Far and Away

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Far and Away
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRon Howard
Screenplay byBob Dolman
Story by
  • Ron Howard
  • Bob Dolman
Produced by
CinematographyMikael Salomon
Edited by
Music byJohn Williams
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 22, 1992 (1992-05-22)
Running time
140 minutes (theatrical version)
170 minutes (30th Anniversary Extended Cut)
CountryUnited States
Budget$60 million[1]
Box office$137.8 million[2]

Far and Away is a 1992 American epic Western romantic adventure drama film directed by Ron Howard from a screenplay by Bob Dolman and a story by Howard and Dolman. It stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. This was the last cinematography credit for Mikael Salomon before he moved on to a directing career. The music score was by John Williams. It was screened out of competition at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.[3]

Cruise and Kidman, who were married at the time, play Irish immigrants seeking their fortune in 1890s America, eventually taking part in the Land Run of 1893.[4][5]

This was Cyril Cusack's final film before his death the following year.


In Ireland in 1892, when tenant farmers worked land that they could never own and paid unfairly high rents to their wealthy landlords, Joseph Donnelly dreamed of owning his own land. After his father dies, their family home is burned down by their landlord Daniel Christie’s men, due to unpaid rent and facing evictions. Joseph travels to Daniel’s home to kill him in revenge, but he only injures himself. Daniel’s wife, Nora, and his daughter, Shannon, nurse Joseph back to health so that he can be hanged for the attempted murder.

Nora tries to mold Shannon into a refined lady, but Shannon often rebels. She reveals to Joseph that she aspires to go to America, where land is being given away for free. When Joseph tries to flee the Christie home, he gets into a confrontation with Stephen Chase, the Christies' financial manager, who challenges Joseph to a duel. The next morning, Shannon runs away from home, convinces Joseph to come with her as her servant and protector, and saves him from the duel.

On a ship bound for America, Shannon and Joseph meet Mr. McGuire, who confirms Shannon’s story about land being given away for free in Oklahoma. He adds that, once landing in America, they will have to travel a thousand miles to get there and must claim their desired land in a race. Shannon divulges that she has a collection of silver spoons that will cover the expenses needed to get to Oklahoma.

Upon their arrival in Boston, McGuire is shot in the street and Shannon loses her spoons in the chaos. Mike Kelly, an Irish ward boss, finds jobs for Joseph and Shannon and gives them a room to rent. Joseph also becomes a regular in bare-knuckle boxing matches at Kelly's club to make extra cash. Over the following weeks, Joseph and Shannon struggle to earn money and adapt to their new living situation. Romantic tension flares between them, especially after Grace, a dancer at Kelly’s club, shows interest in Joseph, making Shannon jealous.

One night, Joseph discovers that Shannon has gone to Kelly's club to dance burlesque and earn extra money herself. When he storms in to take her home, Kelly and the other Irishmen there beg him to fight an Italian contender, promising to split the two hundred-dollar winnings with Joseph if he triumphs. This would be enough to get him and Shannon to Oklahoma, so Joseph agrees. Joseph appears to be winning the fight until he notices one of his backers groping Shannon. He pushes through the crowd to free her, but is pushed back into the ring, where he is defeated by a sucker punch while distracted. As payback for the loss, Kelly and his men take all of the money the couple had saved and throw Shannon and Joseph out into the streets.

Cold and starving, the pair stay in a seemingly abandoned house. They share a tender moment and a kiss before the owners of the house return and chase them away, shooting Shannon in the back. Joseph, knowing the Christies are looking for her in Boston, brings Shannon to where they are staying. Deciding Shannon will be better cared for by them, Joseph leaves despite his feelings for her, heading west to the Ozarks on his own and finding work laying train track. Months pass, and one day he sees a wagon train. Knowing it is headed for Oklahoma, Joseph abandons the railroad and joins the wagon train, arriving in time for the Land Run of 1893.

Joseph finds Shannon, Stephen, and the Christies already in Oklahoma. Stephen, having seen Joseph talking to Shannon, threatens to kill him if he goes near her again. During the land race, Joseph outpaces everyone, catching up to Shannon and Stephen. But before Joseph can plant his claim flag, a fight breaks out between him and Stephen, ending with Joseph being crushed by Stephen’s horse. Shannon runs to Joseph’s side and rejects Stephen when he objects to her actions. Joseph professes his love for Shannon and seems to die in her arms but is revived when Shannon reciprocates his love. They then drive his flag into the ground and claim their land together.



