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COMING HOME (1978)

As a sensitive treatment of the plight of veterans, this film is to the Vietnam War what The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) was to World War II. Jane Fonda was inspired by her friendship with Ron Kovic, the paraplegic veteran later played by Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July (1989). Her friend Nancy Dowd wrote the initial story. Then producers Jerome Hellman and Bruce Gilbert brought in Hal Ashby to direct, with Waldo Salt and Robert C. Jones narrowing the script’s focus to a military wife’s relationship with a veteran (Jon Voight) who becomes an anti-war activist. At a time when Hollywood was moving towards big-budget adventures like Star Wars (1977), Coming Home was a refreshingly small-scale film. It was also unique in exploring the sexuality of people with disabilities. The film picked up Oscars for Voight, Fonda, and its screenplay, along with nominations for Picture, Director, Editing, and supporting players Bruce Dern and Penelope Milford, making it one of the few films ever nominated in all four acting categories. (d. Hal Ashby, 128m, 35mm)