Polly (1989 film)

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Format Television film
Directed by Debbie Allen
Produced by Frank Fischer
Written by Eleanor H. Porter (novel),
W. F. Blinn (adaptation),
David Swift (scenario)
Starring Keshia Knight Pulliam,
Phylicia Rashād
Music by Joel McNeely
Cinematography Isidore Mankofsky
Country United States
Language English
Original channel NBC
Release date November 12, 1989
Running time 100 minutes
Followed by Polly: Comin' Home!

Polly is a musical television movie that originally aired in November 1989 on NBC. Adapted from the book Pollyanna, Polly was directed and choreographed by Debbie Allen and stars Keshia Knight Pulliam and Phylicia Rashād. It also featured the final performance of actress Butterfly McQueen.


The film is set in Alabama during the 1950s and features an all African-American cast (with the exception of Celeste Holm). Pulliam stars as Polly Whittier, an orphan who is sent to live with her aunt Polly Harrington, who is a descendant of the founding family of a small Southern town (also called Harrington) during the segregation era. A key point in dividing the town is a ravine which has an unrepaired bridge which burned down many years ago, and no one knows how it started and is suspicious of everyone else. Polly is able to convince people to look at the bright side of things, but tragedy strikes when Polly falls two stories from a tree, suffering a spinal injury.

Polly proved to be a ratings hit and a sequel, Polly: Comin' Home!, followed in 1990. Both of these films are available on DVD exclusively from the Disney Movie Club and Disney Movie Rewards.


Musical numbers[edit]

  1. By Your Side – Polly
  2. Honey Ain't Got Nothin' On You – Polly, Nancy, & Girls
  3. Sweet Little Angel Eyes – Jimmy Bean, Polly, George, Nancy, & Children
  4. Something More – Aunt Polly
  5. Shine A Light – Mayor Warren, Dr. Shannon, & George
  6. Rainbow Maker – Polly, Nancy, & Aunt Polly
  7. Stand Up – Reverend Gillis, Dr. Shannon, & Congregation
  8. Finale – Company

Home media[edit]

Both Polly and Polly: Comin' Home were released on VHS by Walt Disney Home Video in 1990. Around 2000 the two movies were released on DVD on Disney Movie Club Exclusive.

Award nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1988–1989 Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or a Special Isidore Mankofsky
Outstanding Achievement in Choreography Debbie Allen
Young Artist Awards Best Young Actress Starring in a TV Movie, Pilot or Special Keshia Knight Pulliam
Best Young Actor Starring in a TV Movie, Pilot or Special Brandon Adams

External links[edit]