Forever Youngis a 1992 film with elements of romance, drama and science fiction, directed by Steve Miner , starring Mel Gibson , Elijah Wood and Jamie Lee Curtis . The screenplay was written by J.J. Abrams from an original story, "The Rest of Daniel". The original music score is composed by Jerry Goldsmith . The film is marketed with the tagline "Time waits for no man, but true love waits forever."
In 1939, Captain Daniel McCormick (Mel Gibson) is a reckless test pilot. After a successful run in a prototype North American B-25 Mitchell bomber, McCormick is greeted by his longtime friend, Harry Finley (George Wendt), who confides that his latest experiment, "Project B", has succeeded in doing the impossible. The machine, built by Finley and his team of scientists, is a prototype chamber for cryonic freezing. When McCormick's girlfriend, Helen (Isabel Glasser) goes into a coma from an accident and the doctors doubt she will ever recover, McCormick insists he be put in suspended animation for one year, so he will not have to watch Helen die.
Fifty-three years later, two boys playing inside an abandoned military storage warehouse stumble onto the chamber (which they initially think is a submarine). Twisting the dials, they accidentally activate the reversal process. During the confusion, McCormick's sleeping form reflexively grabs one boy's coat. They flee in terror, and shortly after, McCormick awakens in 1992. After appropriating shorts and a shirt from a clothesline, he first approaches the military about his experiences. When they dismiss him as crazed, McCormick becomes more determined to learn what happened to Finley, Helen, and the world that has seemingly evolved overnight around him.
His search leads him to Nat Cooper (Elijah Wood), one of the two boys who opened the chamber, and owner of the aforementioned jacket. Though the boys are initially terrified, McCormick is able to calm Cooper and his friend with the truth of his story. This bond is strengthened when Nat's mother, Claire (Jamie Lee Curtis) offers McCormick a place to stay, until he can discover what to do with his search. Nonetheless, McCormick's time is running out, as his body starts to age rapidly, due to the years he spent in stasis.
When another "aging attack" practically cripples McCormick, Claire is told the amazing truth. Susan, Finley's daughter, informs him that her father died many years earlier (the government later specifies it was a warehouse fire in the early '40s, while trying to save the frozen McCormick from the chaos). Susan also gives McCormick her father's journals, hoping he can use them to reverse his own condition (but according to the journals, the project cannot reverse aging, thus explaining Daniel's own rapid aging). Before leaving, Susan gives McCormick one further revelation: Helen is alive. The government is also after McCormick, but in the end, Claire hands over the crucial information on "Project B", and no one is arrested as the government investigates what went wrong.
McCormick's final task is to find Helen in the present day. Nat stows away on board a B-25 bomber, taken from an airshow, which he helps McCormick land when another attack nearly kills him. His true age having finally caught up with him, the now-elderly McCormick asks Helen to marry him, and she accepts.