Stuttering in the Popular Media – Music, Art, Film and Theatre

Articles about Stuttering in the Media

Movies That Portray Stuttering

The information linked below was gleaned from a search of the "Internet Movie Database Search" and "All Movie Guide", an online film and video database, and in discussions about the movies by the following individuals:

  • David Anderson
  • Henry Barnes
  • Jonathan Bashor
  • Tara Bauman
  • Benjamin
  • Pierre Bellemare
  • M Burrows
  • Donna Cooperman
  • Cindy Cowing
  • Sandy Cullinan
  • Lee Devantier
  • Ed Feuer
  • Elin Edwards
  • Bill Fabian
  • Andy Floyd
  • Annalise Folkema
  • Fran Freeman
  • Cindy M. Gardner
  • Jeff Gluckman
  • Dave Halvorsen
  • Richard Harkness
  • John Horan
  • Anthony Intas
  • Anamarija Ivankovic
  • Marty Leisner
  • Marty Jezer
  • Judy Kuster
  • Ed MacDonald
  • Brooke McNamara
  • Dimitar Misev
  • Larry Molt
  • Bill Murphy
  • Salena Nikolaisen
  • William Olszewsk
  • L.L. O'Shaugnessy
  • John Paskievich
  • Pierre
  • Joe Pillion
  • Chet Robinson
  • Jeff Rose
  • Gerald Siegel
  • Jonah 'Cecil' Scheib
  • Satyendra Srivastava
  • Andreas Starke
  • Joe Szymanski
  • Kristin Taklo
  • Kati Taylor
  • Tim Mackesey
  • Kristen Thornton
  • Mona Toft
  • John Westbury
  • J. Scott Yaruss
  • Megan Williams
  • Ira Zimmerman

Movies That Portray People Who Stutter

Augustin, 1995

In French, with subtitles, this short (61 minutes long) film is about "a gangly, nervous, stuttering insurance clerk of Portuguese descent, who lives his drab life with maddening precision but dreams of being a great star of action films." (From a review by Dresson Howe, Washington Post January 05, 1996).

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Bandits, 1987

This adventure/romance film is the story about a formerly imprisoned jewel thief who is reunited with his daughter (after she spent those years of his incarceration in a Swiss boarding school), while plotting to avenge his wife's murder. The acting is superior and the plot has many twists and turns. The young woman, who happens to stutter, becomes involved in her father's life of crime, his plans of revenge, and with one of his "professional" colleagues.

What I loved was the fact that her stuttering was not made an issue at all; it was not a point of humor, nor was it a symptom of a devious or incompetent personality; it was simply a part of her and it did not detract from her strength or appeal. In fact, it made her intelligent and beautiful character even more intriguing. (posted to Stutt-L by Mona Toft, June 24, 1998).

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Bedazzled, 1967

"Bedazzled," starred Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Eleanor Bron, and Raquel Welch. The stuttering scene takes place in a snooker parlor during which the Cook character asks his opponent a question concerning politics, I believe. The opponent then painfully stutters out his lengthy answer, to which Cook replies, "That's easy for you to say!" The snooker opponent is treated as an intellectual equal and the deft use of a phrase that here has double meaning had me on the floor laughing. It works because there is no obvious ill intent in the reply yet the irony is unmistakable and funny. From Lee Decanter

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Big Daddy, 1999

In "Big Daddy", the child (about 5) Adam Sandler is caring for says to a girl in the park (Joey Lauren Adams): "If you don't go home with him (Adam Sandler), I might start to stutter" and then stutters a few words... It was very cute... (personal correspondence, Marty Leisner, June 4, 2000

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Billy Budd, 1962

"Billy Budd", directed by Peter Ustinov, is about Billy, a stutterer, who is "an innocent, naive seaman in the British Navy in 1797. When the ship's sadistic master-at-arms is murdered, Billy is accused and tried."

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Billy Madison

Billy Madison (starring Adam Sandler) "is the 27 year-old son of Bryan Madison, a very rich man who has made his living in the hotel industry. Billy stands to inherit his father's empire but only if he can make it through all 12 grades, 2 weeks per grade, to prove that he has what it takes to run the family business." He teases a boy who stutters while reading in class. (Megan Williams)

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Breaking the Code, 1996

Breaking the Code is the biography of Alan Turing, a person who stuttered, an English mathematician and one of the inventors of the computer who was a key in breaking the code, Enigma, which was used to send orders by the Germans in WWII. The full-length BBC biographical film (available free online) is (played by Derek Jacobi). The film is well-done and Turing's stuttering is simply part of his character.

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Buddy Boy, 1999

I just saw this film in NYC, directed by Mark Hanlon, called Buddy Boy: Francis (Aiden Gillen), an introverted young man living in an anonymous city, caring for his disturbed, abusive, religious, promiscuous mother -- the only family he has -- becomes obsessed with spying on his next door neighbor, Gloria (Emmanuelle Seigner). There are two bizarre plot twists at the end. It's sort of a psychological thriller -- the script borders on absurb at points, and the production values leave a lot to be desired (can you say boom mic in the shot? Can you say camera reflecting in a mirror in one scene) -- but aside from those little mistakes it was very beautifully, darkly shot. Anyway, the lead character, Francis, has a stutter -- it's well done, methinks, and treated as just a natural extension of his characer. If you're not in NYC, good luck seeing it though. (L.L. Oshaugnesy, personal correspondence, March 28, 2000)

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The Bull

The Bull - "Poor English subtitling and some rote plotting mar an otherwise solid, well-performed, well-shot gangster flick set in 1990s Moscow."

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Broadway Danny Rose, 1984

"Broadway Danny Rose" - the Woody Allen film, portrays a stuttering ventriloquist as one of (no) talent agent Danny Rose's stable of very bad performing acts.

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Although not really a portrayal of stuttering in the movies, there is an interesting passing reference to stuttering in this classic. Humphrey Bogart is called in for an interrogation ("round up the usual suspect"). Peter Lorre: "You talk so have an answer for everything. Bogie: "Whatcha want me to do? Learn how to stutter?" (suggested by Marty Leisner)

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Color of Night, 1994

Roger Ebert's review says this movie combines "all the worst ingredients of an Agatha Christie whodunit and a sex-crazed slasher film." The star of the film, Bruce Willis (a former stutterer) portrays a Manhattan psychotherapist. In the film he calls the teenager a "nut case" for using violence when someone makes fun of his stuttering.

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Alec Guinness' portrays King Charles I in the British historical film Cromwell.

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The Court Jester, 1956

At times there has been discussion about stuttering in sign language. This movie makes reference to stuttering in sign. There is one sequence in the film where "The Court Jester" (Danny Kaye), dressed as an old grandfather, is trying to fool the king's troops into letting him and his granddaughter Maid Jean (Glenis Johns) go. The granddaughter is supposedly deaf and can only communicate by feeling her grandfather's lips and talking by signing. At one point the soldier asked a question, which Danny Kaye repeated to his granddaughter as she read his lips. She signed a long answer, which Danny Kaye interpreted simply as "no." When the soldier asked why she took so long, with so many hand signals, to say this, Danny Kaye said, simply, "she stutters." (Elin Edwards, personal correspondence, February 2, 2000)

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The Cowboys, 1972

Although the film was considered by some to be one of John Wayne's better latter day western films, the portrayal of stuttering intervention is inappropriate. Andy Floyd provides the following review. The plot centers around John Wayne having to hire a bunch of youngsters (ages 10-teens) to move some cattle across territory. In the beginning of the movie we are introduced to a boy (around age 10) who stutters noticeably. Later in the movie, while the cattle are being driven through a river, one of the boys gets thrown from his horse into the water and starts flailing about. The boy who stutters is the first one to notice and goes to John Wayne to help but can't get out an intelligible word. By the time John Wayne figures out what was going on, the boy who had been drowning gets saved by another boy. John Wayne turns on the boy who stutters and starts yelling at him. He basically tells the boy that he could talk fluently if he wanted to and that the boy has to stop "that stuttering" or leave the group. Well, the boy starts cursing at John Wayne and while he's doing it, he doesn't stutter. He's cured. The boy does not stutter for the rest of the movie.

