The Miracle Worker
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The Miracle Worker
Based on William Gibson's Broadway play and retaining its acclaimed cast, Arthur Penn's The Miracle Worker tells the true story of Helen Keller (Patty Duke), an Alabama girl struck blind and deaf as a baby after an elevated fever. Enter Annie Sullivan (Anne Bancroft), a partially-blind woman assigned the task of teaching Helen sign language. After first separating Helen from her over-protective parents (Victor Jory and Inga Swenson), Annie begins the arduous process of teaching the girl. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The centerpiece is a one-room, nine-minute war of attrition, as a tutor (Anne Bancroft) imposes table manners on her feral charge (Patty Duke). It's a heaving, shin-cracking donnybrook, done with complete commitment."
‑ Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice
"Anne Bancroft is superb as Annie Sullivan, the teacher who finally reached into Helen Keller's darkness, and Patty Duke is chillingly real as the young Helen."
‑ Don Druker, Chicago Reader
"Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke give intense, powerful Oscar-winning performances in Arthur Penn's successful screen version of the Helen Keller story, based on William Gibson's play."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Portrays a literal war for a girl's soul, making that war so ugly that it's impossibly beautiful."
‑ Scott Renshaw, Apollo Guide
"Much aided by its magnificent central performances, Penn's adaptation works like a dream as a film...Despite the subject matter, Penn manages to resist the temptation to manipulate our emotions."
‑ , Film4
"Where the picture really excels, outside of its inherent story values, is in the realm of photographic technique."
‑ , Variety
"Two well-deserved Oscars grace this unflinching portrait of selfishness in direct resistance to selflessness."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"Beautiful black-and-white cinematography, startling performances, and harrowing physicality… the cathartic final scene is nothing short of transcendent."
‑ Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films Guide
"Potentially soft material is handled with just the right severity; marvelously acted."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"It's a stunningly impressive piece of work, typically (for Penn) deriving much of its power from the performances."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"Outstanding movie based on life of Helen Keller."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"Notable not just for its earnestness and two outstanding performances (both won Oscars) -- it's also got one of the longest catfights in cinema history."
‑ Christopher Null,
"The eight-minute sequence featuring a physical fight between Bancroft and Duke as the teacher attempts to teach the pupil some manners stands as one of the most electrifying and honest ever committed to film."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for The Miracle Worker on Rotten Tomatoes