The film was shot in Montana for business reasons, but the Oklahoma Historical Society was involved in its production.[6] Imagine Production Co. toured the areas around Montana for a week. They visited different areas before selecting Billings, Montana. Ron Howard, whose film Backdraft was in the stages of being released in theatres at the time, arrived in Billings to begin groundwork for the film. One site outside of town was a 12,000-acre (49 km2) ranch, which was going to be used to film the Oklahoma Land Rush scene. Working titles for the film included The Irish Story[7] and An Irish Story.[8]

Principal photography began in Montana on May 28, 1991. After several weeks of preparation, the cast and crew filmed the Oklahoma Land Rush scene on July 7, 1991. Eight hundred riders and extras, nine hundred horses, mule, oxen, and two hundred wagons were used on a quarter mile wide set. Nine cameras were used to film the action sequences. During the filming of the scene four people broke bones and one horse died.[4] Cruise's boxing match was filmed at the Billings Depot. Local area residents were used as extras for the sequence.[9] American Humane reported that "The production company not only met American Humane's Guidelines, but went that extra mile to ensure both the physical and mental wellness of the animals."[10] After filming wrapped in Billings, the cast and crew traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to complete filming. Ardmore Studios in Wicklow was used to film interior sequences,[11] and the streets of Boston were filmed in Dublin.

It was the first film shot in Panavision Super 70[12] and the first film to be shot in 70mm in a decade since Tron (1982).[13][14] The Arriflex 765 camera was also used, as the camera was capable of 100 frames per second which was used for slow-motion shots during the Oklahoma land rush scene.[12]


Far and Away
Film score by
Released26 May 1992
Professional ratings
Review scores
Filmtracks [15]

The music to Far and Away was composed and conducted by John Williams. The score, a mixture of traditional Irish instrumentation and conventional orchestra, prominently featured performances by the Irish musical group The Chieftains and a revision of the song "Book of Days" composed and performed by Enya. The soundtrack was released 26 May 1992 through MCA Records and features 19 tracks of music at a running time just over 67 minutes.[16] Selections from the soundtrack have been featured in the trailers for various films including Rudy (1993), Getting Even with Dad (1994), Circle of Friends (1995), Treasure Planet (2002) and Charlotte's Web (2006).[17][18][19][20][21]

  1. "County Galway, June 1892" (1:55)
  2. "The Fighting Donellys" (2:18) – featured performance by The Chieftains
  3. "Joe Sr.'s Passing/The Duel Scene" (4:41)
  4. "Leaving Home" (1:55)
  5. "Burning the Manor House" (2:43)
  6. "Blowing Off Steam" (1:31)
  7. "Fighting for Dough" (2:02) – featured performance by The Chieftains
  8. "Am I Beautiful?" (3:38)
  9. "The Big Match" (5:56)
  10. "Inside the Mansion" (4:24)
  11. "Shannon is Shot" (4:06)
  12. "Joseph's Dream" (3:08)
  13. "The Reunion" (3:50)
  14. "Oklahoma Territory" (2:12)
  15. "The Land Race" (4:56)
  16. "Settling with Steven/The Race to the River" (4:08)
  17. "Joseph and Shannon" (3:14)
  18. "Book of Days" (2:53) – composed and performed by Enya
  19. "End Credits" (6:35) – featured performance by The Chieftains

La-La Land Records released a remastered 2-CD set in March 2020 as a limited edition of 3500. This release includes alternate cues as well as previously unreleased score components.[22]


Far and Away was released on May 22, 1992 in 1,583 theaters, 163 of which were in 70mm.[14][2][13]

Home media[edit]

The film was originally released on VHS and laserdisc with it then released in the United States on DVD in May 1998 by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment with subtitles in English, Spanish and French.[23][24] It was first released as a Blu-ray disc and HD download package on March 4, 2014 with one extra feature, a theatrical trailer.[25]


Box office[edit]

The film, which cost $60 million to make, earned $13 million in its first weekend at the box office[2][26][27] and stumbled at the box office making only $58 million in the United States and Canada.[2][28] It was the third highest-grossing film in Ireland with a gross of £0.8 million.[29] It grossed $79 million internationally for a worldwide total of $137 million.[2]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 50% based on reviews from 36 critics. The site's critics' consensus reads: "Handsome and simplistic, Far and Away has the beauty of an American epic without the breadth."[30] On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100 based on reviews from 19 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[31] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "A" on scale of A to F.[32]

