Gregory Kingsley, a boy passed off onto social services by his natural mother and abused by his natural father, finds the foster family he is put into to be the type of family he needs and ... See full summary »





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Cast overview, first billed only:
George Russ
Jerri Blair
Liz Russ
Mike Caldwell
Joycelyn O'Brien ...
Rachel Kingsley
Ralph Kingsley
Judge Thomas S. Kirk
Debby Hunter
June Carey
Gary Bayer ...
Chuck Johnson
Brian Russ
Lezlie Deane ...
Jeanette Glynn
Kathy Magnuson
Tiffany Russ


Gregory Kingsley, a boy passed off onto social services by his natural mother and abused by his natural father, finds the foster family he is put into to be the type of family he needs and takes his natural mother to court to have her parental rights revoked so that he can be adopted by the Russes. The story is based on the real case of the boy who really did have to take this action to avoid being sent back into an unacceptable situation. Written by Jim Brawn <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

4 April 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dialymeni oikogeneia  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

One boy's heroic struggle to find a place to be
31 December 2005 | by (Klagenfurt, Austria) – See all my reviews

There was one boy who made a stand and fought for nothing but a place to be. His unprecedented courage stirred public conscience and paved the way for children's rights. Rights - unalienable rights, as they are held self-evident by the Declaration of Independence - that include the Pursuit of Happinesss for every citizen of the United States - even for minors. This boy was in the midst of a legal case that altered the understanding of parental rights and parents' responsibility towards their children. This boy made it clear that all you need is courage and steadfastness, which he – badly enough – gained from years of suffering and years of neglect; from years of being abandoned and deceived by his natural parents.

This boy is known as Gregory Kingsley. This is his story.

This adaptation focuses much more on Gregory's new family and how he manages to become a part of it, while following the same pattern as 'Switching Parents' aka 'Gregory K' with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Here Tom Guiry plays Gregory, and he does so with outstanding sincerity and genuine charm that makes his screen debut a brilliant success.

Here the story starts right with George Russ running into Gregory at the "Boys' Ranch". Thus nothing substantial about the boy's previous story with his natural parents is introduced as it is in 'Switching Parents', which makes it clear that this movie differs from the other adaptation of Gregory's quest. It does not take long, and Mr. Russ (veteran Richard Crenna) decides to take Gregory into his family. The movie then elaborates on Gregory's development within the Russ family, how he manages to deal with the eight other kids he is now living together with and how the family as a whole reacts to him as a new member.

Whereas the strength of 'Switching Parents' lies embedded in the emotional conflict between Gregory and his mother, 'Shattered Family' gains its quality from a more convincing portrayal of how Gregory integrates into his new environment, how he gets along with his new siblings, how he deals with these arising challenges and how they family itself responds to him. These aspects are so strongly and genuinely implemented due to a stronger storyline as in 'Switching Parents' and above all, a stronger, more convincing and experienced cast. Richard Crenna is just the perfect head of the Russ clan, rugged and sensitive at the same time. Cyril O'Reilly is also much more credible than the comical and awkward Robert Joy. On the other hand I would say that Kathleen York is a better Rachel Kingsley in 'Switching Parents' than Joycelyn O'Brien in here, mainly due to a stronger mother-son conflict and as she basically has a more substantial and credible appearance.

A comparison of the two young actors Tom Guiry and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is very difficult. They both have tremendous talent and give outstanding performances in these movies. Both manage to carry the emotional burden with genuine charm and natural skills. Still, if I had to decide, I would say Joseph Gordon-Levitt has done slightly better. He manages to say so much with subtle facial expressions; he seems to have such a strong personality that makes him perfectly fit into the role of Gregory Kingsley. Tom Guiry then again caught my heart with his genuine performance, which he delivered in a way which is typical for newcomers; he never appears to be "working hard to act", he rather seems to evoke a kind of natural relation to him as a character among the audience, due to his uncomplicated manner and unconventional honesty that pervades his acting.

I give this movie a 9 because I was personally attached to the story and stunned by the sensibility of the cast when it comes to handling the emotionally exposing scenes. Furthermore the movie manages to emotionally address an issue of profound importance. It is the issue of whether parental rights are unalienable or not. It is the issue of which rights minors are entitled to, the issue if they ought to have the possibility of deciding for themselves where to live, so that they can be happy. All these aspects are wonderfully transformed and brilliantly visualized and treated by the cast.

Just as Gregory says, in both movies: "I'm doing this for me – so that I can be happy."

This is what he is fighting for – but it is also the origin of this movie's dramatic and emotional quality.

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

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