1974 Promotional Poster for "Conrack"
Directed by Martin Ritt
Screenplay by Harriet Frank Jr.
Irving Ravetch
Based on The Water Is Wide
1972 novel
by Pat Conroy
Starring Jon Voight
Paul Winfield
Madge Sinclair
Antonio Fargas
Hume Cronyn
Music by John Williams
Cinematography John A. Alonzo
Edited by Frank Bracht
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • March 27, 1974 (1974-03-27)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.37 million[1]
Box office $2 million (US/ Canada)[2]

Conrack is a 1974 DeLuxe Color film in Panavision based on the 1972 autobiographical book The Water Is Wide by Pat Conroy, directed by Martin Ritt and starring Jon Voight in the title role, alongside Paul Winfield, Madge Sinclair, Hume Cronyn and Antonio Fargas. The film was released by 20th Century Fox on March 27, 1974.

The novel was remade as The Water Is Wide (2006 film), a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie starring Jeff Hephner.


The story follows a young teacher, Pat Conroy (played by Jon Voight), in 1969 assigned to isolated "Yamacraw Island" off the coast of South Carolina and populated mostly by poor black families. He finds out that the children as well as the adults have been isolated from the rest of the world and speak a dialect called Gullah, with "Conrack" of the novel's title being the best they can do to pronounce his last name. The school has only two rooms for all grades combined, with the Principal (Madge Sinclair) teaching grades one through four and Conroy teaching the higher grades. Conroy discovers that the students aren't taught much and will have little hope of making a life in the larger world.

Conroy tries to teach them about the outside world but comes into conflict both with the principal and Mr. Skeffington (Hume Cronyn), the superintendent. This comes to a head when he takes them to Beaufort on the mainland to go trick-or-treating, which the superintendent has forbidden. He also must overcome parental fears of "the river." As a result, he's fired. As he leaves the island for the last time, the children come out to see him leave, bringing along a record player on which they play the beginning movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony as he leaves.

This film was shot in and around Brunswick, Georgia and used pupils from C.B. Greer Elementary school as the cast of students.



Critical reception

The film received a primarily positive response upon its release and currently has a "Fresh" score of 88% on reviewing site, Rotten Tomatoes. It has never been released on DVD though it remains available through other means, such as VHS as well as online streaming. Twilight Time has announced a Blu-ray release of this title on March 10, 2014.[3][4]


The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

See also


  1. Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p257
  2. Solomon p 232. Please note figures are rentals not total gross.
  4. List of Twilight Time releases
  5. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-14.

External links

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