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Sybil (1976)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Biography, Drama
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 4,954 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 11 critic

A young woman whose childhood was so harrowing to her that she developed at least 13 different personalities.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 Dr. Cornelia Wilbur (2 episodes, 1976)
 Sybil (2 episodes, 1976)


The story tells of a young woman admitting to having blackouts, fearing they are getting worse. She is believed to suffer from multiple personalities, as a result of severe abuse at the hands of her mother, whom the psychiatrist, Cornelia B. Wilbur, believes was schizophrenic. The movie Sibyl is based upon author Flora Rheta Schreiberthe's novel and fictionalized version of the life story of Shirley Ardell Mason, an American psychiatric patient, claimed to have suffered multiple personality disorder. The novel Sibyl, was in its turn based largely on the alleged actual accounts of psychiatric treatment that Shirley Ardell Mason underwent, documented by American psychiatrist Cornelia B. Wilbur. Numerous psychiatrists, both contemporary and more recent, have strongly contested the diagnosis. Written by Jim Berg

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Biography | Drama


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Release Date:

14 November 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sybil - en verklig mardröm  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(original television) | (theatrical) | (DVD)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The screenwriter thought the role of Sibyl would best be played by an actress who wasn't extremely well known to the public, so they wouldn't bring along previous associations as to her personality. With that in mind, he believed an "interesting" choice would be Lily Tomlin, as she could also obviously create distinct characters for all the separate personalities. He did become completely supportive of the idea of Sally Field playing the role after he witnessed Field's auditioned, however. See more »


In present day scenes (set in mid Seventies), Sybil appears to be in anywhere from 25-to-30 years old. But in flashbacks to her childhood scenes when she around five (which would be either late 1940's or early-mid 50's), everything (cars, fashions, hair, etc.) appears to be set in 1930's - long before she was even born. See more »


Dr. Cornelia Wilbur: Sybil has disassociated into a baby... I can't get her back!
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Referenced in Dawson's Creek: Tamara's Return (1998) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Modern Masterpiece of movie making
17 May 2003 | by (PA) – See all my reviews

Sybil, originally aired way before my time, but I got a chance to see it two years ago in my health class in school. Recently while channel surfing, I came across the movie again. I have always had an interest in Multiple personalities, or MPD. Having studied it in a Human Behavior class, I have become obsessed with learning more about it.

The movie Sybil is about the life and lives of at least 16 different people all sharing the body of one person. The movie deals with a hard subject and has some pretty disturbing scenes. One scene that is very unsettling happens towards the end of the movie where Sybil's crazy mom locks her in a trunk. The things that he r mother put her through are so horrible. It's a shame that this young woman's life was full of obstacles. Sally Field definitely deserved an Emmy for her compelling, complex performance as the title character. She goes from each personality flawlessly. She is a very talented actress, the performance only proves that she can play any part. Joanne Woodward, who in this film has switched roles from her Oscar winning performance in The Three Faces Of Eve, where she played a woman with MPD, does an equally outstanding job. Brad Davis turns in one of his best performances. The movie itself is one of the best made for television movies. It grabs you and holds you until it's chilling ending. Sybil is a movie surrounded hope, but covered in sadness. It is an excellent piece of movie making. I give it 4/4.

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Recent Posts
Does the book explain why her mother abused her and disliked her? katejane10
The film is abusive in itself Lilith-Luna
Why did Sybil's mom lay her on the kitchen table with her legs up? katejane10
Why do people who don't deserve children have them? katejane10
=] kinda stupid.. Trixiet23
Kitchen Scene XwildX32
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