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White Mama (1980)

A poor, elderly white woman living in a tenement in a black ghetto is befriended by a neighborhood boy, and the two of them form a mutually beneficial relationship: he provides her ... See full summary »


Jackie Cooper
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Adele Malone
Ernest Harden Jr. ... B.T. Williamson
Eileen Heckart ... Three Bag Lady
Virginia Capers ... Gorilla Sydney
Anne Ramsey ... Heavy Charm
Lurene Tuttle ... Mrs. McIntyre
Tony Burton ... Black Fighter
Peg Shirley Peg Shirley ... Judge Alice Quentin
Ernie Hudson ... Counsellor
Dan Mason ... Father Gannon
Vincent Schiavelli ... Medic
Cheryl Harvey Cheryl Harvey ... Probabtion Woman
Jesse D. Goins ... Intern
John Hancock ... Tall Black Man
Lanyard A. Williams Lanyard A. Williams ... Young Man


A poor, elderly white woman living in a tenement in a black ghetto is befriended by a neighborhood boy, and the two of them form a mutually beneficial relationship: he provides her companionship and protection, and she becomes the mother he never had. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A proud widow. A frightened homeless kid. Nobody cared about them until they cared enough to fight for each other.




Did You Know?


White Mama was a title that the network kept insisting had to be changed. Bette Davis sent back word she would refuse to make the picture if they changed the title. See more »


Adele Malone: I'm being evicted from my home, and I don't know what to do.
Father Gannon: Surely you've got relatives... friends?
Adele Malone: Haven't anybody.
Father Gannon: I see... Of course you've applied to Welfare.
Adele Malone: I won't take Welfare. I'm not indigent. I'm not poor. I... I just run out of money.
Father Gannon: Perhaps one of the women in the parish will take you in... at least for a time.
Adele Malone: And then what? For thirty-five years, I've haven't missed a Sunday Mass. Every year, Easter duty. A dollar in every collection plate that was passed. And I come to you for help,...
See more »


Featured in No Small Parts: Anne Ramsey (2014) See more »

User Reviews

Still a STAR at 72
30 October 2017 | by tdwillis-26273See all my reviews

Bette Davis is 72 at the time this movie was made in 1980, and there are scenes in this oldie but goodie, where she still blows me away with her style, character and depth as an actress.

It is a good script and good story if you can remember where we were at socially and racially in our country at that time. I heard that the producers wanted to change the name of this film, but MZ. Davies said she wouldn't do it if they did.

I wasn't all that impressed with many of the other actors/actresses, Bette certainly was the STAR of this film and is what carried it along with the innocence and simplicity of a bygone era/story.

I would think it would be a great teaching movie to show how things have changed (and stayed the same) since 1980.

I actually liked "A watcher in the Woods" better (also with Bette Davies, also made in 1980) but do appreciate where they attempted to go with the moral of this story. I do recommend it,especially if you are a fan of classics.

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Release Date:

5 March 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Biała mama See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tomorrow Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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