Your favorite dog film, Homeward Bound, is now 25 years old. It has existed for a quarter of a century. This means we’ve been privileged enough for a quarter of a century to watch a film about the human and canine bond over and over again.
Homeward Bound is the story of three house pets, golden retrievers Shadow, Sassy, and Chance. After misguidedly thinking that they have been abandoned by their humans, they set out for an epic adventure. If you wish to know more about this movie aside from the plot, here’s a list of trivia.
1. It’s a remake.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey was based on a 1963 film title The Incredible Journey. This original version was, in turn, adapted from a book. What’s even more interesting is the fact that the aforementioned book was a fictionalized account of a true story that happened in the Canadian wilderness about a group of household pets defying odds to come home.
In the first film version, there were no talking animals. Instead, the story was narrated in order for the plot to be understood. Also, the names of the main characters were different: Chance was Luath, Shadow was Bodger, and Sassy was Tao.
2. Hollywood A-listers voiced the Homeward Bound characters.
Michael J. Fox of Back in the Future fame voiced Chance. Two-time Oscar winner Sally Field voiced Sassy. And Shadow was voiced by Don Ameche.
3. Training was given to the animal actors.
The animals that played the main roles were not professional “actors”. The people behind the movie had to train them for seven weeks in order to prepare them for filming. Contrary to popular belief, dogs and cats can coexist harmoniously and the animal actors in Homeward Bound is a testament to that.
Whenever the animal actors did a great job on set, they were given liver treats. Outside the movie, the animal actors’ real names were Ben (Shadow), Rattler (Chance), and Tiki (Sassy). Although Ben, Rattler, and Tiki were the main animal actors on set, other cats and dogs actually served as their doubles.
All in all, there were four dogs and 10 cats on the Homeward Bound set. Other animal performers included a porcupine, a black bear, an owl, a mountain lion, and a skunk.
4. The film gave a subtle shoutout to the author of the book it was adapted from.
In the movie, the human family’s surname is Burnford. This is to give honor to Sheila Burnford, the author of the book, which was the original source of the movie’s story.
5. The movie’s setting is different from the actual filming location.
In the movie, the epic adventure of Shadow, Sassy, and Chance happens in the Sierras of California. However, those scenes were actually shot entirely in the state of Oregon. During filming, mules and horses were employed to transport both film crew and equipment to the remotest areas of the Wallow Mountains.
6. The animals in Homeward Bound don’t actually talk.
Most movies with animal characters blessed with language ability choose to depict these animals opening or moving their mouths while talking. In Homeward Bound, there’s no such manipulation. The animal characters talk with each other but they don’t actually talk the way humans do.
Maybe they communicate via mental telepathy?
7. There’s a continuity error in the waterfall scene.
You might not have noticed it, but it’s there. After Shadow fails to rescue Sassy, he walks on the river bank devastated. During this scene, he is seen walking with both wet and dry fur.