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Daniel (1983)

R | | Drama | 10 February 1984 (UK)
5:49 | Trailer
Daniel Isaacson attempts to determine the true complicity of his parents Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, who were executed for espionage in the 1950s.


Sidney Lumet


E.L. Doctorow (novel), E.L. Doctorow (screenplay)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Timothy Hutton ... Daniel Isaacson
Mandy Patinkin ... Paul Isaacson
Lindsay Crouse ... Rochelle Isaacson
Edward Asner ... Jacob Ascher
Ellen Barkin ... Phyllis Isaacson
Julie Bovasso ... Frieda Stein
Tovah Feldshuh ... Linda Mindish
Joseph Leon Joseph Leon ... Selig Mindish
Carmen Mathews ... Mrs. Ascher
Norman Parker ... East Bronx Children's Shelter Director
Amanda Plummer ... Susan Isaacson
Lee Richardson ... Reporter
John Rubinstein ... Robert Lewin
Colin Stinton ... Dale
Maria Tucci ... Lise Lewin


The fictionalized story of Daniel, the son of Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, who were executed as Soviet spies in the 1950s. As a graduate student in New York in the 1960s, Daniel is involved in the antiwar protest movement and contrasts his experiences to the memory of his parents and his belief that they were wrongfully convicted. Written by Michael C. Berch <mcb@postmodern.com>

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R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Timothy Hutton had been offered the lead in Risky Business (1983) but opted to work with Sidney Lumet on this one instead, in defiance of his then agent Sue Mengers' advice. See more »


Paul Isaacson: If they didn't arrest people, they'd have nothing to do.
See more »

Alternate Versions

NBC edited 33 minutes from this film for its 1987 network television premiere. See more »


Referenced in By Sidney Lumet (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Performances Solid, But Didn't Move Me
29 December 2019 | by view_and_reviewSee all my reviews

Daniel (Timothy Hutton) is the son of two radical parents. I don't mean radical like it was used in the 80's, but radical as it was used in the 60's and earlier. They were heavily active in the Communist Party as it was represented in America. Their involvement and even their lives came to an end when they were accused of selling atomic secrets to the Russians.

You can imagine the effects on a child when his/her parents are executed. And in this case Daniel had a sister, so two children were negatively affected. The movie bounces back and forth between the late 30's/early 40's and the 60's which was pre and post Daniel's parents' death. Susan (Amanda Plummer), Daniel's sister, has taken her parents' death a lot harder than Daniel. She's convinced that the government executed them unjustly whereas Daniel needs more proof.

"Daniel" is politically charged with the politics of 1940's America. The acting performances were good even if the script was a bit lacking. I like Sidney Lumet as a director which is why I even watched. It's a dense topic, but nothing Lumet can't handle. I think the movie's biggest failure was to move me. There was a little bit of mystery and a lot of drama, but none of that truly drew me in.

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English | Yiddish

Release Date:

10 February 1984 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Daniel See more »


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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