This was the worst portrayal of stuttering in film that I've ever seen. I've been told of at least one set of parents that got their speech therapy by watching this film and applying it to their young son who stuttered.

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102 Dalmations, 2000

The evil Cruella de Vil's valet is a stutterer. He "is a conflicted character doing a job that he hates and working for a boss he hates. . . . . By the end of the film, he turns out to be a good guy and, of course, his stutter disappears." Ira Zimmerman

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Dead Again, 1991

Roger Ebert's review gives this film four stars. Ebert says, "This is a romance with all the stops out, a story about intrigue, deception and bloody murder - and about how the secrets of the present are unraveled through a hypnotic trance that reveals the secrets of the past." He says that it compares in his book with "Rebecca," "Wuthering Heights" or "Vertigo." Ira Zimmerman reports that a murderer in the movie stutters.

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Deshne, 1972

Deshne (1972) a black and white film "tells the story of Abbas, known as "Braggart abbas Aqa", a lonely soul and a stuttering person with no friends or family who is working as a co-busdriver. . . ." The full movie is available online - in Arabic.

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Die Hard With A Vengeance, 1995

This third movie in the Die Hard series starring Bruce Willis, was released about the time of the Oklahoma bombing and features a very realistic bombing of a Manhattan department store. Roger Ebert's review gives the movie three stars. The main "bad guy" in the film has a stutter. He stutters once on the phone, and Willis mocks him. He also has a fairly severe block toward the end of the movie.

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The Double, 2013

A review of this film by Henry Barnes from the Toronto 2013 film festival includes the following information about director Richard Ayoade's film. "Ayoade's killer script takes evil pleasure in having Simon swallow his words and stutter through life." (September 8, 2013 -

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Do the Right Thing, 1989

A controversial film about race relations and racial violence in a Black New York City neighborhood, Do The Right Thing received very positive reviews by Desson Howe of the Washington Post and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times. A minor character gives a negative portrayal of a person who stutters.

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Enigma, 2001

The 2001 film ENIGMA, made in Britain and with British actors (Tom Hollander, Jeremy Northam, Kate Winslet, among others) tells the story of a fictional episode in the history of the partly civilian British unit which, making use of coding machines captured from the Germans as well as a proto-computer of their own making, was responsible for decoding German military communications during WWII. The core-group of the organization was made up of a select team of mathematical geniuses. The main character in the film is one of those geniuses - the man who designed the computer. One of his colleagues is a stammerer. He is not treated as a comedic character, and there seems to be a point to his presence. Alan Turing is the real-life character on which that of Tom Jericho, the hero and main character of ENIGMA is based. In the film, he is portrayed neither as a gay man (which he was in real-life, and that is the circumstances that was to lead to his suicide, a few years later) nor as a stutterer. The role is played superbly, by Dougray Scott. (posted on stutteringchat, September 29, 2002 by Pierre)

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Enjo, 1958

Enjo (1958), is a Japanese movie based on The Pavilion of the Golden Temple a novel by Yukio Mishima.

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Eye for An Eye, 1995

After her daughter is raped and murdered and the killer (played by Kiefer Sutherland) set free on a technicality, Karen (played by Sally Field) seeks revenge. Roger Ebert did not like the film, nor did a lot of other reviewers.

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A Family Thing, 1996

Starring James Earl Jones and Robert Duvall. James Earl Jones portrays a Chicago Policeman who stutters Interestingly, none of the reviews I scanned, Time Magazine, The Washington Post or USA Today mention stuttering. "On Screen: Stuttering voice Jones conquered comes in handy for his latest role is a news article" by Jack Garner, Gannett News Service. The following review was written by Ira Zimmerman.

During the years that I lobbied Hollywood for a more balanced portrayal of stutterers, I always hoped that one day moviemakers would produce a film with a powerful story and interesting characters - one of whom happened to stutter.

The United Artists' film, A Family Thing, starring Academy Award-winner Robert Duvall and multiple Emmy and Tony winner James Earl Jones, is such a film. It is filmmaking at its best, with wonderful character development, casting, and direction - a compelling story that tests what binds blood relations together.

Jones' role of Ray Murdoch, a Marine-turned-Chicago-policeman, posed a challenge to both actor and director regarding how to convey the character's vulnerability. They discovered a way, almost by accident, during one of the first read-through rehearsals.

"I'm a stutterer," Jones revealed, "and it inadvertently came out at that moment. Dick [Pearce, the director] noticed and suggested I let Ray be a stutterer to make him more vulnerable. I agreed, as long as it wouldn't be played to make fun of the stutterer. It helped us reach this character who - although he's been a Marine and a cop and has gone through the Arkansas and urban Chicago experience - feels things very deeply.

"All the hurts that have happened to him in life are still sitting deep inside him," he stated, "so they crop out once in a while."

In the film, producer Randa Haines noted, "James gets to show a side of himself that we haven't seen before. He has such an incredible presence, you think of him as being so powerful. Here he's much gentler, humbler. It's a nice change for him."

Duvall portrays Earl Pilcher, Jr., a man who has lived all of his life in the same house in the same town in rural Arkansas. Pilcher's life starts to unravel when his mother dies. She leaves behind a letter that reveals she was not his real mother. The woman who died giving birth to him was black and had been raped by his father. The dying wish of the woman who Pilcher knew as his mother is that he seek out his half-brother, Murdoch.

When Pilcher and Murdoch meet, both men have issues of mistrust, anger and prejudice. Their personal odyssey spotlights the strengths and weaknesses of family ties.

For those of us who stutter and are fighting for a fair deal from the Hollywood film industry, this film has historic significance.

James Earl Jones almost didn't portray the policeman with a stutter. James' agent was dead set against it because he thought that if he voluntarily stuttered for a part he would have a relapse that would destroy his career. I had to get some advice from some fluency disorder specialists that voluntary stuttering is a good thing and might even help his real stuttering. So he agreed and went ahead with the portray a tough policeman who just happens to stutter.

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Feeling Minnesota, 1996

Roger Ebert's review of this off-beat PG-13 film. Bill Murphy (on Stutt-L, June 9, 1997) also shared, "Toward the end of the movie, one of the bit players, a cop, has two speaking parts in which he stutters. The first time another character mimics him, the second time his partner played by Dan Akroyd---well you'll just have to see it to find out what happens. A word of caution. This is one of those black comedies that has some violence. If you enjoyed Fargo, you may appreciate this one." Ira Zimmerman also added, "There is a police detective who stutters and who by the end of the film brings law and order to the crazy society portrayed in this wacky film which I enjoyed. The stuttering policeman has only a few scenes in the film." (stutt-x, 18 Sep 1996)

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A Fish Called Wanda, 1988

Roger Ebert gave this film a four star rating and called it " the funniest movie I have seen in a long time." Rita Kempley of the Washington Post says that "This irreverent whopper of the Monty Python school is bound to outrage special interests galore -- dog lovers, stutterers, feminists and people opposed to fries up the nose. And yet it has a classic madcap grace."

