Children of a Lesser God ()

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

  • Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations.
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Complete, Cast awaiting verification

Mrs. Norman
Dr. Curtis Franklin
Allison Gompf ...
John F. Cleary ...
Philip Holmes ...
Georgia Ann Cline ...
William D. Byrd ...
Frank Carter Jr. ...
John Limnidis ...
Mary Lee Ochs
John Basinger ...
Alan Jones
Barry Magnani ...
Tom Schuyler
Linda Bove ...
Marian Loesser
Ann Hanson ...
Martha Franklin
James Carrington ...
Mr. Harrison
Max M. Brown ...
Glen's Father (as Max Brown)
María Cellario ...
Glen's Mother
Jon-Paul Dougherty ...
Glen's Brother
Linda Swim ...
Sarah's Friend
Lois Clowater ...
Sarah's Friend
Allan R. Francis ...
Richard Kendall ...
Cafeteria Cook
Christopher Shay ...
Laraine Isa ...
Woman in Beauty Shop
Nanci Kendall ...
Woman at Party
Marie Brazil ...
Charlene Legere ...
Announcer (voice)
Announcer (voice) (as Archie Hahn III)
Announcer (voice)
Announcer (voice)
Announcer (voice)
Announcer (voice)

Directed by

Randa Haines

Written by

Mark Medoff ... (stage play)
Hesper Anderson ... (screenplay) and
Mark Medoff ... (screenplay)
James Carrington ... () (uncredited)

Produced by

Candace Koethe ... associate producer
Patrick J. Palmer ... producer (as Patrick Palmer)
Burt Sugarman ... producer

Music by

Michael Convertino

Cinematography by

John Seale ... director of photography

Film Editing by

Lisa Fruchtman

Editorial Department

Mary Bauer ... associate editor
Ron Lambert ... color timer
Bryan McMahan ... colorist: mastering
Tony Merzetti ... apprentice editor
Jenny Weyman-Cockle ... first assistant editor: Canada
Bob Sarles ... apprentice editor (uncredited)

Casting By

Gretchen Rennell

Production Design by

Gene Callahan

Art Direction by

Barbra Matis

Set Decoration by

Rose Marie McSherry

Costume Design by

Renée April ... (as Renee April)

Makeup Department

Ann Brodie ... makeup designer
Paul LeBlanc ... hair stylist

Production Management

Stéphane Reichel ... unit production manager (as Stephane Reichel)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Jim Kaufman ... first assistant director
Patrick J. Palmer ... second unit director (as Patrick Palmer)
Kim H. Winther ... second assistant director (as Kim Winther)

Art Department

Guenter Bartlik ... head scenic artist
Daniel R. Bradette ... assistant property master
J. Tracy Budd ... property master
Tom Doherty ... first assistant art director (as Thomas Doherty)
Kathy Ebbinghaus ... art department trainee
Mark S. Freeborn ... assistant set decorator (as Mark Freeborn)
Barry Gardner ... stand-by painter
Weits Jekel ... construction supervisor
Gilles Léonard ... set dresser (as Gilles Leonard)
Michael O'Connor ... set dresser
Richard Reseigne ... construction design coordinator

Sound Department

James Ashwill ... foley mixer
George Berndt ... adr editor
Ruth Bird ... assistant sound editor
Paul Brown ... sound consultant
Dody Dorn ... sound editor (as Dody J. Dorn)
Dennis Drummond ... sound editor
Patrick Drummond ... sound editor
Ken Dufva ... foley artist
Walter A. Gest ... sound re-recordist
Robert Grieve ... supervising sound editor (as Robert A. Grieve)
Richard Lightstone ... production sound mixer
Robert J. Litt ... re-recording mixer
Stephanie Lowry ... assistant sound editor (as Stephanie Ng)
Steve Maslow ... re-recording mixer
Jim Thompson ... boom operator (as James L. Thompson)
Elliot Tyson ... re-recording mixer
Linda Whittlesey ... foley editor
John Roesch ... foley artist (uncredited)
Donald C. Rogers ... technical director of sound (uncredited)

Special Effects by

Ron Thiessen ... special effects assistant
David Neil Trifunovich ... special effects supervisor (as Neil Trifunovich)

