Far and Away Movie Poster Image

Far and Away



Intense, treacly Cruise-Kidman immigrant epic.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 140 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's talk of racism, and Shannon and her family treat Joseph as a second-class citizen because he's poor. People exploit both Shannon and Joseph, and Shannon gets harassed by her boss. When they're homeless, Shannon and Joseph break into a house for warmth.


Considerable violence, including several fistfights, a few riots, and several boxing matches where contestants, including Joseph, end up bloodied. Joseph's father dies after being hit. Joseph attempts several times to shoot Mr. Christie. Shannon stabs Joseph in the thigh with a pitchfork. Shannon gets shot in the shoulder. There are several scenes of men being trampled by horses and of covered wagons overturning. Joseph gets severely injured by a horse. A man is shot and killed at point-blank range. Joseph punches his horse.


Shannon and Joseph kiss and Joseph imagines disrobing her, but there's no sex. Lots of sexual innuendo, including comments about men having sex with goats and men leaving women "pulling up [their] knickers." Joseph appears naked in a bed with only a bowl over his genitals. Shannon peeks under it twice. Shannon and Joseph live in a whorehouse.


Some salty language, including "hell," "bastard," "ass," "son of a bitch," "pissing," "tits," and "goddamn."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Considerable drinking, and Joseph and Shannon are both shown very drunk at different points.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while there's no sex in this film, there's considerable fist fighting, violence, and death. Several characters, including main characters, are shot, crushed, and beaten bloody. There's also considerable sexual innuendo about Joseph's virility and machismo. Characters are defined by their class and ethnicity and often exploited. There's also a subtext of the westward expansion in which the government stole land from Native Americans.

What's the story?

In FAR AND AWAY, Ron Howard teams up with Tom Cruise and delicate-looking Nicole Kidman to bring an epic vision of the Westward expansion, Western ingenuity, and destiny. Cruise's plays Joseph, an Irish tenant farmer and the runt of his family. He's bullied and picked on and has big dreams. On his deathbed, Joseph's father all but orders him to get some land to prove his virility: "Without land, a man is nothing. Land is a man's very own soul. America," he gasps, "that's what you're looking for." Joseph travels to his landlord's house to avenge his father's death, and the landlord's daughter, Shannon (Kidman), whisks Joseph away with her to America, both dreaming of owning land on the western frontier of Oklahoma. Along the way, they face challenges to their physical, emotional, and spiritual health from people who exploit them, steal from them, and chase them.

Is it any good?


Far and Away has all the markings of an epic, even a race -- with covered wagons -- but its land-grab scene with horses and wagons toppling over one another is unintentionally hilarious. With a two hour and 20 minute running time, you'll be glad to have something to smile about in this intriguing but plodding movie.

But the premise doesn't have to make sense. Just go with it. It's all fate. They're fated to be together -- though we know it long before they admit it. Joseph is fated to own land. Shannon is fated to be a "modern" woman.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the westward expansion, the concept of "manifest destiny," and what else happened as a result of the Oklahoma purchase: the Trail of Tears. It's also a good opportunity for families to talk about how their relatives and ancestors immigrated to the U.S. and what barriers and challenges they faced. How different is it now for immigrants than it was for Joseph and Shannon? Is class still as important as it was then?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 22, 1992
DVD/Streaming release date:May 28, 1998
Cast:Nicole Kidman, Thomas Gibson, Tom Cruise
Director:Ron Howard
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:140 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some violence and sensuality.

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Adult Written byDBarto February 6, 2010

This Boat has a Few Holes in it

This is not a bad movie, but it is nowhere near a perfect one. There is some semi-strong language in this one, including hell, ass, son of a b*tch, piss, godd*mn, and vulgar remarks related to genitals (p*ssy). In the Sex department, you can see Shannon's exposed breast at one point, Joseph's butt, and a few times where the word p*ssy gets thrown around. There is a heck of a lot of drinking. They are both immigrants from Ireland, and the movie plays into that stereotype quite a bit. There is a lot of violence from a man getting shot twice at point blank range to Joseph fighting at a boxing match. The story is a little “Far and Away” in the terms of how far fetched this is. They get all the immigration stuff right, but they fail in the set up of how Shannon and Joseph become acquainted with each other. At the start of the movie Joseph's dad dies and leaves Joseph and his two brothers with a large debt on the land they rented out. So during the funeral their house gets burned to the ground by one of the landlord's riders who evict people from their houses. So Joseph is going to go to the landlord's property and kill him. But on his way he runs into the landlord (Daniel) and watches him get drunk at a pub (Irish Stereotype). After that he goes to his house with his gun and sleeps in the stable until morning so he can kill the landlord. The only problem is Shannon, who is the landlord's daughter, finds him in the stable and stabs him in the leg with a pitchfork. She runs inside and watches as Joseph tries to kill her father (landlord) and fails as the gun backfires into his face. So her family takes him in and cares for him. That is the first problem with the story, they take him in after he tries to kill the landlord. The second problem is that Shannon falls in love with Joseph. He tried to kill her father. So why she does I will never know. But most of the story problems do get worked out as the movie progresses and they immigrate to America. The acting is decent. Some of the scenes are overacted while some are underacted. The music is great thanks to John Williams' work with the score. The script is so-so do to what the set up was while they were in Ireland. Overall, this is an okay movie. It is not the best romantic movie I have seen, but it is not the worst. 3 out of 5.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byJewlz57 January 31, 2009

The best movie I have EVER seen!

This is a great love story, with a happy ending. This is the BESTEST movie I have ever seen!
Teen, 13 years old Written bySeminolefreak July 19, 2011

Pretty good . not the best though.

My MPAA Rating, PG-13: Language, sexuality,brief animal violence, and intense strong violence