James Garner plays a retired judge and recluse who comes out of "hiding" to investigate when his childhood friend (Bill Cobbs) refuses to accept a Medal of Honor awarded decades ago in World War II. His reason is kept in confidence and Garner's character files a motion to deny the ceremony. Meanwhile, the personal lives of the other characters have issues of their own to work out. In the end of things Cobbs' character is told of something he didn't know about and the two romantic side stories resolve in a positive fashion.
James Garner...Albert Sidney Finch
Judith Ivey...Terry Novis
Ruby Dee...Rowena, Finch's Housekeeper
Bill Cobbs...Gee Pennywell
Laurence Fishburne...Michael Waring, DOD Man
Jo Anderson...Loreen Wendell
Norm Skaggs...Billy Wendell
Entertainment Weekly movie reviewer Ken Tucker, gave the film an A-. In his review, he says the movie "starts out like the [...] a video greeting card designed to warm your heart. But very quickly it becomes something better than that." He goes on to say "To be sure, there's a lot that's sentimental about this story," and calls the film "entertaining."
The DVD Verdict website also praised the film, saying "Decoration Day offers a solid evening of family entertainment, handling serious subject matter with care and presenting a wonderful cast we'd like to wrap in a great big group hug by the end of the film's 99 minutes." They also declared "...if you haven't brushed aside a tear or three by the closing credits, you probably can't see your reflection in a mirror, either." They summed up, "Gather the relations, grab a box of Kleenex, and enjoy."
1991 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or Special – Ruby Dee
1991 Golden Globe Award for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
1991 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV – James Garner
1991 Emmy Award for Directing in a Miniseries or a Special – Robert Markowitz
1991 Emmy Award for Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special – James Garner
1991 Emmy Award for Writing in a Miniseries or a Special – Robert W. Lenski