Roger Ebert praised the film's cinematography while criticizing its script:

Far and Away is a movie that joins astonishing visual splendor with a story so simple-minded it seems intended for adolescents... It's depressing that such a lavish and expensive production, starring an important actor like Tom Cruise, could be devoted to such a shallow story.[33]

Todd McCarthy of Variety called it "handsomely mounted and amiably performed but leisurely and without much dramatic urgency."[34]

Hal Hinson of The Washington Post wrote: "Far and Away... is the director's attempt to step into the cinematic shoes of directors John Ford and David Lean. And, certainly, he's stepped into something with this sprawling, old-fashioned melodrama."[35]

Writer Tony Parsons called it "a stinker of a picture...which was far and away the worst film I have ever seen."[36]

The film was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song for the song "Book of Days".[37]


For its airing on ABC in March 1995, the network reinstated 35 minutes of deleted scenes to fill two two-hour blocks over two nights.[38]


  1. ^ Christon, Lawrence (1992-05-17). "Epic Picture, Epic Dreams: Ron Howard & Co. go all-out in making 'Far and Away,' a $60-million historical romance, and then marketing it against action sequels". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  2. ^ a b c d e Far and Away at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Far and Away". festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-05. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
  4. ^ a b Galbraith, Jane (1992-06-14). "A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : LEGAL DEPT. : Lawsuit, Lawsuit on the Range". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-02-22.
  5. ^ Gerosa, Melina (1992-05-22). "Irish Risky". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  6. ^ Davis, Sandi (1992-05-22). "Oklahomans Become Extras in "Far and Away"". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  7. ^ "Far and Away (1992)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on September 24, 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  8. ^ "Cruise, New Wife To Star In 'An Irish Story'". Orlando Sentinel. 1991-01-27. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  9. ^ Healy, Donna (2010-05-02). "Covering celebs Gazette follows famous folks in town". Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  10. ^ "Far And Away". HumaneHollywood.org.
  11. ^ "Kevin's starring role in Wicklow film industry Ardmore chief a key player in Irish film business". The Irish Independent. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  12. ^ a b Everett, Todd (May 21, 1992). "Panavision redefines the wide-body look". Daily Variety. p. 17.
  13. ^ a b Natale, Richard (May 21, 1992). "Uni/Imagine throw dice 'Far and Away'". Daily Variety. p. 17.
  14. ^ a b "Far and Away". American Film Institute. 1992. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  15. ^ "Filmtracks: Far and Away (John Williams)". filmtracks.com. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Far and Away soundtrack review". filmtracks.com. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  17. ^ "Trailer Music: Treasure Planet (2002)". soundtrack.net. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Trailer Music: Rudy (1993)". soundtrack.net. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Trailer Music: Getting Even With Dad (1994)". soundtrack.net. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Trailer Music: Circle Of Friends (1995)". soundtrack.net. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Trailer Music: Charlotte's Web (2006)". soundtrack.net. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Far and away: limited edition (2-cd set)". La-La Land Records. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  23. ^ "Far and Away". May 28, 1998. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  24. ^ "Far and Away DVD". Blu-ray.com. 1998. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  25. ^ "Far and Away Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. March 4, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  26. ^ Fox, David J. (1992-06-01). "'Lethal Weapon,' 'Sister Act' Pack a Sales Punch : Box office: The two films dominate weekend ticket action. But 'Far and Away,' starring Tom Cruise, lags behind". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  27. ^ Fox, David J. (1992-05-19). "'Lethal Weapon 3' Destroying Records". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  28. ^ Putzer, Gerald (January 3, 1993). "Sequels are B.O. Winners". Variety. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  29. ^ "Statistics". Screen International. 26 March 1993. p. 34.
  30. ^ "Far and Away (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  31. ^ "Far and Away Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  32. ^ "FAR AND AWAY (1992) A". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  33. ^ "Far and Away". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on 2010-05-24. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  34. ^ McCarthy, Todd (May 11, 1992). "Far and Away". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  35. ^ Hal Hinson (May 22, 1992). "Far and Away". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  36. ^ Tony Parsons, "Yanks Lose the Plot". The Daily Mirror December 21, 1998.
  37. ^ "1992 RAZZIE® Nominees & "Winners"". The RAZZIES Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  38. ^ christophernguyen726 (2019-03-20). "Far and Away: Theatrical Blu-ray Vs. ABC Television Broadcast". Bootleg Comparisons. Retrieved 2019-04-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]