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Three Identical Strangers (2018)

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In 1980 New York, three young men who were all adopted meet each other and find out they're triplets who were separated at birth. But their quest to find out why turns into a bizarre and sinister mystery.


Tim Wardle
1,821 ( 618)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 11 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Shafran Robert Shafran ... Himself (as Bobby Shafran)
Michael Domnitz Michael Domnitz ... Himself
Howard Schneider Howard Schneider ... Himself
Ellen Cervone Ellen Cervone ... Herself
Alan Luchs Alan Luchs ... Himself
David Kellman David Kellman ... Himself
Hedy Page Hedy Page ... Herself
Alice Shafran Alice Shafran ... Herself
Elliott Galland Elliott Galland ... Himself
Eddy Galland Eddy Galland ... Himself (archive footage)
Richard Kellman Richard Kellman ... Himself (archive footage)
Justine Wise Polier Justine Wise Polier ... Herself (archive footage)
Mort Shafran Mort Shafran ... Himself
Ilene Shafran Ilene Shafran ... Herself
Janet Kellman Janet Kellman ... Herself


New York, 1980: three complete strangers accidentally discover that they are identical triplets, separated at birth. The 19-year-olds' joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, but it also unlocks an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes beyond their own lives - and could transform our understanding of human nature forever.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Most Amazing, Incredible, Remarkable True Story Ever Told

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site





Release Date:

30 November 2018 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Identical Strangers See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$171,503, 1 July 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$12,320,845, 18 October 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RAW See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Storytelling was presented by Chaz Ebert to: Three Identical Strangers /U.S.A. (Director: Tim Wardle, Producer: Becky Read) -- New York,1980: three complete strangers accidentally discover that they're identical triplets, separated at birth. The 19-year-olds' joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, but also unlocks an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes beyond their own lives - and could transform our understanding of human nature forever . See more »


The Volvo used in the initial sequences was a later model year (from the 80's) than the actual year (in the 70's). See more »


Robert Shafran: When I tell people my story, they don't believe it. I guess I wouldn't believe the story if someone else were telling it, but , I'm telling it and it's true, every word of it.
See more »


Features Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) See more »


Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
Written and Performed by Billy Joel
Published by Universal Music Publishing Ltd
Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment Inc
Licensed by Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best documentaries and thrillers of the year.
16 July 2018 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

Three Identical Strangers is a documentary to die for: it has camera-ready, outgoing triplet brothers, who discover each other 19 years after birth (1980), become media darlings, and provide filmmaker Tim Wardle with one of the best thrillers of the year. Read this review but not those that will disclose the mysterious underpinnings of one of the best docs this year.

Yes, things do not all turn well after the initial exaltation over their finding each other. The doc expertly distributes the dark revelations as if we were their friends slowly learning astonishing facts about the triplets from separation to owning a restaurant called, what else, Triplets. Not only do we see the nuances of differences among the triplets, but we also get tantalizing looks into the machinery of adoption, not all happy to be sure.

As adults, Robert Sheridan, David Kellman, and Eddy Galland are outgoing and articulate (only two are talking heads, while Eddy's part is archival footage). Good for director Wardle letting them tell the story without prompting, for effective docs mostly let the camera roll and the subject talk. This doc will grab you and not let you go-you'll hunger for more.

As the background of the adoption and the testimony reveals startling information, our natural inclination is to contrast the three different social backgrounds to see the effects of nature vs. nurture. Indeed social scientists are here plying their trade, sometimes in unethical ways yet food for the thriller part of this engrossing film.

Although the nature/nurture debate is never fully deconstructed, I was pleased with the taste of it, as most social scientists must be in such a delicious dramatic stew. I'm done writing for fear of spoiling one of the delights of this documentary: What comes next?

Don't even Google because you can find the details there. Most desirable is to witness how artfully through excellent film you can find in reality that truth can be stranger than fiction. And definitely not fake.

Three Identical Strangers is one of the year's best documentaries. It has it all but the definitive answer to the central mystery. Learn more by seeing it, not Googling it.

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