30 user 10 critic

Diff'rent Strokes 

The misadventures of a wealthy Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American housekeeper from Harlem.
1,002 ( 156)

On Disc

at Amazon




8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   1981   … See all »
2 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Who's the Boss? (1984–1992)
Comedy | Family | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Tony Micelli, a retired baseball player, becomes the housekeeper of Angela Bower, an advertising executive in New York. Together they raise their kids, Samantha Micelli and Jonathon Bower, with help from Mona Robinson, Angela's man-crazy mother.

Stars: Tony Danza, Judith Light, Alyssa Milano
Growing Pains (1985–1992)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The misadventures of a family with a home business father and a journalist mother.

Stars: Alan Thicke, Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron
Family Ties (1982–1989)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Chronicles liberal ex-hippies Steven and Elyse Keaton, their conservative son Alex, daughters Mallory and Jennifer, and later, youngest child Andrew.

Stars: Michael J. Fox, Michael Gross, Meredith Baxter
Silver Spoons (1982–1987)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Ricky Stratton is a spoiled rich kid who lives the life that many kids dream of, but he still suffers from the problems that many teens do.

Stars: Ricky Schroder, Erin Gray, Joel Higgins
Mr. Belvedere (1985–1990)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The humourous adventures of an English housekeeper working for an American family.

Stars: Christopher Hewett, Bob Uecker, Ilene Graff
Webster (1983–1989)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

The post-retirement season is suddenly disrupted for football player George Papadapolis and his wife Katherine when Webster, the orphaned son of a former teammate, moves in. Laughter -- and life lessons -- in every episode.

Stars: Emmanuel Lewis, Alex Karras, Susan Clark
The Facts of Life (1979–1988)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A group of girls, attending a boarding school, tackle issues throughout teenage life and later adulthood.

Stars: Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn
Punky Brewster (1984–1988)
Family | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Punky Brewster is a show about a girl named Penelope "Punky" Brewster. She is abandoned with her dog, Brandon, in a supermarket by her mother. She doesn't want to stay in an orphanage, and ... See full summary »

Stars: Soleil Moon Frye, George Gaynes, Cherie Johnson
The Cosby Show (1984–1992)
Comedy | Family | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The goings-on in the life of a successful African-American family.

Stars: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam
Happy Days (1974–1984)
Comedy | Family | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The Cunningham family live through the 1950s with help and guidance from the lovable and almost superhuman greaser, Fonzie.

Stars: Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross
Mork & Mindy (1978–1982)
Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A wacky alien comes to Earth to study its residents, and the life of the human woman he boards with is never the same.

Stars: Robin Williams, Pam Dawber, Ralph James
Charles in Charge (1984–1990)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Charles, a college student, is a live-in housekeeper in the Powell household. Charles, along with his friend Buddy, attempts to juggle his studies, friendships and duties to the family.

Stars: Scott Baio, Willie Aames, Nicole Eggert


Complete series cast summary:


Phillip Drummond, a widowed Manhattan millionaire and president of the mega-firm Trans Allied Inc., adopts two African American orphans from Harlem, 8-year-old Arnold and 12-year-old Willis. Drummond had made a promise to their dying mother, his housekeeper, that he would care for the boys after she passes away; their father had died years earlier. The boys, whom Drummond always introduced as his two sons, went from rags to riches literally overnight. At first, Willis was rather skeptical of their newfound wealth, but eventually, both he and Arnold felt right at home in their newfound surroundings. Also part of the family were Drummond's beautiful daughter, 13-year-old Kimberly; and his no-nonsense housekeeper, Edna Garrett. As the years passed, Mrs. Garrett left to become housemother at the Eastland School for Girls; she was replaced by the cantankerous Adelaide Brubaker and still later, charming Pearl Gallagher. Arnold's friends, Dudley and Robbie (and later, Charlie); Willis' ... Written by Brian Rathjen <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Can the funniest, most opinionated nine year old south of Harlem find happiness as the adopted son of a suave, lily-white Park Avenue millionaire? (season 1)


