11 user 1 critic

Promise (1986)

When his mother dies, Bob not only inherits her house, but also the custody of his younger brother, who suffers from schizophrenia and epilepsy. At the age of 21, Bob promised to look after... See full summary »


Glenn Jordan


Richard Friedenberg (teleplay), Ken Blackwell (story) | 1 more credit »
Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
James Garner ... Bob Beuhler
James Woods ... D.J.
Piper Laurie ... Annie Gilbert
Peter Michael Goetz ... Stuart
Michael Alldredge ... Gibb
Alan Rosenberg ... Dr. Pressman
Mary Marsh Mary Marsh ... Mrs. Post
Barbara Niven ... Joan (as Barbara Alexander)
Steven M. Gagnon ... Michael
Raissa Fleming Raissa Fleming ... Lonnie
Art Burke Art Burke ... Dr. Wexler
Bob Griggs Bob Griggs ... Minister
Janet Baumhover Janet Baumhover ... Mrs. Green
Charles Bernard Charles Bernard ... Mr. Allison
Claretta Mariana Claretta Mariana ... Beth


When his mother dies, Bob not only inherits her house, but also the custody of his younger brother, who suffers from schizophrenia and epilepsy. At the age of 21, Bob promised to look after his brother. Although he has barely seen him in the many years since then and strives against the commitment, he doesn't dare to put him in a home either. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A story of family love and loyalty.


Drama | Family







Release Date:

21 December 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: Promise (#36.1) See more »

Filming Locations:

Corvallis, Oregon, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


James Woods' favorite role. See more »


Edited into Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

Sadly revealing a dark secret about mental illness...
30 May 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Promise" is an exceptionally good made for television movie. The acting is wonderful but it also is well worth seeing because it exposes a serious and usually neglected problem...the lack of programs to deal with the millions of folks dealing with mental illnesses.

When the film begins, Bob (James Garner) is dealing with his mother's death. However, what you don't initially see is Bob's brother, D.J. (James Woods)...another responsibility Bob needs to take care of now that their mother is dead. It seems that D.J. is chronically mentally ill and is unable to care for himself...and that sure complicates Bob's life. He clearly wants nothing to do with D.J. but he promised his mother long, long ago that he'd watch over D.J. after her death. Much of the film consists of Bob learning to care about this estranged brother as well as his coming to realize that this responsibility is just too much for him to handle.

This is naturally a sad film. What's worse is that it exposes a serious unspoken problem--that there simply are very few facilities to deal with the severely mentally ill--whether in-patient or within the community. There are waiting lists, expenses and other hurdles the average person might not be able to handle...and the film is about Bob's struggle with this and his promise. Well done in every way but be forewarned...it's certainly NOT a feel-good movie!

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