Theatrical release poster
Directed byRichard Pearce
Written byWilliam D. Wittliff
Produced byWilliam D. Wittliff
Jessica Lange
CinematographyDavid M. Walsh
Edited byBill Yahraus
Music byCharles Gross
Touchstone Films
Far West Productions
Pangaea Corporation
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
September 28, 1984 (1984-09-28)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million[1]
Box office$9.64 million (United States)

Country is a 1984 American drama film which follows the trials and tribulations of a rural family as they struggle to hold on to their farm during the trying economic times experienced by family farms in 1980s America. The film was written by William D. Wittliff, and stars real-life couple Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard. The film was directed by Richard Pearce, and was shot on location in Dunkerton and Readlyn Iowa, and at Burbank's Walt Disney Studios.

Lange, who also co-produced the film, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe award for her role.

Then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan stated in his personal diary that this film "was a blatant propaganda message against our agri programs".[2] Some members of the U.S. Congress took the film so seriously that Jessica Lange was brought before a congressional panel to testify as an expert about living on family farms.[3]

Country was one of three 1984 films, including The River and Places in the Heart, that dealt with the perspective of family farm life "struggles".[4]


Gilbert "Gil" Ivy (Sam Shepard) and his wife Jewell (Jessica Lange) have worked Jewell's family farm for years, and her father Otis (Wilford Brimley) does not want to see his family farm lost to foreclosure. However, low crop prices, interest on FHA loans, pressure by the FHA to reduce both the loan and operating expenditure, and a tornado all put pressure on the struggling family as they face hardship and the prospect of losing their home and livelihood.



  1. ^ "AFI|Catalog".
  2. ^ Reagan, Ronald. (2007) "The Reagan Diaries", New York: HarperCollins.
  3. ^ "Stars Testify About Emotional Toll of Farm Crisis" Bangor Daily News, May 7, 1985,3311010
  4. ^ Roger Ebert. "Review of The River". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-09-02.