Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

Last updated
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
Homeward.bound dvd cover.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Duwayne Dunham
Written by Caroline Thompson
Linda Woolverton
Jonathan Roberts (uncredited)
Based on The Incredible Journey
by Sheila Burnford
Produced by Jeffrey Chernov
Franklin R. Levy
Cinematography Reed Smoot
Edited byJonathan P. Shaw
Music by Bruce Broughton
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date
February 3, 1993 (1993-02-03)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$57 million [1]

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a 1993 American adventure comedy film and a remake of the 1963 film The Incredible Journey , which was based on the 1961 novel of the same name by Sheila Burnford. Directed by Duwayne Dunham, it was released on February 3, 1993. It grossed $57 million worldwide 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 selfish and free-spirited American Bulldog and the narrator of the film, explains that he is the pet of Jamie Burnford, but expresses no interest in his owner or being part of a family. He shares his home with Shadow, a wise old Golden Retriever owned by Jamie's brother Peter, and Sassy, a pampered Himalayan cat owned by Peter and Jamie's sister Hope. That morning, the children's mother, Laura Burnford, marries Bob Seaver, and Chance causes trouble by devouring the wedding cake in front of all the guests.

Shortly after the wedding, the family has to temporarily move to San Francisco because Bob must relocate there for his job. They leave the pets at a ranch belonging to Kate, Laura's college friend. Shadow and Sassy miss their owners immediately, but Chance sees it as an opportunity to relax and be free. Later in the week, Kate goes on a cattle drive, leaving the animals to be looked after by her neighbor Frank. However, half of her message to him is lost, leading him to believe that she has taken them along, leaving the animals alone. Unsure about the disappearance of their host, the animals fear they have been abandoned. Shadow, refusing to believe that his boy would leave him, decides to make his way home. Not wanting to be left alone on the ranch, Chance and Sassy decide to accompany Shadow on his journey.

They head into the rocky, mountainous wilderness of the Sierra Nevada with Shadow leading. After a night spent in fear of the woodland noises, the group stops to catch breakfast at a river. However, two black bear cubs interrupt Chance and a large brown bear causes the group to retreat. At another river, Sassy refuses to swim across to follow the dogs and instead tries to cross via a wooden path further downstream; halfway across, the wood breaks and she falls into the river. Shadow tries to save her, but she goes over a waterfall to her apparent death. Guilt-ridden, Shadow and Chance go on without her. Unknown to them, Sassy survives and is later found on the riverbank by an old man named Quentin, who nurses her back to health.

Over the next two days, Shadow and Chance try unsuccessfully to catch food and encounter a mountain lion, which chases them to the edge of a cliff. Shadow gets an idea to use rocks positioned like a seesaw as a way to outsmart 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 the dogs barking in celebration and follows the sound to rejoin them.

The animals continue on their way, but Chance begins pestering a porcupine, ending up with a load of quills in his muzzle. The animals then encounter a little girl named Molly, who is lost in the woods. Loyalty instinct takes over and they stand guard over her during the night. In the morning, Shadow finds a rescue party and leads them back to the girl. They recognize the animals from a missing pets flyer and take them to the local animal shelter, but Chance mistakes it for an animal pound and the trio panic. As the medical staff remove the quills from Chance's muzzle, Sassy sneaks in and frees Shadow. Together, they retrieve Chance and escape the shelter, unaware that their owners are on their way to get them.

Finally reaching their hometown, the animals cross through a train yard, where Shadow falls into a muddy pit and injures his leg. Despondent, he tells Chance and Sassy to go on without him, and when Chance argues passionately, tells the younger dog he's learned all he needs; "Now all you have to learn is how to say goodbye." Heartbroken, Chance insists he won't let him give up. Near dusk, Chance and Sassy finally make it home and are happily reunited with their owners. Shadow initially fails to appear, but eventually he limps into view and happily comes running home at the sight of Peter. 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 as he reunited with his boy. The film ends with Chance musing about how he truly feels "home" with his family, before happily running into the house at the smell of food.



The film received positive reception. [2] The film holds an 87% aggregate critic approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 30 reviews, with the consensus stating "Disney's remake of The Incredible Journey successfully replicates, and in some ways improves upon, the simple charms of the original, with its cross-country animal odyssey sure to delight kids." [3] According to movie critic Roger Ebert, the movie is "frankly designed for kids, and yet it has a certain craftsmanship and an undeniable charm, and if you find yourself watching it with a child you may end up liking it almost as much." [4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale. [5]

The film grossed $41,833,324 in the United States and Canada and $15.5 million internationally for a worldwide total of $57.4 million. [6] [1]

Related Research Articles

<i>The Ring</i> (2002 film) 2002 American horror film

The Ring is a 2002 American supernatural horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, and Daveigh Chase. It is a remake of Hideo Nakata's 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, based on Koji Suzuki's 1991 novel of the same name. Watts portrays a journalist who investigates a cursed videotape that seemingly kills the viewer seven days after watching it.

American Bulldog Dog breed

The American Bulldog is a large breed of utility dog descended from the Old English Bulldog. They are now used on animal farms, dog sports, and for showing. They are part of American culture and history, and may be used as a cultural icon for the United States. They are generally represented as being strong and tough. In November 2019, the American Bulldog was added to the American Kennel Club (AKC) Foundation Stock Service (FSS).

<i>Indecent Proposal</i> 1993 American drama film by Adrian Lyne

Indecent Proposal is a 1993 American drama film based on the novel of the same name by Jack Engelhard, in which a married couple's relationship is put into turmoil by a stranger's offer of a million dollars for the wife to spend the night with him. It was directed by Adrian Lyne and stars Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson. The film was a box-office success, despite earning mostly negative reviews from critics, grossing nearly $267 million worldwide on a $38 million budget.

