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The Miracle Worker
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The Miracle Worker More at IMDbPro »

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87 out of 94 people found the following review useful:

An Exceptional Movie That Appeals to the Imagination

Author: Snow Leopard from Ohio
21 December 2004

With two terrific leading performances, an absorbing and thought-provoking story, and many well-conceived touches by Arthur Penn and his production team, this classic version of "The Miracle Worker" is an exceptional movie that appeals to the imagination and that has much to say about humanity. The story itself is so good that even the lesser remakes have been worth seeing, but there is really no reason at all to look any further than this nearly flawless filming of the story.

As Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller, Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke could not have been better. The battle of wills and wits between the two is engrossing, becoming quite involved and very interesting. The lengthy dining room struggle alone would make any movie worth watching - it is worthwhile even beyond the interesting action itself, as it brings out aspects of human nature and human learning that go beyond even Helen's own trials.

There is a great deal of substance to the movie that goes beyond the immediate issues and confrontations, and a significant reason for the greatness of the film is the way that Bancroft and Duke tap into the imagination of the viewer. The concept of seeing an unseen world (and the challenge of helping someone to see it) is brought out in ways that are profound yet accessible.

The two leads carry almost the whole picture, as the other characters are there primarily for Annie and Helen to play off of. Accordingly, the supporting cast keep their characters more simple, and their performances stylized and almost exaggerated, which allows Bancroft and Duke to have most of the moments of significance. The production also enhances the picture through simple but well-conceived settings, use of lighting, and other features that nicely complement the main action.

It's always rather unfortunate that movies like this one, which take a little effort to appreciate fully, are not given more attention. If you stop to consider what Helen Keller had to face in life, it is a situation far more terrifying than facing any of the cartoonish, artificial movie villains that gain so much notoriety. And if you consider the job that Annie Sullivan had to do, her accomplishment is far more impressive and worthwhile than almost any scientific discovery, feat of athletics, or military exploit.

That this movie is able to convey such themes makes it a memorable classic that is much more worthwhile than many movies that have received far more acclaim.

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77 out of 85 people found the following review useful:

Miracle director

10/10
Author: dbdumonteil
29 July 2001

Where do I begin? Shall I speak of Mrs Bancroft's performance,one of the finest you can watch on a screen?Shall I tell about Patty Duke's tour de force?Shall I praise the mind-boggling work of Arthur Penn,directing the long fight around the table?This movie is a miracle in itself.Behind her dark spectacles,the teacher hides buried terrors,that's why she's bound to understand her unusual pupil.She knows that the solution to her problems lies in herself,that the family is a prison .The parents do not see(or do not want to see) that they erect a wall between their daughter and the world outside by poisoning her with protection.That's why Annie seems brutal,hard on Helen.She could not have broken the wall if she had been a "nice" teacher.Among all Penn's great movies ,"miracle worker" is the only one that has an optimistic end.Since,other directors have tackled autism(children of a lesser God,rain man)but no one has surpassed this black and white gem.

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69 out of 77 people found the following review useful:

Extremely Well Acted and Moving

9/10
Author: shark-43 from L.A. CA
2 March 2004

This movie made a strong impression on me when I saw it on Tv as a lad and I have revisted it a few more times but it had been a decade since i saw it last and my daughter had a done a book report on Helen Keller recently and was very moved by her story and I mentioned the Miracle Worker, so we rented it and viewed it tonight and it still packs a wallop and the performances are first rate. Patty Duke won the best supporting oscar that year and deserved it (even though she beat out Mary Badham who played Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird -- what a year for young actresses!!!)and Anne Bancroft is amazing as the tough, determined Anne Sullivan. A wonderful film.

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62 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

This Isn't a Top 250 Movie?!? It Should Be!

10/10
Author: ilikeimdb
17 November 2004

I haven't seen acting like this in a long time! Patty Duke's portrayal of young Helen Keller shocked me with its intensity, rightness, and sensitivity. Anne Bancroft also played a tough role and did so brilliantly.

The other supporting roles were, of course, a bit stilted in the traditional Southern way, but added to the drama nonetheless. I still gave this movie a "10" despite having issues with the way director Penn handled the flashback scenes...a bit cheesy and not quite in keeping with the underlying plot in all cases. That said, the dinner scene with Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft is 100%+ riveting in a way seldom seen and the movie deserves its accolades just for that scene alone.

