The Miracle Worker



Outstanding movie based on life of Helen Keller.
  • Review Date: May 5, 2003
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1962
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know


Helen's tantrums

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie deals with how people learn, and the challenges of teaching children with disabilities.

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What's the story?

Helen Keller, blind and deaf from an illness she had as a toddler, is treated more as a pet than a child by her family. She has no knowledge or understanding, and just grabs whatever she wants and breaks whatever she doesn't want. Her parents hire Annie Sullivan, once blind herself, to be her teacher. Sullivan begins by teaching Helen basics, then how to use her hands to spell out the names things. Helen learns to imitate the finger-motions, but does not connect them to anything. She must first understand the concept of language. Sullivan tries various approaches, and after one chaotic meal, Sullivan grabs Helen and forces her to the pump, to fill the pitcher of water she knocked over. As Helen feels the water rush over one hand, Sullivan finger-spells "water" into the other. Suddenly, Helen understands. A word she heard as a baby comes back to her, and she knows that "w-a-t-e-r" spells water. She runs all over, asking for the names of everything. It's clear that Sullivan has opened the world to her.

Is it any good?


THE MIRACLE WORKER is an outstanding movie based on the true story of two of the great figures of American history, Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy. Keep in mind that the title refers to Sullivan; when the playwright/screenwriter, William Gibson, is asked about "the movie about Helen Keller," he says, "If it were about her, it would be called `The Miracle Work-ee.'" Helen Keller was a woman of astonishing achievement, but all of it was made possible by her teacher.

This movie shows kids how people learn, and about the importance of language and the challenges of teaching children with disabilities. Discuss the different ways that the main characters felt about Helen and how that affected their ability to teach her.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how people learn, about the importance of language and the challenges of teaching children with disabilities. Discuss the different ways that the main characters felt about Helen and how that affected their ability to teach her. Why did Helen's father and brother think that she could not learn? Why did Annie Sullivan think that she could? Why was it hard for Helen's mother to help her? Why is it important to be taught by someone who believes in you?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 23, 1962
DVD release date:March 6, 2001
Cast:Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke, Victor Jory
Director:Arthur Penn
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 8 years old April 9, 2008

I lost six brain cells watching this

I like it nothing wrong with me their are some vilonce with helon keller throwing a tantrum.
Teen, 14 years old Written byThat one kid wh... March 30, 2011

Perfect for all ages

I personally think that this movie is great. I am in 9th grade and in my english class we read the play then watched the movie and now we are doing a report on the movie. This movie teaches the values of language and hard work. I would definitely show this to children of all ages.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 5 years old April 9, 2008

A thumbs up movie for all ages to watch!

I herd of most little kids my age or around really enjoy this movie and want to buy the DVD or VHR. I would rather buy the DVD and watch this movie Tonight. This movie also helps me go to sleep to I would recommed.


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