If You Could See What I Hear
Directed byEric Till
Written by
Produced byEric Till
Gene Corman (executive producer)
CinematographyHarry Makin
Edited byEric Wrate
Music by
  • Cypress Grove
  • Shelter Films
Distributed by
Release dates
  • January 7, 1982 (1982-01-07) (Japan)[1]
  • April 23, 1982 (1982-04-23) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
BudgetCAD $5,600,000 (estimated)
Box officeUSD $8,693,512[2] or $4.7 million[3]

If You Could See What I Hear is a 1982 Canadian biographical drama film about blind musician Tom Sullivan, starring Marc Singer and Shari Belafonte, directed by Eric Till.

Plot summary

Tom Sullivan (Marc Singer) is a blind college student who wants to be normal. When not in class, Tom hangs out with his friend, Will Sly (R. H. Thomson), who does not treat him like a blind person. In fact, he goes out of his way to challenge Tom. Tom likes to go jogging while Will leads him on his bicycle. Will leads him past obstacles such as park benches, shouting out "Bench!" at the last moment so Tom has to jump over it.

On campus, Tom meets a black woman named Heather Johnson (Shari Belafonte), with whom he falls in love. But she breaks off the relationship because "the black and white thing," coupled with Tom's blindness, is too complicated for her. Crushed by Heather's abandonment and experiencing loneliness, Tom continues to struggle with himself, still denying that his blindness affects his "normalcy". Then he meets his future wife, Patti Steffen (Sarah Torgov), and his life changes irreversibly.

The movie is most famous for the scene where while Tom is on the phone with someone, his stepdaughter, Blythe, falls in their indoor pool and nearly drowns, and he, upon realizing she is missing, manages to find her at the bottom of the pool and save her life.



The film was critically panned. Roger Ebert pointed out that the film was intended to be "inspirational and uplifting" and stated that Sullivan "comes across in this movie like a refugee from Animal House. His idea of overcoming his handicap is to party all night." He and Gene Siskel selected the film as one of the worst of the year in a 1982 episode of Sneak Previews.[4]


  1. ^ IMDB release info
  2. ^ If You Could See What I Hear at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ Donahue, Suzanne Mary (1987). American film distribution : the changing marketplace. UMI Research Press. p. 293. ISBN 978-0-8357-1776-2. Please note figures are for rentals in US and Canada
  4. ^ "Sneak Previews: Worst of 1982". Archived from the original on 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-02-01.