Camera and Electrical Department

David Crone ... Steadicam services
Robert Daprato ... dolly grip
Steve Ferrier ... assistant head electrician
Paul Gravel ... first assistant camera: second unit / focus puller
Dave Grinstead ... grip
Manfred Guthe ... director of photography: second unit (as Fred Guthe)
Kevin Jewison ... first assistant camera
Joseph Peters ... electrician
Bill Pryde ... second assistant camera
Ron Renzetti ... grip
Paul Roscorla ... electrician
Takashi Seida ... still photographer
Randy Tambling ... key grip
Rae Thurston ... head electrician
Pauline Heaton ... cinematographer: underwater unit (uncredited)

Casting Department

Ruth Lambert ... casting assistant

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Fabienne April ... costumer
Mario Davignon ... assistant costumer
Arthur Rowsell ... costumer

Location Management

Marie Brazil ... location assistant: Ms. Haines
Michael Jewison ... location manager

Music Department

Gary Barlough ... synthesizer programming
Else Blangsted ... supervising music editor
Chris Boardman ... orchestrator
Michael Convertino ... additional orchestrator
M.B. Gordy ... musician: Percussion
Stephen Mitchell ... composer: additional music / musician
James Thatcher ... musician: french horn
Shirley Walker ... additional orchestrator / conductor
Dan Wallin ... music scoring mixer
John Beal ... composer: trailer (uncredited)
Craig Harris ... music designer: Sarah's underwater silence (uncredited) / musician: synthesizers, score sequencing and studio production (uncredited)
John Neufeld ... orchestrator (uncredited)

Script and Continuity Department

Susanna David ... script supervisor

Transportation Department

David Beaudrow ... driver captain
Craig S. Kohne ... driver captain
Nick Sweetman ... transportation coordinator

Additional Crew

Alan R. Barwiolek ... sign language instructor: Mr. Hurt
Bryan Blanford ... production assistant
Stanley Brossette ... unit publicist (as Stanley R. Brossette)
Jan A. Campbell ... assistant production accountant
Eve Cantor ... assistant production coordinator
James Carrington ... special actor's consultant
Robin Chaykin ... production associate
Brian Cole ... craft service
Joyce L. Cole ... sign language interpreter: Ms. Matlin
Christopher Cook ... producer's coordinator
Marnie Craig ... caterer
John Fredericks ... production assistant
Terry Gould ... production assistant
Stephen Jacobs ... sign language interpreter
Margaret Johnson ... first aid
Richard Kendall ... technical advisor
Mary Beth Miller ... sign language instructor: Mr. Hurt
Margaret Amy Moar ... stand-in: Marlee Matlin
Leanne Moore ... production accountant
Bonnie Palef ... producer's coordinator (as Bonnie Palef-Woolf)
Toni Phillips ... production assistant
Michel Pradier ... production assistant
Valley Via Reseigne ... production coordinator
Nikki Sahagen ... associate choreographer
Patti Shore ... sign language interpreter: Ms. Matlin
Dan Siretta ... choreographer
Krista Steeves ... production assistant
Joanne Tickle ... production secretary
Pat Vaughan ... stand-in: William Hurt
Carole Wattles ... accounting clerk
Lou Fant ... sign language coach (uncredited)
Greg Ferris ... marketing: Canada (uncredited)
Paul F. McCarthy ... stand-in (uncredited)

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Special Effects


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Plot Summary

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, where he is 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 you-know-where, tries to get Sarah to learn how to speak so that she can reach her full potential beyond being a cleaning woman, which he will further learn is a choice if only as it allows her to live her life somewhat in solitude in her silence and anger. Although unable to break through to her on the speaking side of the equation, he is able to break through on a more humanistic level as they end up falling for each other eventually embark on a relationship. The question then becomes if there is the possibility of a long term future for them, especially in being able to bridge their many divides - not only the divide between the world of the hearing and the deaf - and in Sarah never having had a sense of who she truly is as a complete human being and not just the deaf girl who may now see what Jim is doing as solely his latest "project". Written by Huggo

Plot Keywords
Taglines A love beyond words. See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Les enfants du silence (France)
  • Gottes vergessene Kinder (Germany)
  • Hijos de un dios menor (Spain)
  • Kjærligheten trenger ingen ord (Norway)
  • Os Filhos do Silêncio (Brazil)
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  • 119 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $10,500,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend United States $1,909,084, 05 Oct 1986

Did You Know?

Trivia The first film directed by a woman (Randa Haines) to be Oscar nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. See more »
Goofs The DVD back lists a main character as "John" Leeds, when the name should be "JAMES" Leeds. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in Colorizing: Hollywood's New Vandalism (1986). See more »
Soundtracks Jump (For My Love) See more »
Quotes James Leeds: Do you think that we could find a place where we can meet - not in silence and not in sound?
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