Echoes of a Summer

Echoes of a Summer is a 1976 Canadian-American family drama film directed by Don Taylor, based on the play Isle of Children by Robert L. Joseph, who also adapted the screenplay. It stars Jodie Foster, Richard Harris, Lois Nettleton, Brad Savage, and Geraldine Fitzgerald. The film follows; Deirdre Striden (Foster), a perceptive 11-year-old girl with an incurable heart ailment. Her mother, Ruth (Nettleton), wants to continue to take her to new doctors, although she knows that treatment is futile. Her father, Eugene (Harris), thinks she should be at their lake house, living in denial of her condition. It is only through her friendship with her 9-year-old neighbor, Philip (Savage), that Deirdre is able to honestly face the reality of death.

Echoes of a Summer
Film Poster for Echoes of a Summer.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDon Taylor
Written byRobert L. Joseph
StarringJodie Foster
Richard Harris
Lois Nettleton
Brad Savage
Geraldine Fitzgerald
CinematographyJohn Coquillon
Music byTerry James
Distributed byUnited Artists
(theatrical release)
(current owner)
Release date
  • April 1976 (1976-04)
Running time
99 minutes
CountriesUnited States
BudgetCAD 900,000

Echoes of a Summer was released in limited theatres in Canada in April 1976. Although mostly dismissed by the critics and audiences at the time of its release, the film was notable for an acclaimed performance by Foster, who also had her breakthrough that year with four prominent releases, including Taxi Driver.


The eleven-year-old Deirdre (Jodie Foster) suffers from an incurable heart condition. For two years, her parents Eugene (Richard Harris) and Ruth (Lois Nettleton) have consulted heart specialists – but without any success. Now they have gone to Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia to ensure that her last days are as pleasant as possible. The nine-year-old neighbour boy Phillip (Brad Savage) is the only one who brings a little happiness into the home, since Deirdre knows exactly what is wrong with her. After she suffers from an acute attack and the end comes faster than everybody had thought, Deirdre and Phillip succeed anyway in celebrating the twelfth birthday of the girl as a day of joy.


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