Safe Passage (film)

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Safe Passage
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Allan Ackerman
Written byDeena Goldstone
Based onSafe Passage
by Ellyn Bache
Produced byGale Anne Hurd
CinematographyRalf D. Bode
Edited byRick Shrine
Music byMark Isham
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release dates
  • December 23, 1994 (1994-12-23) (Los Angeles)
  • January 6, 1995 (1995-01-06) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.6 million[1]

Safe Passage is a 1994 American drama film starring Susan Sarandon, and featuring Sam Shepard, Robert Sean Leonard, Marcia Gay Harden, Nick Stahl, Sean Astin, and Jason London. Directed by Robert Allan Ackerman and written by Deena Goldstone, it is based on the 1988 novel Safe Passage by Ellyn Bache.

The film centers on a large family that reconvenes when one of the adult sons, a Marine deployed in Lebanon for the Gulf War, is possibly among the victims of an explosion at his base. As the family waits out the news, they reopen old wounds, grudges, and unresolved issues.


Margaret "Mag" Singer, a wife and mother of seven sons, is on the verge of divorcing her husband Patrick and moving to the city for a life of her own. All of the Singers' sons—except for Simon, the youngest—are grown and live on their own. Suddenly, Mag hears news of a terrorist bombing at a Marine base in the Middle East, where Percival, one of her sons, is stationed. Upon learning the news, the remaining five sons gather at the Singer home, anxiously awaiting updates on Percival. The sons include Alfred, the eldest Singer, who is engaged to Cynthia; Gideon, who feels responsible for Percival's decision to enlist and thus blames himself for Percival's possible death; identical twins Darren and Merle; and Izzy, the second-youngest who followed his father into science.

The film's plot shifts between the Singer family resolving old hurts and wounds and flashbacks to Mag raising her sons. At the end, the family is gathered around the TV nervously waiting for word on Percival. Percival is revealed to be safe, and the family rejoices at the good news and their renewed bonds.



Safe Passage was shot in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.[2] It began shooting on January 26, 1994, and completed on March 22 of that year.[3] The film was held up for release by a court injunction brought by Dan Lupowitz, who claimed he brought both the director and Susan Sarandon into the project and wanted an "executive producer" credit. The claim was later dismissed in court.[4]


The film received mixed reviews, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 54% based on 13 reviews.[5] In a two-star review, Roger Ebert praised the cast and Sarandon’s performance, but said the family drama felt contrived and formulaic.[6] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a grade of B−,[7] commending the acting but saying Goldstone’s screenplay “has all of the heft of a special, two-hour episode of Party of Five — a TV-shaped domestic drama overloaded with the kinds of emotions you see only on TV and never in your own family.”[7]

Year-end lists[edit]


  1. ^ Safe Passage at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "Safe Passage (1994) Filming & Production". IMDb. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  3. ^ "Misc notes" on
  4. ^ "Gale Anne Hurd | Biography". Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  5. ^ "Safe Passage". Rotten Tomatoes.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (6 January 1995). "Reviews | Safe Passage". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Schwarzbaum, Lisa (January 27, 1995). "Safe Passage". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  8. ^ Bates, Mack (January 19, 1995). "Originality of 'Hoop Dreams' makes it the movie of the year". The Milwaukee Journal. p. 3.
  9. ^ Lovell, Glenn (December 25, 1994). "The Past Picture Show the Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- a Year Worth's of Movie Memories". San Jose Mercury News (Morning Final ed.). p. 3.

External links[edit]