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Clara's Heart (1988)

PG-13 | | Drama | 7 October 1988 (USA)
0:31 | Trailer
A Jamaican woman becomes the housekeeper for a rich Baltimore family and bonds with a disillusioned teenage boy.


Robert Mulligan


Joseph Olshan (novel), Mark Medoff (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Whoopi Goldberg ... Clara Mayfield
Michael Ontkean ... Bill Hart
Kathleen Quinlan ... Leona Hart
Neil Patrick Harris ... David Hart
Spalding Gray ... Peter Epstein
Beverly Todd ... Dora
Hattie Winston ... Blanche Loudon
Jason Downs ... Alan Lipsky
Caitlin Thompson Caitlin Thompson ... Celeste
Maria Broom ... Felicia
Wanda Christine Wanda Christine ... Lydia
Maryce Carter Maryce Carter ... Babs
Angel Harper ... Rita
Frederick Strother ... Bundy (as Fred Strother)
Joseph Muth Joseph Muth ... Father Joe (as Father Joseph Muth)


David is a teenager whose parents are in a deteriorating marriage after their infant daughter dies. Clara is a chambermaid at a Jamaican resort who's hired to be a housekeeper. She and David develop a close bond, opening his eyes and heart to new experiences, and eventually leading to a disturbing secret in Clara's past. Written by David Thaler <dathaler@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Clara's wisdom. Clara's warmth. Clara's secret.




PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This was the final big-screen film produced by MTM Enterprises. When it was originally released, the company had already been purchased by the Television South (TVS) Corporation of London, England. The MTM empire would be in business for just nine more years, after which they were purchased by 21st Century Fox, Inc. (then doing business as NewsCorp) and absorbed into 20th Century Fox. Warner Bros., which co-produced and originally distributed the film, still owns it. See more »


Clara Mayfield: Why do you touch me like that?
David Hart: Like what?
Clara Mayfield: Like that!
David Hart: I'm sorry.
Clara Mayfield: Don't you never touch me like that again. You understand me?
David Hart: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I didn't think it would upset you.
Clara Mayfield: You didn't think it would upset me? You keep your hands off or I'm pressing charges! You understand what I'm telling you? You understand what I'm telling you? You get out now, you get out!
See more »


The Determination Theme
Written by Elon Wizzart, Michael Daly, Stephen Samuels and Michelle Cole
Performed by The Determiantion Band
See more »

User Reviews

Warm black and white story
21 May 2014 | by mmmunierSee all my reviews

I only caught "the rest of the movie" But seeing W Goldberg I decided to watch it and loved it. Young white American boy find out his parents will not stay together and has to deal with it. House Keeper W G is supposed to be Jamaican and it seems has "raised" this child along his parents and somehow has become part of the family all hierarchy still in vigor but not really imposed as it seems this family has much relied on her. Young David is also faced with a mystery with his allied house keeper and his growing up is doubly challenged by his own situation but also with his parent's substitute unclear past. I do have a lot of time for W G and enjoyed her performance never giving into over emotional yet displaying a genuine caring attitude. Some may find the final finding a little over the top, but I know sometimes reality can be larger than fiction so personality I go with the flow. I wonder why there are so few reviews...to each its own

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Release Date:

7 October 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Clara's Heart See more »

Filming Locations:

Baltimore, Maryland, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$588,869, 9 October 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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