Parenthood Information

Parenthood is a 1989 comedy-drama film with an ensemble cast that includes Steve Martin, Tom Hulce, Rick Moranis, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, and Dianne Wiest.

The film was directed by Ron Howard, who assisted in developing the story with screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. Much of the film is based on the family and parenting experiences of Howard, Ganz, Mandel, and producer Brian Grazer, who have at least 14 children among the four of them. Principal photography was filmed in and around Orlando, Florida with some scenes filmed at the University of Florida.

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards: Dianne Wiest for Best Supporting Actress and Randy Newman for Best Song for "I Love to See You Smile".

The film was adapted into a NBC television series on two separate occasions, in 1990 and again in 2010.


Gil Buckman (Martin), a neurotic sales executive, is trying to balance his family and his career in suburban St. Louis. When he finds out that his eldest son, Kevin, has emotional problems and needs therapy, and that his two younger children, daughter Taylor and youngest son Justin, both have issues as well, he begins to blame himself and questions his abilities as a father. When his wife, Karen (Steenburgen), becomes pregnant with their fourth child, he is unsure he can handle it.

He is frustrated and fearful that the financial burdens of another child and office politics at work are turning him into the detached workaholic he despised his own father, Frank (Robards), for being. Humbled by family and work issues, Gil opens up to Frank about his doubts as a parent. Frank tells him that he worries too much, and the two have a reconciliation of sorts with Frank telling Gil that worry for one's children never ends. When a hired cowboy character fails to show up at their birthday party, Gil dresses as a cowboy himself and assumes the role.

His sister, Helen (Wiest), is a divorced bank manager whose ex-husband wants nothing to do with their children, Garry and Julie. Garry (Phoenix), who has just entered puberty, is quiet, uninvolved, and likes to be alone in his room with a mysterious paper bag. At first Helen worries that the bag contains drugs or alcohol, but the bag actually contains porn.

Julie (Plimpton), is still in high school, but is not interested in her education. She and her boyfriend, Tod (Reeves), get married, Julie gets pregnant, and the two live in her mother's house. When Helen asks Tod to talk with Garry, Tod is able to reassure Garry that his obsession with girls and sex is normal for a boy his age. This is a relief to Garry. This also increases Helen's respect for Tod. Eventually she supports Tod and her daughter's relationship to the extent that when Julie wants to break up with him, Helen orders her to face her fears and support him.

Gil's other sister, Susan (Kozak), is a middle school teacher married to an intelligent but neurotic scientist, Nathan (Moranis). They have a precocious daughter, Patty. Susan wants more children, but Nathan is more interested in their daughter's cognitive development. Susan lashes out by compromising her diaphragm as a plan to get pregnant against Nathan's wishes. She eventually gets so frustrated that she leaves him. Nathan eventually comes to one of her classes and serenades her to win her back. He promises her he will try to change and Susan agrees to move back home.

Larry (Hulce), Gil's brother, is the black sheep of the family, but is Frank's favorite. Rather than settle into a career, he has drifted through life trying to cash in on get-rich-quick schemes. He has recently shown up, along with his son, Cool, and wants to borrow money from his father. It soon becomes apparent that Larry needs the money to pay off his gambling debts, or else he must pay with his life. Frank is disillusioned, but still loves him and tries to help. Frank refuses to bail him out completely, but offers to teach him the family business so he can take over for Frank (who has to put off retirement) and use the income to pay off the debt. Larry instead suggests a plan which involves him going to Chile, and Frank agrees to look after Cool.

The family is reunited at the hospital when Helen gives birth to a baby girl. Frank holds his grandson, Cool. Tod and Julie are together, raising their son. Susan is visibly pregnant. Gil and Karen are now the parents of four.


  • Steve Martin as Gil Buckman
  • Dianne Wiest as Helen Buckman
  • Mary Steenburgen as Karen Buckman
  • Jason Robards as Frank Buckman
  • Rick Moranis as Nathan Huffner
  • Tom Hulce as Larry Buckman
  • Martha Plimpton as Julie Higgins
  • Keanu Reeves as Tod Higgins
  • Harley Kozak as Susan Buckman
  • Eileen Ryan as Marilyn Buckman
  • Leaf Phoenix as Garry Buckman-Lampkin
  • Dennis Dugan as David Brodsky
  • Helen Shaw as Grandma
  • Jasen Fisher as Kevin Buckman
  • Paul Linke as George Bowman
  • Alisan Porter as Taylor Buckman
  • Max Elliott Slade as Young Gil Buckman
  • Ivyann Schwan as Patty Huffner
  • Lowell Ganz as Stan
  • Rance Howard as College Dean
  • Clint Howard as Lou
  • Todd Hallowell as Track Official
  • Brittany Paige Bouck as Dwarf

Release and reception

Critical and commercial reception

The film was well received by critics, and maintains a 93% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

American Film Institute recognition:

  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs - Nominated

Box office

Parenthood opened at number 1 in its opening weekend with $10,506,450. The film eventually grossed $100,047,830 domestically and has a $126,297,830 worldwide gross.

Television adaptations

1990 series

See Parenthood (1990 TV series) for more information The film was adapted for an NBC show, but was a critical flop and quickly cancelled.

2010 series

See Parenthood (2010 TV series) for more information In April 2009, filming began on a new television adaptation loosely based on the movie. Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia play the parents, joined by Peter Krause, Mae Whitman, Erika Christensen, Dax Shepard, Lauren Graham and Monica Potter.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Parenthood_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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