Taglines: In this country, when the land is your life…you fight for your life,
Gilbert “Gil” Ivy (Sam Shepard) and his wife Jewell (Jessica Lange) have worked Jewell’s family farm for years, and her father Otis (Wilford Brimley) doesn’t want to see his family farm lost to foreclosure. However, low crop prices, pending FHA loans and a tornado all put pressure on the struggling family as they face hardship and the prospect of losing their home and livelihood.
Country is a 1984 American drama film which follows the trials and tribulations of a rural family as they struggle to hold on to their farm during the trying economic times experienced by family farms in 1980s America. The film was written by William D. Wittliff and stars real-life couple Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard. The film was directed by Richard Pearce and was shot on location in Dunkerton and Readlyn Iowa and at Burbank’s Walt Disney Studios.
The film was Touchstone Pictures’ second production, the first being Splash. Lange, who also co-produced the film, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe award for her role. Then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan stated in his personal diary that this film “was a blatant propaganda message against our agri programs.”
Some members of the U.S. Congress took the film so seriously that Jessica Lange was brought before a congressional panel to testify as an expert about living on family farms. Commentator Rush Limbaugh points out that the expert testimony from Lange (as if she really experienced life as a struggling farm wife) demonstrates that members of Congress have a difficult time distinguishing between stories portrayed in movies (and the actors performing in those roles) and reality.
Oirected by: Richard Pearce
Starring: Jessica Lange, Sam Shepard, Wilford Brimley, Matt Clark, Theresa Graham, Levi L. Knebel, Jim Haynie, Sandra Seacat, Stephanie-Stacy Poyner
Screenplay by: William D. Wittliff
Production Design by: Ron Hobbs, John B. Mansbridge
Cinematography by: Roger Shearman, David M. Walsh
Film Editing by: Bill Yahraus
Costume Design by: Rita Salazar, Thomas Welsh
Set Decoration by: John Franco Jr.
Art Direction by: John B. Mansbridge
Music by: Charles Gross
Distributed by: Buena Vista Distribution
Release Date: September 28, 1984