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  • "Heroes" is not as much about Vietnam vets as it is friendship, the human spirit, loss and dreams.

    Winkler plays the vet whose simple dream of starting a worm farm sends him off to find four other vets (including Ford). Fields is the girl he meets on a bus trip and who goes along with him on his journey.

    I can't say too much about the movie; this is one film best left to experience on one's own. But if you can find it, watch it till the very end - and if you can honestly not watch the final scene then hear Kansas' "Carry On My Wayward Son" and be moved, something is definitely wrong.

    The message may not be earth-moving and the way it reaches it may not be original but "Heroes" still stands by one simple truth - nothing is stronger than the human spirit, nor more fragile.

    Nine stars. Watch "Heroes" - be moved.
  • giishko17 January 2005
    When I saw this film I was quite young and it gave me a humanizing portrait of Viet Nam veterans for the first time. Harrison Ford's performance gave a great glimpse into the personal demons of the war, and coupled with Henry Winkler's fellow veteran offered a range of the complexities of the impact of the war and the responses of the public to our soldiers coming back. I thought it was much subtler than some of the other Viet Nam films of the era and portrayed more everyday people. As a kid in the seventies, veterans were always seen as men that were just walking around with the constant threat of exploding, one-dimensional beings of violence. The movie crosses my mind occasionally because of the impact on my youth but also more now because of the large number of veterans that will become a returning part of our society. I wonder if a movie like Heroes will have added significance because it didn't feature 'heroic' war activists but instead the mechanic next door and the kind misfit you meet on a bus.
  • Bud-1615 October 2000
    This film is a sincere portrayal of a Vietnam Vet's struggle to regain some innocence and happiness after the war. It also shows that Winkler, and to a lesser extent Ford, have more than one dimension to their acting, which pleasantly surprised me. Ford shows a vulnerability which is not apparent in any other of his films I have seen.
  • This movie was excellent, at a time when some friends of mine were going into the service. The movie showed compassion, and understanding to a Veteran, I think the plot was good, real determination on the side of Jack, following the dream him and his buddy had. There was a love in the movie that you don't see very often, part way through and to the end. Coming back from a war that was more or less misunderstood, Jack was looked down upon, he only did what he was told and trained to do. For the most part the general public of the time didn't know him or what he stood for, they only saw where he came from, and what he did there. Another movie with the same background was Rambo, only Rambo ended with violence, but there was still mention of a friend in the movie that died, and a dream that couldn't take place. Both movies showed sides of a man, coming back from a place we will never see, eating things we would never eat. I loved the movie Heroes, even after coming back from Nam, Jack still had good morals, he still did what was right. I would love to see the movie come out so we could buy it, either on VHS, or DVD, I definitely would buy it.
  • To see that someone else has had the same memories for as long as I have about a particular movie, really makes me smile.I have tried for years and years to tell folks about this movie and no one seems to remember it. Heck, I even remember who I went with and the day of the week. The song had a profound affect on me as well and I can't hear Kansas's Carry on Wayward Son without thinking of the movie.. it so touched me!Thanks for being a great site and for helping me put together some memories that were turning into tiny pieces. And now, I'm going to go out and rent the movie just so I can watch Harrison Ford, I can't for the life of me remember his role...
  • I was present during the filming of a couple of scenes. In fact I have a blink and you'll miss me part as well. When this was being filmed Henry Winkler was desperate to shed his Fonzie persona. Children would say "Hello Fonzie" and he would say "I am NOT the Fonz!" Sally Field was the real star of the film at the time. And as Star Wars had not yet been released, my only thought was "Harrison Ford? Why does this man have two last names?" The day they filmed the racing scenes there had been a real rain storm. It required a lot of work to get the track ready for the race. During the course of filming his close up scenes in the race car, Henry Winkler spun the car out and they were frantic that the camera had been damaged. That scene, the scene at the bus station, and the scene where Jack meets the parents of his friend were filmed in Petaluma CA.
  • I'm glad I'm not the only person who remembers the closing scene of this movie as having the song "Carry on Wayward Son" as the music, instead of whatever dreck the edited-for-TV version used. That scene, and this movie, sticks in my mind now almost 30 years later. This movie which starts as a simple comedy gradually transforms into something that offers genuine pathos and commentary about life. You have to see this movie. This movie also features a young Harrison Ford in a small but compelling role.

    This movie was, sadly, heavily edited for broadcast and it changed the feeling of the movie in substantial ways. Seek it out in the original movie format and soundtrack and it's quite special.

