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Fight for Life (1987)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 23 March 1987
Jerry Lewis plays an Ohio optometrist who has a six-year old daughter with epilepsy. He fights to get the FDA to approve a drug (at that time only available in England) for use in the U.S.



(teleplay), (teleplay) (as Thomas Nesi) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Bernard Abrams
Dr. Sherard
Felice Abrams
Father Robert Hunt
Shirley Abrams
Dr. Whalley
James Bearden
Robert Benson ...
Dr. Keith
Eve Crawford
Marcia Diamond
Chris Earle ...
(as Christopher Earle)
Samantha Langevin


Jerry Lewis plays an Ohio optometrist who has a six-year old daughter with epilepsy. He fights to get the FDA to approve a drug (at that time only available in England) for use in the U.S. Written by Greg Bulmash <greg@imdb.com>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 March 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Acord pentru viata  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Lewis plays it straight
10 December 2002 | by See all my reviews

Patty Duke is Shirley Abrahms, the wife of Ohio optometrist Dr Bernard Abrahms(Jerry Lewis) whose 6 year old daughter suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, which is best treated by a drug awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration. By being forced to fly to England to obtain the medication, the Abrahms use the media to highlight it's demand and affect the FDA decision on American use.

Duke's wife is secondary to Lewis, who is touching in what is touted as his first dramatic role. Lewis' light touch works for his character when he gets angry, his slow burn a hint at the underlying hostility of the comic. He makes one line funny, concerning their doctor's reluctance to go to England `If she convulses on that plane, you better pull something out of that little black bag. If not for her, then for me. If not for me, then for you'.

The teleplay by Scott Nisor and Tom Nesi is well written and presents a Jewish family who have adopted a child, as their gift from God, and who see the fight as God's test of their courage. When they have the opportunity to receive the drug via the FDA through compassionate grounds, the Abrahms decide it is better to sacrifice their child in order to save all the other children who suffer from the same condition. The FDA's defence, where speed is secondary to safety, is paralled with the thalidomide case, which was prescribed before it had gained approval and had notorious detrimental side effects. Thankfully the treatment doesn't demonise the medical profession, particularly in the Abrahms' confrontation with a specialist at the Maryland National Institute of Health, though it's hard not to remember the English doctor's failure to return phone calls when we finally get to meet him.

Director Elliot Silverstein uses a melodramatic music score by Laurence Rosenthal, fast edits for the child's first seizure for shock effect, and a to-camera narration by Lewis which feels arbitrary. Morgan Freeman gives strong support as the child's paraplegic doctor.

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