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25 Fun Facts About 'Homeward Bound'

The perfect movie for animal lovers, 'Homeward Bound' is a live-action, heartwarming tale by Walt Disney Pictures about an American Bulldog and his two best friends embarking on their greatest adventure: going home.

The story of how Shadow, Chance, and Sassy braved the wilderness to be reunited with their family is something an entire generation grew up with. Kids and their parents huddled on the couch together to laugh at Chance's goofy humor and hold each other close when Sassy goes over the waterfall.

No matter how many times you see the Disney movie, you can't help but burst into tears the moment Shadow the old Golden Retriever finally limps over that hill into Peter's waiting arms. It's an emotional roller coaster we're happy to ride over and over.

You already have the script memorized, but here are a few fun facts you might not have known.

1. It's a true story!

"Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" is actually a remake of another movie from 1963 called "The Incredible Journey." That original movie is based off a book by the same name which is based off a true story of pets finding their way home in the Canadian wilderness.

2. In the original movie, the animals didn't talk. The story was told through narration.

3. The names were also different.

The names and breeds of the main characters were changed between movies. Chance was a Golden Retriever named Luath, Shadow was a Bull Terrier named Bodger, and Sassy was a male Siamese cat named Tao.

4. The voice overs were famous actors!

Chance's character is voiced by Michael J. Fox who is famous for his role as Marty McFly in "Back to the Future." He is also the voice of Stuart Little and Milo Thatch in "Atlantis: The Lost Empire."

Sassy was played by the great Sally Field and Don Ameche was the voice of kind old Shadow.

5. All three animal actors practiced their roles for seven weeks before filming began.

Homeward Bound

6. Instead of fame and fortune, the four-legged actors were rewarded for a job well done with their favorite liver treats.

7. They actually got along!

The idea of having dogs and a cat working closely together was expected to be a problem, but by the end, all three animals formed a real-life friendship. It was their bond that helped make the movie so great.

8. In real life, Shadow, Chance, and Sassy were named Ben, Rattler, and Tiki, respectively.

9. There were actually a lot of animal actors!

Ben, Rattler, and Tiki were the main actors to play their characters, but there were actually several animals that helped play the roles. Chance and Shadow were each played by four different dogs, and there were 10 cats that shared the spotlight as Sassy. The extra animals were brought for special scenes and on days the main actors needed a break.

Homeward Bound

10. The human family in "Homeward Bound" has the last name Burnford in honor of Sheila Burnford, the author of the original book.

11. In the movie, the animals trek through the Sierras in California. But in reality, everything was filmed in Oregon.

12. Mules also helped with production!

In order to film the scenes in the most remote parts of the wilderness, the film crew packed all their equipment on mules and horses and rode 15 miles into the Wallow Mountains. They camped there for three days while they got the shots they needed.

Pack Mules

13. Widescreen does not exist...

There is no such thing as a widescreen version of the movie on DVD. If you want widescreen, you'll have to find it on LaserDiscs (which you can buy on, iTunes, Hulu, or Netflix.

Homeward Bound

14. It's one of the few talking animal movies where the animals' mouths don't move along with the words.

15. Besides Chance, Shadow, and Sassy, a mountain lion, owl, black bear, porcupine, and skunk are all listed as animal performers.

16. There's a mistake after the waterfall scene...

If you pay attention during the scene after Shadow fails to save Sassy from the waterfall, you'll see Shadow walking along the river bank first with wet fur, then dry, then he's magically wet again.

17. Also in the porcupine scene...

In the scene where Animal Control pulls the porcupine quills out of Chance's face, Chance's wounds are on the right side of his face. Then later when they're all looking down into the valley at their hometown, his wounds are on the left side of his face.

The marks are completely gone by the time he reunites with his family.

Homeward Bound

18. Chance was just a natural goof.

The scene where Chance runs full speed into a sapling and keeps going (after calling Sassy fat) happened completely by accident. The dog did it on his own, and everyone thought it was hilarious, so they put it in the movie.

Michael J. Fox adlibbed the lines right after it happened.

19. The line, "Whoa! Gopher hole!" was added to the scene when Chance accidentally stumbled while running through a field.

20. The movie is dedicated to its producer, Franklin R. Levy, who sadly died during production.

21. It grossed $41,833,324 in the United States box office.

Homeward Bound

22. Rotten Tomatoes gives the family movie a respectable 87% approval rating.

23. The movie's sequel, "Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco" was released in 1996 and was also well received.

24. "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" made its official debut on February 3, 1993.

25. The cross-country animal odyssey is now more than a quarter of a century old. The original release date was February 12, 1993.

Did you also know that this movie was directed by Duwayne Dunham, produced by Jeffrey Chernov, and written by Caroline Thompson, Linda Woolverton, and Jonathan Roberts? It also starred the following actors: Robert Hays, Kim Greist, Veronica Lauren, Kevin Chevalia, and Benj Thall.

While Homeward Bound has the three main animals speak to each other, their mouths do not move, but I think we'd all agree that their conversations are just as good as other films that do have creatures literally speak, such as 'Babe'.

How many of these "Homeward Bound" fun facts did you already know? Let us know on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page.

All images via IMDB

This article was originally published January 1, 2020.

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