Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Diff'rent Strokes' (2006)

TV Movie  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama  |  4 September 2006 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.7/10 from 113 users  
Reviews: 9 user

The story of the popular situation comedy and its ill fated child stars.


0Check in
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An insider's look at the unfunny side of comedic success on network television.

Director: Jason Ensler
Stars: Melanie Paxson, Bret Anthony, Jud Tylor
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An inside look at the ABC sitcom which turned Robin Williams into a star in 1978.

Director: Neill Fearnley
Stars: Chris Diamantopoulos, Erinn Hayes, Michelle Harrison
Documentary | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  
Stars: Kenny Baker, Jeremy Bulloch, Michael Carter
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Four naive young men journey to California in hopes of finding the truth about the infamous Rod Belding of "Saved By The Bell" fame.

Directors: Matt Hamilton, Scott Hamilton
Stars: Drew Bernard, Zac Best, Alexandra Blatchford
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story delves into the experiences of six unknown young actors placed into the Hollywood spotlight, exposing the challenges of growing up under public scrutiny.

Director: Jason Lapeyre
Stars: Sam Kindseth, Dylan Everett, Tiera Skovbye
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Launched in 1992 as a companion for "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Melrose Place" quickly became a giant television hit in its own right. Originally designed to be an authentic, grounded look at ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Griffiths
Stars: Ashley Alexander, Frank Rose Bailey IV, Brandon Barash
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  

From its start as an unassuming family comedy in 1987 to its eventual wildly popular 192-episode run, the film centers on the rise of the cast of one of America's most beloved family ... See full summary »

Director: Brian K. Roberts
Stars: Garrett Brawith, Justin Mader, Justin Gaston
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Stars: Fern Champion, Dave Coulier, Jeff Franklin
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Director: Francine McDougall
Stars: Christina Chambers, Tricia Helfer, Lauren Stamile
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Everything you ever wanted to know about the popular teen soap that put teen soaps on the map as well as made the FOX Network what it is today. With personal, exclusive stories from cast and crew, learn why this show broke the mold.

Director: Heather Konkoli
Stars: John Eisendrath, Sandy Grushow, Jessica Klein
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Stars: Gabrielle Carteris, Christine Chow, Shannen Doherty
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Director: Ted Haimes
Stars: Alon Williams, Corey Mendell Parker, Catero Colbert


Cast overview, first billed only:
Willie Coleman (as Bruce Young)
Sue Coleman
Verda Bridges ...
Kay Plato
Howard Leeds
Dion Mial (as Rainbow Sun Francks)
Dana Plato - 17 to 34 years (as Brittney Irvin)
Vic Perillo
Winston Rekert ...
Todd Bridges - 17 to 37 years (as Shedrack Anderson)


As NBC's hit sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" proves a long-running hit for a network desperately in need of one, its young stars: Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, and Dana Plato face all sorts of trouble off-camera. Gary battles with his parents over the management of his salary, Todd runs into trouble with the law countless times, and Dana's career after the show meets with despair and tragedy. Written by Attmay

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A História não Autorizada de Minha Família é uma Bagunça  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In a 1980 scene the song Maneater is played in the background but Hall and Oates didn't release the song until 1982. See more »


References The Facts of Life (1979) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Good job (sometimes) of telling the bad
5 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

I enjoyed "Diff'rent Strokes", mainly because of Gary Coleman. I had already seen this bratty kid do such a good job on "The Jeffersons" even before he got his own series.

But if you're looking for the ideal world portrayed in the sitcom, look somewhere else. The few scenes from the show look like a nauseatingly sweet parody of "Leave It To Beaver" type shows. After about the first 20 minutes, no one except the network executives is allowed to be happy for more than two minutes. We see as much of the negative in these kids' lives as is possible in two hours minus commercial breaks. And most everyone seems to be angry or depressed nearly all the time. No wonder these kids ended up like they did--look at their parents! Though many kids from similar situations have turned out all right.

I thought all the actors playing Coleman did a good job. There will never be another Gary Coleman, and that's part of the problem. Because of his special talents (and his father's desire to keep making money), he wasn't allowed to just quit because of his illness. Bobb'e J. Thompson played the sassy Coleman about as well as any kid could. Robert Bailey Jr. effectively showed the angry teenager tired of being treated like a cute kid, as well as the sick child never allowed to take too much time off. Alon Williams, despite his height, looked and spoke like an adult (ironically, he looked more adult than the real Coleman). In one scene, though, it appears a bad makeup job was allowed to substitute for actually looking adult, so I am assuming that was Bailey.

In her first scenes as Dana, Jessica King seemed to be on drugs. Because of the nature of this movie, they would have told us if Dana really had been high. Whichever actress played Dana in her first scene at home, though, was much better than King in her first scene. Once Dana became an adult, Brittney Irvin gave one of the movie's best performances. And she had a nice body too--we got to see as much as network TV would let us.

Brennan Gademans and Shedrack Anderson both did a good job as Todd Bridges--Anderson, of course, had the greater challenge. Saul Rubinek gave the standout performance, though, as NBC head Fred Silverman. I thought most of the actors did a good job. Bruce Young and Lorena Gale seemed kind of old to be Coleman's parents rather than his grandparents.

A couple of celebrity cameos deserve mention. The actor playing Johnny Carson, though he looked like George W. Bush, captured the late night legend's mannerisms and speaking style perfectly. On the other hand, Johnnie Cochran seemed like a "Saturday Night Live" or "Mad TV" version of the flamboyant lawyer who entertained at the O. J. Simpson trial.

Julie Brown had only a brief appearance as Charlotte Rae, but she captured her style. One possible goof: Rae was told here that she would be headmistress at Kimberly's school. In fact, Mrs. Garrett was a house mother and later a dietitian on "Facts of Life". However, I don't know what the actual plan was.

John Innes' performance as Conrad Bain, on the other hand, was a joke. The man was not mentally or physically disabled. And this was not intended to be a parody.

I thought Coleman and Bridges both did a good job explaining their lives for us. Their presence added something and gave the movie some credibility. If they actually appeared, that helps to make the case that they approved of how they were portrayed.

If you want to see all the sleazy details of celebrities' lives and don't care about seeing them happy, this movie may be for you. If you wanted a more balanced portrayal with more of the good parts, maybe not.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Coleman gay? budmann9
Where can I buy this? Melissax1972
BIG GOOF! chris-rose
Dana's Graveside Scene boxturtlelvr-1
How to see this - England russonchris
Cast credits clarkst

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: