The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (film)

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
DVD cover
DVD cover
Based onThe Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
1971 novel
by Ernest J. Gaines
Screenplay byTracy Keenan Wynn
Directed byJohn Korty
StarringCicely Tyson
Barbara Cheney
Richard Dysart
Katherine Helmond
Michael Murphy
Thalmus Rasulala
Theme music composerFred Karlin
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducersRobert W. Christiansen
Rick Rosenberg
Philip Barry Jr.
Production locationsNatchez, Mississippi
Woodville, Mississippi
Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation - State Highway 75, Geismer, Louisiana
Ryan Airport - 9430 Jackie Cochran Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Cottage Plantation - 10528 Cottage Lane, St. Francisville, Louisiana
CinematographyJames Crabe
EditorSidney Levin
Running time110 minutes
Production companyTomorrow Entertainment
Original release
  • January 31, 1974 (1974-01-31)
Cicely Tyson
as Jane Pittman (1974)

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is an American television film based on the novel of the same name by Ernest J. Gaines starring Cicely Tyson as the titular heroine. The film was broadcast on CBS on Thursday, January 31, 1974.

Directed by John Korty, the screenplay was written by Tracy Keenan Wynn and executive produced by Roger Gimbel. It stars Cicely Tyson in the lead role, as well as Michael Murphy, Richard Dysart, Katherine Helmond, and Odetta. The film was shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was notable for its use of very realistic special effects makeup by Stan Winston and Rick Baker for the lead character, who is shown from ages 23 to 110. The film is distributed through Classic Media.


The time is the early 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Jane (played by Cicely Tyson), a former slave, is celebrating her 110th birthday. Two men tell her that a little girl is going to a segregated water fountain; she gets arrested because she is black. The next day Jane is interviewed by a journalist named Quentin Lerner (played by Michael Murphy) and she tells the story of her life. The climax of the story shows Jane going to the water fountain to desegregate it; her lifespan has bridged the time of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement.



  • Directors Guild of America Award
  • Nine Emmy Awards
    • Actress of the Year (Cicely Tyson)
    • Best Directing in Drama, A Single Program - Comedy or Drama
    • Best Lead Actress in a Drama (Cicely Tyson)
    • Best Music Composition for a Special Program (Fred Karlin)
    • Best Writing in Drama, Adaptation (Tracy Keenan Wynn)
    • Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design (Bruce Walkup and Sandra Stewart)
    • Outstanding Achievement in Makeup (Stan Winston and Rick Baker)
    • Outstanding Limited Series (Robert Christiansen and Rick Rosenberg)
    • Outstanding Achievement in Any Area of Creative Technical Crafts (Lynda Gurasich, hairstylist)
  • Nominated for a BAFTA award
    • Best Actress (Cicely Tyson)

See also

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