7.31 h 36 min1990PG
A woman (Stephanie Zimbalist, "Remington Steele"), presumed dead for many years, returns to her family shortly before a large inheritance is due. While she certainly seems to be the missing woman, there are doubts about her identity among those who knew her.
Joseph Sargent
Stephanie ZimbalistPamela ReedPatricia Neal
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
George Grizzard
Dorothea G. Petrie
Screen Media
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.3 out of 5 stars

79 global ratings

  1. 62% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 23% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 5% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Butterflymom54Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
A mystery to savor
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I love Stephanie Zimbalist in every movie I have ever watched. Loved her in Remington Steele. This movie starts with a mystery that introduces the viewer to CAROLINE: The supposed dead daughter gone about 14 years. From the beginning the movie takes on a darker, suspicious tone. As the story evolves we see Caroline in many different ways but soon, she emerges as an advocate for the character Heidi: Her handicapped younger sibling. The story takes a surprising turn as the truth is revealed but no less interesting as we see the story in a different view. If the viewer wants to see and be inspired, concerning handicapped children, they will enjoy the movie. It starts out one way then goes another. To me this movie was a true study of human behavior and would make a good film for a Sociology or Psychology student. It could well be a family movie especially one that has dealt with handicapped children. While not a true story, it well could be as many of us know that handicapped children were often institutionalized, killed or hidden from society. Today we are surrounded by victorious, highly intelligent handicapped people who have left and are leaving, our society a better place than before they were born. And if you have seen the movie or been blessed to be involved in the life of a handicapped person, thank Jesus. Because of him, we can see better today and value all people as He did when he walked the earth. Devalue no one! Great movie. Loved every minute except the cringe worthy ones by the mother. All of the Actors and Actresses did a great job. Very believable as if I were in the room. To me, that is what makes a great movie and a wonderful story. One that educates me and encourages me. Be Blessed! :)
13 people found this helpful
PeachyPatReviewed in the United States on February 8, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Good story, so so acting and confusing time line
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It was great to see how a person's life can be changed(in this case a young, handicapped girl) by one person that see, potential where other;s see only limitations. Someone returning "from the dead" after 14 years is not all that unusual as a plot. It's been done many times so we know we have to figure out if the new comer is who she says she is and what is her motive for returning. I found it hard to believe that she just decided to walk away from her life and change her identity. She says she had the money that she needed. Really, she just carried enough money around with her to end up in India? Wow, I'm going to go thru my purse and see what I have.
At any rate, she makes her appearance and has to convince her father and his new wife that she is the long lost Caroline. The father wanted to believe, wife #2 not so much. She makes sure a private detective is on the case post haste. In the end Caroline is welcomed back into the family. But we still aren't quite sure what is going on, Is she really Caroline.
It takes a while to find out the truth and see what happens to the family. Wife #2 has produced two kids. One of them is handicapped. Can Caroline help? Will the girl's mother let her be helped. Will Caroline take a large inheritance that she just received and "just walk away" again? Was I on the edge of my seat? NO. As I said at the beginning of my review, the acting was not great and I was constantly trying to figure out when the whole thing took place.
One last thing, you may wonder somewhere during the movie what the "mask dance" at the beginning of the movie had to do with anything. You'll have to wait for the final scene to how it ties in. It's subtle is all I can say.
4 people found this helpful
D. A. MawsonReviewed in the United States on August 8, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Shockingly Good Made-for-TV Movie
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I was stunned at good this story was. It was written with all of the best qualities of a Gothic Victorian novel ... the "evil" Stepmother, the hidden shame, the disadvantaged children ready to blossom. I was really not expecting that at all. Everyone was great, from Stephanie Zimbalist, to Patricia Neal, to the extraordinary cameo appearance of Dorothy McGuire and - of course - the great performances of Pamela Reed, George Grizzard and Jenny Jacobs. Just great!
3 people found this helpful
GraceReviewed in the United States on March 2, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great movie
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Great character development throughout the story. Must watch through the ending to know if the lead character is really Caroline. Wonderful demonstration of how encouraging an individual's unique abilities can have a positive impact on his or her quality of life and achievements.
2 people found this helpful
NickyReviewed in the United States on April 28, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
I thought I had this movie figured out
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So I previously watched this movie called A Wife's Nightmare. So I was certain I had this Caroline movie figured out. I just KNEW that this mysterious woman that showed up at the doorstep of this family, claiming to be the long lost daughter of the husband, was actually his mistress. And since his first wife died "under suspicious circumstances" that he intended to kill his second wife and marry the mistress. Yea, I was wrong. This is a really good movie and it's interesting trying to figure out who this woman is and her true motives. The movie really does wait until the very end to answer that question though.
lawyeraauReviewed in the United States on June 24, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
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A plane crash...a missing daughter...fourteen years later, a woman claiming to be that person appears. Coincidentally, she is in the nick question of time to collect an inheritance, left to her by her supposed grandmother. The only question is whether she is who she says she is.

