The Waterdance

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The Waterdance
The Waterdance (1992 Film Poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Neal Jimenez
Michael Steinberg
Produced byMarie Cantin (producer)
Gale Anne Hurd (producer)
Guy Riedel (executive producer)
Written byNeal Jimenez
Music by Michael Convertino
CinematographyMark Plummer
Edited byJeff Freeman
Distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date
  • May 13, 1992 (1992-05-13)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2.7 million [1]
Box office$1,723,319 (United States) [2]

The Waterdance is a 1992 American drama film directed by Neal Jimenez and Michael Steinberg and starring Eric Stoltz, Wesley Snipes, William Forsythe and Helen Hunt. It was written by Neal Jimenez.


The film is a semi-autobiographical story about a young fiction writer who becomes tetraplegic fully paralyzed in a hiking accident and works to rehabilitate his body and mind at a rehabilitation center. The title refers to a dream recounted by Raymond Hill, Snipes' character, about dancing on the surface of a lake. Since, in Raymond's dream, he must continue dancing on the lake to avoid sinking and drowning, the dream may be a metaphorical reference to the necessity of continually coping with the world.


Joel Garcia (Eric Stoltz) is a writer who, after a hiking accident at a mountain, must struggle with paralysis. At the same time, he carries a relationship with Anna (Helen Hunt), a married woman, with whom he was having an affair at the time of the accident. The lovers attempt to carry on their affair during his emotional and difficult rehabilitation as a paraplegic.



Critical response

The Waterdance received mostly positive reviews from critics; it holds a 94% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 16 reviews.

The Waterdance won the Audience Award for Best Dramatic Feature at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. [3]

The Waterdance was nominated for 4 Spirit Awards in 1992 and was the only film to win 2 awards for Best First Feature and Best Screenplay. [4]

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  2. "The Waterdance (1992)". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  3. "Sundance Film Festival (1992)". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  4. "Independent Spirit Awards Lives Up to Its Name : Movies: Irreverent, annual alternative awards program names 'The Player' as best of 1992". Los Angeles Times. 1993-03-29. Retrieved 2020-01-20.