Cocoon (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ron Howard
Produced by David Brown
Richard Zanuck
Screenplay by Tom Benedek
Based on Cocoon 
by David Saperstein
Starring Don Ameche
Wilford Brimley
Hume Cronyn
Brian Dennehy
Jack Gilford
Steve Guttenberg
Maureen Stapleton
Jessica Tandy
Gwen Verdon
Herta Ware
Tahnee Welch
Music by James Horner
Cinematography Donald Peterman[1]
Editing by Daniel P. Hanley
Mike Hill
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • June 21, 1985 (1985-06-21)
Running time 117 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $17.5 million[2]
Box office $85,313,124[3]

Cocoon is a 1985 comedy-drama-science fiction film directed by Ron Howard about a group of elderly people rejuvenated by aliens.[4][5] The movie stars Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Gwen Verdon, Herta Ware, Tahnee Welch, and Linda Harrison. The film is loosely based on the novel by David Saperstein.

The movie was filmed in and around St. Petersburg, Florida: locations included the St Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, Sunny Shores Rest Home, The Coliseum, and Snell Arcade buildings. The film earned two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Don Ameche) and for Best Visual Effects.

One sequel was produced, Cocoon: The Return, in which almost all of the original cast reprised their roles.[6]


About 10,000 years ago, peaceful aliens from the planet Antarea set up an outpost on the planet Earth, on an island later known to mankind as Atlantis. When Atlantis is destroyed, twenty aliens must be left behind. Antareans who return to pick them up disguise themselves as humans, rent a house with a swimming pool, and charge the water with "life force" to give the cocooned Antareans energy to survive the trip home. They charter a boat from a local captain named Jack (Steve Guttenberg) who helps them retrieve the cocoons. Jack likes Kitty, a beautiful woman from the team who chartered his boat and becomes a voyeur when he spies on her while she gets nude in her cabin, only to get shocked when he discovers she is an alien. After the aliens reveal themselves to him and explain what's going on, he decides to help them.

Ben (Wilford Brimley), Arthur (Don Ameche) and Joe (Hume Cronyn), three local retirement home residents, swim in the pool and absorb some of the life force, making them feel younger and stronger. Eventually caught in the act, they are given permission to use the pool by the Antarean leader, Walter (Brian Dennehy). Their friend Bernie (Jack Gilford) obstinately refuses to use the healing power of the pool, and at the retirement home carelessly reveals the secret of the pool's rejuvenating powers. Joe also carelessly reveals it more by showing his capability in being able to knock out two retirement home managers trying to pull him away in his attempts to beat up Bernie over a personal insult he gives him about how his marriage is in jeopardy due to the consequences. In response to the fully revealed secret all the other elderly residents storm out of the retirement home and barge into the pool. Infuriated, Walter ejects them, but too many have been in the pool at once and drained its life force.

Kitty (Tahnee Welch), an alien crewmember appearing as a beautiful female human, falls in love with Jack, who does the same. They decide to make love in the pool, in which Kitty enters nude and teaches Jack how to use energy to make love instead of using their bodies.[7]

Walter explains that the cocoons cannot now survive the trip back to Antarea but will be able to survive on Earth. With the help of Jack, Ben, Arthur and Joe, the Antareans return the cocoons to the sea. The Antareans offer space aboard their ship to the old people. Bernie chooses to remain on Earth, but most of the others accept the invitation to travel to a world where they will never be ill, never age, and never die.


Casting for the film and its sequel were overseen by casting director Beverly McDermott.[8]


Film score by James Horner
Released 1985
September 1997
Recorded 1985
Genre Soundtrack
Length 44:23
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Filmtracks 4/5 stars[9]

The score for Cocoon was composed and conducted by James Horner. The soundtrack was released twice, through Polydor Records in 1985 and a reprint through P.E.G. in 1997 and features eleven tracks of score and a vocal track performed by Michael Sembello. Despite the reprint, it is still considered a rarity among soundtrack collectors.[10]

  1. "Through the Window" (2:54)
  2. "The Lovemaking" (4:21)
  3. "The Chase" (4:27)
  4. "Rose's Death" (2:10)
  5. "The Boys are Out" (2:35)
  6. "Returning to Sea" (4:13)
  7. "Gravity" (4:52) - written and performed by Michael Sembello
  8. "Discovered in the Poolhouse" (2:45)
  9. "First Tears" (1:49)
  10. "Sad Goodbyes" (2:22)
  11. "The Ascension" (5:55)
  12. "Theme from Cocoon" (6:03)

In 2013 Intrada released an expanded and remastered edition.

  1. Through The Window 2:58
  2. Going To The Pool 1:55
  3. Pool Is Closed 2:10
  4. Mysterious Dive 1:54
  5. Seduction / Let's Go 2:10
  6. Unveiling 1:05
  7. Discovered In The Poolhouse 2:47
  8. A Relapse 1:27
  9. The Lovemaking 4:24
  10. First Tears 1:51
  11. Rose's Death 2:14
  12. Returning To Sea 4:16
  13. Sad Goodbye 2:15
  14. Sneaking Away 3:15
  15. David Runs To The Boat 1:53
  16. The Chase 4:30
  17. The Ascension 6:01
  18. Theme From Cocoon 6:05
  19. The Boys Are Out 2:37
  20. I Feel Great 1:05
  21. Rock Source 1:13
  22. Gravity 4:00

James Horner would return in 1988 to compose the score for Cocoon: The Return.

Howard directed the music video for "Gravity," and also has a cameo appearance as himself, investigating Michael Sembello's "disappearance." "Gravity" was Howard's first, and to date, only music video.[citation needed]


The film received mostly positive critical reception.[11][12][13] It holds a 80% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[14]


Academy Awards

Saturn Awards

American Film Institute Lists


  1. ^ "Perry Moore, 'Narnia' series executive producer, dies at 39; Don Peterman, Oscar-nominated cinematographer, dies at 79; Nancy Carr, network TV publicist, dies at 50". Los Angeles Times. 2011-02-22. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  2. ^ "Cocoon' Is 50th Film For Gentleman Star". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  3. ^ "Cocoon (1985)". Box Office Mojo. 1985-09-29. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  4. ^ "Hot Howard Actor-turned-director Makes Another Splash With `Cocoon`". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  5. ^ Friendly, David T. (1985-06-12). "Back In Splash Of Things With Cocoon". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  6. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (1988-11-27). "Cocoon & Its Sequels". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Jicha, Tom (2012-01-20). "Beverly McDermott, top casting director and Hollywood resident, dies". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  9. ^ "Filmtracks". Filmtracks. 1997-09-10. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  10. ^ Cocoon soundtrack review at
  11. ^ "Cocoon' A Good-time, Summertime Movie Movie Review". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  12. ^ Maslin, Janet (1985-06-21). "Screen: 'cocoon' opens". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  13. ^ "Cocoon". Variety. 1984-12-31. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  14. ^ "Cocoon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-11-21. 
  15. ^ Heise, Kenan (1993-12-08). "Oscar-winning Actor Don Ameche, 85". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  16. ^ Flint, Peter B. (1993-12-08). "Don Ameche Is Dead at 85; Oscar Winner for 'Cocoon'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  17. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees
  18. ^ AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot

External links[edit]