Homeward Bound may refer to:

Sheila Burnford

Sheila Philip Cochrane Burnford née Every was a British Canadian writer.

<i>Grizzly Man</i> 2005 documentary film by Werner Herzog

Grizzly Man is a 2005 American documentary film by German director Werner Herzog. It chronicles the life and death of bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell. The film includes some of Treadwell's own footage of his interactions with brown bears before 2003, and of interviews with people who knew, or were involved with Treadwell, as well as professionals dealing with wild bears.

<i>Eight Below</i> 2006 American film

Eight Below is a 2006 American survival drama film, a remake based on the 1983 Japanese film Antarctica by Toshirô Ishidô, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Tatsuo Nogami and Susumu Saji. It was produced by Patrick Crowley and David Hoberman, directed by Frank Marshall with music by Mark Isham and written by David DiGilio. It stars Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, and Jason Biggs. It was released theatrically on February 17, 2006, by Walt Disney Pictures in the United States. The film is set in Antarctica, but was filmed in Svalbard, Norway, Greenland, and British Columbia, Canada. The film received positive reviews from critics and it earned $120.4 million on a $40 million budget.

<i>The Incredible Journey</i>

The Incredible Journey (1961), by Scottish author Sheila Burnford, is a children's book first published by Hodder & Stoughton, which tells the story of three pets as they travel 300 miles (480 km) through the Canadian wilderness searching for their beloved masters. It depicts the suffering and stress of an arduous journey, together with the unwavering loyalty and courage of the three animals. The story is set in the northwestern part of Ontario, which has many lakes, rivers, and widely dispersed small farms and towns.

<i>Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco</i> 1996 American film

Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco is a 1996 American adventure comedy film and the sequel to the 1993 film Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Directed by David R. Ellis, the film features the three pets from the first film, Shadow the Golden Retriever, Sassy the Himalayan cat, and Chance the American Bulldog. It also features the voice work of Sinbad, Carla Gugino, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jon Polito, Adam Goldberg, Al Michaels, Tommy Lasorda, and Bob Uecker.

<i>Buddy</i> (1997 film) 1997 film by Caroline Thompson

Buddy is a 1997 American family comedy film written and directed by Caroline Thompson and produced by Columbia Pictures and Jim Henson Pictures. It starred Rene Russo as Mrs. Gertrude "Trudy" Lintz and Robbie Coltrane as her husband.

<i>Shiloh</i> (film) 1996 American film

Shiloh is a 1996 American family drama film produced and directed by Dale Rosenbloom. It was shown at the Heartland Film Festival in 1996, but its general release came on April 25, 1997. The original book by the same name was written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. There are two sequels, Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season (1999) and Saving Shiloh (2006), both directed by Sandy Tung and distributed by Utopia Pictures.

Donald W. Ernst is an American film, music and sound editor and film producer. He commonly works in the animation industry.

<i>The Incredible Journey</i> (film) 1963 film by Fletcher Markle

The Incredible Journey is a 1963 adventure film directed by Fletcher Markle and produced by Walt Disney Productions. Based on the 1961 novel of the same name by British-Canadian writer Sheila Burnford, the film follows the adventure of Luath the Labrador Retriever, Bodger the Bull Terrier, and Tao the Siamese cat as they journey 250 miles (400 km) through the Canadian wilderness to return to their home. The film's human cast consists of Émile Genest, John Drainie, Tommy Tweed, and Sandra Scott, with Rex Allen providing narration.

Benjamin "Benj" Thall is an American actor and is most well known for his role in the movie Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey as Peter Burnford.

Bonnie Bears: Homeward Journey is a 2013 Chinese animated TV film adventure family drama film based on the animated television series Boonie Bears. The first film Boonie Bears: To the Rescue was released after the TV film in 2014.

Veronica Lauren is an American actress. She played Alice, the young girlfriend of Elijah Wood's character, in Forever Young (1992), and is best known for playing Hope Burnford in the 1993 film Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and its 1996 sequel Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco. Her other film credits have included roles in The Grass Harp (1995), Charlie's Ghost Story (1995) and American Pie (1999). She also had roles on TV shows including Dark Shadows, Days of Our Lives, Home Improvement and Cold Case.

<i>A Dogs Way Home</i> 2019 film directed by Charles Martin Smith

A Dog's Way Home is a 2019 American family adventure film directed by Charles Martin Smith from a screenplay by W. Bruce Cameron and Cathryn Michon, based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Cameron. The film stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Ashley Judd, Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, Wes Studi, Chris Bauer, Barry Watson, and Jonah Hauer-King, and follows a dog named Bella who travels more than 400 miles to find her owner.

The Incredible Journey is a children's book by Scottish author Sheila Burnford.


  1. 1 2 Klady, Leonard (January 3, 1994). "Int'l top 100 earn $8 bil". Variety . p. 1.
  2. Thomas, Kevin (February 3, 1993). "Movie Review : Disney's 'Homeward Bound' Remake Better Than Original". The Los Angeles Times . Archived from the original on 8 April 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  3. "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey". Rotten Tomatoes . Fandango Media . Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  4. Ebert, Roger (12 February 1993). "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey Movie Review (1993)". RogerEbert.com . Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  5. McClintock, Pamela (August 19, 2011). "Why CinemaScore Matters for Box Office". The Hollywood Reporter . Archived from the original on July 19, 2021. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  6. "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey". Box Office Mojo . IMDb . Retrieved February 14, 2021.