Her father believes her to be his daughter. His second wife, by whom he has two more children, doubts it. Therein lies the million dollar question. The two children, who have issues, are in sore need of an older sister, who can put their mother in check, as, without meaning to, she is ruining their lives and circumscribing their futures.

This is the story of that mysterious reappearance and what it is really all about. It is a relatively entertaining tv movie with a decent cast.
One person found this helpful
John Wesley SmithReviewed in the United States on October 7, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars
Special Kind of Love
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I bought this movie because I absolutely loved the book on which it was based--Father's Arcane Daughter, by E. L. Konigsburg--and was curious to see how it was portrayed. The book is a work of fiction for children and young adults written in the mid 1970's and looks back to events that took place in the early 1950's to a wealthy family. It was so suspenceful and wonderfully crafted I just had to see if it had been made into a movie.

This is a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that deserves to be put on DVD and given wide distribution nearly 20 years after it was made. Though this movie version has more dramatics than the book, and more than I care for, it still tells the poignant story. It has an ending that's even better than that of the book.

Just a warning. The movie is a real tear jerker. Be prepared to be touched in a way you wouldn't expect. Without giving too much of the story away, there is a question throughout the story about Caroline's real identity. Is she the long lost daughter or a con? She comes into a family of her father's second wife and children, one of whom is handicapped. The love Caroline--or whoever she is--shows for the children is absolutely astounding. Every disabled child should have a Caroline in their life.

Incidentally, watch for how a couple of minor characters make the story possible. Though the movie unfolds somewhat differently than the book, it will still keep you guessing and surprise you right to the end.
9 people found this helpful
TravelguyReviewed in the United States on April 27, 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars
Worthy of the Hallmark Hall of Fame
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I once read that any movie with punctuation other than a comma in the title should be avoided, as the producers were sure to be trying to promise more than the movie could deliver. As with any rule of thumb, there are exceptions and Caroline? breaks this rule with a vengeance.
I first viewed Caroline? when it aired some ten years ago. It absolutely captivated me then and maintains that timeless ability through its recent video release. I recently had the opportunity to share this movie with my 13-year-old daughter who found it just as interesting.
Made for television movies are inherently limited. They share a lot with off-Broadway plays in that you don't look for exotic locations or special effects. What makes a good TV movie is the story, the characters and the actors playing those characters.
Caroline? sneaks up on you. For the first hour or so, you buy into the movie's stated premise: Is Caroline who she says she is? Or is she an opportunist looking to collect an inheritance she isn't entitled to?
This isn't a new plot. It's been done many times before from Anastasia to Richard Gere in Somersby. What makes Caroline? "click" is how right on each actor plays their role: The father who wants to believe his daughter is back after 14 years. The stepmother who sees a threat to the order in her home. And the children. Above everything else, Heidi and Winston.
Without giving anything away, in the last reel you suddenly realize that you've been had.
Caroline? doesn't pull any punches or attempt to leave any cute, unanswered questions.
But the most important question is not if Caroline is who she says she is at all. Rather, something completely different.

Edit: I recently reread this review that I wrote 15 years ago and have to say every word still rings true. I truly don't understand why Hallmark doesn't release this on DVD or at least on one of the streaming services as it's as timeless a movie as can be. Fortunately, I was able to copy my VHS version over to DVD and can still enjoy it. I would also add that the author of the book this movie was based on (Father's Arcane Daughter) has also written one of my all time favorite juvenile fiction books - From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1967).

The Australian DVD available here on Amazon and other places works fine if you have a DVD player that will play PAL encoded material. Most reasonably current off brand DVD players will. Major brand DVD players like Sony and Panasonic usually will not. Fortunately, the DVD is NOT region coded despite the Region 4 indication on the slipcase.
15 people found this helpful
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