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The Ryan White Story (1989)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  16 January 1989 (USA)
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The story of Ryan White, a 13-year-old haemophiliac who contracted AIDS from factor VIII, which was used to control this disorder.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeanne White
Ryan White
Andrea White
Dr. Kleiman
Tom (as Mitch Ryan)
David Day
Gloria White
Charles Vaughan Sr.
Sue Hatch
Casey Ellison ...
WKKI Radio
Charles Vaughan Jr.


The story of Ryan White, a 13-year-old haemophiliac who contracted AIDS from factor VIII, which was used to control this disorder. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 January 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A História de Ryan White - Uma Lição de Vida  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The real Ryan White appeared in the movie as another AIDS patient (with the feeding tube) named Chad. See more »


Judith Light: I'm Judith Light. The film you are about to see 'The Ryan White Story' is being shown in an encore presentation as a tribute to Ryan.
Judith Light: I played his mother, Jeanne, and through the filming I came to know him. I remember Ryan for his enthusiasm and his passion for life. He was with us from start to finish as we filmed his story. He was everywhere; caring, helping; and above all savoring the experience. I will forever miss him. His courage inspired us; his sheer warmed us; and his grace ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

A shot of Judith Light, Lukas Haas, and Nikki Cox fades into a shot of the real Jeanne White, Ryan White, and Andrea White. See more »


Referenced in My Brother's Keeper (1995) See more »


I'm Still Standing
Written and composed by Elton John (as Sir Elton John) and Bernie Taupin
Performed by Elton John
Furnished by Universal-Songs of Polygram Int., Inc.
on behalf of HST Mgt. Ltd. / Universal-Polygram Int. Publ., Inc.
on behalf of Rogue Booze Inc. (BMI/ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

The Ultimate Movie Review! - - @tss5078
30 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ryan White became the face of AIDS in 1985. He was a 13 year old boy who was denied the right to go to school, because he had AIDS. Back then, people didn't know that AIDS was relatively hard to contract and that you couldn't get it from casual contact. When this young High School boy tried to attend school, in Kokomo Indiana, the towns people fought back. The hatred and torture this family had to go through was utterly shocking and eerily similar to the plight of the first African American students, who tried to attend all white schools. Lukas Haas stars as White in this 1989 film. Even 5 years later, there was still a major stigma attached to AIDS and it must have been an extremely difficult role to play. Judith Light, of Who's The Boss Fame, plays his mother. As is the case with most of these made for TV films, she was pretty good, but gave a performance that was way over the top. Being made for TV, especially in the 80s, films had to be extremely toned down. They would make up for what they couldn't show, by really playing on your emotions and really pushing these over the top performances, to the point where they become almost laughable. The cast is rounded out by the legendary George C. Scott who plays White's attorney, a man who took the case for free and gained none of the recognition that he deserved. Finally, White himself makes a cameo as another AIDS patient in the pediatric wing. Today, we don't see many people in the final stages of AIDS, as people with the disease can now live for 20-30 years without complications. To see this young kid with his pale skin, weighing about 100 pounds, featuring lesions on his face, and showing everyone his feeding tube was truly heartbreaking. Sometimes it takes the most unlikely of heroes to open up the minds of the public. Ryan White never made it out of his teenage years, but was still a man of tremendous courage who will be remembered and honored for generations to come.

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