A Walk in the Woods (film)

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A Walk in the Woods
A Walk in the Woods Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKen Kwapis
Screenplay byRick Kerb
Bill Holderman
Based onA Walk in the Woods
by Bill Bryson
Produced byRobert Redford
Bill Holderman
Chip Diggins
StarringRobert Redford
Nick Nolte
Kristen Schaal
Nick Offerman
Mary Steenburgen
Emma Thompson
CinematographyJohn Bailey
Edited byCarol Littleton
Julie Garces
Music byNathan Larson
Route One Films
Wildwood Enterprises
Distributed byBroad Green Pictures
Release dates
Running time
104 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$8 million[2]
Box office$36 million[3]

A Walk in the Woods is a 2015 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Ken Kwapis and starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. Based on the 1998 book of the same name by Bill Bryson, it was released on September 2, 2015, by Broad Green Pictures.[4]


Author Bill Bryson (Robert Redford), after living for ten years in the UK, moved to New Hampshire. Now in his 60s, he had been living there peacefully. A television interview reports that he has published several popular books and there is speculation he will be writing more. Bryson, however, has no such plans.

Bryson and his wife Catherine (Emma Thompson) attend a funeral. Afterwards, he takes a stroll up to the nearby Appalachian Trail, and suddenly decides he will hike its entire length. Catherine objects, presenting many accounts of accidents and murders on the trail. She relents on condition that he not travel alone. He agrees and searches for a friend willing to join him. Everyone declines his invitation; some declare him insane. Finally, he is contacted by Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte), an old friend who offers to be a hiking companion. Despite appearances, Stephen claims to be fit enough for the challenge. Bill's wife is unhappy with his choice, but relents.

Within less than a mile of their departure point, as groups of hikers overtake and pass them, they begin to grasp the difficulty of their ambition. Shortly after, a group of young children effortlessly runs by them up the trail, laughing and calling out to each other. Seeing others pass by so easily motivates them to carry on. And so they move on, day by day, making more or less pleasant acquaintances, having more or less pleasant experiences. Some time later they reach a hut, having hiked miserably through pouring rain. Carved into the log wall is an Appalachian Trail map showing the trail and their present location. They realize they have finished less than half of the trail after spending three months on it. Eventually they trek into a restricted section posted "for experienced hikers only". While maneuvering their heavy and awkward backpacks alongside a precipitous drop, Bill trips and pulls Stephen with him down a steep, rocky cliff. They fall about fifteen feet onto a ledge spacious enough to be comfortable, but far enough below the trail to be unable to get back up to resume the hike. They spend the night there with no clear hope of rescue. Luckily, the next day they are awakened by early morning hikers who are able to get them off the ledge.

Eventually, they decide they have had enough and end their journey. When comfortably back at home, Bill, going through his mail, finds a series of post cards from Stephen that were mailed from their various stops along the trail. The last one reads: "What's next?' Bill sits down and begins typing on his computer, "A WALK IN THE WOODS."



The project dates back to at least 2005, when Robert Redford first announced his plans to make the film.[6] At various points directors such as Chris Columbus,[7] Barry Levinson[8] and Larry Charles were involved.[9][10] However, Ken Kwapis ended up directing the picture.

Redford initially wanted Paul Newman to costar in the film with him, to the point where Redford temporarily abandoned the project after Newman's death, unable to picture any other actor suitable for the role. However, while directing The Company You Keep, Redford was so impressed by the performance of Nick Nolte that he was eventually cast in the role.[11]

Redford said of the project:

It'll be fun. I don't know when I've read a book that made me laugh so loud. Also, it's a chance to take a look at the country ... The backdrop is pretty terrific, if you stop to think of all the visuals that are possible as they go along that trail.[12]

Larry Charles (of Borat and Brüno) was briefly attached as director,[13][14] but eventually the job went to Ken Kwapis, whose most recent film was Big Miracle and who was a key figure on the U.S. television series The Office.


Principal photography of the film began on May 5, 2014, in Los Angeles.[15][16] Exterior locations were largely filmed at Amicalola Falls State Park, in Dawsonville, Georgia, including scenes at The Lodge at Amicalola Falls.


The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015.[17] Shortly after, Broad Green Pictures acquired distribution rights to the film,[18] and gave it a wide theatrical release starting September 2, 2015.[4]


A Walk in the Woods has received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 47%, based on 165 reviews, with an average rating of 5.42/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Amiable yet less compelling than any road trip movie starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte should be, A Walk in the Woods is ultimately a bit too pedestrian."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 51 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[20] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[21]


  1. ^ "A WALK IN THE WOODS (15)". British Board of Film Classification. November 3, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  2. ^ Thompson, Bob (August 31, 2015). "A Walk in the Woods' Robert Redford gets the job done one step at a time". National Post. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  3. ^ "A Walk in the Woods (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  4. ^ a b McNary, Dave (April 8, 2015). "'99 Homes,' 'A Walk in the Woods' Set for September Releases". variety.com. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  5. ^ "A Walk in the Woods (2015)". IMDB.
  6. ^ "Newman and Redford plan new project". 2008-05-03. Archived from the original on 2006-01-12. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
  7. ^ "Columbus to direct Newman/Redford film". 2008-02-07. Archived from the original on 2008-02-01. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
  8. ^ "Redford Doing Adaptation of 'Walk in the Woods'". The Hollywood Reporter. 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
  9. ^ James White (2015-10-09). "Now Larry Charles Will Guide A Walk In The Woods". Empireonline.com. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  10. ^ Dave McNary (2013-11-01). "AFM: Robert Redford's 'A Walk in the Woods' Attracts Director Larry Charles". Variety. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  11. ^ Wakeman, Gregory (September 2015). "A Walk In The Woods Would Have Starred Paul Newman". Cinemablend. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Robert Redford Heads for 'A Walk in the Woods'". Cinematical.com. 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
  13. ^ James White. "Now Larry Charles Will Guide A Walk In The Woods | News | Movies - Empire". gb: Empireonline.com. Retrieved 2018-04-21.
  14. ^ McNary, Dave (1 November 2013). "AFM: Robert Redford's 'A Walk in the Woods' Attracts Director Larry Charles".
  15. ^ Gettell, Oliver (5 May 2014). "'A Walk in the Woods' starts shooting with Ken Kwapis at the helm". latimes.com. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  16. ^ "Principal Photography Starts for A Walk in the Woods". comingsoon.net. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  17. ^ Dominic Patten (24 January 2015). "'A Walk in the Woods' at Sundance: Robert Redford & Nick Nolte Evoke Paul Newman — Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  18. ^ Khatchatourian, Maane (January 31, 2015). "Sundance: Broad Green Picks Up Robert Redford's 'Walk in the Woods'". Variety. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  19. ^ "A Walk in the Woods". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  20. ^ "A Walk in the Woods". Metacritic. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  21. ^ "Thursday Report". deadline.com. 4 September 2015.

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