Far and Away

Far and Away is a 1992 American epic romantic adventure drama film directed by Ron Howard from a script by Howard and Bob Dolman. It stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. This was the last cinematography credit for Mikael Salomon before he moved onto a directing career, and the music score was done by John Williams. It was screened out of competition at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.[3]

Far and Away
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRon Howard
Produced byRon Howard
Brian Grazer
Bob Dolman
Screenplay byBob Dolman
Story byRon Howard
Bob Dolman
Music byJohn Williams
CinematographyMikael Salomon
Edited byDaniel P. Hanley
Mike Hill
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 22, 1992 (1992-05-22)
Running time
140 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$60 million[1]
Box office$137.8 million[2]

Cruise and Kidman play Irish immigrants seeking their fortune in 1890s America, eventually taking part in the Land Run of 1893.[4][5]

This was Cyril Cusack's final film before his death the following year.


In Ireland in 1892, Joseph Donnelly's father dies, but comes back to life for a few moments to tell Joseph to not give up his dream of owning his own land someday. His family home is burned down by his landlord Daniel Christie's men because of unpaid rent. Joseph tries killing Daniel, but he injures himself in the process and is nursed back to health by Nora Christie and her daughter, Shannon, intending to hang him. Joseph meets Shannon, who plans to run away from home and travel to America, as there is land being given away for free there. She offers to take Joseph with her as her servant, but he refuses so he can duel Christie's foreman, Stephen Chase, who set fire to the Donnelly home. Christie meets Joseph before the duel and tells him that he had nothing do with Joseph's family's eviction because the land is managed by Chase. The duel begins, but Shannon rescues Joseph.

Together on a ship bound for America, Shannon meets Mr. McGuire, who tells her and Joseph about free land being given away in Oklahoma, but they have to travel a thousand miles and race it like everyone else. Shannon divulges that her collection of silver spoons will cover all expenses to get the pair to Oklahoma, and McGuire offers to help her find a shop to sell them to once they arrive in Boston. Upon arriving, McGuire is shot, and Shannon's spoons fall out of his clothing and are stolen by passersby. Joseph rescues her but not the spoons. Soon they are introduced to Mike Kelly, a Boston ward boss, and an Irish immigrant himself. Kelly finds Joseph and Shannon jobs and a room to rent in a brothel, which they must share. To avoid scandal, Joseph says that Shannon is his sister. As they share the room, Joseph and Shannon become attracted to each other. Joseph becomes a regular in bare-knuckle boxing matches at Boss Kelly's club to make extra cash. Back in Ireland, the Christies' house is burned down by angry tenants in the Irish Land War, so they emigrate to America.

Joseph discovers that Shannon has gone to Kelly's club to dance burlesque. The Irish men surrounding the couple beg him to fight for $200, which would get them to Oklahoma. Joseph agrees and is winning until he notices one of his backers groping Shannon. Joseph pushes through the crowd to free her, but is pushed back into the ring where his foot accidentally "toes" the line, and he is defeated by a sucker punch. In retaliation for the hundreds of dollars Joseph has cost Kelly and his friends, Joseph is thrown out of the club. Joseph returns to their room in the brothel to find Kelly and his thugs taking the money he and Shannon saved, and Joseph and Shannon are thrown out into the streets, homeless.

Cold and famished, the pair stay in a seemingly abandoned and luxurious house. The owners of the house return and chase them away, shooting Shannon in the back. Joseph, knowing the Christies are looking for her in Boston, brings Shannon to the home where they're staying. Deciding Shannon will be better cared for by them, Joseph leaves, despite his obvious feelings for her. Joseph heads west to the Ozarks, and finds work laying train track. He sees a wagon train out the door of his boxcar. Knowing it is headed for the Oklahoma land rush, Joseph abandons the railroad and joins the wagon train, arriving in time for the Land Run of 1893.

Joseph finds Shannon, Chase, and the Christies already in Oklahoma. Chase, having seen Joseph talking to Shannon, threatens to kill him if he goes near Shannon again. Joseph buys a horse for the land rush, but it dies in a few hours, and is forced to ride an unruly horse he manages to tame. He discovers that Chase has cheated by illegally inspecting the territory before the race, and is headed for the extremely desirable land he found. Joseph quickly outpaces everybody and catches up with Shannon and Chase. Joseph is ready to plant his claim flag, but Chase rushes on horseback at Joseph. A fight breaks out, with Joseph falling and crushed by the horse. Shannon runs to his side and rejects Chase when he questions her actions. Joseph professes his love for Shannon and dies in her arms, but like his father, comes back to life fully revived when Shannon reciprocates Joseph's love. They both drive the land stake into the ground and claim their prize land together.



Pre-production began in late April 1991. The film was shot in Montana for business reasons, but the Oklahoma Historical Society was involved in its production.[6] Imagine Production Co. toured the areas around Montana for a week. They visited different areas before selecting Billings, Montana. Ron Howard, whose film Backdraft was in the stages of being released in theatres at the time, arrived in Billings to begin groundwork for the film. One site outside of town was a 12,000-acre ranch, which was going to be used to film the Oklahoma Land Rush scene. More than a hundred extras were used, as well as a dozen area actors for small speaking parts. Working titles for the film included The Irish Story[7] and An Irish Story.[8]

Principal photography began in Montana on May 28, 1991. After several weeks of preparation, the cast and crew filmed the Oklahoma Land Rush scene on July 7, 1991. Eight hundred riders and extras, nine hundred horses, mule, oxen, and two hundred wagons were used on a quarter mile wide set. Twelve cameras were used to film the action sequences. Cruise's boxing match was filmed at the Billings Depot. Local area residents were used as extras for the sequence.[9] After filming wrapped in Billings, the cast and crew traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to complete filming. Ardmore Studios in Dublin was used to film interior sequences,[10] and the streets of Boston were filmed in Dublin city. They spent two months there, and production was completed on September 26, 1991.


