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Sam's Son (1984)

PG | | Drama | 17 August 1984 (USA)
The semi-autobiographical story of Michael Landon's high school life, his devoted father and his unique talent and ability to throw a javelin, despite his smaller frame.





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Cast overview, first billed only:
Clyde Hayes ...
Robert Woods (as Alan Hayes)
Jonna Lee ...
Gene Orman
Cy Martin
William Boyett ...
Coach Sutter
John Walcutt ...
Ronnie Morgan
David Lloyd Nelson ...
Lonnie Morgan
Mr. Turner (as William H. Bassett)
David Wakefield ...


Michael Landon's semi-autobiographical sketch of his earlier life. It's the story of Gene Orowitz, a high school student struggling with his bed-wetting, who finds success as a distance runner on the track team. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Michael Landon's film directing debut will touch your heart. [Video Poster] See more »




PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 August 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hijo de Sam  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Originally intended as a made-for-TV movie for NBC, but the network ordered Michael Landon to create another pilot for a TV series, which would have been _"Highway to Heaven"_(1984) See more »


The length of Eugene's hair changes a couple times throughout the film. See more »


Gene Orowitz: [Gene enters Mr. Collins' office] You wanted to see me, sir?
Mr. Collins: [takes off his reading glasses] Yes. Turn around.
[Gene turns around and lowers his shirt collar slightly]
Mr. Collins: The whole way.
Gene Orowitz: [turns around] Look, Mr. Collins, I...
[Collins firmly signals him to lower the collar down the whole way]
Mr. Collins: [amazed and shocked] Good Lord. It's come to my attention that several of the teachers have asked you to get your hair cut, now I see why.
Gene Orowitz: Yes, sir, but...
Mr. Collins: Orowitz, we have rules in this school and we all must ...
See more »


Featured in Michael Landon: Memories with Laughter and Love (1991) See more »

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8 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

"Sam's Son" is notable in the Michael Landon oeuvre as the only big-screen movie he made as a writer-director; it still seems TV-ish both in casting - Timothy Patrick Murphy from "Dallas," Jonna Lee from "Otherworld" - and scope (and in fact it was barely released to cinemas at the time), and it's not bad for what it is; a family drama focusing on the relationship between a father and son, with the son channeling his personal problems into athletics and eventually becoming a champion javelin tosser, played in bookends by the late Mr. Landon.

Interestingly, in 1976 Michael Landon wrote and directed the TV movie "The Loneliest Runner," which is remarkably similar to this movie; both are about teenage boys with humiliating personal problems and extremely unfeeling mothers, both main characters have extremely supporting and caring fathers (in "The Loneliest Runner" the mother is so mean that she hangs out her son's wet sheets for all to see, all of which makes the moment when Brian Keith finally tells her to "shut up" even more satisfying... not that it's manipulative or anything, heaven forfend), both characters grow up to be successful athletes, and both are played in their adult years by guess which cast member of "Little House on the Prairie"? (Clue: Not Richard Bull.)

I guess Michael Landon had more baggage in his real life than his famously schmaltzy TV shows let on. Isn't that always the way? (Of course, that won't come as a surprise to anyone who's seen the TV movie about his family...)

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