The following review is by Ira Zimmerman and was posted on stutt-l:

The British comedy A Fish Called Wanda features Michael Palin as a severe stutterer. Palin's father stuttered, and Palin wanted to show how difficult and painful stuttering can be. Palin sponsors the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children in London.

Like many severe stutterers, Palin's character is sometimes too eager to please people, even people who treat him poorly. He is also highly skilled in his non-verbal field - stealing jewels.

The character played by Jamie Lee Curtis is able to look beyond Palin's stuttering to see his inner qualities. The antagonist, played by Kevin Kline, can't get past Palin's stuttering. He bullies Palin, emotionally and physically. I shouldn't spoil the ending, but Palin's character gets his revenge.

The scenes in which Kline torments Palin can be difficult to watch, and the National Stuttering Project asked to have a scene edited out (in which Palin's stuttering is mocked). Some stutterers strongly disliked this movie. I appreciate that Palin made a movie about a person who stutters severely and the cruelty some people have towards stutterers. Americans tend to not appreciate British "black humor."

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Golmaal 3, 2010

The Indian Stammering Association started an advocacy campaign against this bollywood movie which portrays stammering in very bad light for obvious commercial purposes.

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Flirting, 1991

Desson Howe of the Washington Post, liked this film which is set in a boarding school in rural Australia in 1965 and is about the romantic alliance between gangly outcast Danny, who is teased for his stutter, and Ugandan boarder Thandiwe. Roger Ebert describes Danny as " awkward, a stutterer, the target of jokes from some of his classmates. He has a fine offbeat mind, which questions authority and doubts conventional wisdom. He is gawky in that way teenage boys can be before the parts grow into harmony with the whole" and gives the movie four stars, claiming it "is one of those rare movies with characters I cared about intensely."

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Girl Shy, 1924

"A shy, stuttering bachelor working in a tailor shop, who is writing a guide book for other bashful young men, The Secret of Making Love".

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Glory, 1989

Roger Ebert calls Glory "a strong and valuable film. . . (about) the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, made up of black soldiers - some Northern freemen, some escaped slaves - and led by whites, including Robert Gould Shaw, the son of Boston abolitionists. Although it was widely believed at the time that blacks would not make good soldiers and would not submit to discipline under fire, the 54th figured in one of the bloodiest actions of the war, an uphill attack across muddy terrain against a Confederate fort in Charleston, S.C. The attack was almost suicidal, particularly given the battlefield strategies of the day, which involved disciplining troops to keep on marching into withering fire. The 54th suffered a bloodbath. But its members remained disciplined soldiers to the end, and their performance on that day - July 18, 1863 - encouraged the North to recruit other blacks to its ranks, 180,000 in all, and may have been decisive in turning the tide of the war."

Ira Zimmerman reports that a black young man in the movie stutters.

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Harlem Nights, 1989

Roger Ebert says, "The movie stars Richard Pryor as a Harlem speakeasy owner and Murphy as his adopted son, and plugs them into a plot involving the usual Mafia bosses, crooked cops and sexy dames. There is not an original idea in the movie from one end to the other." Ira Zimmerman reports that the boxing champion in the movie stutters.

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Harry Potter, the Sorcerer's Stone

Professor Quirrell, portrayed by Ian Hart, fakes stuttering to fool people. The professor stutters in the book as well. GC provided the following information on Stutt-x, 19 Nov 2001:

"P-P-Potter," stammered Professor Quirrell, grasping Harry's hand, "c-can't t-tell you how p-pleased I am to meet you."

"What sort of magic do you teach, Professor Quirrell?"

"D-defense Against the D-D-Dark Arts," muttered professor Quirrell as though he'd rather not think about it. "N-not that you n-need it, eh, P-P-Potter?" He laughed nervously. "You'll be g-getting all your equipment, I suppose? I've g-got to p-pick up a new b-book on vampires, m-myself." He looked terrified at the very thought.

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In Hoodlum, featuring Lawrence Fishburne, there was a stuttering accountant who was obviously very bright, but also very nerdy. He was working for the Mob, and appeared to be intimidated by his unsavory colleagues. He was killed off about halfway through the movie after begging (and stuttering) for his life.

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The Hurricane, 1999

The movie Hurricane, is the story of Rubin Carter, a professional boxer, who stuttered until he was 18 years old. The stuttering is nicely depicted in the film by the actor who portrays Carter as a child, but unless you realize Carter himself stuttered, the average viewer may not interpret the dysfluencies as stuttering. A statement made by Carter, in the movie, says "I overcame my stutter." There is no other mention of stuttering in the film. "Hurricane" by Tom Tozer relates that Rubin "Hurricane" Carter stuttered as a child. Carter's story, made into a movie starring Danzell Washington, is about a "professional middleweight boxer who was arrested in 1966 for the murder of three whites, sentenced to a triple-life term and finally exonerated in 1988." Tozer's article states, "As a youngster, Carter used his fists to help dissuade others from laughing at his stuttering." The information about his stuttering is also found here (JAK)

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Hyde Park on the Hudson, 1937

The movie tells the story of FDR meeting with King George VI of England shortly before WWII. The story shows the king and the frustration of his stuttering. (posted on Stutt-L, May 6, 2013)

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I, Claudius, 1937

About the Emperor Claudius who was a person who stuttered, starred Charles Laughton as Claudius and Merle Oberon as Messalina.

This original (1937) film version of I CLAUDIUS was never completed but fragments survive and they are part of THE GREAT EPIC THAT NEVER WAS, a BBC documentary produced in the early 1960s, and which is available as an appendix of the some of the video/DVD editions of the BBC I CLAUDIUS from the 1970s starring Derek Jacobi. In the BBC documentary, the narrator, Dirk Bogarde, says in that in his personal opinion, Claudius' address to the Senate is one of the three most moving scenes ever captured on film, on a par with Olivier's St.Crispian Speech in HENRY V and Judy Garland's dressing room scene in A STAR IS BORN. I think that he is right. (personal correspondence, Pierre Bellemare, March 17, 2002)

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'Iris' Features the first Oscar-Winning portrayal of a stutterer - shared by Ira Zimmerman.

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J. Edgar, 2011

"J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the FBI for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life." (suggested by Dimitar Misev)

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Oscar, 1991

Desson Howe of the Washington Post, starts the review of this comedy starring Sylvester Stallone with, "It's so tempting to declare "Oscar" the worst movie of 1991. So very tempting." Ira Zimmerman reports that "Oscar" had a stool pigeon who stutters.

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Jesus H. Christ

Jesus H. Christ (2012) includes, according to one review, Slavkin, a "stuttering, absent-minded professor." The review makes it pretty clear this is not a film many will enjoy and gives it a 1 1/2 star rating. Another review gives it 2 stars and concludes "A sloppy assembly of unbelievable people with unbelievable problems, Jesus Henry Christ may very well leave you scripting your own expletives upon exit."

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Johnny Rocco, 1958

From AMG PLOT SYNOPSIS "In this drama, a young boy begins to stutter uncontrollably after her learns that his father is a prominent crime boss. A courageous teacher decides to help him, but soon finds her life in jeopardy when the boy becomes marked for a hit because he has potentially damning information about the Syndicate. She does all she can to protect the boy."

