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The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 1 June 2007 (Spain)
In order to support her ten children, Evelyn Ryan (Moore) enters a commercial jingle-writing contest. Based on a true story.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dortha Schaefer
...
...
...
Ray the Milkman
Monté Gagné ...
Lea Anne Ryan at 17 yrs
...
Dick Ryan at 16 yrs
...
Bub Ryan at 15 yrs
...
Jake Scott ...
...
Ryan Price ...
Shae Norris ...
Barb Ryan at 4 yrs
Abigail Falle ...
Betsy Ryan at 2 yrs
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Storyline

Kelly and Evelyn Ryan live in Defiance, Ohio with their 10 children. At first glance their life seems idyllic; they call each other "Mother" and "Father" and seem to dote on the kids. But Kelly was a garage-band crooner whose voice was ruined in an auto accident. He's resigned to a dead-end factory job that barely pays the bills, and is given to fits of alcohol-induced rage. Evelyn, a stay-at-home wife and mother, deals with this abuse by appealing to her priest, who is no help at all. She deals with their poverty by entering the jingle contests that were the rage in the 50's and early 60's, even sending in multiple entries in the names of the children. She is very clever at it, winning more than her share of prizes, but her successes aren't enough to keep the wolf from the door. Further, they trigger Kelly's insecurities and he retreats deeper into the bottle, using food and mortgage money to support the habit. Can the loving, optimistic Evelyn hold the family together? Is she ... Written by Joe Jurca

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of how a mother raised ten kids on twenty-five words or less.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some disturbing images and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 June 2007 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

La ganadora  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$159,056 (USA) (30 September 2005)

Gross:

$626,310 (USA) (18 November 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the grocery store scene, the bottom shelves behind Kelly are stocked with Ballreich's potato chips. These are made in Tiffin Ohio, nearly 70 miles east of Defiance. Ballreich's (pronounced ballright) started in Tiffin in 1920. See more »

Goofs

Evelyn finally meets up with fellow contestants sometime in summer of 1963, where Dortha gives her entry form for a Dr Pepper contest. But closeup of entry form shows space for entrants to write their ZIP code, a new concept just introduced in July of that year, which did not appear on order blanks, etc. until well into 1964 or beyond, as many people did not understand what it was - certainly not just a month or so after it was introduced. See more »

Quotes

Evelyn Ryan: You know what the worst part of it is?
Mrs. Bidlack: What?
Evelyn Ryan: A quart of milk got sucked up inside my girdle.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the ending credits roll, updates are given of all the children and of Ms. Schaefer along with their real life photos. See more »

Connections

Features Queen for a Day (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Bye Bye Blues
(1930)
Music and Lyrics by Fred Hamm, Dave Bennett, Bert Lown and Chauncey Gray
Performed by Woody Harrelson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Captured The Era/True to the Book
30 September 2005 | by (Nashville) – See all my reviews

Don't mean to be too exuberant, BUT this was a heart-warming movie. Woody Harrelson is perfect in his pathetic role as loser. (Consider "Palmetto" and "The Money Train.") He is a winner at this type of role. Yet, in his portrayal of this father of a large family and the husband of a "stand by your man" and "look to the sunny side of life" woman. Woody manages to evoke our pity and makes us reach for understanding. A terrific supporting role.

Julianne Moore, the star of the movie, is the heroine, the mainstay who keeps everything together. Never been out of her little town of Defiance, Ohio(it's real, look it up!) until one of her daughters drives her to Goshen, Indiana. What an adventure! 100 miles from home. A different state, even though its hard to tell. This daughter is the story teller, the author of the best selling book that became a movie. She captures the 1950s, the silly excitement of writing a catchy commercial phrase, and the heroism and humor of a large family growing up in an era long gone.

It will not be a blockbuster. Opening night, which we wouldn't have missed, was in a large, mostly vacant theatre. Everyone clapped their approval at the close. I'm guessing that most of us had read the book before going.

If you're one of those who haven't read the book, don't worry about it. The movie is like a "To Kill A Mockingbird," in that it captures the book beautifully. (Doesn't deny you the pleasure that comes from reading the book; but let's you in on the wonder of it all.) I have a feeling this movie will fade from view within a few weeks. It may also be one of those movies that ends up in the Academy Awards for best screenplay, best supporting actor, best actress. So, don't let it slip away without YOUR seeing it tomorrow or next weekend. These are the kind of movies, and the caliber of performances that are so rewarding you really need to give it a look see. (Then, buy the book!)


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