Square Dance (film)

Square Dance
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDaniel Petrie
Screenplay byAlan Hines
Based onSquare Dance
by Alan Hines
Produced byDaniel Petrie
CinematographyJacek Laskus
Edited byBruce Green
Music byBruce Broughton
Distributed byIsland Pictures
Release dates
  • January 16, 1987 (1987-01-16) (Sundance)
  • February 20, 1987 (1987-02-20) (United States)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$4 million
Box office$225,358

Square Dance (television broadcast title: Home Is Where the Heart Is) is a 1987 American coming-of-age drama film directed by Daniel Petrie from a screenplay by Alan Hines, based on his novel of the same name. The film stars Jason Robards, Jane Alexander, Winona Ryder, and Rob Lowe, and was released on February 20, 1987, by Island Pictures. It earned Lowe his only Golden Globe Award nomination for a film role.


Gemma Dillard is a 13-year-old country girl who lives with her Grandpa Dillard on a farm in the Texas Panhandle. Gemma is visited by her mother, who lives in Fort Worth, with an offer to come stay with her in the city. Her mother (who had Gemma when she was still only a teenager) is now married with a job as a hair stylist and can provide for her.

Gemma at first experiences slight culture shock in regards to big city life, but soon comes to accept her new surroundings. She becomes acquainted with a man with an intellectual disability, 21-year-old Rory Torrance. They play together, hang out together, and imagine that they are married.

The story focuses on a series of bittersweet experiences that eventually return Gemma to the country.



Square Dance received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office bomb. However, Lowe was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. Vincent Canby of The New York Times cited Lowe's performance as "arresting", while Rita Kempley of The Washington Post felt that Lowe's character of Rory was "played with extraordinary sweetness". Roger Ebert called it "a weary morality play that sinks under the weight of its good intentions."

On April 17, 1988, the film aired on NBC under the title Home Is Where the Heart Is. One of the members of the Bayou Band as seen in the film was Trace Adkins who, in 1996, would have the first of more than 20 country hits.

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