Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft had been playing their respective roles as Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, on Broadway for some time before director Arthur Penn (The Left-Handed Gun) built a mesmerizingly beautiful film around their layers-deep performances. Duke is astonishing as the deaf, blind, mute Keller, who awakens to an awareness of language under Sullivan's determined guidance. Bancroft is fascinating and focused. Penn wisely kept his adaptation unencumbered by cinematic indulgence. The black-and-white film is sparse and charged with the immediacy of the drama. The script is by William Gibson, who also wrote the original play.
The Miracle Worker won 2 Oscars at the
1963 Academy Awards