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Warm Springs (film): Wikis


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Warm Springs
Approx. run time 121 minutes
Distributed by HBO
Written by Margaret Nagle
Directed by Joseph Sargent
Produced by Chrisann Verges
Starring Kenneth Branagh
Cynthia Nixon
Kathy Bates
Tim Blake Nelson
Jane Alexander
David Paymer
Editing by Michael Brown
Music by Bruce Broughton
Cinematography Robbie Greenberg
Country  United States
Language English
Release date 30 April 2005

Warm Springs is a 2005 television movie about American President Franklin D. Roosevelt's struggle with polio, his discovery of the Warm Springs, Georgia spa resort and his work to turn it into a center for the aid of polio victims, and his resumption of his political career.



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, Jr.
Sam Frihart John Roosevelt
Carrie Adams Anna Roosevelt
Wilbur Fitzgerald Al Smith
Brian F. Durkin Elliott Roosevelt
Felicia Day Eloise Hutchinson

Actress Jane Alexander who plays Sara Delano Roosevelt, FDR's mother; 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 look on 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 was nearly unanimously praised by the critics, and won five Emmy Awards out of an astounding sixteen nominations, including Outstanding Made-for-Television Movie, Best Supporting Actress in a Made-For-Television Movie (Jane Alexander), and Best Original Score (Bruce Broughton). Joseph Sargent, who was also Emmy-nominated for his direction, did not win. He did, however, receive a Directors Guild of America award for Warm Springs. Screenwriter Margaret Nagle won a 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

A peer-reviewed study in 2003 determined it was more likely Roosevelt's paralytic illness was actually caused by Guillain-Barré syndrome, not polio. However, the film is accurate in that Roosevelt and everyone around him believed that his symptoms were caused by polio, which was epidemic in the U.S. at the time.

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