    Just give it a chance and watch it until the end, no fast forwarding. I guarantee you will never listen to that song again without choking up.
  • There is this scene where they're staying at this motel, and from what I recall a car crashes into the hotel. Haven't seen the movie again in years, so it's all a bit foggy. Anyway I was 14 years old then and it was a huge event that this movie was being filmed in Sylmar, CA. The FONZ was in our neighborhood! Tons of us kids went to see him and meet him and he was totally into it and friendly to everyone. Meanwhile, quietly sitting in her director chair was Sally Field. I loved her as the Flying Nun, and I wanted to talk to her, but I just didn't get an approachable vibe from her. I just kept staring at her, ha ha. I wish I had, maybe we could have had a nice time visiting while everyone else went crazy for Henry Winkler, who by the way was super short. I gotta go rent this movie again!
  • I was a teenager when this movie first came out 1977 and I just HAD to see the Fonz in anything I could. At the time I thought he was just a fox, and then I found he really can act! I actually was fortunate enough to meet him once years later, and I told him that "Heroes" was the best movie I had ever seen him in since "The Lords of Flatbush". I cry every time I watch this movie, but the saddest part is the last scene. Its so sad because its true! I think everyone should go out and rent "Heroes."
  • reggiebeck6 September 2007
    The ending song is Carry on Wayward Son by Kansas, not Dust in the Wind. This movie is a testament to America's lost innocence. The Hippie movement during the beginning of the 60's gave way to the realities of war in the late 60's and into the 70's. The daily news shows were filled, not only with scenes of mayhem from Vietnam, but with scenes of violence at anti-war protests, civil, and women's rights demonstrations.

    They used Carry on Wayward Son in the commercials and trailers, however, when shown on cable, it is cut. Probably due to licensing problems - which is the usual bugaboo for movies/episodes where songs are replaced.
  • donnaka9 September 2005
    I'm glad I read the comments about the the song being different. I raved about the movie, including the wonderful end song, but when I bought the video tape, I was disappointed! I thought maybe I'd gone crazy. Maybe I have a little bit, as I'd thought it was "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas. Any idea why the theater played a different song than the VHS tape? Were theater owners given a choice?

    Because of this movie, Henry Winkler became one of my favorite actors. I'd always liked Sally Field. I was also attracted to Harrison Ford, my first sighting of him in any movie. I didn't realize until I saw Heroes again, 23 years later, that he was Han Solo! I cry every time I watch the ending. It seemed to bring home to me the agony of the Vietnam War. I was sheltered from the war as I was so young. My parents didn't want to talk about it, and it just made me more curious. Years later, I worked with a woman who'd lost "the love of her life" in Vietnam. She couldn't talk without crying, the pain was still so fresh. Such a tragic time.
  • Henry Winkler is a bit awkward playing a mixed-up Vietnam vet with repressed memories of combat who breaks out of a mental hospital in search of a war-buddy who shares his dream of starting a worm farm (!). After causing a ruckus in a diner--which gets runaway bride Sally Field into big trouble (playing virtually the same character she did in "Smokey And The Bandit")--Winkler becomes involved in rabbit-hutch building (with vacant friend Harrison Ford) and race-car driving before falling in love with Sally, his new traveling companion. She tearfully ends her impending marriage over the phone while he comes to a dramatic resolution of Reality after getting a painful dose of the Truth. "Heroes" isn't much better than the average TV movie of the seventies, one with a built-in campy kick (say, Fonzie meets Gidget--with the addition of Han Solo!). However, despite some ludicrous dialogue, there are several strong scenes. Sally Field is her usual sassy self, and the emotional ending (with the Kansas song) is surprisingly sensitive and well-done. ** from ****
  • The song that closes "Heroes" (1977) in its various T.V./video versions is not the same song that was used in its theatrical showing. It would be great if someone would put the original closing theme back in this film because the crappy song that was used as the replacement closing theme spoils the mood of the last few moments, which is better served by the original closing theme.
  • "Heroes" is an overlooked, appealing little combination of drama and comedy that deserves to be better known. It details the plight of one Vietnam vet, Jack Dunne (Henry Winkler) as he travels cross country to make his dream of starting a worm farm (!) come true. Among the assorted scrapes in which he finds himself, he end up hopelessly bound to a woman doing her own running, Carol Bell (Sally Field). Nicely written (by James Carabatsos) and directed (by Jeremy Paul Kagan), this is a movie that's just as much about its journey as its destination. It has an episodic nature, but the episodes are so compelling and entertaining that they really pull you in. Among other things, Jack escapes from a V.A. hospital, greatly annoys a bus driver (Val Avery), tangles with thieving thugs in a remote bar / motel, meets up with a reckless, macho old Army buddy, Ken Boyd, played with easygoing charm by Harrison Ford, and races Ken's car when Ken won't do it. Even at an hour and 53 minutes, this time almost flies by, with the actors all making the most out of the material. Wonderful music by Jack Nitzsche and Richard Hazard just adds to the enjoyment, as well as slick cinematography by Frank Stanley. The stars couldn't be better: Winkler shows that there was always much more to him than just Arthur Fonzarelli, and Field is at her most adorable (and sexiest). There are also fine contributions from such players as Olivia Cole (in her first film), Hector Elias, Dennis Burkley, Tony Burton, Michael Cavanaugh, John P. Finnegan, and Betty McGuire. There are even uncredited cameos for John Cassavetes and Stuart Margolin. By the time this has reached its finale, one can't help but feel sorry for the Jack character and be rooting for him to find the peace he desperately needs. Incidentally, it's amusing to note how Field is playing a character running from marriage, when she was doing something similar in "Smokey and the Bandit" from the same year. Eight out of 10.
  • I remember seeing this movie when I was 10 with my younger brother-without my parents permission. We would wait until the movie started, go to the back door of the theater and knock until someone answered. If it was the usher we would run, but usually it was somebody near the front who got sick of hearing us knock. Anyhow, we thought any movie with the Fonz had to be cool. I remember being disappointed, but slightly interested in the story. I saw it again years later, and felt that it did capture the angst and disillusionment many Vets felt. I grew up on or near Navy bases and saw many of the Marines who had served in Vietnam at the gym on passes from the military psychiatric hospital. It was sad to see these young guys so confused and messed up. I heard about many more strange plans than starting a worm farm. Good flick though.
  • mckinney-64 November 2005
    I remember seeing this movie when it came out in the theater. Tonight I got to see it at home on TV after all these years. The big surprise is the ending song of the movie was changed! "Carry On My Wayward Son" by Kansas was changed for some trivial song about Heroes. I don't understand why. That was one of best parts of the movie. Sally Field is one of the best dramatic actresses I have seen. She is right up there with Katherine Hepburn and Anne Baxter. Henry Winkler did OK but I think other actors could of done just as well. Harrison Ford was underused. The plot was very thin. What a shame not to use the talent they had available to a better use. They really could of developed the characters more and got rid of the fight scenes and racing cars.