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Kaminey (English: The Scoundrels)

is a 2009 Bollywood caper thriller film directed by Vishal Bharadwaj featuring Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra in the lead roles, and Amol Gupte in his debut film appearance. "Guddu and Charlie (Shahid Kapoor in a double role) are identical twins who have grown up in the streets of Mumbai. Both brothers have a speech impediment - Charlie has a lisp, while Guddu stutters in his speech." Posted by Ed Feuer on Stutt-L (a no-longer active discussion forum), May 3, 2013

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The King's Speech, 2010

Text of short column about the movie (now with many out-dated links)is edited and added. Kuster, J. M. (2011, February 15). At Long Last, A Positive Portrayal of Stuttering The ASHA Leader.

This Oscar award-winning film also had numerous very positive reviews and resources that are no longer online that were originally linked here. The following materials are still online.

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King Solomon's Treasure (1977)

The movie tells the story of an African expedition lead by three adventurers into darkest Africa in search of the fabled mines of King Solomon. On the way encounter hostile natives, volcanoes, dinosaurs and a lost Phoenician city ruled by a beautiful queen. One of the members of the expedition is Sir Henry Curtis, a young aristocrat who stutters played by former Man from U.N.C.L.E. agent David Illya Kuriakin McCallum). There seems to be no point to the stuttering - "so much so that, for long stretches, the actor himself seems to forget all about it and starts talking fluently. Perhaps the original idea was not so much to make fun of stutterers as to characterize Sir Henry as a funny guy - which he certainly is, on a consistent jocular and light-hearted mode. In spite of his 'humorous' disposition, he is very much a heroic to the extent that he gets the girl in the end!" (reported by Pierre)

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Lady in the Water, (2006)

Reviewed by Darrell Dodge who wrotes, "This is (to my knowledge) the first American film to feature relatively severe stuttering behavior by a major protagonist realistically and in a sympathetic manner."

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The Last Castle, 2001

This Dreamworks released film "is a military prison film where the lily-livered prison commandant disciplines Aguilar (Clifton Collins, Jr.), a stuttering ex-Marine so sweet-natured he might as well have 'dead meat' stamped on his forehead. Aguilar comes off as an innocent somewhat simply minded solder prisoner. He called a "stuttering monkey" by the prison warden. In the end his heroic character finally plays a major part in this riveting drama. (personal correspondence, Ira Zimmerman, Feb. 14, 2002)

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Let There Be Light, 1946

Let There Be Light (1946), freely available online ( is a documentary film from the Film Preservation Foundation ( about soldiers returning from WWII with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Some of the soldiers symptoms including stuttering (there are a few earlier brief examples, but one especially at the 39 minute mark being treated for his stuttering symptoms by a psychiatrist). The film was made in a hospital and shows the actual treatment by the real soldiers and their doctors. The film was suppressed by the army, partially to protect the soldiers privacy, but probably also to suppress showing the emotional trauma of combat. Although there are obvious problems trying to display the positive changes that in reality may take much, much longer than in an hour film, and changes in treatment strategies from the mid-1940's, it is an interesting documentary.

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Liam, 2001

This Lions Gate Films released film portrays a seven year old who stutters. Three reviews of the film by Ira Zimmerman, Kenneth Turan, and Pierre Bellemare are available.

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Life of Brian, 1979

Bill Fabian reported on Stutt-L that in the Monty Python film "Life of Brian" with "the two PWS in the dungeon (or was it one PWS & a friend), there was an excrutiatingly long reply to Brian's question and then the sudden fluency after the question was answered."

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Love! Valour! Compassion!, 1997

"Love! Valour! Compassion!", reviewed by Roger Ebert, is a movie about eight gay friends spending a summer in upstate New York. David Anderson shared on Stutt-l, "Terrence McNally adapted his Tony-award winning play. They make a point of calling the impediment a stutter early on. One of the friends of the stutterer, who owns the house, says to the guy he's brought along, "Don't um say anything um about the um stutter" [either slightly making fun of it or else talking down to the other guy because he thinks he's dumb--it's not clear which, but he's the "bad character" so it could be either reason]. And then the stutterer says shortly thereafter to the friend of the friend, "I don't um do this on um purpose you know." But in general it's a very minor issue in the movie. Jason Alexander takes the role Nathan Lane [from The Birdcage] played on Broadway; he's the only person in the movie who wasn't in the Broadway production. If you ever wanted to see what George Constanza looks like in a big floppy hat, heart-shaped sunglasses, apron, and high heels [and nothing else], here's your chance. It won't play in Peoria."

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Maltese Falcon, 1941

The highly acclaimed classic starring Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, has "some surprising, fleeting references by Bogart to 'stuttering' and 'stammering.'" (John Westbury)

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962

In "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", a western, starring James Stewart, John Wayne, Lee Marvin, there is a minor character who stuttered severely who provided "comic relief" throughtout the film. (He had about 10-20 lines).

A telling scene is:

He was ordering in the restaurant...He said:
The waitress finished "Deep-dish Apple Pie?"
He said: "yeah"

Then Liberty Valance walked in and knocked him off his chair... (Marty Leisner)

In "The man who shot Liberty Valance" James Stewart is the hero, a lawyer, who shoots Lee Marvin who terrorizes an otherwise peaceful community. One of the villagers/farmers stutters. The lawyer's wife, Vera Miles, who works as a waitress in the saloon doesn't wait for his order, steak and beans or whatever, she behaves like the stereotypical bad listener. Later in the movie the stutterer speaks several times, even in a critical moment in a political assembly, and everybody reacts just "normal". He makes his point, people listen appropriately, nobody laughs ... and then Jimmy shoots Lee (Liberty Valance) and everything returns to normal again in the town. This may be an overinterpretation: Perhaps Vera Miles' inappropriate reaction is an expression of the general terrorized state of the people in the village. (Andreas Starke)

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Mask, 1985

The movie is about a very intelligent boy with a serious facial deformity. His mother is part of a biker gang. One of the bikers (I think the character was named Dozer) is a person who stutters. He struggles to say, "I'm real proud of you, Rocky."

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Meet Wally Sparks, 1997

Rated questionable, adult humor - Stuttering John had a cameo in Rodney Dangerfield's "Meet Wally Sparks", where he played himself and stuttered a little. (added by Marty Leisner)

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Men of Honor

The character portrayed by Michael Rappaport in the movie, "Men of Honor" is a portrayal of a person who stutterers.

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The Mirror (1975)

A Russian film with a realistic portrayal of stuttering, has a student who stutters who is "cured" by hypnotism.

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Mr. Jealousy

There is an independent film MR JEALOUSY by Noah Baumbach starring Eric Stoltz and Annabella Sciorra that appeared in select movie theaters around the country June through October, 1998. It will soon become available on home video. This comedy reminds me of many Woody Allen films that I have enjoyed for many years. What pleasantly surprised me was to see a positive portrayal of a woman who stutters by a major film star even if it was in a cameo role. Bridget Fonda plays the role of the very attractive Irene, the latest girlfriend of the film's author Dashiell Frank. . . . Bridget portrays a stutter that is mild but still obvious. (Ira Zimmerman, posted to Stutt-l, November 14, 1998)

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My Cousin Vinny, 1992

A rather mindless movie that did not get particularly good reviews, about two young men mistakenly confessing to murder thinking they were confessing to shop-lifting a can of tuna. The movie portrays an incompetent public defender who stutters.

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Monster, 2004

In the movie "Monster", a story of the woman prostitute turned serial killer, the "john" who stuttered was the only intended victim that was spared, as the killer apparently felt sympathy for him.

