- Rated: R
- Run Time: 1 hours, 54 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: February 18, 2003
- Originally Released: 1993
- Label: Lions Gate
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
Performers, Cast and Crew:
New York Times - 05/14/1993
"...A wrenching, beautifully acted tale of love and redemption....[Bridges] is at his very best..."
Rolling Stone - 06/10/1993
Chicago Sun-Times - 10/15/1993
"...Bridges delivers a virtuoso performance..."
Premiere - 12/01/2005
"Bridges is probably as naturalistic and convincing as he's ever been."
When a convict gets out of jail the last thing he needs to think about is taking care of someone else. But his son's goal is to have a family again, and he's determined to make it work.
A boy longing for a relationship with his newly-released ex-convict dad, tracks him down and begs to stay with him. Grudgingly, the father agrees and they set up house in a residential hotel. Jobs are hard to come by for ex-cons "who can't do nothin'," but the father finally gets work washing windows, and instructs his son to go find a school to attend.
As the father and son struggle to become a family, the father tries to resist the temptation to return to the streets and slip back into his old ways. They plan to fulfill the father's dreams of resettling in Alaska, but a feud between the two has dire consequences, leading to a tragic ending.
- Shot in Seattle, Washington in CFI color.
- Jeff Bridge's tattoos were designed by Bob Haaves.
- Stand-in for Edward Furlong was Laura Bobovski.
- Additional credits: music editor was Sally Boldt. sound editing by ACME Soundworks. Titles by Cinema Research Corporation and opticals by 24 Hour Post. Ethan Hoffman and Picture Project also contributed to the main title photos, along with Mary Ellen Mark and Martin Bell.
- "Waiting for My Child" performed by The Gospel Fireballs."
- Feature film directorial debut for Martin Bell, who had previously directed documentaries. "Streetwise," his documentary about homeless young people in Seattle, which appeared at New York's New Director's/New Visions Festival (and was nominated for an Academy Award), was inspired by a 1983 photo essay by photo-journalist Mary Ellen Mark entitled "Streets of the Lost." The new film is loosely based on a 14 year old that Bell documented in his earlier film.
- Several songs in the film are by singer/songwriter Tom Waites. The last song, "I'll Never Let Go of Your Hand" was co-written with his wife Kathleen Brennan and meant to be on his latest album "Bone Machine." Instead, he decided to premiere the song in "American Heart." "I'll Never Let Go of Your Hand" and "Jack's Flashback Theme" are published by Jolmo Music, Inc. (ASCAP). "Waiting for My Child" is published by AVI Music. "Jersey Girl" published by Fifth Floor Music (ASCAP).
- The film was screened at the 1993 Toronto Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, and the USA Film Festival in Dallas.
- Director Martin Bell is now married to associate producer (and source idea journalist) Mary Ellen Mark.
- Film was mixed and recorded in a THX Sound System Theater.
- Copyright 1992 American Heart Productions, Inc.
- Rated BBFC 15 by the British Board of Film Classification.