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Cocoon (film): Wikis


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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ron Howard
Produced by David Brown
Richard Zanuck
Written by Novel:
David Saperstein
Tom Benedek
Starring Don Ameche
Wilford Brimley
Hume Cronyn
Jessica Tandy
Maureen Stapleton
Gwen Verdon
Steve Guttenberg
Brian Dennehy
Jack Gilford
Herta Ware
Barret Oliver
Tahnee Welch
Music by James Horner
Cinematography Donald Peterman
Editing by Daniel P. Hanley
Mike Hill
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) June 21, 1985
Running time 117 minutes
Country USA
Language English
Followed by Cocoon: The Return

Cocoon is a 1985 science fiction film directed by Ron Howard about a group of elderly people who are rejuvenated by aliens. The movie starred Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Gwen Verdon, Herta Ware, Tahnee Welch, and Linda Harrison. The film is loosely based on the novel by David Saperstein.

The movie was filmed in and around St. Petersburg, Florida: locations included the St Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, The Coliseum, and Snell Arcade buildings. The film earned two Academy Awards.

It spawned one sequel, Cocoon: The Return, in which almost all of the original cast reprised their roles.



Around 10,000 years ago, a group of peaceful alien lifeforms, from the planet Antarea, formed an outpost on the planet Earth on an island known to mankind as the mythical civilization Atlantis. According to legend, this outpost sank due to an earthquake, and in order for them to leave, twenty members remained behind so that the rest would have enough lifeforce to return to their home planet.

Eventually, a group of four Antareans returns to pick them up. They disguise themselves as humans, rent a house with a swimming pool, and charge this pool with lifeforce, so that the cocooned Antareans can sustain enough energy to survive the trip home.

Meanwhile, Ben, Arthur and Joe, three local residents from a retirement home (played by Wilford Brimley, Don Ameche, and Hume Cronyn respectively) go to swim in the pool secretly and take in some of the lifeforce, which causes them to feel younger, stronger, and happier again. They are caught, but are eventually given permission by the head Antarean, Walter (played by Brian Dennehy), to use the pool. Bernie, one of the other elderly people from the home (played by Jack Gilford) well-known for his extreme pessimism, who also knows of the nature of the aliens, obstinately refuses to use the healing power that he and his dying spouse need, believing it to be unnatural to extend or interfere human life in this manner. He carelessly reveals the secret of the pool's rejuvenating power one day by confronting his "pool" friends out loud about it during a group dinner at the home and Joe in anger tries to attack him putting down two orderlies in the process, but this results in all of the other elderly residents rushing off and breaking in on to the Antareans' property, and barging their way into the pool. Walter, infuriated, ejects the retirement home inhabitants, but as too many people have been in the pool at one time (and some of them carelessly tampered with a few of the cocoons), all the life force has been drained, and the Antareans cannot take along the cocoons anymore; in fact, at least one of the cocoon inhabitants dies as a result of the loss of the pool's nourishing energy.

That night, Bernie's wife dies and he takes her to the pool, tenderly splashing water over her face to try to revive her, but Walter explains that the power of the pool is gone and that there is nothing he can do to bring Bernie's wife back to life. With the help of Ben, Arthur and Joe, the Antareans return the cocoons to the ruins of Atlantis. Because the Antareans are unable to take the cocoons with them to their home planet, they offer the spare places aboard their spaceship to the old people, and, with the exception of Bernie, who chooses to live out his natural life on Earth, most of the main cast return with the Antareans to their homeworld, where they will never grow ill, never age and never die.

In popular culture

  • In the 1989 film, Say Anything, John Cusack's character Lloyd Dobler attempts to show a group of elderly nursing home residents Cocoon.
  • In the episode "My Five Stages" (Season 5, Ep. 13) of the sitcom Scrubs, J.D. describes what death will be like for a patient, to which Dr. Hedrick replies, "That was the ending to...Cocoon."
  • In one episode of the American sitcom The Golden Girls (Season 3, Ep. 21, "Rose's Big Adventure"), the girls hire an elderly Italian named Vincenzo to remodel their garage into a guest room, and Vincenzo employs his own crew of elderly workers (some even with walkers). Dorothy, upon first seeing the crewmen, remarks that the crew looks "like the road company of Cocoon." Cocoon stars Jack Gilford and Herta Ware also made (separate) appearances in later episodes.
  • In the episode "The One Where Joey Moves Out" of the sitcom "Friends", Jack Gellar, when talking about another character Richard having a younger girl (which is his daughter Monica Gellar), says: "He's like a new man. It's like a scene from Cocoon." Courtney Cox Arquette who plays Monica Gellar also stars as Sara in Cocoon's sequel.



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