I Am David (film)

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I Am David
I Am David.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Feig
Produced byDavina Belling
Lauren Levine
Clive Parsons
Screenplay byPaul Feig
Based onI Am David
by Anne Holm
StarringBen Tibber
Jim Caviezel
Joan Plowright
Music byStewart Copeland
CinematographyRoman Osin
Edited bySteven Weisberg
Distributed byLions Gate Films
Release date
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$7 million[1]
Box office$292,376

I Am David is a 2003 American drama film written and directed by Paul Feig in his directorial debut. It is based on the 1963 novel of the same name (originally published in the USA under the name North to Freedom) by Anne Holm. The film was produced by Walden Media and Lions Gate Entertainment.


Seven years after World War II, a 12-year-old boy named David (Ben Tibber) escapes a Gulag in Bulgaria where he has spent his entire life where his mother has been taken away from him. He sets out on a risky journey to Denmark, initially believing he is on an important mission to deliver a letter, but eventually discovering that the "mission" was to reunite him with his mother, of whom he has distinct memories. Along his journey, he faces danger, fear, loneliness, hunger, missions and encounters various people.

Johannes (Jim Caviezel), his friend and mentor in the camp, who prepares him for escape, is killed by a guard, leaving David to face escape on his own. David is helped by a guard to escape, who gives him a compass and tells him he must go southwest to Greece, take a boat to Italy and finally go north to Denmark, a peaceful and neutral country. The guard also tells him to trust no one. Since David was locked in a camp all his life, he has repressed feelings and trusts no one anyway, and so feels lost and disoriented in the world.

Along his journey, though he is mistreated by some people, he is well-treated by others. Gradually he learns that some people can be trusted, and to open up and experience his own feelings. Finally, with the help of decent people whom he has learned to trust, David is reunited with his mother in Denmark.



The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Based on 34 reviews collected by the film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 38% of critics gave I Am David a positive review, with an average rating of 5.2/10.[2] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 47 out of 100 based on 9 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[3] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "I couldn't believe a moment of it, and never identified with little David."[4]

The film grossed $288,552 domestically in 226 theaters. In the rest of the world, the film grossed $3,824.[5]


The film won several awards in 2003, including the Crystal Heart Award in the Heartland Film Festival, the Queens Festival's Best Feature Film prize, and Best Film and Most Promising Actor for Ben Tibber.[6] Ben Tibber never acted in a feature film again.[7]


  1. ^ Bowe, John (September 28, 2008). "The Trouble With Paul Feig". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "I Am David (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved September 4, 2009.
  3. ^ "I Am David Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 3, 2004). "I Am David Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on January 11, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2009.
  5. ^ "I Am David (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 4, 2009.
  6. ^ "I Am David (2003) - Awards". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 4, 2009.
  7. ^ "Ben Tibber". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-07-07.

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