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New Jack City, 1991

Hal Hinson, reviewer for the Washington Post states that this movie of inner city drug wars puts you right in the teeming center of the conflict between a visionary drug kingpin named Nino Brown and the team of renegade cops assigned to bring him down, right where the war fires burn hottest, where the streets of Harlem pulse with so much raw life that your senses are nearly overrun." Ira Zimmerman relates that a driver for a drug dealer stutters.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1977

In this five Oscar film, considered by some as one of the top 100 films, Brad Douriff played a shy guy in a mental ward and got Best Supporting Actor for that role.

The movie portrays a stutterer being suddenly "cured" after having a "profound" emotional experience -- in the case of Cuckoo's Nest, after having sex with a nurse. R. Harkness states that this type of portrayal is responsible for "making the public so confused about stuttering and leading them to believe that the cause of stuttering is some deep, dark psychologic issue. (Comment by JB, "I have to disagree with R. H's review of "One flew over the cuckoo's nest". The stuttering character doesn't sleep with a nurse, isin't cured, and he commits suicide."

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Oscar, 1991

Desson Howe of the Washington Post, started his review of this comedy starring Sylvester Stallone with, "It's so tempting to declare "Oscar" the worst movie of1991. So very tempting." Ira Zimmerman reports that "Oscar" had a stool pigeon who stutters.

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Pan's Labyrinth, 2006

Pan's Labyrinth by the Spanish director Guillermo Del Toro. The film is set in Spain in '44 as the fascists go about wiping out the remaining partisans. They capture a partisan who stutters and, before setting about torturing him, the fascist captain taunts him and says if he can count to three without stuttering, he'll let him go....and of course under the stress, the guy can't manage it .... Pan's Labyrinth has been picked by the Associated Press as one of the top 10 movies of 2006. (submitted to Stutt-L by John Paskievich 12/17/2006)

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Parental Guidance, 2012

Parental Guidance "is a family comedy in which old school grandfather Artie (Billy Crystal), who is accustomed to calling the shots, meets his match when he and his eager-to-please wife Diane (Bette Midler) agree to babysit their three grandkids when their type-A helicopter parents (Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott) go away for work. One of the grandchildren speaks with a stutter that is touched upon throughout the film in a believable and lighthearted manner." (Part of an announcement by Billy Crystal to the NSA).

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The Passion of Darkly Noon, 1995

Ira Zimmerman reports that in this movie Brendan Fraser portrays a conflicted stutterer who descends into madness after the death of his strictly religious parents. He becomes sexually obsessed with a beautiful young woman played by Ashley Judd who tries to help him.

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Paulie, 1998

Hallie Eisenberg, in her first film, plays a five year old girl who stutters and is helped to overcome her speech difficulties by the featured hero, a pet parrot named Paulie. In this fable aimed at children, the story line is "Paulie is a parrot who can talk--not just mimic, but speak and understand. But he doesn't understand human behavior. Paulie journeys through the world in his quest to return to the little girl (Hallie Eisenberg) who raised him." Subway Restaurants Press Release, April 3, 1998, indicated that Subway will feature collectible, limited-time only toys based on "Paulie," in a Kids' Pak promotion from April 20-May 31. The four collectible "Paulie" toys are:

  • Wing Flapping Paulie - push the button and watch Paulie's wings flap
  • RV Surprise - Paulie pops out of a vacation vehicle
  • Whistling Paulie - blow into it and make Paulie whistle
  • Paulie Giggler - shake it up and down and hear Paulie laugh

"Paulie" is the story of an extraordinary and lasting friendship between Paulie, the intelligent, talking parrot, and the little girl he loves, Marie Alweather. Friends since they were young, they help each other get over their fears -- Marie has a speech impediment and Paulie can't fly. Sent to a pet shop by Marie's father, the adventure begins when Paulie tries to find his way home to be reunited with Marie. The story is told through the eyes of Paulie, with actor Jay Mohr, of 'Jerry Maguire,' providing his voice. This Stephen Speilberg film also stars Gena Rowlands, Tony Shalhoub, Bruce Davison, Matt Craven, Tia Texada, and Buddy Hackett.

Susan Fosnot who coached Hallie says she played a role in persuading the producers at Dreamscape to use stuttering as the child's communication disorder. She feels that it is a positive portryal of the disorder and the difficulties encountered by a child who stutters. It is set in the 60's, and the professional is designated as a "speech therapist." (Information extracted from posts to Stutt-L by Fran Freeman and Ira Zimmerman, April 7, 1998, and from Subway news release, April 3, 1998).

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Pearl Harbor, 2001

Several people have mentioned the stuttering character in this movie and have described him as a "good person," a "very brave and dedicated young man who happens to have a stutter."

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The Pebble and the Penguin, 1996

The Pebble and the Penguin(1995) is an animated video about a penguin who stutters. The review on the movie database link says that it is about a "lovable but introverted penguin named Hubie plans to present his betrothal pebble to the bird of his dreams" and that although the music is good, the movie is "disappointing." Scott Yaruss reported that the penguin's stuttering is "not the focus of the movie, but it's notable throughout. He gets teased once in the movie, but in the end, the bully gets "smushed" as [daughter] Emily says.... There are some things I DON'T like about the movie (the hero has to fight for his girl), but there are also some things I really DO like...e.g., the hero gets his way throughout MOST of the movie by using his wits and by talking a lot... Might be worth a preview in any case..."

Claire Tupling also provides a review: The major problem with this film is that the penguins look remarkably unlike penguins. There are also the accompanying soppy songs written by Barry Manilow. The story concerns Hubie, wearing a yellow scarf and red hat with ear flaps who is a shy, cute, stammering Penguin. He is in love with another penguin, Marina. Hubie is the only penguin living on the Rookery who can't find an engagement pebble, without this pebble he cannot marry Marina. Later, Hubie is given a pebble in a dream. Before he can present this to Marina, Drake, a bad penguin who is vying with Hubie for Marina's affections throws Hubie off the Rookery, saying "I hope you can swim better than you can talk." Hubie then finds himself on a ship and befriends another penguin, Rocko. Rocko is a fearless, brave penguin who thinks Hubie is a bit of a wimp. Eventually they both return to the Rookery where Hubie beats up Drake and lives happily ever after with Marina.

Hubie's stammering is designed to be a part of his endearing personality and charm. It is a character feature which attracts audience affection. It is not something which is ridiculed. Drake is the only penguin to mock his stammer, and Drake is clearly identifiable as the maladjusted penguin. In contrast Hubie, in spite of his low self esteem and clumsiness is a well rounded penguin. During her patient wait for Hubie's return Marina tells Drake that Hubie is "generous and kind." Hubie speaks fluently most of the time, when he does stammer he repeats the first syllables of words. Hubie does however stammer when he sings. In some scenes Hubie's stammer adds dramatic effect. For instance Rocko tells Hubie that he wants to learn to fly, in reply Hubie says (after a long period of fluency) "p-p-penguins, c-can't fly" highlighting the surprise we are supposed to feel in response to Rocko's impossible wish.

Very young children might enjoy this film but older children and adults might not find it so appealing.

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Pride, 2007

Pride (2007) "is one of those feel-good inspirational movies about an unlikely group who overcome all kinds of adversity. The movie is based on the true story of Jim Ellis (played by the wonderful Terrance Howard), a Philadelphia Parks & Recreation employee who inspires six inner-city kids to band together and go after their unlikely dreams of competing and winning in swimming competitions. The movie also showcases the late Bernie Mac. One of the characters in this movie stutters. It is portrayed honestly and realistically. You'll want to cheer when his character makes a triumphant decision at the end of the movie." (from Let's Talk About It - newsletter from The College of St. Rose Fluency Council, September 2009).