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47 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

A Story That Needed To Be Told

10/10
Author: rockstar74 (rockstar74@webtv.net) from Indiana
22 May 2004

An inspiring movie. I watch it now at the age of 48 and I remember why I idolized Anne Bancroft and tried to emulate her acting style when I was a theatre student. I still cry during the final scene at the water pump when she cries out - mother, father - she knows!!!! Thank God that Penn and Gibson made sure that she got this movie part. I still wish she would have gotten the the part of Gittel Mosca for the movie version of their broadway play "Two For The Seesaw" because I will never be able to see her performance. Patty Duke was magnificent. She was very convincing and there is never a moment when you don't think she is deaf, dumb and blind. There is no doubt that this pair deserved the Academy Award for their performances. Helen's story needed to be told and this film was a beautiful and poignant tribute to her life

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39 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

MW: One one of the reasons I fell in love with film as art

10/10
Author: gevaultski (contai19@idt.net) from Michigan, USA
22 May 2000

Although I am a long-time Patty Duke admirer, and thus far from objective, this film still stands the test of time. This is the kind of filmmaking that prompted me to fall in love with the movies. Brilliantly inspired writing by William Gibson, from his equally inspired play. Intelligent, austere direction by Arthur Penn (one of the true gentlemen and masters of the American cinema); Penn had the sense to retain the inate artistry and grit of the original stage play and simply allow the camera to capture the actors' intuitive - albeit, well rehearsed, performances, recreating their stage roles which generated an unheard-of 19 curtain calls when it first graced the stage in its Philadephia opening. The film, in stark, black and white, speaks total reality to the film audience of 1962 - and, of course, well beyond that year. Finally, one would be hard pressed to think of another film that so exquisitely defines the term "2-character" study. Bancroft and Duke deliver A-plus, no bones about it, top-drawer, performances. It is a film about the undaunted human spirit and our need to communicate. Although much has been written about 11-minute breakfast donneybrook, which is certainly wonderful cinema to behold, the entire film is breathtaking from opening credits to the final scenes. I dare anyone to even breathe during the climactic water pump scene when teacher Annie Sullivan finally "connects" and communicates with her "unreachable" charge, the deaf, blind, young Helen Keller. It's an absolutely astonishing, "can't take your eyes off it," moment of celluloid. Duke, Bancroft and Penn worked beatifully to create this incredibly touching masterpiece of dramatic filmmaking, which is not without its moments of "comedy," as all fine dramas are capable of conveying. It is a film which breathes life - and it is especially brought to life by two of the best actresses America has ever produced. The Miracle Worker is a story and film portraying real human courage, patience and individual, personal will. It continues to live in my memory as a work of art that has rarely been equalled before - or since - on screen.

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50 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

Should have been on AFI 100 Best Films list

10/10
Author: Boyo-2
3 December 1998

This movie is a must-see. It is completely engrossing and ultimately touching. Bancroft and Duke won and deserved Oscars. Try not to cry at their long-awaited communication; I dare you.

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37 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic performances

9/10
Author: dove95 from New Jersey
8 June 2003

I don't think I've seen a movie with such amazing performances in a LONG time! The more work I see of Anne Bancroft, the more I'm impressed with her craft. I've never seen Patty Duke in anything before, so needless to say, I was blown away by her performance as well.

The most intense acting is done without any dialogue, especially where Anne Sullivan insists that Helen learn how to eat properly.

Such incredible performances (very Oscarly deserved!) and even more incredible story to boot!

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40 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

One of the Great American Films--for the Ages

10/10
Author: middleburg
17 October 2004

The Miracle Worker is one of the great American films--a film containing two

justifiably legendary performances. Anne Bancroft's Annie and Patty Duke's

Helen become such living, breathing, feeling characters. We are of course

caught up in the story and the suspense of how all the scenes will unfold, but we are also captivated. These two stunning actresses make us embrace their

characters--much as they embrace at the beautiful conclusion of this heartfelt film. They are artists of the highest order--and the entire film feels like a great, piece of music. It has a wonderful shape, moments of intense feelings,

moments of peaceful repose, and is filled with rich details to savour--Helen

tossing about in the hanging laundry, Annie's rich Scottish accent, the riveting fight scene, the moment of Helen's revelation which is one of the most

emotionally satisfying moments of any film, anywhere. The photography,

exceptional music score, and once again--that amazing acting--makes this a

film to treasure.

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33 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

This movie was awesome

10/10
Author: Jenny from United States
14 May 2002

Since I had read the play before hand I knew this movie would be excellent but I didn't think it would be this excellent! Anne Bancroft did a phenomenal job as Annie Sullivan, and Patty Duke as Helen made me wonder if she really was blind and deaf! I would reccommend this movie to anyone and everyone who wants to see a good flick! ~*~Jenny~*~ [Note: This version of the Miracle Worker is much better than the 1979 version of it. Melissa Gilbert was just too tall for the role of Helen!

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