The Trip to Bountiful

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The Trip to Bountiful
Trip to bountiful.jpg
Directed by Peter Masterson
Produced by Horton Foote
Sterling Van Wagenen
Screenplay by Horton Foote
Based on The Trip to Bountiful
by Horton Foote
Music by J.A.C. Redford
Cinematography Fred Murphy
Edited by Jay Freund
Bountiful Film Partners
FilmDallas Pictures
Distributed by Island Pictures
Release date
  • December 20, 1985 (1985-12-20)
Running time
108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $7,491,903

The Trip to Bountiful is a 1985 film starring Geraldine Page, John Heard, Carlin Glynn, Richard Bradford and Rebecca De Mornay. Geraldine Page won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Carrie Watts. The movie was adapted by Horton Foote from his play of the same name.

The Bountiful of the title is a fictitious Texas town. Although set in Houston, Texas (as was the original play), the movie was filmed by director Peter Masterson in Dallas.

The film features an all-star cast including John Heard and Geraldine Page and a soundtrack by J.A.C. Redford featuring Will Thompson's "Softly and Tenderly" sung by Grammy-award winner Cynthia Clawson.[1] The film won the Academy Award for Best Actress (Page) and was nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.


The film, set in the post-World War II 1940s, tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts (Page), who wants to return to her home, the small, rural, agriculture-based town of Bountiful near the Texas Gulf coast between Houston and Corpus Christi, where she grew up on the eve of the Great Depression, but she's frequently stopped from leaving Houston, Texas by her daughter-in-law and her overprotective son, who will not let her travel alone. Her son and daughter-in-law both know that the town has long since disappeared, due to the Depression. Long-term out-migration was caused by the draw-down of all the town's able-bodied men to the wartime draft calls and by the demand for industrial workers in the war production plants of the big cities.

Old Mrs. Watts is determined to outwit her son and bossy daughter-in-law, and sets out to catch a train, only to find that trains do not go to Bountiful anymore. She eventually boards a bus to a town near her childhood home. On the journey, she befriends a girl traveling alone (DeMornay) and reminisces about her younger years and grieves for her lost relatives. Her son and daughter-in-law eventually track her down, with the help of the local police force. However, Mrs. Watts is determined. The local sheriff, moved by her yearning to visit her girlhood home, offers to drive her out to what remains of Bountiful. The town is deserted, and the few remaining structures are derelict. Mrs. Watts learns that the last occupant of the town, and the woman with whom she had hoped to live, has recently died. She is moved to tears as she surveys her father's land and the remains of the family home. Having accepted the reality of the current condition of Bountiful and knowing that she has reached her goal of returning there before dying, she is ready to return to Houston when her son and daughter-in-law arrive to drive her home. Having confronted their common history in Bountiful, the three commit to live more peacefully together. They begin their drive back to Houston.


  • Geraldine Page as Mrs. Watts
  • John Heard as Ludie Watts
  • Carlin Glynn as Jessie Mae
  • Richard Bradford as Sheriff
  • Rebecca De Mornay as Thelma
  • Kevin Cooney as Roy
  • Norman Bennett as First Bus Ticket Man
  • Harvey Lewis as Second Bus Ticket Man
  • Kirk Sisco as Train Ticket Agent
  • Dave Tanner as Billy Davis
  • Gil Glasgow as Stationmaster, Gerard
  • Mary Kay Mars as Rosella
  • Wezz Tildon as Bus Passenger
  • Peggy Ann Byers as Downstairs Neighbor
  • David Romo as Mexican Man
  • Tony Torn as Twin
  • John Torn as Twin
  • Alexandra Masterson as Drugstore Waitress
  • Don Wyse as Doctor

Home media[edit]

On April 12, 2005, MGM released The Trip to Bountiful on DVD in region 1 US in both a widescreen and a full-frame format on a two-sided disc.


Academy Award

Boston Society of Film Critics Award

Golden Globe Award

Independent Spirit Award

Mainichi Film Concours

Writers Guild of America Award


  1. ^ Liverett, David (2005). This Is My Story: 146 of the World's Greatest Gospel Singers. Thomas Nelson, Inc. ISBN 1-4185-0607-9. P. 45.

External links[edit]