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Primal Fear, 1996

Although the movie "Primal Fear" received generally favorable reviews by Rita Kempley, Desson Howe, and Roger Ebert this movie produced by Paramount produced strong reaction from several subscribers to the mailing lists on stuttering.

"Richard Gere . . portrays a defense attorney defending an altar boy charged with murder.The altar boy is portrayed as having a stutter and there are several instances in the film where the stutter is mentioned as a way to gain sympathy from the jurors. Further, there are instances in the film where the stutter is made fun of or made light of. My thoughts are that the stutter had nothing to do with the character and did nothing to enhance the film. Further, I believe that while the stuttering behaviour was accurately portrayed, it does not portray stutterers in a positive way." (Anthony Intas on caps-news, April 27, 1997)

Cindy Cowing says that the movie is about a young man who stutters and is accused of the bloody murder of a beloved archbishop in Chicago.Caught by police fleeing the murder scene in bloody clothes (promptly dubbed "the Butcher Boy of St. Mike's by an unruly press) is the unlikely Aaron Stampler, an "awkward, soft-spoken stutterer" from a tiny town in Kentucky. Aaron was an altar boy and choir member who looked on the archbishop as a surrogate father. Prone to blackouts, moments when he loses time, Aaron swears he's not guilty but can't account for how the gore got on his clothes.This movie focuses on this man's stuttering with lawyers mimicking his stuttering.

Joe Pillion wrote, "I saw Primal Fear last night. The aggressive personality, the prosecuting attorney, et al. all make disparaging remarks about stuttering accompanied by ridicule of stuttering. The audience at the theater found that it very amusing. Needless to say, I was I was very offended. In the end, there is only one personality - the aggressive one. The accused was faking the stuttering personality and is successful in getting away with murder by doing so. I would rank it among the worst portrayals of stuttering that I have seen in the media."

Ira Zimmerman wrote, "Despite the various twists and turns of the movie, . . . . Paramount Pictures"Primal Fear" starring Richard Gere is the most exploitive and nefarious use of stuttering I've ever seen in a movie. Aaron Stampler used stuttering to get away with murder.(stutt-x, April 7, 1997)

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The Prime of Miss Jane Brody, 1969

One of Miss Brody's girls, Mary MacGregor, stutters.

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Regeneration aka Behind the lines, 1997

"It is based on Pat Barker's novel of the same name and tells the story of soldiers of WWI sent to an asylum for emotional troubles. The psychiatrist that works in the hospital stutters when angry or upset, and also some patients show some sort of dysfluency in their speech. The stutter in the movie was very realistic and I recommend this movie to everyone." (Anamarija Ivankovic)

Warning - hard to watch - a scary and awful clip from the movie which shows a young soldier with "shell shock" being treated for mutism. If you are wondering if that was really done, it was. German Battle Casualties: The Treatment of Functional Somatic Disorders during World War I - "The Austrian neurologist Fritz Kaufmann, who practiced in Mannheim and whose electro-suggestive therapy would become the most widely used treatment method for functional disorders in Germany during the war, had already treated a patient with electricity and suggestion at Erb's department in Heidelberg in 1903. . . . Most psychiatrists who treated traumatized servicemen believed that the end justified the means, even if the therapy appeared to be harsh and sometimes almost as traumatic as the war experience itself. According to a War Ministry decision, a patient's consent was only required for serious interventions (e.g., those involving general anesthesia). The application of electric currents did not fall into that category until the War Ministry banned the use of strong, very painful sinusoidal currents in late 1917. After several known deaths - and presumably a considerable number of severe adverse reactions that went undocumented - resistance against the Kaufmann method grew among both patients and doctors and its use was restricted by the military medical authorities in the final weeks of the war."

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RevoLOUtion, 2006

RevoLOUtion (2006) "is the fictional story of Lou, a stuttering ex-boxer who can only speak normally when starting trouble protecting the Brooklyn neighborhood in which he lives. Lou transforms from violent, extreme stutterer into a great, powerful communicator."

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The Right Stuff, 1983

"The Right Stuff," called by Damian Cannon "a stirring elegy to those who perished in the headlong rush to win the Space Race", portrays with sensitivity, the wife of John Glenn, Annie, a person who stutters. Larry Molt shared the following information (96/04/22)

"The Right Stuff" happens to be one of my favorite books and movies. I remember three specific scenes potraying Annie Glenn's stuttering. The first one takes place after the newly-selected astronauts and their wives are leaving a meeting with the publisher of Life Magazine, in which they have just been told Life will pay them for stories about the astronauts and their families. Another wife makes a comment to Annie which requires a response. You can see the panic in Annie's eyes, she has a severe block, and John kind of rushes her away, leaving the first wife (I think it was Conrad's) making a comment something like "What's wrong with her?" implying that she thought Annie must think herself too important to talk with another wife. Many viewers who don't know about Annie were probably left wondering also.

The second scene is a private conversation between Annie and John, discussing his move to Cape Canaveral for training. It illustrated the severity of her stuttering with a great impact, with her having difficulty even carrying on a basic conversation, asking John questions about activities at the Cape. The dysfluency, silent blocks of long duration and great difficulty initiating, is much in evidence, and much of her conversation relies on gestures and head nods, with John "filling in" her words in those instances. I felt this scene really served to make her a "sympathetic" character to many of the viewers (and answered the question "what's wrong with her")

The third scene. . . is masterfully done. John's flight has been on "hold" for hours, with both his tension in the capsule and the family's tension viewing it on TV clearly evident. Lyndon Johnson is shown sitting in his limo not far from the Glenn's residence, waiting to go in and congratulate her on the success of the flight. When it is at last scrubbed instead, LBJ (ever the politician) decides he should go in and "console" Annie (of course accompanied by network TV cameras to capture the moment for the nation on live TV). His press secretary goes to the Glenn's door, asking permission. Her reaction is classic, you can just feel the "He wants me to do WHAT?" reaction. Annie turns him down ('n- n- n- NO!"). He goes back to LBJ, who throws a tirade and sends him back. This time another astronaut wife shields Annie, refusing to let the press secretary even talk to her. LBJ wants to know how a "damn housewife" can turn down the vice-president, and calls the director of the NASA astronaut corp. The NASA official apparently calls Annie on the phone, insisting on the interview, she again refuses. The official grabs an exhausted and dejected Glenn, saying that Annie's on the phone & there is a problem. Annie struggles to tell John about the situation, he asks if she's sure she doesn't want to do the interview, she replies yes, and he tells her he supports her 100%, she doesn't have to talk to LBJ. The NASA official says unless John tells her to do the interview with LBJ, he's off the next flight. At which point the other astronauts, in a show of support, reply something to the effect of if Glenn is pulled over this, they will all quit.

. . .I've always felt that it was one of the most accurate and sympathetic portrayls of a PWS ever done on the big screen. Both the actress playing Annie and the actor playing John handled the scenes wonderfully, without turning it into a caricature of stuttering. For anyone who hasn't seen it, its worth the video rental!

I had the privilege of hearing Annie Glenn as the Keynote speaker at the ASHA national convention luncheon several years ago. Talk about a pressure cooker speaking situation, knowing that you were talking to 2000 SLPs and that they would be watching your speech like a hawk. She handled it beautifully and gave a really inspirational and memorable speech!

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Rigoletto, 2007

The film had a fairly accurate portrayal of stuttering and the person who stuttered was a good character who had a quite severe stutter and was teased about it.

