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Without Warning: The James Brady Story

Without Warning: The James Brady Story is a 1991 American television film directed by Michael Toshiyuki Uno and starring Beau Bridges as James Brady, the White House Press Secretary who was shot during the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.[1] The film is based on Mollie Dickenson's 1987 biography about Brady titled Thumbs Up.[2]

Without Warning: The James Brady Story
Based onThumbs Up
by Mollie Dickenson
Screenplay byRobert Bolt
Directed byMichael Toshiyuki Uno
StarringBeau Bridges
Theme music composerGeorges Delerue
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)David Puttnam
Producer(s)Fred Burner
Alma Kutruff (associate producer)
Steve Norris (production executive)
Production location(s)Texas Medical Center
CinematographyBobby Bukowski
Editor(s)Peter C. Frank
Running time88 minutes
Production company(s)Enigma Productions
HBO Pictures
Original networkHBO
Picture formatColor
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseJune 16, 1991 (1991-06-16)



In 1980, Ronald Reagan is elected President. However, he is in need of a Press Secretary, and two men are the choice for the job: James (Jim) Brady and Lyn Nofziger. Later, Brady finds out he has the job. Jim is in office for 69 days. On March 30th, 1981, Reagan visits the Washington Hilton Hotel for an AFL-CIO speech. At first, Jim is unsure if he would be attending due to low press, but after finding out the president will not be answering his own questions, he decides to attend the event. The president leaves the hotel after the speech, along with his guards and staff, including Brady. Waiting outside the hotel in the press area is John Hinckley,Jr. While Jim is walking to the press area, Hinckley pulls a Röhm RG-14 .22 caliber revolver, and begins firing at the president. Jim is struck by the first bullet,passing through underneath his brain and shattering his brain cavity, exploding on impact. Three others are also wounded, one including President Reagan.

At home, Jim's wife, Sarah, finds out of the shooting by television, with a report saying James Brady had died. When arriving at the hospital, she finds her husband is still alive but in serious condition. After surgery, Jim begins a long recovery, which includes many more surgeries, seizures, regaining speech, rehabilitation and more. As many people sign petitions to have Jim sent home after many months, Dr. Art Kobrine is unsure he is ready to leave the hospital due to his actions. Finally, in May 1982, Jim is sent home. Wheelchair bound, He is met with many challenges, which gives him and Sarah both difficulties with their new life. One day, Brady goes out and buys a kite, having Sarah take him to a friends cottage on the beach along with their son, Scott. After many failed attempts to get the kite going, Jim gives up in a rage, causing him and Sarah to have a fight. Later that night, Jim and Sarah apologize to each other, with Jim telling her he will need her for the rest of his life. The movie ends with Jim and Sarah in congress, explaining why The Brady Bill will save many lives and keep handguns out of the wrong hands.




  1. ^ Tucker, Ken (14 June 1991). "Without Warning: The James Brady Story". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  2. ^ Vick, Karl (16 June 1991). "James Brady, After the Bullet : HBO film follows press secretary's struggles since the Reagan shooting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  3. ^ "WITHOUT WARNING: THE JAMES BRADY STORY". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Without Warning: The James Brady Story". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  5. ^ Margulies, Lee (17 July 1992). "Emmy Exposure for Producing Team : Television: 'Northern Exposure' and 'I'll Fly Away,' from Joshua Brand and John Falsey, corralled nearly 10% of the nominations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  6. ^ Roberts, Jerry (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 603

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