Small Sacrifices (1989)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  12 November 1989 (USA)
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On the 19th of May 1983 Diane Downs stops at the McKenzie-Williamette-Hospital and cries for help. She is wounded on her arm and her three children are also wounded seriously. She says that... See full summary »



(book), (teleplay)
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Detective Doug Welch
Lew Lewiston
Frank Joziak
Karen Downs
Boyd Paul Downs (as Gary Chalk)
Ken James ...
Daryl Chapman
Sean McCann ...
Russell Wells
Matt Jensen (Part 2)
Elan Ross Gibson ...
Rosalind Dyring
Lynne Cormack ...
Lola Joziak
Evelyn Slaven
Christopher Caravalho ...
Robbie Downs
Anne Bradley Jaeger ...


On the 19th of May 1983 Diane Downs stops at the McKenzie-Williamette-Hospital and cries for help. She is wounded on her arm and her three children are also wounded seriously. She says that a stranger shot at them but the investigation of detective Welch bring out that Diane is a liar. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Her children got in the way of her love



Parents Guide:






Release Date:

12 November 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blick in den Abgrund  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


CAD 7,300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(2 parts)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Diane brings a pizza over to her mailman friend Matt Jensen's house, she asks him if he likes mushrooms on his pizza while holding the pizza out to him. He says yes. But the pizza has no mushrooms on it, it is clearly plain. See more »


Psychiatrist: As a psychiatrist, it is my professional opinion that Diane Downs' personality disorders qualify her as a dangerous offender. She is a sociopath: an antisocial personality without any concern for the rights of others. She has a brilliant mind with no conscience to guide it. A narcissist who sees herself as the center of everything, who will get what she wants no matter what means that she has to employ, no matter who or what stands in her way. She's not able to have or understand love.
Judge Foote: The ...
See more »


Referenced in Kids of Killers (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

A great film about a sickening crime
15 October 2006 | by (Dundee, Scotland) – See all my reviews

This is a film based on a story that defies belief that someone, especially a mother, could be so cruel. Based on a true story that occurred in 1983, a wounded Diane Downs claims that she and her children were attacked by an armed man leaving her eight-year-old daughter in a coma, her three-year-old son paralysed and her five-year-old daughter dead. But DA Frank Joziak and Detective Doug Welch aren't convince and build evidence that proves the person who shot the children was Diane herself.

The actors in this film all give great effort in bringing this shocking story to life. Farrah Fawcett is excellent as the pathological liar that is Diane Downs, portraying the role as a woman almost bored with motherhood. John Shea's Joziak was nicely depicted with a sense of warmth, determination and anger for what he knows Downs did while a young Emily Perkins gives a strong performance as the deeply traumatised Karen Downs, the eight-year-old who awakens from a coma with the knowledge of what her mother did.

This film is fascinating on a level that will shock and disgust the viewers as it is reveals just how insidious and self-obsessed Diane Downs is, how she tries to lie her way out of the court case and the reasons for why a mother would commit a monstrous crime upon her own small children. The story is sickening but it is one that should be told, if only to emphasis to people why Downs should never be allowed to be free.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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