Sunrise at Campobello

Docudrama | English | 144 minutes


It’s 1921 and the Roosevelt family is happily vacationing on the island of Campobello off the coast of New Brunswick, Canada. They are a patrician group, wealthy with no worries. Returning from sailing one day, Franklin experiences chills and a fever. When his legs become paralyzed, he’s diagnosed with polio and told he’ll never walk again. What ensues are conflicts in the household: Franklin’s mother, Sara, urges Franklin to give up politics and spend his life in retirement at Hyde Park and Campobello. Eleanor and Louis Howe, his trusted advisor, oppose this idea. They are determined that Franklin  should overcome his handicap and  aggressively  pursue his political career. For Franklin, it’s going to require a herculean effort to overcome his physical limitations. In the final, triumphant scene, Franklin, with the aid of heavy leg braces and crutches, makes it to the rostrum at the 1924 Democratic National Convention and delivers a rousing, courageous speech.  

Ralph Bellamy (Franklin D. Roosevelt) / Greer Garson (Eleanor Roosevelt) / Ann Shoemaker (Sara Roosevelt) / Hume Cronyn (Louis Howe)
Why Stream This Film?
 A rare occasion when the film is better than the play.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 88%
  • Metacritic Score: 82
  • Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Greer Garson)
  • Golden Globe Awards: Winner, Best Actress- Drama (Greer Garson); Nominated, Best Motion Picture – Drama
  • National Board of Review: Winner, Best Actress (Greer Garson); Listed, Top Ten Films of the Year
In the journey from stage to screen this chapter from the life of Franklin D. Roosevelt loses none of its poignant and inspirational qualities, none if its humor and pathos.


A portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s battle against political foes and the polio that threatened to end his career, and how his wife, Eleanor, was instrumental in helping him regain his strength and resolve. Ralph Bellamy is superb as Roosevelt. Surpassing Bellamy, though, is Greer Garson, who doesn’t play Eleanor Roosevelt, she becomes her.
TV GUIDE staff


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