7.2/10
14,611
71 user 31 critic

Children of a Lesser God (1986)

A new speech teacher at a school for the deaf falls in love with the janitor, a deaf woman speechless by choice.

Director:

Randa Haines

Writers:

Mark Medoff (stage play), Hesper Anderson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Hurt ... James
Marlee Matlin ... Sarah
Piper Laurie ... Mrs. Norman
Philip Bosco ... Dr. Curtis Franklin
Allison Gompf Allison Gompf ... Lydia
John F. Cleary John F. Cleary ... Johnny
Philip Holmes Philip Holmes ... Glen
Georgia Ann Cline Georgia Ann Cline ... Cheryl
William D. Byrd William D. Byrd ... Danny
Frank Carter Jr. Frank Carter Jr. ... Tony
John Limnidis John Limnidis ... William
Bob Hiltermann ... Orin
E. Katherine Kerr ... Mary Lee Ochs
John Basinger John Basinger ... Alan Jones
Barry Magnani Barry Magnani ... Tom Schuyler
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Storyline

Having taught at the best institutions in the country aside from other more eclectic jobs, James Leeds, with progressive methods, has just started teaching at a school for the deaf on an island off the New England coast, he assigned primarily to a speech class for the upper grades. At the school, he quickly notices the young cleaning woman, who he learns is twenty-five year old Sarah Norman and who, deaf herself, was once a student there and has been there since the age of five. He can see that she is bright, headstrong and angry, on top of which she doesn't speak, the latter issues a result of a troubled home life, her mother, her only touchstone to family, who she has purposefully not seen in eight years. As he is able to get through to most of his students to feel more and more comfortable in speaking for a more holistic life, Jim, with the reluctant blessing of the school's superintendent Dr. Curtis Franklin, who has always and still considers Sarah a proverbial pain in the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Love has a language all of its own. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the book "Hollywood Speaks: Deafness and the Film Entertainment Industry" (1999) by John S. Schuchman, the film was the first major motion picture since the 1926 silent film You'd Be Surprised (1926) to cast a deaf / hearing impaired actor in a major role. See more »

Goofs

The DVD back lists a main character as "John" Leeds, when the name should be "JAMES" Leeds. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. Curtis Franklin: This is the most amazing résumé I've ever seen.
James Leeds: I've been with some really good schools. The best.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: All of them. All of the best. One right after another. You've also been with the Lucky Erin Bar and Grill.
James Leeds: Pittsburgh. Bartender.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: And a disc jockey.
James Leeds: Yeah, that was in Oklahoma. I used to broadcast in sign language.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: You've covered all the map, Mr. Leeds.
James Leeds: I've got a lot of energy.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: I'm sure you do have a lot of energy and a lot of new ideas. I did too when...
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Godfather Mazurka
by Carmine Coppola
See more »

User Reviews

 
Shouting without a sound.
11 September 2005 | by reneekittycatSee all my reviews

When I first saw this movie I knew only the hand alphabet, but this movie made me want to learn more. After years of picking up bits here and there I am amazed at how well William Hurt used signs. Personally I think basic sign language should be taught in all schools. This is a very touching love story and I never get tired of seeing it. James is not perfect as the teacher trying to deaf students to speak. He makes many mistakes, but you can see how he cares very much. The love he has for Sarah is very real. I felt so sorry for Sarah but I also knew that she was a survivor. I would love to have that kind of strength. I have seen Marlee Matlin in lots of things since this and she is definitely a great actor.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

31 October 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Children of a Lesser God See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,909,084, 5 October 1986

Gross USA:

$31,853,080

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$31,853,080
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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