I Am Sam (stylized i am sam) is a 2001 American drama film written and directed by Jessie Nelson, and starring Sean Penn as a father with a developmental disability, Dakota Fanning as his inquisitive daughter, and Michelle Pfeiffer as his lawyer. Dianne Wiest, Loretta Devine, Richard Schiff, and Laura Dern appear in supporting roles.
Jessie Nelson and Kristine Johnson, who co-wrote the screenplay, researched the issues facing adults with intellectual disabilities by visiting the non-profit organization L.A. GOAL (Greater Opportunities for the Advanced Living). They subsequently cast two actors with disabilities, Brad Silverman and Joe Rosenberg, in key roles.
For his role as Sam, Penn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 74th Academy Awards in 2002.
The film launched the career of child actress Dakota Fanning, who was then seven years old and had only acted in two small roles. She became the youngest actress to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award.
The movie's title is derived from the opening lines "I am Sam / Sam I am" of the book Green Eggs and Ham, which is read in the movie.