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Children of a Lesser God (1986)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  31 October 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 11,082 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 27 critic

James is a new speech teacher at a school for the deaf. He falls for Sarah, a pupil who decided to stay on at the school rather than venture into the big bad world. She shuns him at first, ... See full summary »



(stage play), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Norman
Dr. Curtis Franklin
Allison Gompf ...
John F. Cleary ...
Philip Holmes ...
Georgia Ann Cline ...
William D. Byrd ...
Frank Carter Jr. ...
John Limnidis ...
E. Katherine Kerr ...
Mary Lee Ochs
John Basinger ...
Alan Jones
Barry Magnani ...
Tom Schuyler


James is a new speech teacher at a school for the deaf. He falls for Sarah, a pupil who decided to stay on at the school rather than venture into the big bad world. She shuns him at first, refusing to read his lips and only using signs. Will her feelings change over time? Written by Colin Tinto <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Love has a language all of its own. See more »


Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

31 October 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Te amaré en silencio  »

Box Office


$31,853,080 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Marlee Matlin was cast after the film's producers saw a video-cassette of a Chicago production of the "Children of a Lesser God" play. Matlin's performance was not in the play's central role of Sarah Norman but was in a supporting part in the stage production. It completely won them over. See more »


Multiple cars had the license tag "3952" -- a blue Ford and a brown Pontiac. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. Curtis Franklin: This is the most amazing résumé I've ever seen.
James Leeds: I've been with some really good schools. The best.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: All of them. All of the best. One right after another. You've also been with the Lucky Erin Bar and Grill.
James Leeds: Pittsburgh. Bartender.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: And a disc jockey.
James Leeds: Yeah, that was in Oklahoma. I used to broadcast in sign language.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: You've covered all the map, Mr. Leeds.
James Leeds: I've got a lot of energy.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: I'm sure you do have a lot of energy and a lot of new ideas. I did too when...
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Hollywood's New Vandalism (1986) See more »


I've Found Him
by Laurence Rosenthal
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

My brief review of the film
17 November 2005 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

There are certain minorities that are not often represented in films, and the deaf is one of these groups. It is fascinating to watch this film, as it provides an insight into working with the deaf, and trying to make it so they can cope in a world full of noises. William Hurt gives off a very naturalistic performance, managing to add eccentricity to his role without overdoing it, and his acting also includes having to sign naturally. Even though it seems like an audience pleaser to have him translate out loud everything that Marlee Matlin is saying, it is still a credible performance. Matlin is also very good, deaf in real life, and she won an Oscar for her role. The film is let down however by the choice of a generic plot structure. The impending character relationships and storyline are very predictable, although the screenplay has some interesting ideas to keep it afloat. A lot of the film is concerned with being able to accept a person for who he or she is, and whether one should adjust one's ways or having others adjust for them. It is a good film, and has careful sound mixing work too. Matlin's constant anger is perhaps not realistic, and it is very easy to see where the film is going, but these points do not stop it from being effective viewing and good film-making in general.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Is this the only movie primarily about Deaf people? Abe_Phroman
Film ruined by the score Allie-18
ASL or Signed English? Cheer_Cat
did the actors need to learn to sign?? shortie__9a
Meaning of Title mattpt83
Climax? baybveeka-1
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