The Ryan White Story

Watch The Ryan White Story

  • NR
  • 1989
  • 1 hr 34 min
  • 7.2  (949)

The Ryan White Story is a heartrending biographical drama from 1989 that tells the real-life story of a boy who became a symbol of hope, endurance, and courage in the battle against the AIDS virus. Directed by John Herzfeld, and starring Judith Light, Lukas Haas, and Michael Bowen, the movie portrays the struggles of a young teenager who contracted HIV virus in the early 1980s, at a time when the disease was stigmatized and misunderstood by many.

The movie opens with Ryan White (Lukas Haas), a typical Indiana teenager who loves playing with his friends, riding his bike, and dreaming of becoming a pilot one day. However, his life takes a dramatic turn when he is diagnosed with Hemophilia, a rare bleeding disorder that requires him to take regular infusions of clotting factors to prevent bleeding episodes. Tragically, one of his infusions is contaminated with the HIV virus, and Ryan becomes infected with the deadly disease.

As soon as he learns about his condition, Ryan and his parents (Judith Light and Michael Bowen) face a daunting challenge: the news spreads quickly throughout the small town, sparking fear, rejection, and discrimination towards Ryan and his family. Ryan is denied admission to school, his parents receive hate mail, and even some of his former friends turn their backs on him. However, Ryan's spirit remains unbroken, and he battles against injustice with resilience and bravery.

With the help of his compassionate mother, Jeanne, and his lawyer, Charles Vaughn (George C. Scott), Ryan fights for his right to attend school and be treated with dignity and respect. The story reaches a climax when the White family sues their school district for discrimination, sparking national media attention and a debate about HIV/AIDS that eventually results in the passage of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act in 1990.

The Ryan White Story is a compelling and touching movie that offers an insight into the early years of the AIDS epidemic and the courage of a young boy who refused to give up his dreams and his right to be treated with compassion and empathy. The performances of the cast are excellent, with Judith Light shining as Ryan's supportive and loving mother who goes to great lengths to protect her son from harm. Lukas Haas gives a poignant portrayal of Ryan, capturing his innocence, intelligence, and courage in the face of adversity. Michael Bowen is convincing as Ryan's father, who struggles to come to terms with his son's illness and the hostility of the community towards his family.

The filmmaking is solid, with an effective use of flashbacks, montages, and emotional music to create tension and empathy with the characters. The script, written by Phil Penningroth, is based on Ryan's own memoirs and interviews with his family members and lawyers, providing an authentic and sensitive portrayal of his story.

Overall, The Ryan White Story is a moving and inspiring movie that celebrates the power of compassion, friendship, and advocacy. It offers a timely reminder of the importance of fighting discrimination, stigmatization, and prejudice towards those affected by HIV/AIDS, and the need for medical research, education, and support for those living with the disease. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in the history of the AIDS epidemic and the stories of the people who fought against it with courage and perseverance.

The Ryan White Story is a 1989 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2.

The Ryan White Story
Where to Watch The Ryan White Story
The Ryan White Story is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Netflix and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent The Ryan White Story for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 34 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (949)