Comedy | Drama | Family


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

45 Minutes from Harlem  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (189 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There was a Silver Spoons/Diff'rent Strokes crossover episode (called "The Computer Caper" which aired on Silver Spoons in 1982). There was also a Diff'rent Strokes /Fresh Prince of Bel-Air crossover episode, there was a Fresh Prince/Jeffersons crossover episode, there was a Jeffersons/All in the Family crossover episode, there was Fresh Prince/Blossom crossover episode; there was a Fresh Prince crossover with an Out All Night episode, there's a Fresh Prince crossover with an In the House episode , All in the Family had crossover episodes with Maude, which in turn spunoff Good Times, there was a crossover episode on The Wayans Brothers featuring the characters of Good Times , Norman Fell's Stanley Roeper character from Three's Company made crossover appearances on both Ellen and Fresh Prince of Bel Aire, Three's Company was reworked from a British sitcom called Man About the House, Three's Company was spunoff into Three's a Crowd, Ellen was spunoff from These Friends of Mine, the characters from Three's Company crossed over into an episode of 10 Simple Rules For Dating My Daughter, All in the Family was reworked from a British sitcom called Till Death Do Us Part, Three's Company spunoff The Roepers, there's a crossover episode with Different Strokes and Amazing Stories, there was a crossover character on All in the Family and One Day at a Time, Netflix rebooted One Day at a Time with alot of the same characters from the CBS original, there was a Roseanne crossover event which included characters from the Jeffersons, Leave it to Beaver, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Lassie and the Wonder Years, there was a special episode of The Talk featuring the characters of Roseanne, Roseanne also had a crossover episode featuring the characters from Absolutely Fabulous, the Absolutely Fabulous tv show spunoff into Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Leave it to Beaver spunoff it's own sequel show called The New Leave it to Beaver, All in the Family had crossover and spinoff episodes with Gloria, All in the Family had crossover and spin-off episodes with Archie Bunkers Place, All in the Family also spunoff 704 Hauser, Diff'rent Strokes had spinoff and crossover episodes with Facts of Life, Diff'rent Strokes also had a crossover episode with Hello Larry, The Jeffersons had a crossover episode with E/R, and the Jeffersons had crossover and spinoff episodes with Checking In. That means Amazing Stories, Absolutely Fabulous, Three's Company, Absolutely Fabulous The Movie, Three's a Crowd, All in the Family, Ellen, These Friends of Mine, Till Death Do Us Part, 10 Simple Rules For Dating My Daughter, Man About the House, The Roepers, One At A Time, The Wayans Brothers, In the House, 704 Hauser, Out All Night, Hello Larry, E/R, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude, Checking In, Silver Spoons, Diff'rent Strokes, Facts of Life, Blossom, The Talk, Roseanne, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Leave it to Beaver, Lassie, The New Leave It to Beaver, The Wonder Years, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Gloria, Archie Bunkers Place and the Netflix One Day At a Time reboot series all exist in the same universe! And Gary Coleman has appeared in eight of these shows (Amazing Stories, Good Times, Hello Larry,The Jeffersons, Diffrent Strokes, Facts of Life, Silver Spoons and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) as three different characters! He appeared as the Arnold Jackson character in 6 different shows! (Diffrent Strokes, Facts of Life, Hello Larry, Silver Spoons, Amazing Stories and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). And he appeared on Good Times and The Jeffersons as two other random characters. Infact, many of the cast members have played multiple different roles on these different shows, including Alfonso Ribeiro, George Clooney, John Amos, Rue McClanahan, Conrad Bain, Kim Fields, Marcia Rodd, Will Smith, Grant Wilson and Janet Jackson. See more »


Willis Jackson: [Arnold refuses to fight the school bully] Alright, Arnold. Then I'll just tell Mr. Drummond what a coward you are. He'll talk some sense into you. Think he wants a coward for a son?
Arnold Jackson: Awww Willis, please don't say anything to him.
Willis Jackson: Well, somebody's gotta make a man outta you.
Arnold Jackson: What's the rush? I'm barely outta toilet-training.
See more »


Referenced in The Suite Life on Deck: Sea Monster Mash (2008) See more »


Diff'rent Strokes
(Theme Song)
Written by Alan Thicke, Al Burton and Gloria Loring
Performed by Alan Thicke
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

25th Anniversary--What You Talkin' About?
6 June 2003 | by See all my reviews

It's hard to believe, but 2003 marks 25 years since Gary Coleman asked Willis what he was talking about.

Norman Lear, who broke a lot of ground heretofore with All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, and Good Times, continued his magic touch with Diff'rent Strokes. A 25th anniversary marathon on any given television station would be a great way to remember this show, notwithstanding that Miss Dana Plato is no longer of this earth.

This show made Gary Coleman Gary Coleman, and he truly made the show what it was.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 30 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page