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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.



(book), (screenplay)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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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


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


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


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 June 2007 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

La ganadora  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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


$626,310 (USA) (18 November 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Laura Dern was pregnant during filming. See more »


In the movie, Kelly and Evelyn Ryan both have red hair. However, only a few of their children have red hair, the rest have brown. This would be genetically impossible since the gene for red hair is recessive; two copies of the gene are needed for red hair. If the Ryan parents were true redheads, all of their children would have some variation of red hair. See more »


Evelyn Ryan: I don't need you to make me happy. I just need you to leave me alone when I am.
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 »


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User Reviews

Another small beauty
29 December 2005 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

This one came to me in the form of an Academy screener so it's eligible for Oscars - but I had never heard of it - nor read anything about it. So, it's a true sleeper. It's not perfect, but it's a really lovely movie nevertheless and deserves to be better known - certainly by Oscar voters who otherwise might give it a miss. If you are an Academy voter reading this please don't disregard this movie - once again it proves that so many of the smaller American films are the really good ones - small budgets give the director/writers a much better chance, and to have producers looking after you (like Steve Starkey & Robert Zemeckis in this case) is enormously helpful - but one fears that the distributors have decided to bury this gem.....come on guys, give it the chance it needs.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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