Segments in this Video

Brett: A Life with No Arms: Introduction (01:29)


Roger Graef first filmed Brett Nielsen as a child of four. Now, 50 years later, they meet again.

Nielsen's Relationships (02:10)

In the last 50 years, Brett married and divorced three times and had two children. His girlfriend Helen Shute explains her attraction to Nielsen.

Drug Causes Birth Defects (01:57)

See footage of four-year-old Brett in "One of Them is Brett." Nielsen's mother Barbara took Thalidomide for morning sickness; the drug affected at least 100,000 babies in 46 countries. Nielsen's father Peter recalls learning about his son's abnormality.

Independent Life (02:08)

Brett retired five years ago; he is building a house and preparing to release a CD. His parents helped instill his independence from an early age. The Nielsens moved to Britain when Brett was four.

Remembering Barbara Nielsen (03:43)

Graef and Brett look through family photographs. Brett's brother Karl remembers their mother treating Brett as normal as possible and exposing him to social interactions.

Disabled Parking (02:23)

Brett shops with confidence. His daughter Pasha hates when he parks in the disabled parking spot.

Fitting In (03:29)

The goal of "One of Them is Brett" was to help children like Brett attend normal schools. Brett wore an artificial arm in infant school; he did not like the gas powered limb.

Family First (03:46)

Barbara's death changed Brett's view on his role in life; he is building a house for his aging father. Peter Nielsen reflects on living with his son. Brett's brother Mark believes Brett is trying to force their father to move.

Scots School, Bathurst (03:22)

Brett abandoned the use of artificial arms at a young age. Compensation from the company that licensed Thalidomide allowed Brett to attend boarding school. Former teachers and classmates recall Brett's persona; Brett could take care of himself in a fight.

Radio Intern (01:47)

Brett did not enjoy boarding school. He left school at the age of 15 and became a radio station intern.

Piano Player (03:12)

Brett recalls learning to play the piano and writing songs. Brett performed his music in local clubs; he met his first wife, Lydia.

Brett's Recording Studio (01:50)

Brett produced nine CDs that sold over 120,000 copies. He works on a project he started 27 years ago; Brett stopped singing publicly in 1981.

Brett's Lifestyle (02:08)

Brett took a different approach to the Thalidomide legal campaigns than many other victims; he prefers the company of friends and family. Barbara did not tolerate feelings of entitlement or helplessness.

Risks for Independence (03:18)

Brett bought a bulldozer and worked on local construction sites for 27 years. He bought and sold flat before purchasing his current house at the age of 19. At the age of 33, he suffered a near fatal car accident.

Handling Adversity (03:22)

Trevor Dean does not believe Brett has a temper. In his 30s, Brett became a motivational speaker. Brett enjoys being a father; his children reflect on his parentage.

Thalidomide Scandal (03:45)

Brett is concerned about the activities of Grünenthal; the company has always denied responsibility. Brett expresses his feelings about Grünenthal. His latest CD and music video challenge the company.

Brett's Mobility (02:34)

Peter Wucherer discusses the long-term physical cost of Brett's independence. He recalls the only time Brett ever wanted to have arms.

Brett's Composure (02:27)

The new house has serious building problems; Brett remains calm. Helen recalls an incident at a restaurant where Brett controlled his emotions.

Childhood Feelings (03:26)

The Nielsen family watches "One of Them is Brett." Brett provides insight on his outlook toward other people. The film awakens memories and feelings he had repressed.

Speaking out Against Grünenthal (02:12)

Brett focuses on his new album and protest video. He provides background information on Grünenthal and his motivation for making the video.

"Isn't it a Pity" (03:04)

See portions of Brett's music video. Graef reflects on the progression of Brett's life.

Credits: Brett: A Life with No Arms (00:39)

Credits: Brett: A Life with No Arms

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Brett: A Life with No Arms

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



This incredibly moving film sees BAFTA-award winning filmmaker Roger Graef travel to Australia to reconnect with Brett Nielsen who, 50 years ago, was the subject of Roger’s first ever documentary, One of them is Brett. This original documentary told the story of a then four year old Brett who had been born without arms due to Thalidomide. It proved to be a landmark in broadcasting on the subject of disability, was shown around the world and went on to win numerous awards. Brett inspired viewers then, and this new film will inspire viewers today also. As he says himself, ‘it doesn’t matter what happens to you in your life, it matters how you deal with it.’ Brett is now an accomplished motivational speaker, successful recording and concert artist – playing the piano with his toes - and an accomplished music producer. He is father now to three children and we see in this incredibly inspiring film, how Brett is now swapping roles with his own father who, in ailing health, needs his support. A BBC Production.

Length: 59 minutes

Item#: BVL115624

ISBN: 978-1-68272-972-4

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.