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The Homecoming: A Christmas Story

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Waltons Homecoming title card
Directed by: Fielder Cook
Written by: Earl Hamner Jr.
Release date: December 19, 1971
Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Available on: DVD
The Waltons Homecoming DVD cover

The cover to the DVD release.

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story is a 1971 made-for-TV movie. It served as the pilot for the long-running television series The Waltons.


The story centers on the Walton family on Christmas Eve, 1933, during the Great Depression. John-Boy Walton, played by Richard Thomas, is sent by his mother to find what has become of his father (who has been away and is late returning home), because it is snowing and she has become worried.


  • Most of the familiar cast of the TV series is featured in the movie, with the notable exceptions of the parents and grandfather. Patricia Neal and Andrew Duggan play Olivia and John Walton in this movie. In the series, their characters would be portrayed by Michael Learned and Ralph Waite. Grandpa Walton, played here by Edgar Bergen, was later played by Will Geer in the series.
  • Patricia Neal's performance as Olivia was nominated for the 1972 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie; however, she lost to Glenda Jackson.


Actor Character
Patricia Neal Olivia Walton
Andrew Duggan John Walton
Edgar Bergen Grandpa Zeb Walton
Ellen Corby Grandma Esther Walton
Richard Thomas John-Boy Walton
Jon Walmsley Jason Walton
Judy Norton-Taylor Mary Ellen Walton
Eric Scott Ben Walton
Mary Beth McDonough Erin Walton
David W. Harper Jim-Bob Walton
Kami Cotler Elizabeth Walton

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