Warm Springs (film)

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Warm Springs
Warm Springs (film).jpg
Written by Margaret Nagle
Directed by Joseph Sargent
Starring Kenneth Branagh
Cynthia Nixon
Kathy Bates
Tim Blake Nelson
Jane Alexander
David Paymer
Theme music composer Bruce Broughton
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Chrisann Verges
Cinematography Robbie Greenberg
Editor(s) Michael Brown
Running time 121 minutes
Distributor HBO
Original release
  • April 30, 2005 (2005-04-30)

Warm Springs is a 2005 television film about U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1921 illness, diagnosed at the time as polio, his struggle to overcome paralysis, his discovery of the Warm Springs resort, his work to turn it into a center for the rehabilitation of polio victims, and his resumption of his political career. Roosevelt's emotional growth as he interacts with other disabled people at Warm Springs prepares him for the challenges he will face as President during the Great Depression.


The film begin with a scene of the 1920 presidential election. In 1921, Roosevelt's paralytic illness sets in. Later, he receives an invitation from George Foster Peabody to go to Warm Springs, Georgia for treatment. The movie ends with Roosevelt attending the nominating convention of Al Smith in 1928.


Actor Role
Kenneth Branagh Franklin D. Roosevelt
Cynthia Nixon Eleanor Roosevelt
Kathy Bates Helena Mahoney
Tim Blake Nelson Tom Loyless
Jane Alexander Sara Delano Roosevelt
David Paymer Louis McHenry Howe
Melissa Ponzio Lucy Mercer
Marianne Fraulo Missy LeHand
Brian F. Durkin Elliott Roosevelt
Turner Dixon James Roosevelt
Tripp Hennington Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.
Sam Frihart John Roosevelt
Carrie Adams Anna Roosevelt
Wilbur Fitzgerald Al Smith
Felicia Day Eloise Hutchinson

Actress Jane Alexander, who plays FDR's mother Sara Delano Roosevelt, also played Eleanor Roosevelt in the acclaimed 1976 telefilm Eleanor and Franklin and its 1977 sequel Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years. Many of the bit part actors in the film are actually physically challenged, though Branagh and several other of the principal actors are not. The withered appearance of Branagh's legs was achieved through the use of CGI.


The film was produced by HBO Films and directed by Joseph Sargent. The majority of the film was made at Warm Springs, Georgia and its surrounding locations. The producers strove to make sure that many of the physical details were as authentic as possible. For example, Kenneth Branagh, as Roosevelt, is seen driving the very same specially-equipped automobile that FDR was taught to drive at Warm Springs. The cottage that Roosevelt stays in during the film is one of the cottages that the real FDR stayed in. And the swimming pool in which the patients swim in is the actual therapeutic swimming pool at Warm Springs, refurbished specifically for the film.


The film received near-unanimous praise by the critics, and won five Primetime Emmy Awards out of sixteen nominations, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (Jane Alexander), Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special (Original Dramatic Score) (Bruce Broughton), Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie and Outstanding Single-Camera Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or Movie. Joseph Sargent, who was also Emmy-nominated for his direction, did not win; however, he was nominated and won the Directors Guild of America Award. Screenwriter Margaret Nagle won the Writers Guild of America Award for her script. The film was also nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, but did not receive any.

Historical basis

FDR was diagnosed with polio in 1921, but his symptoms are more consistent with Guillain–Barré syndrome - an autoimmune neuropathy which his doctors failed to consider as a diagnostic possibility.[1]

See also


  1. ^ Goldman, Armond S.; Goldman, Daniel A. (2017). Prisoners of Time: The Misdiagnosis of FDR's 1921 Illness. EHDP Press. ISBN 978-1939824035.

External links

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