Sally Bender is the wife of a Captain in the United States Marine Corps. He is sent over to Vietnam, and Sally is alone. With nothing else to do, she decides to volunteer at a local veteran’s hospital, where she meets Luke, who went to high school with Sally. Luke was wounded and is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. When Sally begins to fall in love with Luke, she has to make a crucial decision about her life.
Coming Home is a 1978 drama film directed by Hal Ashby and starring Jane Fonda, Jon Voight and Bruce Dern. The screenplay by Waldo Salt and Robert C. Jones was from a story by Nancy Dowd. The plot follows the drama between a young woman, her Marine husband and the paralyzed Vietnam War veteran she meets while her husband is overseas. Fonda and Voight won Academy Awards for their performances.
About the Story
In the spring of 1968 in California, Sally (Jane Fonda), a loyal and conservative military wife, is married to Bob Hyde (Bruce Dern), a captain in the United States Marine Corps who is about to be deployed to Vietnam. As a dedicated military officer, Bob sees it primarily as an opportunity for progress. At first, Sally dreads being left alone, but after a while she feels liberated. Forced to find housing off the base she moves into a new apartment by the beach and buys a sports car.
With nothing else to do, she decides to volunteer at a local veterans’ hospital. This, in part, is motivated by her bohemian friend Vi Munson (Penelope Milford), whose brother Billy has come home after just two weeks in Vietnam with grave emotional problems and now resides in the VA hospital.
At the hospital, Sally meets Luke Martin (Jon Voight), a former high school classmate. Like his friend Billy (Robert Carradine), Luke had gone to Vietnam but come back wounded. He is recuperating at the hospital from the injuries he sustained in the Vietnam War and which left him a paraplegic. Filled with pain, anger, and frustration, Luke is now opposed to the war. Luke at first is a bitter young man, but as he is increasingly thrown into contact with Sally, a relationship starts to develop.
Eventually, Luke is released from the hospital, and, newly mobile with his own wheelchair, begins to rebuild his life. His relationship with Sally deepens. She is also transformed by him and her outlook on life starts to change. They have happy times, play at the beach, and the two fall in love. Meanwhile, Billy, traumatized by his experiences at war, commits suicide by injecting air into his veins. After Billy’s suicide, Luke has only one obsession: do anything to stop sending young men off to war.
Directed by: Hal Ashby
Starring: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern, Penelope Milford, Robert Carradine, Mary Gregory, Kathleen Miller
Screenplay by: Waldo Salt, Robert C. Jones
Cinematography by: Haskell Wexler
Film Editing by: Don Zimmerman
Distributed by United Artists
Release Date: February 15, 1978