  • Wow. Big names, and a big story as well. I adored this movie, and for more reasons than my loyalty to Henry Winkler. Sally Field and Harrison Ford also gave a deep and touching performance, and I would recommend this movie to anyone. It had its sad moments where I cried--however I do cry in every movie so do not take this as an example. Though, it also has its moments that made you laugh and moments that made you sit up in your seat and bite your nails. Although I didn't really like the ending to the movie, the overall theme and story to it all I thoroughly enjoyed. I, somewhat nice with my ratings, would have given it a 10 no questions asked if it were not for the ending. I think they should have gone on a little further. Watch it! It has my vote!
  • willrams26 April 2003
    Here's the Fonz, Henry Winkler, who plays a returned veteran a little on the crazy side, but with plenty of personality and ambition to hoodwink several people into his crazy schemes. We see several scenes of the Fonz in the nude; he has a beautiful body. He has a penchant to allure older women into his arms and head, with crazy schemes for making a living, which he doesn't! One cute lady is not older than he, Sally Fields, and she is drawn to him. He is such a cooky free personality; that watching this film made me wonder what could possibly happen to him; that is the essence of this film; the acting is superb! Harrison Ford has one of his earliest film performances as one of his friends. There are a lot of sincere emotions in this film, and the photography and music are great, too.
  • nataliep3255 June 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    i remembered seeing this movie on cable in the early 80's when i was little and I'm a big 70's and 80's movies buff so i purchased a tape. let me say it was worth it alone to see an almost unrecognizable Harrison ford! what a different character than his usual hero or tough guy. this was made before star wars was released and before he was on the verge of super stardom. he was great as the slow witted childlike vet. the rest of the movie was alright but it was very unrealistic the way sally field would just go off with this loon without any buildup. maybe she was a little nutty herself. she was very good as well. i thought Winkle was alright a little over the top. i liked him better in night shift. i give this a big thumbs up for Harrison alone!
  • This is a childhood memory. So please keep it in perspective. This was before "Star Wars", so I knew Henry Winkler. But at the time (I must have been 9 at the time), I did say hello to Harrison Ford. Henry would not sign an autograph. But he would shake your hand. I shook it. And at the time I felt that I could put my hand in a plastic baggie. I didn't know if I could sell it later. But what the hell, your 9 so who looks a year down the road, right? Sally Field? A total bitch. I knew even then at my age. She would not look at the local folks watching the filming, not would come to the local people at breaks. I actually liked her before I met her (Smokey and the Bandit) was made before I watched the filming of "Heroes". But because of her actions, I learned to not give her career a glance. I am gland it became less then more.

