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Film / The Terry Fox Story

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The Terry Fox Story is a 1983 Canadian made-for-television biographical film about runner and amputee Terry Fox, directed by Ralph L. Thomas and starring Eric Fryer, Robert Duvall, Chris Makepeace, Rosalind Chao, Michael Zelniker, and Elva Mai Hoover.

Terry Fox (Fryer), an aspiring young Canadian athlete, loses his right leg to bone cancer, putting his sporting career to a sudden and tragic halt. After a lengthy period of self-reflection and a romance with teacher Rike Noda (Chao), Terry dips his artificial leg into the Atlantic and sets off on his Marathon of Hope to raise awareness and funding for cancer research. Terry is accompanied on his journey by his friend Doug Alward (Zelniker) and his publicist Bill Vigars (Duvall). As the nation watches, Terry hobbles his way into Toronto, where he is hailed as a national hero. Despite his immense determination, however, Terry's cancer eventually relapses, and he is forced to discontinue the marathon, but not before making an entire nation stand up and cheer.

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The film was produced by HBO in association with Canadian financiers. Bill Conti composed the film's score. It was the first television film created for a cable network, although it was released theatrically in Canada and the UK. The film won six awards at the 1984 Genie Awardsnote  ceremony, including Best Picture.


This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Jerkass: The film's depiction of Terry Fox is more irritable and short-tempered than the real one. This proved to be a bone of contention with the subject's family.
  • Artificial Limbs: After losing his right leg to cancer, Terry is fitted with a prosthetic replacement, and begins a long and arduous process of adapting. Once he embarks on his Marathon of Hope, the first thing he does is dip the artificial leg in the Atlantic in St. John's, Newfoundland.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Terry is forced to discontinue the Marathon after his cancer relapses and spreads to his lungs, and he dies in hospital the following year, but he successfully manages to raise awareness and funding to fight the disease that claimed his mobility.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's pretty well-documented that Terry was unable to complete the full marathon and eventually succumbed to his cancer.
  • Handicapped Badass: Terry, who manages to run nearly 5,000 kilometers with a prosthetic leg. To this day, he is one of the most revered examples of this trope in Canadian history.
  • Protagonist Title: The Terry Fox Story.


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