Far and Away
Film score by
Released26 May 1992
Professional ratings
Review scores
Filmtracks [11]

The music to Far and Away was composed and conducted by composer John Williams. The score, a mixture of traditional Irish instrumentation and conventional orchestra, prominently featured performances by the Irish musical group The Chieftains and a revision of the song "Book of Days" composed and performed by Enya. The soundtrack was released 26 May 1992 through MCA Records and features 19 tracks of music at a running time just over sixty-seven minutes.[12] Selections from the soundtrack have been featured in the trailers for various films including Rudy (1993), Getting Even with Dad (1994), Circle of Friends (1995), Treasure Planet (2002) and Charlotte's Web (2006).[13][14][15][16][17]

  1. "County Galway, June 1892" (1:55)
  2. "The Fighting Donellys" (2:18) – featured performance by The Chieftains
  3. "Joe Sr.'s Passing/The Duel Scene" (4:41)
  4. "Leaving Home" (1:55)
  5. "Burning the Manor House" (2:43)
  6. "Blowing Off Steam" (1:31)
  7. "Fighting for Dough" (2:02) – featured performance by The Chieftains
  8. "Am I Beautiful?" (3:38)
  9. "The Big Match" (5:56)
  10. "Inside the Mansion" (4:24)
  11. "Shannon is Shot" (4:06)
  12. "Joseph's Dream" (3:08)
  13. "The Reunion" (3:50)
  14. "Oklahoma Territory" (2:12)
  15. "The Land Race" (4:56)
  16. "Settling with Steven/The Race to the River" (4:08)
  17. "Joseph and Shannon" (3:14)
  18. "Book of Days" (2:53) – composed and performed by Enya
  19. "End Credits" (6:35) – featured performance by The Chieftains


Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics.[18][19][20] Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 48% based on 33 reviews. The site's critics' consensus reads: "Handsome and simplistic, Far and Away has the beauty of an American epic without the breadth."[21] Metacritic reports a weighted average score of 49/100 based on 19 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[22]

Roger Ebert praised the film's cinematography while criticizing its script:

'Far and Away' is a movie that joins astonishing visual splendor with a story so simple-minded it seems intended for adolescents... It's depressing that such a lavish and expensive production, starring an important actor like Tom Cruise, could be devoted to such a shallow story.[23]

The film was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song for the song "Book of Days'".[24] Writer Tony Parsons later called it "a stinker of a picture...which was far and away the worst film I have ever seen."[25]

Box office

The movie, which cost $60 million to make, earned $13 million in its first weekend at the box office[2][26][27] and stumbled at the box office making only $58 million in the United States and Canada.[2][28] It grossed $79 million overseas for a worldwide total of $137 million.[2]


For its airing on ABC in 1996, the network had reinstated 35 minutes of deleted scenes to fit two hour blocks in two days.[29]


  1. Christon, Lawrence (1992-05-17). "Epic Picture, Epic Dreams: Ron Howard & Co. go all-out in making 'Far and Away,' a $60-million historical romance, and then marketing it against action sequels". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  2. Far and Away at Box Office Mojo
  3. "Festival de Cannes: Far and Away". festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-05. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
  4. Galbraith, Jane (1992-06-14). "A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : LEGAL DEPT. : Lawsuit, Lawsuit on the Range". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  5. Gerosa, Melina (1992-05-22). "Irish Risky". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  6. Davis, Sandi (1992-05-22). "Oklahomans Become Extras in "Far and Away"". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  7. "Far and Away (1992)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  8. "Cruise, New Wife To Star In 'An Irish Story'". Orlando Sentinel. 1991-01-27. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  9. Healy, Donna (2010-05-02). "Covering celebs Gazette follows famous folks in town". Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  10. "Kevin's starring role in Wicklow film industry Ardmore chief a key player in Irish film business". The Irish Independent. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  11. "Filmtracks: Far and Away (John Williams)". www.filmtracks.com. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  12. Far and Away soundtrack review at Filmtracks.com. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  13. "Trailer Music: Treasure Planet (2002)". www.soundtrack.net. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  14. "Trailer Music: Rudy (1993)". www.soundtrack.net. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  15. "Trailer Music: Getting Even With Dad (1994)". www.soundtrack.net. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  16. "Trailer Music: Circle Of Friends (1995)". www.soundtrack.net. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  17. "Trailer Music: Charlotte's Web (2006)". www.soundtrack.net. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  18. McCarthy, Todd (May 11, 1992). "Far and Away". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  19. "Far and Away". The Washington Post. May 22, 1992. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  20. Galbraith, Jane (1992-06-14). "A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : LEGAL DEPT. : Lawsuit, Lawsuit on the Range". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  21. "Far and Away (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  22. "Far and Away Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  23. "Far and Away". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  24. "1992 RAZZIE® Nominees & "Winners"". The RAZZIES Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  25. Tony Parsons, "Yanks Lose the Plot". The Daily Mirror December 21, 1998.
  26. Fox, David J. (1992-06-01). "'Lethal Weapon,' 'Sister Act' Pack a Sales Punch : Box office: The two films dominate weekend ticket action. But 'Far and Away,' starring Tom Cruise, lags behind". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  27. Fox, David J. (1992-05-19). "'Lethal Weapon 3' Destroying Records". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  28. Putzer, Gerald (January 3, 1993). "Sequels are B.O. Winners". Variety. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  29. christophernguyen726 (2019-03-20). "Far and Away: Theatrical Blu-ray Vs. ABC Television Broadcast". Bootleg Comparisons. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
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