IMDb > "ABC Afterschool Specials" Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia (1984)

"ABC Afterschool Specials" Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia (1984)

« Prev | 82 of 156 Episodes | Next »

Photos (See all 3 | slideshow)


User Rating:
8.3/10   70 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Arthur Heinemann (teleplay)
Franklin Thompson (story)
View company contact information for Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia on IMDbPro.
Original Air Date:
7 March 1984 (Season 12, Episode 6)
13-year-old boy has problems reading, which his teachers attribute to laziness. It is later discovered that he has Dyslexia. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Powerful Film With Powerful Message See more (7 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order)

Madge Sinclair ... Miss Tomas

River Phoenix ... Brian Ellsworth
Judy Farrell ... Barbara Ellsworth

Joaquin Phoenix ... Robby Ellsworth (as Leaf Phoenix)
Stephanie Evans ... Kim
Sharon Anderson
Charles Theodore Bates III
Daniel Davies
Bo Kaprall ... Walter Ellsworth

Peter Moore

Shirley Venard (as Shirley Venard-Diercks)
Jack Walsh
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Catherine Campion ... Student

Episode Crew
Directed by
Alexander Grasshoff  (as Alex Grashoff)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Arthur Heinemann  teleplay
Franklin Thompson  story

Produced by
John D. Backe .... executive producer
Shirley J. Eaton .... producer
Philip D. Fehrle .... executive producer
Original Music by
Tony Berg 
Cinematography by
Gregory M. Cummins 
Film Editing by
Michael J. Lynch 
Casting by
Caro Jones 
Set Decoration by
Vicki Hardin 
Costume Design by
Tessie Bundick 
Makeup Department
Cynthia Petersen .... hair stylist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Paul Magwood .... second assistant director
Camera and Electrical Department
Denny Carlson .... gaffer
Victor Korte .... key grip
Editorial Department
Linda M. Bridge .... assistant editor
Other crew
Loren Smith .... script supervisor

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Guy Fraumeni  creator


Additional Details

60 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Powerful Film With Powerful Message, 20 April 2001
Author: Michael Lynch

Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia is a powerful film with a powerful message. As an elementary school teacher I have often turned to River Phoenix as the dyslexic Brian Ellsworth to help soothe troubled parents. It is a touching and tender film that treats a serious issue with great sensitivity.

What I love best about this movie is that I sometimes find myself laughing and crying at the same time. The interaction between Stephanie Evans as Kim Stone and Brian Ellsworth is after school comedy at its best. My students roared with delight when Stephanie aptly described the school lunch menu. "Some choice! Stew, glue, or garbage!" A classic after school line that will be remembered for ages.

This is also a fabulous film for fans of the Phoenix boys. To see them at this young age is quite a treat. Their prowess as actors was evident despite their youthful appearances. It is also the first in a long line of shining appearances for actress Stephanie Evans. Most will remember her for her work as a model in weekly print ads. My personal favorite is her work selling the "Big Button Phone." To conclude I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves high drama mixed with deep belly laughs. A must have for all educators and for fans of River and Leaf Phoenix.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (7 total) »

Related Links

Main series Episode guide Full cast and crew
Company credits IMDb TV section IMDb Adventure section
IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.