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Q: Can't remember the name of a movie - and it's driving me nuts! ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Can't remember the name of a movie - and it's driving me nuts!
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: chandan35-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 16 Oct 2006 12:29 PDT
Expires: 15 Nov 2006 11:29 PST
Question ID: 774111
I saw a very depressing movie in 8th grade, in 1984. It's about a cute
little boy who lives in an abusive family -- more psychological than
physical. The little boy, maybe 8-years-old, is a bit of an outcast; I
recall his classmates making fun of him quite a bit. The time line of
the story seems set in the winter, and the little boy finds a small
flower in the snow that seems to bring him happiness. I think the
stepfather finds the flower, chastises him, and destroys it.  The
little boy's mother appears quite weak (if I remember correctly), and
does nothing to help. At the end of the movie, the little boy dies;
apparently his heart simply stopped due to "a lack of love," or
something to that effect.  I think the the little guy had red hair....
I recall an image of him picking the flower out of snow. Anyhow, it's
a real tear jerker, and I'd love to know the title and buy a copy of
the movie.

Request for Question Clarification by rainbow-ga on 16 Oct 2006 15:13 PDT
Is there anything else you can remember about this movie? The name of
the boy, any of the actors' names, etc. Any additional information, no
matter how small may help in this search. Thanks.

Best regards,

Request for Question Clarification by rainbow-ga on 17 Oct 2006 01:21 PDT
"This was a 1970's TV movie about a poor little boy who was abused by
his family, as well as other neighborhood children. I think it was set
in the slums of a city. The boy was neglected and abused, and
befriended by the ghost of a little girl (I think). I remember scenes
in woods or an abandoned building where he and the ghost child would
play together. I think that he ended up getting hurt and dies. The
children were horrible to him and his parent/s(?) didn't seem to care
about him at all. Only this little girl ghost likes him and becomes
his only friend. This movie had a great impact on me as a child b/c it
was so sad. I think that at the end the boy gets hit by a car and
dies. He runs into the street and is hit by a car. He also might have
gone to a school where he wore a uniform, but I might be way off

Looking forward to hearing your views.

Best regards,

Clarification of Question by chandan35-ga on 17 Oct 2006 13:08 PDT
I wish I could remember more, but that's about it. I don't recall him
being killed by a car. I recall the moral of story being that "his
heart just stopped" due to a lack of parental love (or something to
that effect). I think that's why my teacher showed us this movie in
Subject: Re: Can't remember the name of a movie - and it's driving me nuts!
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 17 Oct 2006 19:52 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
I believe you are remembering "Cipher in the Snow," a short film that
has often been shown in schools. In the early 1980s I was a Girl Scout
troop leader, and we showed "Cipher in the Snow" as part of an effort
to raise sensitivity about "unpopular" kids. This has got to be one of
the saddest films I've ever seen. It's about a neglected, friendless
boy who steps off a school bus and drops dead in the snow. Most of the
story is told in flashback, as the boy's teacher investigates his
family background and his social interactions at school. The boy's
mother is divorced, and the stepfather berates and insults the boy
when not ignoring him. It becomes apparent that the boy, feeling
downtrodden, isolated, and unnoticed, died from "lack of love."

"Cipher in the Snow" is available on VHS and on DVD from LDS Video
(the first two links below). The DVD includes four other short films.

"Cipher in the Snow is a classic short film made in 1973 which retains
the power of its message even today. If you aren't familiar with this
film (which is based on a true story), it is basically about a young
boy (the 'cipher' of the title) who simply falls dead in the snow one
morning after a bus ride. The teacher who investigates what happened
finds that the boy had no real friends, and essentially died of
loneliness. The teacher learns that he was the boy's favorite teacher,
yet he can hardly even remember who the boy was."

LDS Video: Cipher in the Snow (VHS)

"Shy and ostracized, the boy was a cipher, an unknown number in a
class roll book. As the teacher unravels the mystery of what led to
the boy's death, he commits himself to not letting others suffer the
same fate."

LDS Video: Cipher in the Snow Plus 4 Other LDS Film Classics (DVD)

"Cipher in the Snow... A true story of a boy who was never noticed
until he died one school morning in the snow. Review of his tragic
life and possible causes of death reveal that he slowly died from lack
of love."

UMC Media Resource Library Catalog

"Cipher in the Snow. The haunting true story is about a young boy who
asks to get off the bus before his stop. When he steps off the bus he
falls dead into the snow. The principal of his school asks a teacher
to investigate the matter. The teacher looks back on the boy's life to
discover that the boy did not receive affection at home, the other
kids showed little or no interest in him, and many of the teachers did
not go out of their way to affirm the boy. The investigating teacher
concluded that the boy simply was not loved. He became a cipher, a
zero, because no one cared. He died for lack of love."

Lookout Magazine: The Place of Love

"Cipher in the Snow... the story of a child who was academically quite
bright and doing very well at school until the time of his parents'
marriage break-up. The child became an innocent victim of turmoil at
home and consequently his mind was distracted from his school work.
Without understanding the full circumstances his teachers assumed he
was becoming lazy and began to mark him down in his grades. Successive
reports built on comments made in previous assessments. To make
matters worse his mother remarried and the boy?s stepfather never
really accepted him. The step-father was always telling him how
useless he was. One day this apparently normal and academically bright
young man simply dropped dead in the snow. Tests showed there was no
apparent illness. His spirit simply had been crushed to the extent
there was no point in living."

Windsor Park Baptist Church: The Unqualified Critic

"A touching story of a timid little boy who is rejected and overlooked
by his family, schoolmates and teachers until one day he suddenly and
"inexplicably" drops dead in the snow. Designed to motivate concern
among teachers for the individual needs of children."

University of Washington: Educational Media Collection

"The story of a little boy whom nobody thought was important. Traces
the step-by-step transformation of one very shy boy who over the
years, little by little, was reduced to a zero by his family,
schoolmates and teachers. What was the reason for his sudden
inexplicable death one snowy morning?"

Northwestern Oklahoma State University: Media Center

"Cipher in the Snow... was about a boy named Cliff Evans. The opening
scene shows Cliff on a school bus being taunted by his peers. He then
asks the bus driver to stop and as he exits the bus he just keels over
and dies in the snow. The movie then goes back to show Cliffs home
life-which was abusive-and school life, which consisted of teasing by
students and being labeled dumb by some teachers, One particular
teacher is asked to represent the school at Cliffs funeral. He starts
to try to find out information on Cliff but soon realizes that Cliff
was a boy who fell through the cracks. Nobody knew too much about
Cliff. It was as if he had been invisible while attending school."

Leadership for Student Activities: Invisible Students

"Cipher in the Snow" is based on a true story. Here is the original text:

TeenLit: Cipher in the Snow

I hope this is the correct film! If it is not, please request
clarification; I'll be glad to offer further assistance before you
rate my answer.

Best regards,
chandan35-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $20.00
Pinkfreud-ga:  THANK YOU. This is has been eating at me for years;
nobody I know has ever heard of the film. Now that you've described
it, I'm remembering! I really appreciate it......thanks again.

Subject: Re: Can't remember the name of a movie - and it's driving me nuts!
From: pinkfreud-ga on 18 Oct 2006 11:33 PDT
Many thanks for the five stars and the generous tip! I am always happy
to be able to help someone identify a film.


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