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Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

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"Homeward Bound (film)" redirects here. For other uses, see Homeward Bound.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
Homeward.bound dvd cover.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Duwayne Dunham
Produced by Jeffrey Chernov
Franklin R. Levy
Written by Caroline Thompson
Linda Woolverton
Jonathan Roberts (uncredited)
Based on The Incredible Journey 
by Sheila Burnford
Starring Don Ameche
Sally Field
Michael J. Fox
Narrated by Michael J. Fox
Music by Bruce Broughton
Cinematography Reed Smoot
Edited by Jonathan P. Shaw
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
February 3, 1993 (1993-02-03)
Running time
84 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $41.8 million

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a 1993 American remake of the 1963 film The Incredible Journey, which was based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Sheila Burnford. Directed by Duwayne Dunham, it was released on February 3, 1993. It grossed $41,833,324 worldwide[1] and was followed in 1996 by Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco. This film is dedicated to producer Franklin R. Levy, who died during production of the film.


Chance, a disobedient American Bulldog (voiced by Michael J. Fox) and narrator of the film, opens by explaining that he is the pet of Jamie Burnford (Kevin Chevalia), but expresses no interest in his owner or being part of a family. He shares his home with Shadow, an older and wiser Golden Retriever (voiced by Don Ameche) owned by Peter Burnford (Benj Thall), and Sassy, a smart-mouthed Himalayan cat (voiced by Sally Field), owned by their sister, Hope (Veronica Lauren). That morning, Bob Seaver (Robert Hays) marries Laura Burnford (Kim Greist), and Chance manages to cause chaos by digging into the wedding cake in front of all the guests.

Shortly after the wedding, the family goes on a trip to San Francisco, leaving the pets at a ranch belonging to Kate (Jean Smart), a family friend. Shadow and Sassy start missing their owners immediately, but Chance sees it as an opportunity to explore and have some fun. Later in the week, Kate later goes on a cattle drive, leaving the animals at the ranch to be looked after by one of her ranch hands who doesn't see her message and thinks she's taken them along. The animals get worried because they believe they have been abandoned, with Shadow in particular worried about Peter, so he decides to go find them and the other two follow reluctantly.

They head into the rocky, mountainous wilderness, with Shadow leading by instinct. After a night spent in fear of the woodland noise, the group stops to catch breakfast at a river. Two black bear cubs steal Chance's fish, and when Chance barks at them in protest, they leave the fish and climb a tree. He cockily assumes that he has scared them off, but then a huge brown bear appears, causing the group to quickly flee. At another river, Sassy refuses to swim across to follow the dogs, running along the river until she reaches a path of wood that seems to cross its breadth. Halfway across, it breaks apart and she falls in. Shadow jumps in to try to save her, but she goes over a waterfall. Shadow and Chance search for her along the bank, but as night falls, they mourn their loss and continue on without her.

Meanwhile, a half-drowned Sassy is rescued from the river and nursed back to health by a man who lives in the woods. With Sassy recuperating from her injuries, the dogs struggle to catch fish from the river. Unbeknownst to the dogs, a mountain lion begins stalking them. While Chance is fishing, he spots the mountain lion and tells Shadow about it. The mountain lion chases them to the edge of a cliff. Chance assumes he is about to die, so he blurts his dark secrets to Shadow by telling him where he has buried everything at home. When Chance mentions that the remote control is buried under the seesaw, Shadow gets an idea to use a balanced rock shaped like a seesaw as a way to thwart the mountain lion. While Shadow acts as bait, Chance pounces onto the end of the rock and sends the mountain lion over the cliff and into a river. Sassy hears Chance and Shadow barking in celebration and follows the sound to rejoin them.

The animals continue on their way, but Chance tries to befriend a porcupine, ending up with a load of quills in his muzzle. His friends are unable to pull them out, and as they journey on, they find a little girl named Molly (Mariah Milner), who is lost in the woods. Too loyal to ignore her, they stand guard over her and keep her warm during the night. In the morning, Shadow finds a rescue party, which includes Molly's parents, and leads them back to her. The forest rangers, along with the party, recognize the animals from a missing pets flyer and take them to the local animal shelter, which Chance calls "The Pound." Because Chance has had experiences with being in a dog pound and it's a place Shadow doesn't think exists, he panics and warns the others to run. Sassy gets away while he and Shadow are taken inside. As the medical staff removes the quills from Chance's muzzle, Sassy sneaks in and frees Shadow. Together, they retrieve Chance and escape the shelter, without realizing that their owners were on their way to get them.

The group is crossing through a train yard when Shadow falls through some old boards into a muddy pit, injuring his leg. With Sassy and Chance'd encouragement, he tries to climb out but is unable to climb up the slippery slope. Lying down, he says he is too old and that they should go on without him. Chance jumps into the pit to try to get him going, but Shadow refuses to move. Near dusk, the family is out in the backyard playing basketball when Jamie claims to hear Chance barking. The others think he is imagining things, but moments later Chance comes running over a hill, happily tackling "his boy." Sassy follows to be reunited with Hope, and Peter looks for Shadow, but when he doesn't show up, Peter says he was too old and it was too far of a walk for him and turns to go back inside. As he does, Shadow is seen limping over the hill. Peter turns back around and shouts Shadow's name as the two run towards each other. As everyone watches, Chance narrates how it was Shadow's belief that brought them home and how the years seemed to lift off of him, making him a puppy again after being reunited with his best friend. While everyone goes inside, Chance stays behind for a moment, ending his narration by saying he had a family and for the first time in his life, he was really home and then happily runs into the house.



The film received a mostly positive reception.[2] The film holds an 88% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 24 reviews.[3]


  1. ^ "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 2, 2010. 
  2. ^ Thomas, Kevin (February 3, 1993). "Movie Review : Disney's 'Homeward Bound' Remake Better Than Original". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  3. ^ "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-07-19. 

External links