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Directed by Michael Polish
Produced by Mark Polish
Michael Polish
Written by Mark Polish
Michael Polish
Starring James Woods
Nick Nolte
Duel Farnes
Mark Polish
Daryl Hannah
Peter Coyote
Robin Sachs
Music by Stuart Matthewman
Cinematography M. David Mullen
Editing by Leo Trombetta
Distributed by Paramount Classics
Release date(s) July 11, 2003 (limited)
Running time 103 min.
Language English
Budget $1,900,000 (estimated)

Northfork is a 2003 film directed by Michael Polish and written by Michael and Mark Polish. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2003 and later received a limited release in the United States on July 11, 2003.[1] The film stars James Woods, Nick Nolte, Daryl Hannah, and Peter Coyote. This is the brothers' third film collaboration, after Twin Falls Idaho (1999) and Jackpot (2001).


The film's narrative consists of several interwoven subplots taking place in the town of Northfork, Montana circa 1955. A new dam is being built which will flood the valley of Northfork, and the town is in the midst of an evacuation. The narratives focus on several individuals who, for one reason or another, have yet to evacuate. Walter O'Brian (Woods) and his son (Mark Polish) are on the evacuation team, helping to evacuate the last few inhabitants of Northfork. Father Harlan (Nick Nolte) is one such individual, who has stayed behind to care for Irwin (Duel Farnes), a dying orphan too weak to leave town. While the O'Brians and their coworkers encounter an array of unusual characters, Irwin discovers that he is the "unknown angel" and finds himself a family in his dreams.


The film received mixed reviews from critics upon its release. Most people generally agreed that the film is visually beautiful and philosophically interesting, however, the lack of a strong narrative bothered critics, including many critics who gave favorable reviews.[2] Despite this, it won several awards at film festivals including:[3]

  • the Best Director award at the Athens International Film Festival.
  • the Golden Fleece award at the Golden Trailer Awards.
  • the German Independence Award at the Oldenburg Film Festival.

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