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The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd (1980)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | TV Movie 25 March 1980
Country doctor Samuel Mudd is unfairly punished by the U.S. Government after he unwisely shelters a wounded John Wilkes Booth during the night after Abraham Lincoln's assassination.


Paul Wendkos
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Weaver ... Dr. Samuel A. Mudd
Susan Sullivan ... Frances Mudd
Richard Dysart ... Edwin Stanton
Michael McGuire ... Capt. Murdock
Nigel Davenport ... Col. George Grenfell
Arthur Hill ... Gen. Thomas Ewing
Larry Larson ... Thorpe
Mary Nell Santacroce Mary Nell Santacroce ... Ellen Stanton
Clarence Thomas Clarence Thomas ... Nathaniel
Bill Gribble Bill Gribble ... John Wilkes Booth
Luke Halpin ... Herrold
Lawrence Montaigne ... Judge Holt
Bill Hindman Bill Hindman ... President Andrew Johnson
Stuart Culpepper Stuart Culpepper ... Boone
Kent Stephens Kent Stephens ... Zachary


This is the story of the doctor whose farm John Wilkes Booth went to after assassinating Abraham Lincoln. Eventually he was wrongfully accused and tried and convicted as a member of the conspiracy that assassinated Lincoln. Though he claimed to be innocent, he was still convicted and suffered immense hardship. While his wife tries to do what she can to get him released. Written by <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Accused of plotting Lincoln's assassination, he survived a living death to clear his name.


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Several times Colonel Grenfell, portrayed by Nigel Davenport is referred to as an old man, and even Mudd, portrayed by Dennis Weaver says "For God's sake, he's an old man!" In actuality, Nigel Davenport (born May 23, 1928) is four years younger than Dennis Weaver (born June 4, 1924). See more »


The Secretary of War implies that Dr. Mudd is said to have inspired the saying "your name is mud." However, the first verified, recorded use of the phrase was ten years before Dr. Samuel Mudd was born. See more »

Crazy Credits

This Program was Recommended by The National Education Association See more »


Version of Hellgate (1952) See more »

User Reviews

3 July 2002 | by dtucker86See all my reviews

I have always been a fan of history especially the Lincoln assassination. I had previously written of how much I enjoyed The Day Lincoln Was Shot. Almost twenty years earlier, this film told the story of one of the players in this tragedy. What happened to Doctor Mudd was a terrible miscarriage of justice because he was only a doctor doing his duty who had nothing to do with Lincoln's assassination. This film captures the terrible mood in the country after the tragedy where reason took a back seat and there was a terrible desire for vengeance and not justice. This film is harrowing in its depiction of Mudds nightmare. Forced before a military tribunal of perjured testimony and convicted on fabricated evidence, torn from his loving family and sentenced to the living hell of the Dry Tortugas prison, America's Devils Island. Weaver does a wonderful acting job in conveying this man's anguish and at the same time his determination to survive and be reunited with his loving family. I am glad they presented a fair balanced portrait of this mans case especially when they showed his heroic efforts to care for the sick and dying soldiers at the Fort during the yellow fever outbreak. LA Laws Richard Dysart gives a creepy performance as the villanous secretary of war Stanton. The Iran hostage crisis was going on at the time this movie came out in March of 1980 and he sort of reminded me of the Ayatollah Khomeni. Susan Sullivan gives a wonderful performance as Mudd's loving and courageous wife who stands by her man. There is hardly a film I have ever seen that had a more happy ending. THe courageous and loving woman manages to work a miracle and Doctor Mudd's hellish ordeal is over at last.

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Release Date:

25 March 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La prueba See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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