Taglines: It is everything you’ve dreamed of. It is nothing you expect.
A group of aliens return to earth to retrieve cocoons containing the people they’d left behind from an earlier trip. These cocoons had been resting at the bottom of the ocean. Once retrieved, they stored these recovered cocoons in the swimming pool of a house they’d rented in a small Florida town. Their mission is hampered by a number of elderly people from a nearby retirement community who had been secretly using the pool, and who discover unusual powers from within these cocoons.
Cocoon is a 1985 American science fiction fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Ron Howard about a group of elderly people rejuvenated by aliens. The movie stars Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Gwen Verdon, Herta Ware, Tahnee Welch, and Linda Harrison. The film is loosely based on the novel of the same name by David Saperstein.
The film was shot in and around St. Petersburg, Florida: locations included the St Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, Sunny Shores Rest Home, The Coliseum, and Snell Arcade buildings. The film earned two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Don Ameche) and for Best Visual Effects. A sequel, Cocoon: The Return, was released in 1988 in which almost all of the original cast reprised their roles.
About the Story
About 10,000 years ago, peaceful aliens from the planet Antarea set up an outpost on the planet Earth, on an island later known to mankind as Atlantis. When Atlantis sank, twenty aliens were left behind, kept alive in large rock-like cocoons at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Now a group of Antareans have returned to Earth to collect them. Disguising themselves as humans, they rent a house with a swimming pool, and charge the water with “life force” to give the cocooned Antareans energy to survive the trip home.
They charter a boat from a local captain named Jack (Steve Guttenberg) who helps them retrieve the cocoons. Jack likes Kitty (Tahnee Welch), a beautiful woman from the team who chartered his boat. When he spies on her while she undresses in her cabin, Jack is shocked when he discovers she is an alien. After the aliens reveal themselves to him and explain what’s going on, he decides to help them.
Next door to the house the Antareans are renting is Sunny Shores, a retirement home. Three of its residents, Ben (Wilford Brimley), Arthur (Don Ameche) and Joe (Hume Cronyn), often trespass to swim in the pool next door, thinking the house to be unoccupied. They absorb some of the life force, making them feel younger and stronger.
Eventually caught in the act, they are given permission to use the pool by the Antarean leader, Walter (Brian Dennehy), on the condition that they do not touch the cocoons or tell anybody else about it. Rejuvenated with youthful energy, the three men begin to let the advantages of the pool take hold as they are relieved of their ailments (such as Joe’s cancer miraculously disappearing and Ben’s vision becoming clear, allowing him to be able to drive a car once again).
Meanwhile, Kitty and Jack grow closer and decide to make love in the pool. Since she cannot do so in the human manner, she introduces him to the Antarean equivalent, in which she shares her lifeforce energy with him.
The other retirement home residents become suspicious of the men after witnessing Ben’s wife Mary climb a tree with their grandson, David (Barrett Oliver). Shortly after, their friend Bernie (Jack Gilford), who obstinately refuses to use the healing power of the pool for himself and his wife Rose (who is starting to show signs of possible dementia), carelessly reveals the secret of the pool’s rejuvenating powers to the other residents at the retirement home.
In a mad frenzy after overhearing Bernie’s slip-up, all the other elderly residents go to the pool to swim in its waters. When Walter finds them damaging one of the cocoons, he is infuriated and ejects them from the property, but too many have been in the pool at once and drained its life force.
Later that evening, Bernie finds his wife Rose (Herta Ware) has stopped breathing and she is unable to wake up. Stricken with grief at her unexpected passing, he carries her body to the pool in an attempt to heal her, only to be informed by Walter that the pool no longer works due to the other residents draining the force in the rush to make themselves young.
Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Maureen Stapleton, Tahnee Welch, Gwen Verdon, Herta Ware
Screenplay by: Tom Benedek
Production Design by: Jack T. Collis
Cinematography by: Donald Peterman
Film Editing by: Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill
Costume Design by: Aggie Guerard Rodgers
Set Decoration by: Jim Duffy
Music by: James Horner
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 21, 1985