I Am Sam

January 25, 2002 0 By Fans
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Still of Dianne Wiest in I Am SamStill of Sean Penn and Dakota Fanning in I Am SamStill of Sean Penn and Dakota Fanning in I Am SamStill of Loretta Devine and Richard Schiff in I Am SamStill of Michelle Pfeiffer and Sean Penn in I Am SamStill of Sean Penn in I Am Sam


A mentally retarded man fights for custody of his 7-year-old daughter, and in the process teaches his cold-hearted lawyer the value of love and family.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 7.4/10 (56,336 voted)

Critic's Score: 28/100

Jessie Nelson

Stars: Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning

Sam Dawson has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old. He works at a Starbucks and is obsessed with the Beatles. He has a daughter with a homeless woman; she abandons them as soon as they leave the hospital. He names his daughter Lucy Diamond (after the Beatles song), and raises her. But as she reaches age 7 herself, Sam's limitations start to become a problem at school; she's intentionally holding back to avoid looking smarter than him. The authorities take her away, and Sam shames high-priced lawyer Rita Harrison into taking his case pro bono. In the process, he teaches her a great deal about love, and whether it's really all you need.

Writers: Kristine Johnson, Jessie Nelson


Sean Penn

Sam Dawson

Michelle Pfeiffer

Rita Harrison Williams

Dakota Fanning

Lucy Diamond Dawson

Dianne Wiest

Annie Cassell

Loretta Devine

Margaret Calgrove

Richard Schiff

Mr. Turner

Laura Dern

Randy Carpenter

Brad Silverman


(as Brad Allan Silverman)

Joseph Rosenberg


Stanley DeSantis


Doug Hutchison


Rosalind Chao


Ken Jenkins

Judge Philip McNeily

Wendy Phillips

Miss Wright

Mason Lucero

Conner Rhodes

love is all you need


Official Website:
NZZ Online – Neue Zürcher Zeitung (German) |
New Line Cinema [United States] |

Release Date: 25 January 2002

Filming Locations: Echo Park, Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $22,000,000


Opening Weekend: $67,418
(30 December 2001)
(2 Screens)

Gross: $97,818,139

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


Dakota Fanning's character is named Lucy Diamond from The Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". Michelle Pfeiffer's character's name is Rita Harrison, from the song "Lovely Rita" and the last name of Beatle George Harrison. Sam, Lucy, and Sam's friends walking across the street with the balloons is a tribute to the case cover of "Abbey Road". Sean Penn wanted the soundtrack to be all Beatles music, but was unable to get the rights, so he asked various artists to cover the Beatles songs he wanted to use. And in order for the re-recorded music to fit into the movie, each of the artists had to use the same tempo as the original Beatles songs.


In the very beginning shot, when Sam is sorting sugar packets in the holders, he puts the brown "raw sugar" packets in front. When he is shown setting the holders on the tables, the brown packets are in the middle.


[being observed]
I want no other daddy but you.
[turns to the glass]

Did you hear that? I said I didn't want any other daddy but him. Why don't you write that down?

User Review

stunning performances

Rating: 10/10

A Truly wonderful film that left you thinking and feeling for hours after
walking out of the cinema.

Michelle Pfeiffer is exact in her portrayal of the smart, rich, no-nonsense
lawyer who realises how empty her luxurious and successful life is. As
always she delivers an outstanding performance and reminds us of just how
excellent and beautiful an actress she is.

Sean Penn is so believable that you forget that he doesn't actually have
anything wrong with him…he captures every emotion perfectly and instills
all of that emotion in the audience. Penn is highly under rated in the world
that is movies, as he shows with this Oscar potential performance.

The young actress who plays his daughter is amazingly mature in her acting,
whilst always managing to capture the innocence of her youthfullness. On top
of all that she is gorgeous. The combination of three excellent main actors
combined with the supporting actors and the genuine theme and style of the
film makes I am Sam an excellent and must see film. Truly Inspiring.