    Parts of "Heroes" was filmed in the California town of Glen Ellen. As were parts of a Lassie movie and others. At the time (the early 80's to the late 80's, when I went into the military), I know of all the movies that where made in Glen Ellen.... "Cujo", was another movie that was made in the city. I got Daniel Hugh Kelley's signature before "Hardcastle and McCormick". He was waiting in a red MG type of car when my neighbor And I were walking back from school. Gave me his autograph and I have kept it ever since. More of Hollywood coming to me then the other way around. He ended up a good guy.
  • ONCE AGAIN WE find ourselves in the middle of a Vietnam War veteran story. Hollywood was brutally nasty in its overall treatment of and characterization of the men who served honorably in this unpopular conflict.

    BUT IT IS our happy duty to report that in the case of today's reviewed work, HEROES (David Foster Prod./Universal Pictures, 1977)), it is a notable exception.

    OUR STORYOPENS up with our main character, Jack Dunne, being an inmate in a mental hospital. We learn that he is a former soldier; whose condition was brought about due to his experiences in combat in "Nam". We also are entertained and amused by his resourcefulness in managing to pull off an escape from the institution in a manner that would do famous Bank Robber, Willie "the Actor" Sutton proud!

    FOLLOWING THAT, WHAT transpires is a sort of cross country odyssey, as we follow Jack as he heads toward an appointment with some good friend from his outfit in the Army. As the journey progresses, we learn more and more about his past experiences and little about his present predicament.

    WE ALSO SEE him meet and become close to one Carol Bell (Sally Field)with whom he learns to depend. The two do appear to have fallen in a case seriously pointing toward lifetime commitment.

    THE MAIN THEME of the movie, which gives the story power and propels it along in a post haste fashion is a man's dream of a future; seeking to find a better life for himself and his loved ones.

    IT IS A UNIVERSALLY truism and one that is an increasingly doubtful dream in a rapidly changing America.
  • RELEASED IN 1977 and directed by Jeremy Kagan, "Heroes" details events in the mid-70s when a quirky PTSD patient at a New York City veteran's hospital (Henry Winkler) escapes to start a worm farm in Eureka, California. He meets a young woman on the bus (Sally Field) and they have many adventures in their journey across the country wherein the man must come to terms with his 'demons' before successfully moving on with a potential babe by his side. Harrison Ford appears as a mentally dubious race car driver from the sticks in Missouri.

    Winkler was riding a wave of popularity due to his role as Fonzie on Happy Days when "Heroes" was shot in 1976. Despite its obscurity, it was a hit at the box office, grossing $33.5 million on a $3.2 million budget, and opened at #1. It's similar in tone to Jack Nicholson's "Five Easy Pieces" (1970) and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) and, actually, is a meshing of those two movies, but it's nowhere near as good. There's something about Winkler's kooky character that doesn't ring true and so it takes forever to catch a grip with him. Thankfully, you eventually do by the second half.

    Another problem is obvious plot holes. For example, would two thugs steal over $1000 and nonchalantly hang out in the nearest, most obvious place in which to find them? Would an intelligent young woman (or man) rashly drive a car through the walls of an establishment, risking the lives of any innocent person who happened to be on the other side of the walls (whom she can't see)? I suppose it could be argued that she peeked through the window just before pulling the stunt but, even then, she still wouldn't be 100% certain no one would be near that wall when she drove through it.

    Nevertheless, it's great seeing Winkler star in a movie in the mid-70s as someone besides The Fonz, not to mention seeing both Field and Ford when they were so young. Harrison was on the verge of shooting to fame with "Star Wars," released the same year. The message of the movie is worthy too and is the first post-Vietnam War film to address the topic of PTSD (major release anyway), although it's done better in "Coming Home" (1978). There's some low-key humor thrown in here and there with a ventriloquist dummy episode on the bus being particularly amusing.

    The original song that ushered in the end credits was Kansas' "Carry On Wayward Son," but it was removed for legal reasons on the DVD, which is the version I watched. The substitute song "Heroes" isn't anywhere near the greatness of the Kansas number, of course, but it ain't bad and the lyrics are actually more fitting. Yes, it's bland by comparison, but a 4-minute song at the end doesn't make or break an almost two-hour movie; it's just extra toppings on a cake.

