Diff'rent Strokes (1978–1986)

TV Series  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Family
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The misadventures of a rich Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American maid.

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Title: Diff'rent Strokes (1978–1986)

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8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   1981   … See all »
2 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 Philip Drummond / ... (181 episodes, 1978-1986)
 Arnold Jackson (179 episodes, 1978-1986)
 Willis Jackson (169 episodes, 1978-1986)
 Kimberly Drummond (140 episodes, 1978-1986)


Phillip Drummond, a widowed Manhattan millionaire and president of the mega-firm Trans Allied Inc., adopts two orphaned black brothers 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 on; 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 a bit skeptical of their new-found wealth, but eventually, both he and Arnold felt right at home in their new-found surroundings. Also part of the family were Drummond's beautiful daughter, 13-year-old Kimberly; and his current housekeeper, Edna Garrett. As the years passed, Mrs. Garrett left to become house-mother 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' girlfriend, ... Written by Brian Rathjen <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (189 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The addition of Maggie and (in particular) Sam is generally seen as the show's "Jump The Shark" moment by fans of the series. 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 Robot Chicken: Atta Toy (2005) 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 (New York, NY) – 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.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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