“Once I Was” – Tim Buckley .. as used in “Coming Home” (1978) dir. Hal Ashby

UPDATE (Oct. 2015): The clip of this from “Coming Home” has since been removed from YouTube.  I’ve posted a non-film version here as a substitute.  You are strongly urged to check out “Coming Home” when you get a chance.

One of the most powerful uses of a song in a film. This is the ending of Hal Ashby’s Vietnam War drama “Coming Home” from 1978. The scene features Jon Voight’s paralyzed Vietnam War veteran talking to a group of high school students, while Bruce Dern’s veteran character commits suicide by swimming into the sea.

Apparently, Dern’s suicide scenario was one that Ashby often thought of. The use of Buckley’s “Once I Was” was especially meaningful, because before Buckley’s death from an overdose of heroin, was Ashby’s choice to play Woody Guthrie in his biopic “Bound for Glory.”

3 thoughts on ““Once I Was” – Tim Buckley .. as used in “Coming Home” (1978) dir. Hal Ashby

  1. Dave, you are so right. I watched Coming Home over 20 years ago when I was in college. For some reason the ending with the use of Once I Was did not make a lasting impression. I happened to rewatch the ending clip on youtube a couple of years ago. The ending scenes were riveting. But I was also struck by how great the song is. Now it’s one of my favorites. I will make some time soon to rewatch the whole movie.

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