The misadventures of a wealthy Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American housekeeper from Harlem.
Reviews
Popularity
917 ( 60)

On Disc

at Amazon

Episodes

Seasons


Years



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... 

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
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
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
Webster (1983–1989)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 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: Susan Clark, Alex Karras, Emmanuel Lewis
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
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, moves in with the Powell family as the housekeeper, baby-sitter, and friend to the children. Along with his best friend, Buddy, Charles attempts to manage his ... See full summary »

Stars: Scott Baio, Willie Aames, Nicole Eggert
Laverne & Shirley (1976–1983)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The misadventures of two single women in the 1950s and '60s.

Stars: Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, David L. Lander
The Facts of Life (1979–1988)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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

Stars: Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn
The Cosby Show (1984–1992)
Comedy | Family | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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

Stars: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam
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
Mr. Belvedere (1985–1990)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

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

Stars: Christopher Hewett, Ilene Graff, Tracy Wells
Edit

Cast

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)
Edit

Storyline

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

45 Minutes from Harlem  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (189 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of Arnold Jackson's pet goldfish was Abraham. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Helen Mirren/Foo Fighters (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Episode One Observations... tjordan-05828
Willis and Arnold sharing... rndgurl-971-654277
Weird Alternative Titles(By Country) shaunatate-15-369625
One thing that always bugged me about this show dnasty68
Mary Ann Mobley dead at 75 milford1018
Jumped the shark grievousangel09
Discuss Diff'rent Strokes (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page