Far and Away

Not to be confused with Far Away (disambiguation).
Far and Away

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ron Howard
Produced by Ron Howard
Brian Grazer
Bob Dolman
Screenplay by Bob Dolman
Story by Ron Howard
Bob Dolman
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Mikael Salomon
Edited by Daniel P. Hanley
Mike Hill
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • May 22, 1992 (1992-05-22)
Running time
140 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million[1]
Box office $137.8 million

Far and Away is a 1992 American romantic adventure drama film directed by Ron Howard from a script by Howard and Bob Dolman. It stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. The cinematographer was Mikael Salomon, and the music score was done by John Williams. It was screened out of competition at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

Cruise and Kidman play Irish immigrants seeking their fortune in 1890s America, eventually taking part in the Land Run of 1893.[3][4]

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


In Ireland in 1892, Joseph Donnelly's family home is burned down by his landlord Daniel Christie's men led by Stephen Chase because of unpaid rent. Vowing revenge, Joseph unsuccessfully attempts to kill Daniel. Joseph meets the landlord's daughter Shannon, who has rebelled against family tradition and made plans to claim free land in America. She offers to take Joseph with her as her servant so she, a single woman, can travel without scandal. Joseph agrees, convinced he can also stake a land claim.

On a ship bound for America, Shannon meets McGuire, who warns her that the free land is very far away in Oklahoma. She explains that her collection of valuable silver spoons will cover all expenses and he offers to help her find a shop to sell them to. On arriving in Boston, McGuire is shot and Shannon's spoons fall out of his clothing and get snatched up by passersby. Joseph rescues her but not the spoons. A worker for Ward Boss Mike Kelly, a leader of the Irish immigrant community, introduces them to him. Kelly finds them lodging and jobs, but only one room, which they must share. To avoid scandal, Joseph says she's his sister.

Joseph and Shannon become attracted to each other, but both keep up a front of indifference. One night Joseph rushes out to Boss Kelly's club, where a bare-knuckle boxing match is underway. Joseph challenges the winner, knocks him out and soon becomes a regular at the club. Back in Ireland, the Christies' house is burned down by angry tenants in the Irish Land War, so the Christies decide to emigrate to America, hoping also to find their daughter.

Joseph is told Shannon is at Kelly's club. Rushing to the club, he discovers Shannon on stage as a burlesque dancer. He tries to cover her with his jacket, demanding that she stop dancing. The Irish men surrounding the couple beg him to fight and offer him a small fortune ($200). Shannon, who previously scorned boxing, urges him to fight, since the money would get them to Oklahoma. Joseph agrees and is winning until he notices one of his backers (a member of the city council) groping Shannon on his lap. Joseph pushes through the crowd to free her, but is pushed back into the ring, where his foot accidentally "toes" the line, falsely signaling he is ready to begin fighting. But he isn't ready and the Italian lands a sucker punch, after which he's beaten.

In retaliation for the hundreds of dollars Joseph's boxing loss has cost Boss Kelly and his friends, Joseph is thrown out into the street outside the club and he meets a policeman who shows him a picture of Shannon asking if he's seen her. He then comes back to the room to find Kelly and his thugs searching their room for the money he and Shannon saved. With their valuables having been stolen by Kelly's thugs, they're both then thrown out into the streets. Joseph and Shannon are left homeless.

Cold and famished, the pair enter a seemingly abandoned luxurious house. Joseph encourages Shannon to pretend the house is hers and he is her servant, but she begs him to pretend they are married and the house is theirs. During that tender moment, the owners of the house return and chase them away, shooting Shannon in the back. Joseph brings Shannon to the Christies, newly arrived from Ireland. He decides Shannon will be better cared for by them and leaves despite his obvious feelings for her.

Joseph head west in Ozarks. Joseph finds work laying track on a railroad for the last few months, seemingly abandoning his dream of owning land. Told a wagon train he sees out the door of his boxcar is heading for the Oklahoma land rush, Joseph abandons the railroad and joins the wagon train, arriving in Oklahoma Territory just in time for the Land Run of 1893.

Joseph finds Shannon, Stephen, as well as the Christies already in Oklahoma. Stephen, having seen Joseph talking to Shannon, threatens him that he will kill him if he goes near Shannon again. Joseph buys a horse for the land rush but the horse dies in a few hours and he is forced to ride an unruly horse he manages to tame. On this horse, he quickly outpaces everybody and catches up with Shannon and Stephen, having discovered that Stephen cheated by illegally inspecting the territory before the race and is headed for extremely desirable land he found.

Joseph is ready to plant his claim flag. Shannon rushes to his side and rejects Stephen when he questions her actions. Joseph professes his love for Shannon. They drive their flag into the ground and claim the 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.[5] 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[6] and An Irish Story.[7]

Principal photography begin on May 28, 1991, in Montana. 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.[8] 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,[9] and the streets of Boston were filmed in County Dublin. They spend two months there, and production was completed on September 26, 1991.


Far and Away
Film score by John Williams
Released 26 May 1992
Recorded 1992
Genre Soundtrack
Length 67:12
Professional ratings
Review scores
Filmtracks [10]

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.[11] 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).[12][13][14][15][16]

  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


The film received mixed reviews from critics.[17][18][19] 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.[20]


The movie, which cost $60 million to make, earned roughly $13 million in its first weekend at the box office and made a total of $58 million domestically (it also fared solidly abroad, with almost $79 million) and $137 million worldwide.[21][22][23] The film altogether made $166,694,840 from worldwide and home video rentals. Far and Away currently holds a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 24 reviews. 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 called Far And Away, which was far and away the worst film I have ever seen."[25]

The film is rated M in Australia, however the rating was later changed to PG in New Zealand.


  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". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  2. "Festival de Cannes: Far and Away". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
  3. 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.
  4. Gerosa, Melina (1992-05-22). "Irish Risky". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  5. Davis, Sandi (1992-05-22). "Oklahomans Become Extras in "Far and Away"". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  6. "Far and Away (1992)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  7. "Cruise, New Wife To Star In 'An Irish Story'". Orlando Sentinel. 1991-01-27. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  8. Healy, Donna (2010-05-02). "Covering celebs Gazette follows famous folks in town". Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  9. "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.
  10. Filmtracks review
  11. Far and Away soundtrack review at Filmtracks.com. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  12. http://www.soundtrack.net/trailers/?cid=T&mid=26674
  13. http://www.soundtrack.net/trailers/?cid=R&mid=22224
  14. http://www.soundtrack.net/trailers/?cid=G&mid=9613
  15. http://www.soundtrack.net/trailers/?cid=C&mid=4539
  16. http://www.soundtrack.net/trailers/?cid=C&mid=4224
  17. McCarthy, Todd (1992-05-10). "Far and Away". Variety. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  18. "Far and Away". Washington Post. 1992-05-22. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  19. "Far and Away". Entertainment Weekly. 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  20. "Far and Away". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  21. 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.
  22. Fox, David J. (1992-05-19). "'Lethal Weapon 3' Destroying Records". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  23. Far and Away (1992) - Box office / business
  24. "1992 RAZZIE® Nominees & "Winners"". The RAZZIES Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  25. Tony Parsons, "Yanks Lose the Plot". The Daily Mirror December 21, 1998.
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