Fly Away Home

Thrilling, touching adventure for animal lovers.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will learn a lot about geese -- how to incubate them, raise them once they've hatched, their migration patterns -- and the importance of wetlands as an ecosystem. They'll also learn a bit about ultralight planes and see how one passionate activist can make difference -- even a kid standing up to a government for what she believes in.

Positive messages

Habitats and the animals who need them are worth protecting from sprawl and overdevelopment. Taking care of animals -- wild animals in particular -- requires a great deal of love, time, and effort. Through difficult circumstances, loved ones who have had problems in their relationships in the past can find it within themselves to make things better.

Positive role models

Amy Alden is a loving protector of her adopted gaggle of Canada geese. Her father, Tom, is a hardworking and creative inventor, willing to help his daughter figure out a way to protect the Canada geese from being taken by the government.

Violence & scariness

Early in the film, a car accident is shown from the point of view of the driver's seat as the car flips several times. A character hits a police officer over the head with a metal bowl after the officer attempts to clip the wings of one of the Canada geese. Hunters are shown shooting at geese.

Sexy stuff

While in the shower, Amy gets soap in her eye, screams in panic, and when her father kicks down the door, a friend of his sees her naked. No nudity is shown.


One use of "s--t."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink wine at dinner but don't act intoxicated. A character falls asleep in front of the TV while drinking beer. At the end of the film, in the background, a character is smoking a cigar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Fly Away Home is a poignant and inspiring film about a 13-year-old girl from New Zealand sent to live with her father in Canada after her mother dies in a car accident. The car accident at the beginning may be difficult for younger viewers and for anyone who has experienced a similar tragedy. But Fly Away Home's message of concern and protection of Canada geese and their habitats, and the inventive ways Amy and Tom Alden work together to save them, should delight animal lovers of all ages. As a "mother goose" to the gaggle of geese she helps to fly south for the winter, Amy shows a great deal of care and conviction.

What's the story?

When her mother is killed in a car crash, 13-year-old Amy must go live with her father Tom (Jeff Daniels), whom she barely knows, in a new country. Amy does not want to be comforted, and wanders silently through the marshes near her new home. When developers illegally mow down the marsh, killing a goose, Amy finds the eggs she left behind, and begins to resolve her loss by mothering the goslings. Since she is the first thing they see when they hatch, they "imprint" her, and think of her as their mother, following her everywhere, even into the shower. The local authorities insist that their wings be clipped, since without their mother they can't learn to migrate and will cause problems for the community when they try to fly. But Amy and her father won't allow the geese to be impaired. Tom and Amy work together to teach the geese how to fly, and then migrate. As they work together, Amy finds a way to begin to heal her loss of her mother and her relationship with Tom.

Is it any good?


FLY AWAY HOME is a thrilling adventure, exquisitely told, by the same director and photographer who made The Black Stallion. Ballard has the patience to let the story tell itself, and the quiet moments are breathtakingly beautiful and heartbreakingly touching.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why it's so important to Amy to keep the geese wild and free. What kind of a life would they have had with their wings clipped?

  • Familes can also talk aboutthe importance of preserving wetlands and their importance as an ecosystem. What's lost if too many wetlands are developed?

  • How does Amy's cause help her heal after her mother's death?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 1, 1998
DVD release date:August 7, 2001
Cast:Anna Paquin, Dana Delany, Jeff Daniels
Director:Carroll Ballard
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Great girl role models, Wild animals
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Fly Away Home was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent of a 9 and 14 year old Written bylioness57 April 9, 2008
Kid, 11 years old February 12, 2011
age 8+

Very, very good movie.

this is a very good movie that has a few mild curse words.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bydklink April 9, 2008
age 0+


this was my all-time favorite movie when i was a kid. i loved the storyline, the acting, the geese. (when i was little i called this movie amie and the ducks because that was the main characters name and when they were goslings they looked like ducklings so yeah. hahahahaa) ok. any kid above 3 would like it because of the animals. just watch it with your kids. you'll enjoy it as well


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