Alaska (1996 with Charlton Heston and Thora Birch)

USA / 1996

Director: Fraser Clarke Heston
Writers: Andy Burg, Scott Meyers

Cast: Charlton Heston, Thora Birch, Vincent Kartheiser, Dirk Benedict, Duncan Fraser II, Gordon Tootoosis, Ben Cardinal

Charlton Heston plays a mean, wily bad guy in this epic adventure yarn directed by his son, Fraser. The action is set against a stunning backdrop of magnificent, snowy peaks and features an irresistible polar bear that befriends a young couple in the wilderness.

Jake Barnes (Dirk Benedict) and his two kids Jessie (Thora Birch) and Sean (Vincent Kartheiser) have moved to Alaska after the death of Benedict’s wife. Jake is a former airline pilot now delivering toilet paper across the mountains. During a delivery his plane goes down in the mountains, prompting Jessie and Sean to set out on an adventure to find their father – with the help of a polar bear they have saved from ferocious poacher Perry, played by Heston.

The film is perfect family fare with amiable performances from the two kids looking for their Dad. But as the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out: the show is stolen “by Agee, the adorable polar bear cub who was specially trained for Alaska and wins your heart when she slides front-paws-first down a snowy hillside.”