Fly Away Home

September 13th, 1996


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Still of Anna Paquin in Fly Away HomeStill of Anna Paquin in Fly Away HomeStill of Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin in Fly Away HomeStill of Anna Paquin in Fly Away HomeStill of Jeff Daniels, Dana Delany and Anna Paquin in Fly Away HomeStill of Anna Paquin and Carroll Ballard in Fly Away Home

A father and daughter decide to attempt to lead a flock of orphaned Canada Geese south by air.

Release Year: 1996

Rating: 6.8/10 (10,313 voted)

Director: Carroll Ballard

Stars: Jeff Daniels, Anna Paquin, Dana Delany

Amy is only 13 years old when her mother is killed in an auto wreck in New Zealand. She goes to Canada to live with her father, an eccentric inventor whom she barely knows. Amy is miserable in her new life...that is until she discovers a nest of goose eggs that were abandoned when developers began tearing up a local forest. The eggs hatch and Amy becomes "Mama Goose". The young birds must fly south for the winter, but who will lead them there? With a pair of ultralight airplanes, Amy, her dad and their friends must find a way to do it...

Writers: Bill Lishman, Robert Rodat

Jeff Daniels - Thomas "Tom" Alden
Anna Paquin - Amy Alden
Dana Delany - Susan Barnes
Terry Kinney - David Alden
Holter Graham - Barry Stickland
Jeremy Ratchford - Glen Seifert
Deborah Verginella - Amy's Mother
Michael J. Reynolds - General Hadfield
David Hemblen - Dr. Killian
Ken James - Developer
Nora Ballard - Jackie
Sarena Paton - Laura
Carmen Lishman - Older Girl
Christi Hill - Older Girl
Judith Orban - Teacher

Taglines: A family of orphaned geese who lost their way. A 14 year old kid who will lead them home. To achieve the incredible, you have to attempt the impossible.

Release Date: 13 September 1996

Filming Locations: Auckland, New Zealand

Opening Weekend: $4,708,044 (USA) (15 September 1996) (1320 Screens)

Gross: $24,506,082 (USA) (12 January 1997)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

According to the credits, the military aircraft were from New York. The F-16s belonged to the 174th Fighter Wing of the New York Air National Guard, and the C-130Hs belonged to the 914th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve. They were not, however, located on the same base. The F-16s come from Syracuse, NY, and the transports were located at the time at Niagara Falls, NY.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs: Though based on events which happened in 1988, the film is not set then, so perceived anachronisms are irrelevant.

[first lines]
Thomas Alden: Amy? It's your dad.
Amy Alden: Dad?
Thomas Alden: I came down from Canada. I've come to take you home.
Amy Alden: Where's Mom?
Thomas Alden: Um...
Amy Alden: Mum died, didn't she?

User Review

Beautiful Cinematography


I got sucked into a movie on the satellite dish the other day, 'Fly Away Home.' It's a story about a young motherless girl (Amy) who rescues some wild goose eggs and basically becomes their mother. The story evolves as the goslings grow into young adult birds ready to fly south. Since they never had parents the geese haven't learned to fly. The girl's dad thinks he can get them to fly by following him in his ultra-light. But they will only follow Amy. So dad teaches her to fly. Soon the geese are flying. Next, dad and Amy hatch a plot to fly south and have the geese follow them. We know this actually happened when 2 scientists did something similar.

One of the reasons I was sucked into this wonderful family movie was the photography. It is National Geographic quality. In fact I was so impressed with the cinematography that I had to look up who did it: Caleb Deschanel. The setting, a farm in Southern Ontario, allowed him to become intimate with the geese and the natural setting. Another reason I couldn't stop watching the movie was the stunning performance by Anna Paquin, the 16-year old girl who played Amy. I remembered her from the movie, 'Piano.' She played Flora, the daughter of Holly Hunter. I'm sure they picked Paquin to do that part because of her speaking ability. Holly Hunter played the part of Ada, a woman who couldn't talk. She communicated with sign language through her daughter. Paquin was so good in her part that she won the Oscar, quite a feat for an 11-year old.

The story, 'Fly Away Home' is touching because she's not the kind of Hollywood-trained child actor you find in most movies. A surprising thing happened as I watched Amy and her geese. I could sense a startling serenity from her as the bond had developed between them. I wondered how she could manage that. She was only a 16-year old actress then but she conveyed a mothering instinct that goes back to the ageless beginnings of life on this planet. When the goslings were following her around, much of the photography was from ground level. Later when they were all flying, the photography was right there in the flying formation. You were seeing the birds, in flight, right next to you. The beauty of motion was unbelievable. I thought, 'How could anyone shoot these creatures?' There is beauty in seeing them fly. There is beauty in seeing them in their habitat. But the overwhelming beauty is in their living. They deserved that life. It made me think of this sad planet and the billions of creatures that have died because of the human race. Here was a story that went against the slaughter. When Amy and her birds arrived at their destination in Chesapeake Bay I had misty eyes.

So I'm a soft touch.