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Rocket Science, 2007

Rocket Science is directed by Jeffrey Blitz, a person who stutters. "Functioning 'Midst Dysfunctional: Hal Hefner [Reece Thompson] keeps trying to function in a dysfunctional family. His parents have separated; his Mom Juliet [Lisbet Bartlett] periodically moves in a lover [Judge Pete, as played by Steve Park] and his son Heston [Aaron Yoo]; and Hals angry, violent older brother Earl [Vincent Piazza] could be semi-certified as a Misfit. It is thus no great surprise that Hal has turned into a high-schooler who stutters both verbally and emotionally. He is not so much looking for answers to life's big questions as looking for answers to ANY questions. Meeting top-notch Debating Team star Ginny [Anna Kendrick] gives him a REASON to try to improve his life. He is not always successful at his attempts (one of which is joining the Debating team at Ginnys insistence), but his WILLINGNESS to start making really sincere EFFORTS to improve is what is important." (

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Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, 1997

"Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion" is fairly simple-minded as far as film-craft goes, but it has a good heart. A minor character was portrayed as a stutterer in a small scene. The character is first seen in high school as a silent and rude cowboy who is shown as acting out this role as a silent, tough-guy obnoxious high school kid who never talks but continuously puts down one of the girl characters who is also portrayed as being a loser. In the scene he flicks a cigarette butt at her when she asks for a light. Ten years later, at the high school reunion the tough guy, who now looks very sweet, approaches the same person he used to dump on and apologizes for his past behavior. He says that he hated high school because among other reasons -- he hated being closed in -- he had a stutter and he never talked to anyone. I guess we can assume he treated everyone with the same apparent disdain as an avoidance response. When the character who had the cigarette butt flicked at her challenges him on his claim he reasserts his sincerity and doing so has a slight block. He then asks her if she'd like to go off somewhere and talk. As he says this, he has the trace of a stutter. They go off together -- and I won't tell you what happens, though you can probably guess. This is Hollywood!

It was a very small stutter of a minor character in a minor scene but forms a positive counter-message to films where stuttering is used in a superficial way to characterize weakness or emotional instability. In this film it is a realistic and justifiable part of his characterization.

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Shaft, 1971

Marty Leiser reports that in Shaft, there's a blind, stuttering newspaper stand owner in NYC who stutters. At the beginning he has a few lines with Richard Roundtree. He did a good job of blocking, with tension in around his mouth.

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Shakespeare in Love, 1998

Shakespeare in Love has a person who stutters as one of those who try out for a part in "Romeo and Juliet," the play within in the movie. The portrail is realistic and it is also interesting how when he gets onstage, his stutter disappears.

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Shawshank Redemption, 1994

"The Shawshank Redemption" received quite favorable reviews, and Ira Zimmerman reports that one of the prisoners is a person who stutters.

Roger Ebert says this movie is "about time, patience and loyalty - not sexy qualities, perhaps, but they grow on you during the subterranean progress of this story, which is about how two men serving life sentences in prison become friends and find a way to fight off despair.

There is a lot of life and humor in it, and warmth in the friendship that builds up between Andy and Red. There is even excitement and suspense, although not when we expect it. But mostly the film is an allegory about holding onto a sense of personal worth, despite everything.

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Sixth Sense, 1999

The movie "The Sixth Sense" is about a 10 year old boy named Cole who has the ability to see the dead. In the film there is a scene where Cole's teacher asks what had happened in the past and Cole responds that people were hanged there and that he could see them. When Cole's teacher dismisses that information, Cole becomes angry and begins to taunt the teacher, calling him a name that he used to be called because of his stuttering when he was younger. The teacher beome upset and as a result, relapses into stuttering. Later in the movie the teacher is shown speaking without a stutter. The stuttering was very very realistic. (shared by Ed MacDonald).

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Smilla's Sense of Snow, 1997

Ira Zimmerman recommends "Smilla's Sense of Snow" starring Julia Ormond and Gabriel Byrne, who portrays a stutterer. This is a first-class film. Although like many films, Byrne's character is mostly fluent, he does infrequently show a mild form of stuttering. And the subject of stuttering and stutterers is mentioned twice by Julia Ormond. And his stuttering didn't prevent him from developing an intimate relationship with Julia Ormond." Roger Ebert says, "Here is a movie so absorbing, so atmospheric, so suspenseful and so dumb, that it proves my point: The subject matter doesn't matter in a movie nearly as much as mood, tone and style. "Smilla's Sense of Snow'' is a superbly made film with one of the goofiest plots in many moons."

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Smoky and the Bandit II, 1980

In "Smoky and the Bandit" (starring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field), Mel Tillis (the country music star who stutters) did a cameo appearance as a stuttering amusement park employee. "He stuttered badly and was made to look like an idiot by the main characters."

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Space Jam

Combines animation of Looney Tune characters, including Porky Pig, with a real-life Michael Jordan. Roger Ebert calls Space Jam a " delightful, a family movie in the best sense."

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The Stepford Wives

"I remember seeing the original movie "The Stepford Wives" as an eleven-year-old circa 1976. The movie had a stuttering character who referred to himself as an "accent freak" and explained on one occasion that he used accents to mask his problem. I am told that the new version of "The Stepford Wives" omits the stuttering." from John Horan, posted on on 6/15/04

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Stalag 17, 1953

The TV series, Hogan's Heroes was based on the black & white 1953 movie, Stalag 17, about American GIs held as Prisoners of War in Nazi Germany. In that movie one of the characters, Clarence Harvey Cook, had a noticeable stutter. His buddies called him "Cookie" and treated him the same as everyone else, but Cookie did act shy and slightly uncertain of himself. Interestingly, Cookie narrated parts--including the beginning--of the movie. (Joe Szymanski). Cookie was played by Gil Stratton. The film was nominated for three academy awards in 1954 including William Holden who won the Oscar for best actor, Robert Strauss for best supporting actor and Billy Wilder for best director.

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Superstar, 1999

Superstar 1999 - "A new boy joins school and doesn't speak. Everyone thinks that he has committed a serious crime, but in reality doesn't speak because of his stutter. He ends up telling the main character, Mary Sue Gallagher, about his stutter and they ride off into the sunset together." I think the stutter was not depicted very positively in this film because it is a slightly ridiculous movie to begin with and secondly automatically assumes that he was a murderer because he wasn't talking.

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Still Bill

I recently watched a film from Netflix called "Still Bill." It is a documentary about a gifted and appealing musician named Bill Withers. There's lots of good music and homespun wisdom. Most compelling, however, is the fact that he was apparently a severe stutterer in his youth. In one very emotional scene he is filmed speaking with a group of stutterers in some formal setting. His insights into the way stuttering affected his life are very moving.

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Talk to Me, 1982

The movie Talk to Me was produced by the Hollins Precision Fluency Shaping program several years ago. It starred Austin Pendleton. A couple of the Hollins staff had cameo roles in it too. From AMG PLOT SYNOPSIS "While staying at the Hollins Communication Institute, a stuttering accountant fittingly falls for a squirrel huntress who has a similar speech impediment." A memorable scene is when the actor is buying a paper at a corner newspaper machine, and his new raincoat gets stuck in the machine when it closes as he is trying to reach in for his paper. He can't get his coat out of the machine and has no more change to put in it. He tries to get someone to lend him change but because he stutters, no one will. Finally he has to just leave his raincoat there and walk away. (Donna Cooperman, Sandy Cullinan, Dave Halvorsen - Stutt-l, November 6, 1997)

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A Thin Line

A Thin Line, starring Martin Lawrence, featured a stuttering sidekick who served no purpose other than to block or repeat his way through every line of dialogue, which was played for laughs. In his most prominent scene, the character attempted to express some heartfelt views about male-female relations, but his stutter so obscured his points that the audience roared all the way through his remarks, and when he was finished one of his on-screen friends said "Damn, is it something in this beer that makes you talk so funny?"

