7.7/10
988
19 user

Small Sacrifices 

A peculiar and disturbing case catches the attention of the police when a young mother and her children, all severely injured, show up in a hospital's emergency room.
Reviews

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
1989  
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Burning Bed (TV Movie 1984)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An abused battered wife has had enough of husband beating up on her. Everywhere she turns for help, there's not much anyone will do. After he rapes her one night, she sets the bed on fire with him in it asleep.

Director: Robert Greenwald
Stars: Farrah Fawcett, Paul Le Mat, Richard Masur
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Betty torments her husband with childish vandalism and verbal threats after he leaves her for another woman, but nobody anticipates what ends up happening as the games escalate.

Director: Dick Lowry
Stars: Meredith Baxter, Stephen Collins, Michelle Johnson
Extremities (1986)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A woman takes revenge on the man who invades her home and tries to rape her.

Director: Robert M. Young
Stars: Farrah Fawcett, James Russo, Alfre Woodard
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A victim of domestic violence winds up in an ongoing struggle to get the police to take her seriously, until the abuse escalates to the worst extreme.

Director: Robert Markowitz
Stars: Nancy McKeon, Dale Midkiff, Graham Jarvis
Wife, Mother, Murderer (TV Movie 1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The life of Audrey Marie Hilley, who, in order to start a new life, took drastic action.

Director: Mel Damski
Stars: Judith Light, David Ogden Stiers, Kellie Overbey
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The harrowing true account of Steven Stayner, who was kidnapped by a perverted pseudo-priest and his lackey during the 1970s. As he gets older, he realizes that he needs to try to make an escape and get back home.

Stars: Cindy Pickett, John Ashton, Corin Nemec
Criminal Behavior (TV Movie 1992)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Female lawyer is stalked by a killer.

Director: Michael Miller
Stars: Farrah Fawcett, A Martinez, Dakin Matthews
A Killer Among Friends (TV Movie 1992)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The film tells why a girl was killed by two of her best friends.

Director: Charles Robert Carner
Stars: Patty Duke, Tiffani Thiessen, Margaret Welsh
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a young housewife is murdered, the cops find her troubled daughter guilty after she confesses to the crime - but was she really the killer?

Stars: Clancy Brown, Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly
A Matter of Justice (TV Movie 1993)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

True story about the mother of a murder victim seeking to bring her son's widow to justice and gain custody of her granddaughter.

Director: Michael Switzer
Stars: Patty Duke, Martin Sheen, Alexandra Powers
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Betty Broderick stands trial for shooting her ex husband and his new bride.

Director: Dick Lowry
Stars: Meredith Baxter, Judith Ivey, Ray Baker
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Fact-based made-for-TV movie about Laurie Kellog, who was accused of the murdering her husband Bruce iMay 1992,. Told in flashbacks while she's waiting for her judgment. Laurie, age 16, met... See full summary »

Director: Michael Toshiyuki Uno
Stars: Gregory Harrison, Jennie Garth, Steven Keats
Edit

Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Farrah Fawcett ...  Diane Downs unknown episodes
Edit

Storyline

On the 19th of May 1983 Diane Downs stops at the McKenzie-Williamette-Hospital and cries for help. She is wounded on her arm and her three children are also wounded seriously. She says that a stranger shot at them but the investigation of detective Welch bring out that Diane is a liar. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Her children got in the way of her love

Genres:

Crime | Drama | History

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Small Sacrifices See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

CAD7,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The real life case of Diane Downs which the movie is based on, foreshadows 1994 trial and arrest of Susan Smith by 11 years. Smith like Downs, also pursued a man who didn't want to be with her because she had children. Refusing to take rejection, Smith also fabricated a story about being car jacked by a strange man causing her two children to drown while strapped in their mother's car. The shocking and disturbing truth was, Smith confessed that she had purposely pushed the car into the river drowning the children in hopes of winning her boyfriend back. Both she and Downs remain in prison to this day. See more »

Goofs

When Diane brings a pizza over to her mailman friend Matt Jensen's house, she asks him if he likes mushrooms on his pizza while holding the pizza out to him. He says yes. But the pizza has no mushrooms on it, it is clearly plain. See more »

Quotes

Frank Joziak: [Implying that Diane bought the brass unicorn as a memorial for her children] I mean, maybe the kids were supposed to die on Friday the 13th and the plan got aborted, got postponed.
Lola Joziak: [Unconvinced] How could a mother do that? I mean, it's a primal instinct guard over the life of your child, it's your own mortality.
Frank Joziak: Yes, I know, right? But I've been reading her diary. Now, all the other entries are details. I mean, there's menstrual cycles, groceries, weather, going to work, coming home from work, ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kids of Killers (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
hungry like the wolf
29 October 2010 | by BERSERKERpoetrySee all my reviews

The TV movie format has been used endlessly to depict true crime stories, from parents who kill their children, to children who kill their parents, to rape, to theft, to abuse. I myself saw two or three similar films just last week. So what makes a rather unassuming TV movie from 1989 like "Small Sacrifices" stand out so much? It's hard to say. Certainly the acting has a lot to offer. Farrah Fawcett, Ryan O'Neal, and John Shea - three well-known actors whom I was familiar with but never previously cared for - are the dramatic core of the script. They all perform well beyond expectations. Fawcett, for example, who I would've thought incapable of such depth, is alternately terrifying and emotionally unhinged. It's a breathtaking performance. The real surprise, however, is young Emily Perkins. Or not such a surprise for me, because I'd been familiar with her heartbreaking role in the last four seasons of "Da Vinci's Inquest". But even at the tender age of twelve, she is a fully realized actress of incredible range. Her testimony on the stand is so emotional that it left me in tears. This is a performance without cliché.

"Small Sacrifices" isn't yet another painful exercise in domestic unrest, like it might appear to be on the surface. David Greene seems very aware of what he wants to get out his film here, and he directs the human interaction brilliantly. It's a hard film, sure - really hard - but powerfully dramatic. One of the best of its kind.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 19 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed