At First Sight (1999)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  15 January 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 10,881 users   Metascore: 40/100
Reviews: 105 user | 55 critic | 21 from

A blind man has an operation to regain his sight at the urging of his girlfriend and must deal with the changes to his life.



(story) (as Oliver Sacks M.D.) , (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Margo Winkler ...
Brett Robbins ...
Jack Falk (as Willie Carpenter)
Charles Winkler ...
Kelly Chapman ...
Susan (as Kelly Chapman Meyer)


A driven Manhattan architect, Amy, relaxes at a resort and falls for the masseur, Virgil, blind since age 3 and assisted by his spinster sister. He helps Amy hear and sense the world, giving her new spirit and a burst of creativity. Over the sister's objections, Amy takes Virgil to New York for new, radical surgery. He regains his sight. He's disoriented and must learn to process these new images. Finding his place in a seeing world strains his relation with Amy; his absent father wants to connect with him now that he can see; then, retinal disease threatens to undo the surgery. Can love survive, will he find his new place and his old tranquillity, can Amy accommodate limits? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Science gave him sight. She gave him vision. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for scenes involving sexuality and nudity, and for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sight Unseen  »

Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,444,321 (USA) (15 January 1999)


ESP 109,523,700 (Spain) (29 June 2001)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Val Kilmer prepared for his role by studying with a sculptor friend of his in New Mexico who had lost his sight in Vietnam. See more »


Just before Virgil leaves, he puts Amy's arm behind her back, but in the shot of him going out, it is at her side. See more »


Phil Webster: Limbo is like New Jersey. You can see all the good stuff, you just have to get there.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the start of the closing credits: Inspired by Dr. Oliver Sacks' true account of the experiences of Shirl and Barbara Jennings They are now married and living in Atlanta, Georgia Barbara continues to sculpt and although Shirl never regained his vision, he now paints pictures of his brief adventure in sight See more »


References Mary Poppins (1964) See more »


Love Is Where You Are
Music by Mark Isham
Lyrics by Alan Bergman & Marilyn Bergman
Produced by Diana Krall and Stephan R. Goldman
Performed by Diana Krall
Diana Krall appears courtesy of Impulse/GRP Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Amazing, absolutely amazing!!!
10 August 1999 | by (Washington) – See all my reviews

"At First Sight" is an absolutely amazing movie. I had hesitated to watch this film in the theaters cause of all the bad reviews it got from the critics and from word of mouth from other people i knew. Well, now I've learned a valuable lesson: Don't listen to what other people say. I knew I should have watched it in the theater but it's okay. I have seen it on video and nevertheless I saw it. I went into it expecting a big disappointment. But, rather than that, I fell in love with the movie. It touched me in every way. The fact that it really happened also made me feel extra emotions. This movie is a good one. I don't know what the critics were thinking. I don't know what my friends were thinking, but I guess when I look at it, us romance/drama movie buffs are a small number compared to the action/adventure movie buffs. This movie is absolutely amazing and whatever you do go see it. If you're a romance/drama movie person I'm sure you'll love it!!!

19 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Amy, am i the only one that found her so unlikeable? MyNameIswha
val kilmer... MDSR
Val seemed to dumb down the character, you think? Abe_Phroman
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