Submitted by Julio M
During the celebration of his 77th birthday, ailing patriarch Levi (Burt Lancaster) dies quietly, away in his room from everyone else. He had made his grandchildren, who were very fond of him, promise that “there would be no maggots”; he did not want to have a conventional burial and waste away, which is how his grown children had it stipulated to happen.
Cy Blue (Macaulay Culkin, in his film debut) notices the man has passed away and tells the other kids. They wrap Levi’s body in a large blanket and sneak him away, in a van, with young Kane (Danny Corkill) driving. Their goal was to give Grandpa the “Viking Funeral” he was hoping for.
The grownups eventually catch wind of the absence of Levi and the children; Aggie (Suzy Amis) worriedly informs everyone, and when one of the girls who got left behind confirms that “Grandpa wanted no maggots,” they all realize what is about to happen and rush behind the group, to stop them.
With the night falling, the kids set up Levi’s body on a makeshift Viking-looking boat surrounded by wood and push it off to sea. A bonfire is lit up on the beach. Kane, who was good at archery, makes a first attempt to light up the pyre with a blazing arrow but fails. At the same time, all the adults catch up with them; as Kane is about to shoot a second time, Rolo (John Glover) runs toward Kane and tackles him to the ground. However, he manages to shoot the arrow, which successfully lands on the pyre, setting it ablaze.
As nothing else can be done, everyone gathers on the beach, contemplating the fire completely consuming Levi’s body, as well as the boat itself, while a voiceover narrates how, in accordance with the dying man’s wishes, he reduced to ashes that would be, then, freely carried by the winds throughout the Earth.