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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977)

A disturbed,institutionalized 16-year-old girl struggles between fantasy and reality.


Anthony Page


Joanne Greenberg (novel) (as Hannah Green), Gavin Lambert (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathleen Quinlan ... Deborah Blake
Bibi Andersson ... Dr. Fried
Ben Piazza ... Jay Blake
Lorraine Gary ... Ester Blake
Martine Bartlett ... Secret Wife
Margo Ann Berdeshevsky Margo Ann Berdeshevsky ... Drawing Patient
Darlene Craviotto Darlene Craviotto ... Carla
Reni Santoni ... Hobbs
Susan Tyrrell ... Lee
Signe Hasso ... Helene
Norman Alden ... McPherson
Sylvia Sidney ... Miss Coral
Dennis Quaid ... Shark, Baseball Pitcher
Karin Collison ... Nurse (as Elizabeth Dartmoor)
Robert Viharo ... Anterrabae


Based very loosely on the intricate novel by Joanne Greenberg. A young woman's devotion to a childhood fantasy kingdom has taken over her entire life and causes her endless pain and degradation. Placed in a mental hospital, she has the great good fortune to have a truly caring therapist who tries to help her accept reality, even though reality isn't so great either. Written by Molly Malloy <mailcall@bluemarble.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Best Selling Novel Is Now a Triumphant New Film


Drama | Fantasy


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Final film role of Diane Varsi. See more »


In the New Year's party scene, Deborah is seen with loose hair talking to Dr. Fried and then there is close-up of Deborah with her hair pulled back from her forehead. See more »


Deborah Blake: You can turn me off, you know. You can go off with your friends and write another paper on schizophrenia and get an award for it. But I can't turn me off. So I'm calling off the fight.
Dr. Fried: So you quit. Stay in the nuthouse for the rest of your life.
See more »


Referenced in Ordinary People (1980) See more »


Singing the Greens
Written by Susan Tyrrell and Georg Michalski
Performed by Susan Tyrrell
See more »

User Reviews

A strong cast and a well-written script
11 April 1999 | by Dara-3See all my reviews

Kathleen Quinlan plays Deborah, a very bright girl, who is institutionalized for three years in a psychiatric hospital. Though different from the book in some ways, this keeps the spirit of it quite well and with a much more satisfying ending than the book. Quinlan is a wonderful actress. Deborah, who is diagnosed as a schizophrenic (though she probably wouldn't be today), has a long, torturous journey through her illness. Quinlan makes us believe that she will succeed. In addition, there is a strong cast of mostly women of many ages. I saw this film first when I was a teenager and the problems Deborah faced also resonated with me (despite not being in a hospital). I have never forgotten this film, though it has been out of print on video for many years and can only view it when it occasionally makes it on television. Catch it if you can -- especially if you are a teenage girl or ever were.

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Release Date:

29 October 1977 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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