill (play)




Episode complete credited cast:
Richard Backus ... Robert Mayo
Kate Wilkinson Kate Wilkinson ... Kate Mayo
John Randolph ... James Mayo
Edward J. Moore Edward J. Moore ... Andrew Mayo
Maria Tucci ... Ruth Atkins
James Broderick ... Captain Scott
Geraldine Fitzgerald ... Mrs. Atkins
Kathy Koperwhats Kathy Koperwhats ... Mary Mayo
Mike Houlihan Mike Houlihan ... Ben (as Michael Houlihan)
John Houseman ... Dr. Fawcett
Hal Holbrook ... Theater in America Host


On a Connecticut farm, James Mayo's two sons both love Ruth Atkins. Robert, the younger son, is sickly and dreams of escaping to a romantic life somewhere "beyond the horizon." Andy is hard-working and steadfast and loves his brother deeply. When Ruth reveals that she loves Robert and not, as everyone believed, Andy, Robert's plans to go to sea with his uncle are disrupted. He decides to stay at home and marry Ruth, while Andy, unwilling to remain close at hand as his brother marries the girl he loves, takes Robert's place on the voyage. This turn of events leads to heartache and tragedy for everyone involved. Written by Jim Beaver <>

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Release Date:

17 July 1975 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "Beyond the Horizon" by Eugene O'Neill opened on February 2, 1920 at the Morosco Theater, ran for 111 performances and won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1920. See more »


Version of Derrière l'horizon (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Very well done...and very depressing and gloomy.
8 May 2012 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Aside from anomalies like "Ah, Wilderness!", Eugene O'Neill's plays were amazingly dark and joyless. Now this isn't to say that they were's just that they cover such dark interrelationships that you really need to love this in order to love his plays. I've seen several recently and found them all extremely compelling--and extremely off-putting at the same time. In the characters in film versions of the plays such as "Mourning Becomes Electra", "Anna Christie", "Long Day's Journey into Night" and "Beyond the Horizon", you see much that seems real and sad--much of it because O'Neill was often writing about his own life experiences--and O'Neill's life totally sucked (some self-created--most thrust upon him in his youth). So, if you want to learn about the darkest parts of folks, then he is definitely your author. You know he's not exactly a fun writer when you see that "Emperor Jones" was practically a comedy for O'Neill!! But, unfortunately, the plays can also be unrelentingly grim and a bit nasty--and may drive away viewers as well.

"Beyond the Horizon" is sort of like O'Neill's early adult life and the lives of his family all mixed together. None of the characters are exactly like himself, his brother or his parents, there certainly are aspects of them (for a truer dysfunctional portrait of the family, see "Long Day's Journey into Night"). O'Neill left home as a young adult and went to see--while his physically and emotionally sick brother stayed home to farm, languished and died very young. There also was O'Neill's disastrous first marriage (he was, it appears, incapable of maintaining a marriage at this point in his life). All this is found, in various forms in the play/film--but who did exactly what is all mixed together in a fictionalized semi-autobiographical story.

While the story is VERY grim, I must applaud the cleverly written script as well as the lovely acting. While the leading actors are relatively unknown folks, they were really good--and very good at displaying emotion as well as aging before the camera. More famous folks are in supporting roles (such as John Randolph, Geraldine Fitzgerald and John Houseman)--and they are good, but are really overshadowed by the leads (Richard Backus, Edward J. Moore and Kate Wilkinson)--they were THAT good. In fact, I have no real complaints about any of this--other than I don't think I can take another O'Neill play for now, as they depress me! Now I am NOT saying I need to always be happy (I watch lots of dark-toned films)--but O'Neill's plays are so realistic and so wrenching to watch that I find them too much--too grim and too hard on your soul. See one or two--then go to Disney world or buy a puppy or eat an ice cream sundae and enjoy life!

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