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Tin Pan Alley, 1940

Tin Pan Alley (1940), starring John Payne, Jack Oakie, Alice Faye, and Betty Grable, has a character, Harry Calhoun, who stutters, played by Oakie. The film ends with soldiers and others marching and singing "K-K-K-Katy," the famous WWI song. Ed Stephan wrote the following plot summary: "Songwriters Calhoun and Harrigan get Katie and Lily Blane to introduce a new one. Lily goes to England, and Katy joins her after the boys give a new song to Nora Bayes. All are reunited when the boys, now in the army, show up in England."

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To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, 1995

"Three drag queens travel cross-country until their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in a small town." (

Information from

Time - Phrase

  • 00:44:20 Another mess is the youngest of the Budd family over there.
  • 00:44:25 Poor thing, he's got a sad little... st-st-st-stutter.
  • 00:44:28 It'd bring a tear to your eye. Then there's Clara.
  • 00:44:32 You can say anything to her. She don't hear, she can't talk.

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Trois Vies et Une Seule Mort (Three Lives & Only One Death), 1996

Trois Vies et Une Seule Mort (Three Lives & Only One Death), (1996), is a beautifully bizarre film about a man possibly suffering from multiple personality disorder. The stammering character is less than likeable, though; a weasely bastard that pimps his own wife. It's a great film in general, starring Marcello Mastroianni, and written/directed by Raoul Ruiz. (from L.L. O'Shaugnessy)

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Turkish Gambit (Turetskii Gambit)

Ed Feuer wrote: Finally a stuttering film hero, in the reportedly highly popular Russian movie, Turkish Gambit (Turetskii Gambit) - "Young, highly intelligent, but with a stuttering impediment mitigating his social integration, Fandorin is the lonesome, introverted protagonist of Akunin's cycle of books that detail his adventures investigating 19th-century political intrigues. Here Fandorin has to uncover a Turkish mole in the Russian forces that is quite literally telegraphing the moves of the Russian army to defeat after crushing defeat."

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Two Kouney Lemels, 1966

The AMG PLOT SYNOPSIS said: In this fast-paced musical farce--the first made in Israel--a wealthy but uneducated fellow attempts to marry his stuttering son to the daughter of a snobbish family. The family eventually accepts him because his father is so wealthy. Unfortunately, the young man loves another, who in turn loves someone else. Her true love, the family outcast, cares little for the rigid Orthodox Jewish traditions and he bears a striking resemblance to the speech-impeded son. Romantic mayhem ensues. "Kouney Lemel" is Yiddish for a person with few talents who is easily manipulated by others.

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Thunderbirds the Movie 2004

"Thunderbirds the Movie is based an the British TV animated series that aired in the 60s. The film's brilliant scientist nicknamed "Brains" who stutters a lot in the film comes off like a wimp - an object of ridicule. When he stutters, he either does a comic word substitution or has his words filled in by others. A more interesting character is his son who also stutters. He is more heroic. A line to remember in the film is said by Brains' son when his friend mimics his stutter. He stares at his friend for a few seconds and says, "Just because I stutter doesn't mean that I'm not right." In the end he is proven right.

There is lots of action which should hold the interest of kids. The film is targeted to kids who end up saving the adults." Ira Zimmerman

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Urban Legends, 1998

Urban Legends is a horror flick where frightening myths are coming to life. In the opening act a young woman is driving alone down a deserted highway at night when she realizes she's nearly out of gas. She finds a rundown station and honks her horn for the attendant. The attendant is played by Brad Dourif (who also played Billy, the teen who stuttered in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest). The gas station attendant appears at the young woman's car. He is a middle-aged, creepy-looking man who stutters rather severely. He goes to the back of her car to fill it with gas and then asks for her credit card. She opens the window far enough to slide her credit card out and he disappears into the station. He returns shortly, and with much effort, tells her the credit card company is on the phone. She reluctantly follows him inside and picking up the phone hears only a dial tone. She turns and sees him locking the door. Terrified she hits him with the phone, runs to her car and tears out of the station. A moment later the attendant is seen running after her (to no avail) yelling, fluently, "There's someone in the back seat!" (Salena Nikolaisen, September 9, 1999).

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War Eagle Arkansas, 2007

"Coming of age in an Ozark town. Enoch is a high school senior: he stutters, has one friend, Wheels, a kid with CP who's in a wheelchair, and thinks about college in Tennessee on a baseball scholarship. He's philosophical, loves poetry, and lives with his mom and grandfather. Life gets complicated when he finds himself attracted to Abby, one of the popular girls. When he starts hanging out with her, even though he wants Wheels along, in part to help him finish his sentences, it causes friction between the two friends and gives Enoch pause about whether he should "leave town to make something of himself." Can he figure out what he wants without hurting anyone's feelings? Maybe not." No longer available online clips on YouTube someone posted "Based on a true story, "War Eagle, Arkansas" shares the inspiring story of a high school baseball star that must choose between pursuing a college sports career and staying near family and friends in his struggling rural Ozark Mountain community. Enoch Cass (Luke Grimes) is charming in his wish to hold on to loved-ones, including lifelong best friend Samuel Macon (Dan McCabe) whom he affectionately calls "Wheels" because of his confinement to a wheel chair. The two share an enduring spirit strengthened by Samuel's Cerebral Palsy and Enoch's debilitating stutter, both of which have kept them in need of each other for most of their lives."

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Waterboy, 1998

Ira Zimmerman calls Waterboy "a film to avoid," and reports the plot as follows: Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler), a socially inept 31-year-old from the swamps of Louisiana, is home schooled and sheltered by his overprotective mama (Kathy Bates). His only contact with society is his waterboy job for a college team, where the players relentlessly make fun of him and his coach doesn't let him fight back. This all changes when Bobby gets a new coach (Henry Wnkler), who lets him stand up for himself. Bobby finally unleashes years of pent-up rage and is transformed into the most devastating linebacker on the team. Now Bobby has to learn how to play football and go to college, all behind his mama's back." (Zimmerman on Stutt-L, October 17 and November 3, 1998)

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Why Didn't They Ask Evans, 1980

This made-for-TV movie is based on a book of the same name by Agatha Christie, features "a tale of murder, suspense, and false identities." The character who stutters is Badger Beadon played by Robert Longden.

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You've Got Mail

Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan)'s young female employee at her "Shop Around the Corner," displays an obvious dysfluency in one scene. Following the scene when Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) emails apologizing for not meeting her at the coffee shop, the next scene shows Ryan and her employee walking down a New York street. The employee says, "Di di di did he say anything?" The scene is a long shot, which means the words were probably dubbed in later. Was the dysfluency part of the script? Does the actor stutter and the director decided not to edit out the dysfluency? There is no reaction or mention of the dysfluency or any other instance in the movie. (JAK, June 15, 2001).

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Zerkalo, 1974

An AMG PLOT SYNOPSIS related that Andrei Tarkovsky's reminiscence of life as a child in Russia during World War II focuses on a youngster whose search for a cure for his stuttering problem leads him to a hypnotist. Juxtaposing scenes of daily life with pivotal moments in Soviet history, the film cross-cuts between color and black-and-white photography to find ground between dreams and reality