A documentary account of the rehabilitation at the Wiltwyck School of an emotionally disturbed Black boy who is unwanted, misunderstood, and inwardly tortured.



(commentary and dialogue)

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Cast overview:
Narrator (voice)
Donald Peters
Clarence Cooper ...
The counselor
Sadie Stockton ...
The grandmother
Estelle Evans ...
The mother
Paul Baucum ...
The stepfather


The story of a lonely young boy growing up in Harlem. Using a semi-documentary technique, the film-makers realistically capture the hostile environment which leads the boy to delinquency. The youth is sent to Wiltwyck School for rehabilitation, where a psychiatrist and counselor try to break through the wall of silence which the boy uses to hide his fear and bitterness. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Drama





Release Date:

1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den tavse  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As of 2013, remains the only documentary to ever receive an Oscar nomination in the Best Screenplay category. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Beautifully Poignant Tale of an Emotionally Disturbed Child
24 October 2015 | by (Portland, OR) – See all my reviews

I felt compelled to write a review for this remarkable film once I realized nobody else had bothered to do so! Even the IMDb bating of 6.7 is baffling. This is a fantastic story that was nominated for several awards...I can only equate the neglect for this beautiful piece of art with the same unfeeling neglect experienced by the child in the movie.

The Quiet One is about Donald, a poor and lonely black child from Harlem. His isolation from the world around him is two-fold--his inability to articulate himself intellectually or emotionally, and the distant treatment he receives from his grandmother, mother, and step- father. Literally, the step-father doesn't even acknowledge the boy's presence. Donald attempts to connect with the people in his life, even going so far as to try to make friends with a couple of rough older boys who rob him of his ill-gotten sweets. He isn't successful. Pain, anger, confusion and loneliness drive Donald to an act that gets him sent away for rehabilitation. Will Donald be able to overcome his emotional traumas and finally connect with others in a meaningful way?

This touching movie is a painful experience and doesn't cop out with a pat Hollywood conclusion, however it is ultimately a rewarding journey. The narration gives it a realistic feel, the locations are fantastic (especially the scenes shot in the city) and the music is appropriately moody. The characters seldom speak, but the acting is nonetheless strong enough to carry the film.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Please release this dcoumentary on DVD Saidi_slims
The Quiet One sfrancis11
Discuss The Quiet One (1948) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: