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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 will adapt on stage in 2018. See more »


Adele Malone: [talking to B.T. Williamson] You can be anything you want to be, if you're willing to work for it.
See more »


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

User Reviews

Unusual friendship
19 February 2015 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

An unusual tale of friendship is told in White Mama where Bette Davis plays the title role and Ernest Harden, Jr. is the one who's in need of one of any pigmentation.

If you can imagine Bette Davis's character from The Catered Affair some 20 years after that film came out. Her children are married and gone, her husband has died some time ago and she's having trouble making ends meet, but won't go on welfare. But she will take in a troubled youth and supervise his probation until he's of age.

Davis and Harden are one unlikely pair to bond and not just because of race. But strangely enough they do and prove to be of invaluable assistance in moments of crisis.

No bigger crisis for Davis can be in that she lost her apartment she cannot find a place to live and is forced to become a bag lady. Harden happens to know them from the street and they're an interesting new circle of friends, Eileen Heckart and Virginia Capers being two of them. And there's a deadly Anne Ramsey who carries a switchblade for protection and knows how to use it.

Davis and Harden have a real good chemistry between them and that's half the enjoyment of watching White Mama. Those bag ladies are good support and I also can't forget Lurene Tuttle her long time neighbor in that apartment building she lives in who says she's found a good living situation with one of her children. No matter how good it is it ain't the same as being on your own.

I was lucky to see this on YouTube, hopefully it will come out on DVD at some point.

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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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