    THE FILM RUNS 112 minutes and was shot in New York City and California (Petaluma, Marshall, Nicasio, Lancaster & Inverness). WRITER: James Carabatsos.

    GRADE: B-
  • I was probably the only one of my friends who actually saw this movie when I was a kid. It was touching and well acted. It touched on something that wasn't being talked about a lot in the 1970's, which was the post traumatic shock that veterans were experiencing. Though some people saw the movie as simplistic or even quirky, I thought it was a very compassionate look at the hopelessness that veterans can feel. Some veterans are very disenfranchised when being expected to fit back into society after returning home from war. I found both Henry Winkler and Sally Field's performances to be solid, raw and engaging. It leaves the viewer wanting to understand the characters. Henry Winkler showed a lot more range in this movie than he ever did on his televisions roles. It was also entertaining to see Harrison Ford in a supportive role. I like to watch this movie every couple of years.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Notable as one of the first cinematic attempts to explore the subject of the difficulty Vietnam veterans faced with both finding peace with themselves and readjusting to civilian life following their harrowing tour of duty while fighting overseas, "Heroes" boasts a fine and believable performance from Henry Winkler as Jack Dunne, a rootless and disaffected veteran who's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Jack breaks out of a mental hospital and embarks on a cross country journey to reunite himself with his old unit buddies so he can fulfill his dream of starting a worm farm. During his pilgrimage Jack meets and befriends the sweet Carol (winningly played with real charm and warmth by Sally Field), who becomes Jack's sympathetic traveling companion on his odyssey to surmount his demons and reconstruct his life. Director Jeremy Kagan and screenwriter James Carabatsos tackle the subject matter with admirable taste and sensitivity; they thankfully eschew the usual crass stereotype of Vietnam veterans as crazed psychos in order to address them as troubled and pitiable human beings instead. Moreover, Kagan and Carabatsos do a bang-up job of mixing comedy and drama into a solid and satisfying whole. Winkler and Field display a spot-on appealing chemistry in the leads. Harrison Ford contributes a stand-out portrayal as Jack's happy-go-lucky pal Ken Boyd. Moreover, there are nice cameos by Val Avery as an irascible bus driver, Dennis Burkley as antagonistic redneck Gus, Tony Burton as a huffy diner chef, Olivia Cole as the understanding wife of a wayward soldier, and Michael Cavanaugh as the sleazy Peanuts. Further enhanced by Frank Stanley's handsome cinematography and an eclectic melodic score by Jack Nitzsche, this lovely and moving seriocomic picture overall rates as a real sleeper.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Wanna see Henry Winkler beat up a barroom full of bikers without the use of his magical leather jacket? In HEROES he plays a goofy, manic, troubled Vietnam Vet who, after escaping from a mental institution in New York, travels across country, energized by bizarre plans to build a worm farm in Eureka, California, with the (hopeful) help of his fellow vets...

    Along the way, via bus, while pestering put-upon driver Val Avery, Winkler's Jack Dunne meets lonely, single, soon-to-be-wed Sally Field as Carol (the same year she'd be a reluctant fiance in SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT), and the first of his "Nam " cronies played by soon-to-be-famous Harrison Ford, the same year he'd help The Rebel Alliance rescue a princess, here basically rehashing his AMERICAN GRAFFITI "Bob Falfa" character: but with issues, and zero backbone.

    Despite time being spent (with the trio) on his family's rural, white trash farm, and getting to see Ford shoot a machine gun, down Budweisers and drive a hot rod - it all merely serves as a catapult for the second half, when the inevitable romantic element between Henry and Sally sets in. Alas, Ford's Ken "Ace of Diamonds" Boyd could've been played by anyone. And the fact he's bullied and is afraid to compete on the race track, perhaps another actor would have fit better: for legacy's sake... Who knew that that incredible science-fiction fantasy he'd appear in would take off, and wimpy roles like this would suit him no longer... but it's Henry's vehicle anyway...

    As he weaves in and out of craziness whenever the story runs out of stream, which is most of the way through, his mental illness serves as a platform to not only ham it up with what feels like improv to bust up the surrounding cast and crew, but to charm Field, whose rudimentary annoyance eventually turns to love: Not sure, though, if the audience feels the same way...

    His sometimes grating bouts with innocently optimistic lunacy is often much too "cute" to be taken seriously, and Winkler as a veteran of any war is extremely difficult to believe. But most of any actor's genuine strength are in the intensity of their eyes, and when called for, he wields a pretty nasty glare. So for road movie fluff you could do much worse. And word has it that HEROES was much better when the Kansas anthem "Carry On My Wayward Son" closed the curtain. Well it is true that in any picture, one song can make a difference. (
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