Irish author Hugh Leonard's play Home Before Night was the basis of Da. Martin Sheen plays an Irish/ American playright living in New York. No matter how much he's assimilated himself, Sheen cannot escape the influence of his deceased adoptive father (Barnard Hughes). The writer has several heated confrontations with the "ghosts" of his father and mother (Doreen Hepburn), as well as with his own adolescent self (Karl Hayden). Sheen comes to realize that his own success was in part sparked by the failures of his "Da," a gardener who spent his life speaking in empty aphorisms and wishing he were someone else.