The War at Home (1996 film)

The War at Home is a 1996 Vietnam War drama film directed by, starring, and co-produced by Emilio Estevez. The film also stars Kathy Bates and Martin Sheen. Writer James Duff adapted his 1984 play Home Front.

The War at Home
The War at Home DVD Cover.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEmilio Estevez
Produced byJames Duff
Brad Krevoy
Emilio Estevez
Steven Stabler
Written byJames Duff
Based onHome Front
by James Duff
Music byBasil Poledouris
CinematographyPeter Levy
Edited byCraig Bassett
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date
November 20, 1996
Running time
119 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million
Box office$44,722


Jeremy Collier is a returning Vietnam War hero whose experiences leave him unable to adjust to the quiet realities of small town life. Bob Collier, Jeremy's father, expects his son to go back to his life as it was, without understanding the problems of PTSD. Jeremy's mother, Maurine, treats him "like he's a 10-year-old," and seems to think he should forget about his war experiences. His sister Karen is more understanding of his readjustment problems, but their father doesn't want her to help her brother.

When the family's Thanksgiving celebration occurs Jeremy refuses to put on his "nice" clothes and instead decides to wear his combat uniform and medal. At the conclusion of the Thanksgiving celebration, Jeremy pulls his handgun on his father and his family, explaining the hate he feels for his father because he wouldn't lend Jeremy money to leave the country to escape the draft.



The film was made for $3 million, following a deal Estevez cut with Disney (who would later under-promote the film) to appear in D3: The Mighty Ducks, and was distributed by Touchstone Pictures.[1] The soundtrack is faithful to the time period, using music from artists such as Buffalo Springfield, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Singer Jena Kraus is featured singing a folk version of the song "Me and Bobby Mcgee" as well.


The film was released in theatres on November 20, 1996. It was a box office failure, grossing only $43,000.[2]

Home mediaEdit

The film was released on DVD in the US in September 2002.


The film received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reports a 60% approval rating based on 15 reviews, with an average score of 5.83/10.[3]

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B- and said, "The Vietnam-flashback material doesn’t resonate as sharply as it did when screenwriter James Duff first presented this as a stage play in 1984. But with Sheen doing a nice turn as a bewildered Dad and Kathy Bates such a nerve-rattling force as the kill-em-with-cleanliness mother, the agonized family dynamics are effectively awful."[4] Stephen Holden of The New York Times remarked how familiar the premise was, but that the film "still finds moments of wrenching sadness in its microscopic examination of an all-American family torn apart by the Vietnam War," and praised the performances and themes.[5]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The War at Home (1996)". Box Office Mojo. 1996-12-17. Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Lisa Schwarzbaum (1996-12-13). "The War at Home –". Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen (1996-11-22). "Movie Review - - The Long Reach of War, Tearing Up a Family". Retrieved 2017-01-12.

External linksEdit