Benjy (film)

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Directed byFred Zinnemann
Produced byFred Zinnemann
StarringLee Aaker
Narrated byHenry Fonda
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • 1951 (1951)
CountryUnited States

Benjy is a 1951 American short documentary film directed by Fred Zinnemann. It won an Oscar in 1952 for Documentary Short Subject.[1][2]


Henry Fonda narrates this short film about a boy who was handicapped from birth. An orthopedic pediatrician wants to provide a therapeutic regimen that could cure the child, a scoliosis patient, but first he needs to convince the boy’s parents, who have rejected the child because of his disabilities.[3]

Zinnemann and the film’s production crew worked gratis on this project, which was originally designed to be used as a fundraiser for the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital.[3]

In his 1992 book An Autobiography, Zinneman noted that Paramount Pictures arranged for the crew on this production, and that the union members connected to the production turned their salaries back to the hospital. Henry Fonda also volunteered his services for the film.[4]

Although the film extensively used dramatized sequences to tell its story, it was successfully entered in the Academy Award category for Best Documentary Short Subject.[5]



  1. ^ "New York Times: Benjy". NY Times. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2008.
  2. ^ "The 24th Academy Awards (1952) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  3. ^ a b “Fred Zinnemann” Archived May 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Zinneman, Fred, "An Autobiography." Forest Stewart/Charles Scribner & Sons, 1992. ISBN 0-684-19050-8
  5. ^ Oscar’s Docs” Archived August 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine

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