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The Miracle Worker (1962)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama | 28 July 1962 (USA)
Trailer
1:47 | Trailer

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ON DISC
The story of Anne Sullivan's struggle to teach the blind and deaf Helen Keller how to communicate.

Director:

Arthur Penn

Writers:

William Gibson (screenplay), William Gibson (based upon the stage play by)
Reviews
Won 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Anne Bancroft ... Annie Sullivan
Victor Jory ... Captain Arthur Keller
Inga Swenson ... Kate Keller
Andrew Prine ... James Keller
Kathleen Comegys Kathleen Comegys ... Aunt Ev
Patty Duke ... Helen Keller
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Storyline

Young Helen Keller, blind, deaf, and mute since infancy, is in danger of being sent to an institution. Her inability to communicate has left her frustrated and violent. In desperation, her parents seek help from the Perkins Institute, which sends them a "half-blind Yankee schoolgirl" named Annie Sullivan to tutor their daughter. Through persistence and love, and sheer stubbornness, Annie breaks through Helen's walls of silence and darkness and teaches her to communicate. Written by Christina Dunigan <minstrel@wf.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An emotional earthquake! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

28 July 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ana de los milagros See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Playfilm Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "The Miracle Worker" opened at the Playhouse Theater on October 19, 1959, ran for 719 performances, and won the 1960 Tony Award for Best Play. Anne Bancroft (winner of the 1960 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play) and Patty Duke recreated their stage roles in the movie. Also in the opening night cast were Kathleen Comegys as Aunt Ev and Beah Richards as Viney, both originating their movie roles. William Gibson wrote the teleplay, the stage play and the screenplay. See more »

Goofs

During the infamous breakfast scene, while struggling to get Helen back to the table to eat with a spoon, a (presumably) glass candle cover is knocked down from a table against the wall. The sound of plastic hitting the floor is distinctly heard and the cover does not break. It appears again later in the welcome home dinner for Helen. Plastic was not used during the time the film takes place. See more »

Quotes

James Keller: Finding out if she's ticklish? She is. What is it, a game?
Annie Sullivan: An alphabet.
James Keller: Alphabet?
Annie Sullivan: [finger-spelling to Helen] For the deaf.
Annie Sullivan: [after Helen finger-spells back to her] Oh, how bright she is!
James Keller: You think she knows what she's doing? She's a monkey. She imitates everything.
Annie Sullivan: Yes, she's a bright little monkey, all right!
James Keller: She wants her doll back.
Annie Sullivan: After she spells it.
James Keller: Spells? She doesn't know the thing has a name, even.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Will & Grace: Emergency Contact (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Hush, Little Baby
(uncredited)
Traditional Southern lullaby
Music adapted by Don Costa
Lyrics by Arthur Siegel
Sung by Anne Bancroft
Also played in the score
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An Exceptional Movie That Appeals to the Imagination
21 December 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

With two terrific leading performances, an absorbing and thought-provoking story, and many well-conceived touches by Arthur Penn and his production team, this classic version of "The Miracle Worker" is an exceptional movie that appeals to the imagination and that has much to say about humanity. The story itself is so good that even the lesser remakes have been worth seeing, but there is really no reason at all to look any further than this nearly flawless filming of the story.

As Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller, Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke could not have been better. The battle of wills and wits between the two is engrossing, becoming quite involved and very interesting. The lengthy dining room struggle alone would make any movie worth watching - it is worthwhile even beyond the interesting action itself, as it brings out aspects of human nature and human learning that go beyond even Helen's own trials.

There is a great deal of substance to the movie that goes beyond the immediate issues and confrontations, and a significant reason for the greatness of the film is the way that Bancroft and Duke tap into the imagination of the viewer. The concept of seeing an unseen world (and the challenge of helping someone to see it) is brought out in ways that are profound yet accessible.

The two leads carry almost the whole picture, as the other characters are there primarily for Annie and Helen to play off of. Accordingly, the supporting cast keep their characters more simple, and their performances stylized and almost exaggerated, which allows Bancroft and Duke to have most of the moments of significance. The production also enhances the picture through simple but well-conceived settings, use of lighting, and other features that nicely complement the main action.

It's always rather unfortunate that movies like this one, which take a little effort to appreciate fully, are not given more attention. If you stop to consider what Helen Keller had to face in life, it is a situation far more terrifying than facing any of the cartoonish, artificial movie villains that gain so much notoriety. And if you consider the job that Annie Sullivan had to do, her accomplishment is far more impressive and worthwhile than almost any scientific discovery, feat of athletics, or military exploit.

That this movie is able to convey such themes makes it a memorable classic that is much more worthwhile than many movies that have received far more acclaim.


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