7.7/10
875
17 user

Small Sacrifices (1989)

A peculiar and disturbing case catches the attention of the police when a young mother and her children, all severely injured, show up in a hospital's emergency room.

Director:

David Greene

Writers:

Ann Rule (book), Joyce Eliason (teleplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Farrah Fawcett ... Diane Downs
Gordon Clapp ... Detective Doug Welch
Ryan O'Neal ... Lew Lewiston
John Shea ... Frank Joziak
Emily Perkins ... Karen Downs
Garry Chalk ... Boyd Paul Downs (as Gary Chalk)
Ken James Ken James ... Daryl Chapman
Sean McCann Sean McCann ... Russell Wells
Garwin Sanford ... Matt Jensen (Part 2)
Tom Butler
Elan Ross Gibson Elan Ross Gibson ... Rosalind Dyring
Lynne Cormack Lynne Cormack ... Lola Joziak
Jayne Eastwood ... Evelyn Slaven
Christopher Caravalho Christopher Caravalho ... Robbie Downs
Anne Bradley Jaeger Anne Bradley Jaeger ... Herself
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Storyline

On the 19th of May 1983 Diane Downs stops at the McKenzie-Williamette-Hospital and cries for help. She is wounded on her arm and her three children are also wounded seriously. She says that a stranger shot at them but the investigation of detective Welch bring out that Diane is a liar. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Her children got in the way of her love

Genres:

Crime | Drama | History

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blick in den Abgrund See more »

Filming Locations:

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 7,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Other than Diane Downs most of the names have been changed and are not the same as those in the actual case. See more »

Goofs

When Diane brings a pizza over to her mailman friend Matt Jensen's house, she asks him if he likes mushrooms on his pizza while holding the pizza out to him. He says yes. But the pizza has no mushrooms on it, it is clearly plain. See more »

Quotes

Frank Joziak: [after delivering a telling argument against Diane's version of the story] A child, Shauna, was killed. A little girl who isn't here anymore. For what? For Diane Down's warped sense of values. Robbie won't walk, Karen won't have the use of her arm the way it was.
[His voice wavers]
Frank Joziak: These children will *never* be the same.
[Begins to erupt in rage]
Frank Joziak: And look, Diane Downs-! For once, you're not going to lie your way out of this situation, it just doesn't cut it! You're a murderer! A cold-blooded, ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kids of Killers (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
hungry like the wolf
29 October 2010 | by Steve SkafteSee all my reviews

The TV movie format has been used endlessly to depict true crime stories, from parents who kill their children, to children who kill their parents, to rape, to theft, to abuse. I myself saw two or three similar films just last week. So what makes a rather unassuming TV movie from 1989 like "Small Sacrifices" stand out so much? It's hard to say. Certainly the acting has a lot to offer. Farrah Fawcett, Ryan O'Neal, and John Shea - three well-known actors whom I was familiar with but never previously cared for - are the dramatic core of the script. They all perform well beyond expectations. Fawcett, for example, who I would've thought incapable of such depth, is alternately terrifying and emotionally unhinged. It's a breathtaking performance. The real surprise, however, is young Emily Perkins. Or not such a surprise for me, because I'd been familiar with her heartbreaking role in the last four seasons of "Da Vinci's Inquest". But even at the tender age of twelve, she is a fully realized actress of incredible range. Her testimony on the stand is so emotional that it left me in tears. This is a performance without cliché.

"Small Sacrifices" isn't yet another painful exercise in domestic unrest, like it might appear to be on the surface. David Greene seems very aware of what he wants to get out his film here, and he directs the human interaction brilliantly. It's a hard film, sure - really hard - but powerfully dramatic. One of the best of its kind.


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