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Bright Road (1953)

Approved | | Drama, Music | 17 April 1953 (USA)
Based on the story "See How They Run," which ran in the June 1951 issue of "The Ladies' Home Journal" and subsequently won that year's Christopher Award. The story was written by Mary ... See full summary »


Gerald Mayer


Emmet Lavery (screenplay), Mary Elizabeth Vroman (story "See How They Run")

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Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Dandridge ... Jane Richards
Philip Hepburn Philip Hepburn ... C.T. Young
Harry Belafonte ... Mr. Williams - School Principal
Barbara Randolph ... Tanya Hamilton (as Barbara Ann Sanders)
Robert Horton ... Dr. Mitchell
Maidie Norman ... Mrs. Hamilton - Tanya's Mother
Rene Beard Rene Beard ... Booker T. Jones
Howard McNeeley Howard McNeeley ... Boyd
Robert McNeeley Robert McNeeley ... Lloyd
Patti Marie Ellis Patti Marie Ellis ... Rachel Smith
Joy Jackson Joy Jackson ... Sarahlene Babcock
Fred Moultrie Fred Moultrie ... Roger
James Moultrie James Moultrie ... George
Carolyn Ann Jackson Carolyn Ann Jackson ... Mary Louise


Based on the story "See How They Run," which ran in the June 1951 issue of "The Ladies' Home Journal" and subsequently won that year's Christopher Award. The story was written by Mary Elizabeth Vroman, a fourth-generation schoolteacher from the British West Indies. "Bright Road" has only one white actor in the cast, Robert Horton. Jane Richards, a young fourth-grade teacher in the South, faces a challenge in the form of 11-year-old C.T. Young, a backward boys whose pride has made him a stubborn rebel and an exalted liar. Jane believes in him, then discovers his interest in nature when he spends his time watching a caterpillar in a tree trunk as it develops a cocoon. C. T. is devoted to his family and also to little Tanya, who adores him. When Tanya dies of viral pneumonia despite Dr. Mitchell's efforts to save her, the embittered C.T. stays away from school; when he returns, he gets into a fight and gets sent to Coventry. But when a swarm of bees invades the classroom and panics the ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The award story from the ladies' home journal has become the most unusual picture of the year!


Drama | Music


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 April 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L'appel de la vie See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


At around 15 minutes C.T. and Tanya stop to watch a bird in a tree singing. Tanya calls to the bird "Hello, hello", and the bird answers. C.T. then calls "Be happy, be happy" with a similar response.

The singing bird's long tail feathers and the mimicking of human voices indicate that the bird is a mockingbird.

C.T. then tells his dog "Birds got a right to live, too, so don't you go around trying to scare 'em. It's all right to chase one once in a while, but if you catch one, there's gonna be trouble". See more »


C.T. Young: You know what Miss Richards?
Jane Richards: What C.T.?
C.T. Young: I love you.
See more »


Featured in Biography: Dorothy Dandridge: Little Girl Lost (1999) See more »


Sweet and Low
Written by Charles L. Johnson and Sidney Homer
Sung by Dorothy Dandridge
See more »

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User Reviews

Another film celebrating education
29 May 2012 | by SHAWFANSee all my reviews

This film falls into that genre of movies which celebrate education and the power of great teaching to influence and develop young minds and hearts especially through the medium of the fine arts. Besides the several films which your other reviewers cited I could add How Green Was My Valley, Renaissance Man, Konrack, Mr. Holland's Opus, The Chorus, etc. In this film the arts were represented by the students' staging of Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty, just as in Renaissance Man by the Shakespeare plays, in Mr. Holland's Opus by the ensemble music they all performed together, in The Chorus by all the music the students sang together, etc.

The CT character was admirably strong. Since he was by age a 7th grader in a 4th grade class he had already reached the stage of disillusionment and could strongly insist on the non-existence of Santa Claus as well as of a god in whose image they were all supposedly made but who had failed to solve the conundrum of two different images: white and black. CT wasn't having any of that and walked out.

I discovered that this was Harry Belafonte's first movie. Indeed he seemed rather stiff in his acting and delivering his lines.

I was surprised that the segregated school the students attended was a smart looking brick building. I always imagined them as wooden shacks. Was I wrong? A jarring note in the film was the white doctor at Tanya's bedside. It implied that black people weren't smart enough to become doctors, or more likely were prevented from being so.

I found the movie a rather sugar-coated version of black life in the south, but still, all the African-American characters were treated with respect and without condescension which I found admirable.

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