Sunrise at Campobello (1960) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In 1921, unsuccessful vice-presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt contracts poliomyelitis and, with the help of his wife Anna Eleanor Roosevelt and close friend Louis Howe, battles his newfound disability.

  • The story of Franklin Roosevelt's bout with polio at age 39 in 1921 and how his family (and especially wife Eleanor) cope with his illness. From being stricken while vacationing at Campobello to his triumphant nominating speech for Al Smith's presidency in 1924, the story follows the various influences on his life and his determination to recover - based on the award winning Broadway play of the same name.

  • In 1921, 'Franklin Delano Roosevelt', having been the losing vice-presidential candidate in the 1920 election, has few to no thoughts of re-entering politics, although he is still working tirelessly for the Democratic Party. That summer, he, his wife Anna Eleanor Roosevelt and their five children are vacationing at their summer property on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, when he begins to have mobility problems with his legs. It is initially diagnosed as a minor medical problem, but is ultimately discovered to be infantile paralysis, also known as polio. Those around him must help him adjust to this physical disability, which they all hope is only temporary. But they must also help him discover what the paralysis means for his professional future. His mother, Sara Roosevelt, and his best friend and adviser, Louis Howe, are the most at odds with each other. Eleanor, on the other hand, must take over many of the public duties for her husband, which she feels ill equipped initially to handle. As the years pass and the paralysis remains, Franklin comes to the realization of his capabilities and he thinks of resurrecting his political career. These thoughts culminate at the 1924 Democratic presidential nomination convention, where Franklin must take the biggest ten steps of his life up to that point.

  • The story of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his battle to regain the use of his legs at the age of 39 after contracting polio. He was at his family summer house on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada when he contracted the disease with no known cure. By the time he contracted the disease in 1921, Roosevelt had a long history of public service and had run for Vice President on the Democratic ticket in 1920. He and those around him realized that any political ambitions he may have had would be dashed if he was unable to regain at least the partial use of his legs. When he's asked to nominate Al Smith at the Democratic convention in 1924 he realizes he will will have to walk 10 paces to the podium and then stand for 45 minutes. It marks his return to public life.

  • During his family's stay at their estate on Campobello Island in the summer of 1921, unsuccessful vice-presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt is diagnosed with polio and, with the help of wife Anna Eleanor Roosevelt and close friend Louis Howe, battles his newfound disability.


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