6.4/10
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9 user

Before Women Had Wings (1997)

TV-14 | | Drama | TV Movie 2 November 1997
A black woman helps a white girl cope with her father's suicide and escape her alcoholic mother's abuse.

Director:

Lloyd Kramer
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Oprah Winfrey ... Zora Williams
Ellen Barkin ... Glory Marie Jackson
Tina Majorino ... Avocet Abigail 'Bird' Jackson
Julia Stiles ... Phoebe Jackson
John Savage ... Billy Jackson
Burt Young ... Louis Ippolito
William Lee Scott ... Hank Jackson
Louis Crugnali ... L.J. Ippolito
David Hart ... Sheriff
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Storyline

Alcoholic Billy reflects on his country-music career that never happened and beats his wife Glory Marie, also a drunk. Grown-up son Hank has moved away, but teenaged Phoebe and sensitive nine-year-old Bird have to live in the bleak alcoholic atmosphere. Problems escalate after a tragic event. The three females move into a trailer where the girls are subjected to a torrent of abuse from their mom. Fortunately, benign Miss Zora appears like a guardian angel to lift their spirits. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

alcoholism | child abuse | 1960s | See All (3) »

Taglines:

One of them brought her into this world. The other gave her life.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Oprah Winfrey Presents: Before Women Had Wings See more »

Filming Locations:

Ojai, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Harpo Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Soundtracks

Ring of Fire
Written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore
Performed by Johnny Cash
Courtesy of Columbia Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stunning social drama
20 August 2002 | by Mikew3001See all my reviews

A poor working class woman and widow can't handle the suicide of her violent husband and turns her despair violently against her own two daughters. When the younger daughter is seeking friendship with a black neighbor widow, her mother runs amok. This very slow and silent working class family drama is one of the best of its genre that I've seen for a very long time. It's intense, touching, thrilling, although sometimes a bit too "schmaltzy" and teardrop-dominated.

The male actors like Jon Savage and Burt Young are only playing supporting roles in this movie, and the all-female main actors are all brilliant - Ellen Barkin as an alcohol-addicted, children-beating and depressed housewife in one of her best roles, Julia Stiles and Tina Majarino as her suffering children and Oprah Winfrey as the lonely, elderly widow. This is no mainstream nostalgia like "Fried Green Tomatoes" but a breath-taking, silent family drama.


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