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Eleanor, First Lady of the World (1982)

Biography of former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who forged a new role for herself in the years after her husband's death.



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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Coral Browne ...
Lady Reading
Dorothy Dells ...
Dulles' Secretary
Ship steward
Buzz Roosevelt (as Jeff Marcus)
John Foster Dulles
Madame Jahan
Harry S. Truman
'Tommy' Thompson
James Roosevelt


Biography of former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who forged a new role for herself in the years after her husband's death.

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Release Date:

12 May 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eleanora Roosevelt  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Encore-True Stories Library print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The U.S. flags flying over the White House and at the hotel in London, supposedly in 1945, are the fifty-star version introduced in 1959. See more »


Anna Roosevelt: To Eleanor: My God- Do you have to be useful and saintly every minute?
See more »

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User Reviews

She'd rather light a candle than curse the darkness
16 January 2018 | by See all my reviews

The title of the review is the epitaph Eleanor Roosevelt was given by her friend Adlai Stevenson. As true a one as ever given a human being who was a relentless optimist and saw only the good in people. She was the role model for an activist first lady who traveled the country and became the eyes and ears of her crippled husband. She was also the conduit for many who had no official voice in making policy.

Speaking for the voiceless was a mission of her's and this film Eleanor, First Lady Of The World and she's given a sinecure by her husband's successor Harry Truman when she's made part of the American delegation to the newly formed United Nations.

The post may have been window dressing, but she decided that she'd use it to further her own cause and give the United Nations a creed about universal human rights. It was her baby and despite a lot of opposition and some submarining by foes it passed. It certainly has been buffeted over the years and not always followed, but it remains a standard of universal decent behavior toward others.

It might surprise some to learn that this country has never ratified Eleanor Roosevelt's work. Some southern Senators who figured this might give civil rights advocates some ammunition managed to never let it see the light of day in a vote. Now I daresay a lot of rightwing yahoos would say it never was meant to include LGBTQ people. I think Eleanor Roosevelt would weep, but she would never lose her optimism.

Jean Stapleton is just wonderful as Eleanor Roosevelt. You will not see a hint of Edith Bunker in her performance. She really channeled Eleanor into her performance.

Others of note in the cast are Richard McKenzie as Harry Truman, Joyce Van Patten as her aide 'Tommy' Thompson, Gail Strickland as her daughter Anna, Jeffrey Marcus as her grandson Curtis who as an adult narrates the story, and E.G. Marshall as crusty John Foster Dulles who had to wait four more years to become Secretary Of State.

A wonderful biographical tribute to our greatest first lady in her widowed years.

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