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Released on: 14 Jun 1985 • Rated: PG • Runtime: 99 min

Genre: Family, Sci-Fi

Director: Simon Wincer
Writer: David Ambrose, Allan Scott, Jeffrey Ellis
Actors: Mary Beth Hurt, Michael McKean, Kathryn Walker

Plot: A seemingly normal young boy is found abandoned on a mountain road and adopted by a family who are increasingly amazed by his abilities before discovering the secret behind his real identity.

Box Office Gross: $7,840,873

Awards: 1 win & 2 nominations








“D.A.R.Y.L.” (1985), a film that charmingly blends science fiction with a coming-of-age narrative, is like a warm hug wrapped in a high-tech, futuristic blanket. Directed by Simon Wincer and starring Barret Oliver, Mary Beth Hurt, and Michael McKean, this movie is a touching tale that explores what it means to be human through the eyes of a very special boy.

Plot Overview

The film introduces us to Daryl (Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform), played by Barret Oliver, a seemingly ordinary boy with extraordinary abilities. After being found wandering alone by the authorities, Daryl is placed in a foster home with the Richardson family (Mary Beth Hurt and Michael McKean). As Daryl adjusts to his new life, it becomes apparent that he is no ordinary child but an experimental government-created android. The story unfolds as Daryl grapples with his identity and the government agents who seek to reclaim their creation.

Character Dynamics

Barret Oliver’s portrayal of Daryl is both endearing and impressive, capturing the innocence and curiosity of a child alongside the unnerving perfection of a machine. The Richardsons, played by Hurt and McKean, bring warmth and depth to the story, portraying the confusion and affection of parents discovering their child is not who they thought. The dynamic between Daryl and his foster family, as well as his interactions with the outside world, drive the film’s exploration of family, friendship, and humanity.

Cinematography and Visuals

“D.A.R.Y.L.” utilizes a blend of suburban landscapes and high-tech facilities to create a contrast between Daryl’s everyday life and his extraordinary origins. The cinematography is straightforward yet effective, capturing the emotional depth of the characters and the wonder of Daryl’s abilities. The special effects, while modest by today’s standards, effectively convey the advanced technology behind Daryl’s creation.

Themes and Tone

The film is a heartwarming exploration of what it means to be human, delving into themes of identity, belonging, and the essence of humanity. The tone is gentle and family-friendly, making it an accessible sci-fi film for all ages. “D.A.R.Y.L.” touches on the fears and ethical dilemmas of artificial intelligence but does so in a way that is hopeful and optimistic.

Soundtrack and Score

The soundtrack of “D.A.R.Y.L.” is a mix of 80s synth and orchestral music, reflecting the film’s blend of science fiction and emotional storytelling. The score, composed by Marvin Hamlisch, enhances the film’s sense of wonder and the emotional journey of its characters.


In conclusion, “D.A.R.Y.L.” is a delightful and thought-provoking film that combines science fiction with heartfelt storytelling. Its exploration of what it means to be human, seen through the eyes of a childlike android, is both touching and intriguing. The performances, particularly by Barret Oliver, bring a depth and sincerity to the story, making “D.A.R.Y.L.” a memorable and endearing film. It’s a family-friendly adventure that offers both entertainment and a gentle reminder of the value of love and connection in defining our humanity.

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