Continental Divide (film)

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Continental Divide
Continental divide.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Apted
Produced byRobert E. Larson
Written byLawrence Kasdan
Music byMichael Small
CinematographyJohn Bailey
Edited byDennis Virkler
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • September 18, 1981 (1981-09-18)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$15 million

Continental Divide is a 1981 American romantic comedy film starring John Belushi and Blair Brown. It was the first film produced by Steven Spielberg's production company Amblin Entertainment.


A Chicago newspaper reporter, Ernie Souchak (Belushi), is investigating a corrupt city councilman. After doing an exposé on some corrupt land dealings by the councilman, he is assaulted by two crooked police officers sent by the councilman and ends up in the hospital.

Souchak's editor decides to send him out of town for his own safety. A city boy, Souchak reluctantly travels to the Rockies to interview the reclusive Dr. Nell Porter (Brown), who has been conducting research on bald eagles for several years.

The two are at odds at first. After finding out he is a reporter, she is reluctant to let him stay, but realizes he is not able to survive in the mountains without his guide, who is not scheduled to return for two weeks. He is skeptical about her work, but comes to admire Porter for her strong character and dedication. Eventually, they fall in love. At first she lets him stay as long as he doesn't write his story. As they learn to respect each other, she agrees to let him write about her. In his adventures, he sprains his back in an accident, is mauled by a mountain lion and meets an All-American football player who has left civilization and become a mountain man.

Souchak returns to Chicago with her still very much on his mind. When he finds out that one of his sources has been "accidentally" killed, he once again pursues the investigation until the day the councilman flees the country.

The same day, Souchak finds out that Porter is coming to Chicago to do a presentation at a symposium. With some uncertainty, Souchak decides to attend the presentation. They rekindle their relationship. Happy as they are together, they cannot reconcile the different paths each has taken in life, and so they reluctantly decide to part again.

Souchak, seeing her off on the train, ends up traveling with her all the way back to Wyoming. After getting off at her stop, they decide that they cannot do without each other, and decide to marry. The movie ends with him catching the train back to Chicago, and the newlyweds promising to meet again very soon.



Singer Helen Reddy performed the ending theme, "Never Say Goodbye".

The Ernie Souchak character was loosely based on longtime Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko.

Filming locations[edit]

Many of the scenes were filmed around Chicago:

Many of the mountain scenes were filmed in Colorado, in Custer County

Other scenes were filmed at:

External links[edit]