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The Pride of Jesse Hallam (1981)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  3 March 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 206 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 1 critic

Jesse Hallam, an illiterate coal miner from Kentucky, moves to Cincinnati so that his daughter may receive spinal surgery. Determined to support his family in the city, he decides he must ... See full summary »



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Title: The Pride of Jesse Hallam (TV Movie 1981)

The Pride of Jesse Hallam (TV Movie 1981) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jesse Hallam
Marion Galucci
Ben Marley ...
Ted Hallam
Sal Galucci
Chrystal Smith ...
Jenny Hallam
Uncle Charley
Linda Bennett ...
Viola Borden ...
Mrs. Kleeman
Michael Burnham ...
Tara Cash ...
Malinda Comer ...
Ray Comier ...
William Dickerson ...
Schofield (as William Dickenson)
Dale Doerman ...
2nd Policeman


Jesse Hallam, an illiterate coal miner from Kentucky, moves to Cincinnati so that his daughter may receive spinal surgery. Determined to support his family in the city, he decides he must learn how to read and write as an adult, and resolves to graduate from high school. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

3 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Pride of Jesse Hallam  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


[last lines]
Jesse Hallam: You want to do what I've been doin' all my life - runnin' away from words? Well, that's up to you, but you got to know... it's a poverty trade. And right here and now you could be diggin' youself a hole in the bottom of a mountain that you're never goin' to climb back up out of. Well, not me - and not my boy. We're goin' to high school and we're goin' to graduate and nobody or nothin's goin' to stop us. We're going to learn to read.
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Sung by Johnny Cash
Written by John Prine
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User Reviews

running away from words
13 February 2012 | by (Nova Scotia, Canada) – See all my reviews

Watching at old TV movie is sometimes like digging through a dead relative's closet. There's some air of familiarity to it, memories coming to the surface, and this odd feeling of discovery. Through the 70s and 80s, countless TV movies were filmed and aired in much the same way as early cinema - watched once, then forgotten forever. "The Pride of Jesse Hallam" is like something you might find in the back of a dusty drawer. But that doesn't mean it's a bad thing.

I've always liked Johnny Cash as an actor. He was never really given the chance to pursue it on a deeper level, just a handful of televised roles - most of which went widely unseen. But he's always had a very dark and mysterious persona, and makes you believe every word he says. Here, he sings several songs for the soundtrack as well - one of which (Moving Up) he wrote. It's fascinating to see Eli Wallach, playing an elderly man here (he was only 66). Interesting to note that he is still alive over thirty years later (!), nearly a decade after the death of Johnny Cash.

The storyline of "The Pride of Jesse Hallam" is fairly standard TV movie fare. There's the sick child, the troubled youth, the awkward love interest, and so forth. But it's the main issue of illiteracy that makes things somewhat more unusual. The interplay of the characters is believable, especially between Cash and Wallach. They're the backbone of this story, and everything that holds it together. As far as I know, the only edition out there is a really dirty, unrestored film transfer. Hopefully it will be released in a higher quality edition at some point. It's not a great film, but it's worth the time.

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