What the Deaf Man Heard

Why We're Feeln It

Matthew Modine was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance of Sammy Ayers, a man forced to listen to the whole town bear its secrets while at the same time struggling with a secret of his own.


Ten-year-old Sammy Ayers is painfully and permanently separated from his mother during a cross-country bus trip. Forced to go at it alone when he finally arrives in Georgia, he takes to heart the last bit of advice his mother gave him, "To keep quiet." Perceived as deaf and mute from then on, he is taken in and informally adopted by one small-town woman and the rest of the community. As Sammy grows to adulthood, he continues to pretend he is deaf and mute, thus hearing many secrets and confessions. But when he overhears a scheme that could hurt some people, he decides to take action to protect the townspeople who have become his family.

Starring: Matthew Modine, James Earl Jones, Claire Bloom

Directed by : John Kent Harrison


Drama / Movies



Run Time

1 hr 38 min


United States


Sammy Ayers: Matthew Modine

Archibald Thacker: James Earl Jones

Mrs. Tynan: Claire Bloom

Young Sammy: Frankie Muniz

Rev. Perry Ray Pruitt: Jerry OConnell


Directed by: John Kent Harrison

Written by: Robert W. Lenski

Based on the Novel by: G.D. Gearino

Produced by: Tom Luse

Executive Producer: Richard Welsh