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Who Are The DeBolts? (And Where Did They Get 19 Kids?)

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

An Academy Award-® winner for Best Documentary Feature and wildly acclaimed upon its initial release WHO ARE THE DEBOLTS? takes an intimate peek into the world of one extraordinary family that tackles adversity with compassion joy and perseverance. Not only do parents Bob and Dorothy have six kids from previous marriages they have also opened up their hearts and home to thirteen disadvantaged and handicapped children. What results is an amazing mix of diversity: they've taken in victims of the Vietnam War a blind American boy and a black girl born without limbs. Never sentimental the film treats this multiethnic cast of kids as heroes who belie the stereotype of the handicapped. They go to school do chores and "hang out" while simultaneously navigating the difficulties of their disabilities. The story continues with the follow-up film STEPPIN' OUT WITH THE DEBOLTS catching up with the family five years later as the kids grapple with adolescence. Director John Korty skillfully captures the boundless possibility of the individual human will and the importance of family and friendship. WHO ARE THE DEBOLTS? is a classic that stands the test of time with its joyous uplifting message. DVD Features: Featurette: Steppin' Out: The DeBolts Grow Up; DeBolt Family Updates; Biographies; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection

Product Details

  • Actors: Kim Atwood, Marty Atwood, Mike Atwood, Mimi Atwood, Noel Atwood
  • Directors: John Korty
  • Writers: Janet Peoples
  • Producers: John Korty, Dan McCann, Henry Winkler, Mark L. Rosen, Shintarô Tsuji
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, Vietnamese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2005
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ADWDHK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,630 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Who Are The DeBolts? (And Where Did They Get 19 Kids?)" on IMDb

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 17, 2006
Format: DVD
"Who Are the DeBolts? (And Where Did They Get 19 Kids?" won the 1977 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It was up against "Children of Theater Street," "High Grass Circus," "Homage to Chagall: The Colours of Love," and "Union Maids." I mention this simply because looking over this list it is rather striking to realize how much documentary films have changed in the past three decades. Today the attention is paid to expose documentaries by the likes of Michael Moore, while what we have here is a documentary that celebrates its subject.

When Dorothy DeBolt's first husband died, she was left a widow with seven children, two of who were adopted from Korea. She moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1969 and adopted two Vietnames boys who had been made paraplegics by the war. She then met and married Bob DeBolt, who had a daughter from his previous marriage. The DeBolts went on to adopt ten more children, nine of who were physically handicapped. The finally tally shows seven adopted children from Vietnam, four from Korea, one from Mexico, one African-American, and one Caucasian. John Korty's documentary shows us that this remarkable family and not only how they function each day but how they meet the many challenges posed by their particular situations.

The documentary only runs 72 minutes so some of the kids get more of the spotlights than others. Karen was born without arms or legs and not only learns to play the xylophone in the school band but how to do her share of chores around the house. J.R. is the latest addition to the family and although he is blind and can only walk with crutches, he insists on going to public school and the inspirational highpoint of this film might be watching him make his way from the house to where he catches the bus to school.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Uncle Dan on December 21, 2005
Format: DVD
This a "must-have" for anyone with kids, anyone with parents, or teachers or anyone just wanting to feel good about people again. No saccharine sentiments, just an honest and genuine view of a real family going through all the tribulations and joys of "family".

Imagine your family multiplied by twenty. An adventure every day!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Neal R. Noble on August 18, 2007
Format: DVD
My only point in writing this review is warn people that it is not the same as TV version. It is a good film.

Not sure exactly what version is on the DVD and how it different from the TV version, but the DVD version does not have Henry Wrinkler as the narrator.

I recall watching this on TV many years ago, and there are scenes missing from the DVD version that were on TV. My guess is that this version was created before the TV version which Wrinkler narrates. Wrinkler does not narrates the DVD version, and the DVD version seem more of a "promotional" film hyping a perfectly happy Debolt family. My recollection of the TV version was it more realistic about the family struggles with raising such a large family of disabled children.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Lorette on December 23, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As soon as I saw this film, I raised it right up to one of my top films, of the thousands I've seen. I don't think in my rather long life I have ever seen anyone like Karen, one of the children in the movie. This girl was really something.

Since others have already described and summarized the film well, I will limit myself to my own reactions to "Who Are the Debolts?".

The film is well made, overlooking the unfortunate "Hollywood" voice of the narrator, -fortunately what you will actually see on the film, which you will probably have never seen before, is good enough that the narrator problem fades into the background.

I thought the editing was just about perfect, as there were no scenes which I wish hadn't been there, a rare experience for me. The sequences were also well chosen, and the film moves right along. Importantly, it ends at a good point, a difficult thing to do for a documentary of this type. Uniquely, there were no downsides to the film from where I was observing.

I found watching happy children who were loved and cared for and brought up in a family where there was a good marriage, was so rewarding, and educational. It was definitely food for my soul. I think it's a good film to see around Christmas time. (I'm going to buy it and lend it to my friends and family.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Kennel VINE VOICE on October 5, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I stumbled across this documentary on Amazon and was very pleased to see it. I had never heard of it until I found it here on Amazon, but it is terrific to watch in a family setting or in a group of parents. It helps keep issues or struggles in perspective. Three simple things I took away from this film: they had a LOT of music and singing in their home; the parents admitted that they each had meltdowns at times and were very aware of keeping each other "up" and on top of the family; Mr. DeBolt stated that a person can make such a difference in a child's life by just spending 30 minutes with them. Both parents were shown doing just that, including pushing the "handicapped" children to new heights of achievement. VERY inspiring to see this family in action. If you think you can't expect great things from your children, think again (and buy this video).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rick Carver on September 18, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I went to school with Marty Atwood and met his sister Mimi. I remember the Life photographer coming to school to take a picture of Marty for the magazine in 1971. Where are you now Marty? Richard Ennis
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