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To Save the Children (1994)

Unrated | | Drama | TV Movie 5 April 1994
Teacher Jake Downey has relocated to a small town in Wyoming hoping to escape the urban problems of his last assignment. His myth of rural bliss is shattered when a former police officer ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Steven Stern)

Writers:

(nonfiction book "When Angels Intervene"), (nonfiction book "When Angels Intervene") | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
David Young
...
Dorsie Young
...
Kathi Davidson
...
Melanie Young
James Purcell ...
Cal Fredericks
Robert Bednarski ...
Cody Little
Cecilley Carroll ...
Tracy Little
...
Sheriff Wolfley
...
Jake Downey
...
Tom Little
Elizabeth Lennie ...
Emma Little
...
Matt Eckhardt
...
Jane Michaels
Jenny Parsons ...
Lisa Burns
Goldie Semple ...
Nadene
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Storyline

Teacher Jake Downey has relocated to a small town in Wyoming hoping to escape the urban problems of his last assignment. His myth of rural bliss is shattered when a former police officer comes unglued, builds a bomb and takes Jake's class hostage. The heroism of his true story unfolds as the hostage drama takes many surprising turns towards the phenomenal conclusion. Written by NostalgicNoir

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hostage | based on true story | See All (2) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

5 April 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A terror fogságában  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When David Young and his wife go into the Principal's office, they tell the principal that the school is being taken hostage. However in interviews of the real people, it was a secretary who was told it was being taken hostage. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cokeville Miracle (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
David's „Biggie" – sensible account of a true drama
24 July 2006 | by (Zurich, Switzerland) – See all my reviews

The main protagonist of these true events, David Young, is a mixture of Charlie Manson and Sonny Wortzig, the bank robber in Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon. One of the most quoted lines of that movie is Wortzig's partner Sal's answer to his question in which country he would like to flee. It's Wyoming.

The drama in this movie actually takes place in Wyoming. The plot does bear a certain resemblance to Dog Day Afternoon. David Young assembles a small gang for his surefire plan to get rich. Only on the big day, referred to by David as „the biggie", do the others learn, what the plan is – get hold of a grammar school and ask the president of the United States a ransom of 2 million US dollars for each kid. He not only wants to transport a huge amount of firearms into the building but also a bomb with a dead man's switch he had already tested on an (empty) school bus. Although his two partners are quick to refuse to take part in this mad scheme and his daughter after some hesitation decides to follow them, Young puts his plans into action together with his wife – with the foreseeable tragic results.

This movie really works very well, the whole cast is outstanding, all the children's performances really are terrific, too, which makes it all the more believable and moving. David Young clearly is at the center of the narrative. He is played by Richard Thomas whom I remembered as the sweet teenager in the Waltons TV series. His is a great and convincingly scary performance of a weird, funny, dangerous and also strangely pitiable man. Young clearly is a man who should have been in medical treatment or institutionalized. He has developed a weird philosophy and is given to long ramblings which do not loose their effect on weak, impressionable characters. This results in his being a kind of a feverish guru with the appeal of a Charles Manson. The movie takes account of the comic as well as the tragic aspect of the situation with excellent pacing and also with respect for all the characters.

Women take an important part in the story. The teachers face Young with remarkable coolness, consoling and disciplining the kids, trying to prevent disaster. On the other side there is Young's loyal wife who is probably not very intelligent but in her way tries to do the same as the teachers. Outstanding for me was the part of Young's daughter, Joanne Vannicola is excellent in that role. The teenage girl is in a coming of age phase and is clearly torn between the loyalty toward her father and the insight that he is simply mad. The scene where she stands in the school corridor with an armful of rifles, looking truly miserable and finally deciding to stand up to her father was for me the highlight of this very watchable movie.


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