The BEST Episodes of Diff'rent Strokes

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jul 5, 2019

1980s sitcom staple centered around millionaire widower Phillip Drummond, daughter Kimberly.and black adopted sons Arnold and Willis.

The Older Woman

#1 - The Older Woman

Season 5 - Episode 7

A false I.D. and a false bravado create real problems for Willis and a beautiful "older" woman when an evening on the town doesn't go quite as he had planned.

star 9.75
4 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Debra Frank, Scott Rubenstein
The Goat

#2 - The Goat

Season 6 - Episode 2

Arnold's first day at junior high is emotionally devastating when he's shunned for not measuring up to the expectations that everyone had for Willis Jackson's brother, but Arnold devises a risky scheme that he feels certain will elevate his prestige.

star 9.50
2 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Robert Jayson, A. Dudley Johnson Jr.
In the Swim

#3 - In the Swim

Season 5 - Episode 2

Willis is completely supportive of Kimberly's transfer into his public school, until his sister's "innocent" actions begin getting him into hot water.

star 9.40
5 votes
Writers: Blake Hunter
Have I Got a Girl for You

#4 - Have I Got a Girl for You

Season 4 - Episode 21

Aunt Sophia's matchmaking unites an unsuspecting Drummond with her "working-class" hairdresser, but a slip of Arnold's tongue ignites charges that Drummond is a snob, turning a "budding romance" into a roaring feud.

star 9.00
3 votes
Writers: Dawn Aldredge
Lifesavers

#5 - Lifesavers

Season 4 - Episode 22

A quick-thinking, fast-acting Willis saves Arnold from a near-fatal accident and in doing so unleashes an adoring monster who dedicates his life to repaying his "hero."

star 9.00
2 votes
Writers: Ed Jurist
The Trip (2)

#6 - The Trip (2)

Season 1 - Episode 21

The stars of "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Hello, Larry" get together in a special, hilarious hour in which Phillip Drummond realizes that the purchase of a Portland radio station could mean the loss of a job for his old friend Larry Alder.

star 8.86
7 votes
Directors: Doug Rogers
Writers: Woody Kling
Father and Son Day

#7 - Father and Son Day

Season 2 - Episode 10

Willis' cut-throat competitiveness with another boy at his gym leads him to a decision that he will very much regret, especially after it hurts Mr. Drummond and gives Arnold the right to say "I told you so." Baseball great Reggie Jackson makes his acting debut playing a key, but unsuspecting role in Willis' questionable scheme.

star 8.86
7 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Joseph Sirota, Elaine Newman
Willis' Privacy

#8 - Willis' Privacy

Season 1 - Episode 17

To get rid of his pesky little brother, Willis divides the bedroom in half and spends more time at his friend's house.

star 8.83
12 votes
Directors: Herbert Kenwith
Writers: Alan Rosen, Fred Rubin
Poor Drummond

#9 - Poor Drummond

Season 2 - Episode 18

A crucially important business deal keeps Mr. Drummond on edge and Arnold and Willis wondering whether they pack for a California vacation or move back to Harlem.

star 8.80
5 votes
Writers: Howard Leeds, Ben Starr, Ed Jurist
Return of the Gooch

#10 - Return of the Gooch

Season 2 - Episode 20

The "Gooch" is back and this time he's terrorizing Arnold, but Arnold plans to be ready when the bully strikes. In building Arnold's confidence, Willis convinces him that his martial arts lesson has given him a "killer" foot.

star 8.75
4 votes
Writers: Alan Rosen, Fred Rubin
Growing Up

#11 - Growing Up

Season 4 - Episode 1

His friends' stories of their sexual exploits convince Willis it's time he became a man, so now he must convince his girlfriend Charlene.

star 8.75
4 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Debra Frank, Scott Rubenstein
Kathy

#12 - Kathy

Season 4 - Episode 13

Arnold and his friend Kathy face big challenges in their lives and each holds the key to overcoming the other's obstacles, but when Arnold takes the first step forward, their entire relationship takes a big step backwards.

star 8.75
4 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Marshall Goldberg
The Squatter

#13 - The Squatter

Season 4 - Episode 15

Drummond learns the hard way that converting apartments into condominiums can mean hurting lots of innocent people when he becomes the unsuspecting "victim" of an eccentric tenant he's displacing.

star 8.75
4 votes
Writers: Danny Simon
Willis' Birthday

#14 - Willis' Birthday

Season 1 - Episode 23

Willis is hurt when he thinks his family has forgotten his upcoming birthday. After dropping several unsubtle hints he discovers that not only has everyone remembered, but also his fondest wish has been granted -- a birthday party in his old Harlem neighborhood.

star 8.69
13 votes
Directors: Herbert Kenwith
Writers: Michael Moye
The Election

#15 - The Election

Season 2 - Episode 16

Drummond puts his convictions on the line to run for city council, and rooting him on are Arnold, Willis, Kimberly, and an "unexpected" new addition to the household. Nedra Volz plays Adelaide Brubaker, the small but sassy housekeeper who helps Drummond mobilize the family for a "win."

star 8.67
6 votes
Writers: Ed Jurist
The Car

#16 - The Car

Season 4 - Episode 16

When his girlfriend plans on taking a drive with someone else, a careless Willis -- refusing to be outdone -- gets an idea for a real joy ride neither of them will forget.

star 8.67
6 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Warren S. Murray
B.M.O.C.

#17 - B.M.O.C.

Season 4 - Episode 19

Willis' obsession with joining an "exclusive" high school club rocks the Drummond household and leaves several victims in its wake, including a shaken Arnold who takes his brother's "insensitive" actions to heart.

star 8.67
3 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Robert Jayson, A. Dudley Johnson Jr.
The Music Man

#18 - The Music Man

Season 4 - Episode 24

Willis sets what he's sure is a "cinch" audition for girlfriend Charlene to sing with his musical group, but his "big plane" hit a sour not when Arnold's intervention threatens to destroy both Charlene's chances with the group and her relationship with Willis.

star 8.67
3 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Larry Rhine
Arnold's Hero (a.k.a.) The Hero

#19 - Arnold's Hero (a.k.a.) The Hero

Season 2 - Episode 7

Arnold's wildest dream is realized when he comes face-to-knee with "The Champ" -- special guest star Muhammad Ali. When the meeting arranged by Mr. Drummond between Arnold and his idol, Muhammad Ali, falls through, Kimberly and Willis concoct a wild scheme to insure that Arnold's dream will come true.

star 8.60
10 votes
Writers: Martin Ragaway, Howard Leeds, Ben Starr, Martin Cohan
Thanksgiving Crossover (2)

#20 - Thanksgiving Crossover (2)

Season 2 - Episode 12

The Alders and the Drummonds are together again in New York, and Arnold, Willis and Kimberly plan a second Thanksgiving feast with friends Diane and Ruthie. But even the huge Drummond penthouse isn't big enough to hold the exploding tempers that threaten Phil and Larry's long-standing relationship, on a special one-hour episode featuring the stars of "Hello, Larry." Morgan and all the kids get caught up in the feud when Larry learns friendship doesn't necessarily make for good business.

star 8.60
5 votes
Directors: Doug Rogers
Writers: Heywood Kling, George Tibbles, Milt Rosen
The Slumber Party

#21 - The Slumber Party

Season 2 - Episode 24

Leaving Willis in charge of the house for Kimberly's slumber party is a mistake Mr. Drummond soon regrets as the ensuing chaos disrupts his own date with a lovely lady. The Facts of Life stars Mindy Cohn, Kim Fields, Julie Anne Haddock, and Molly Ringwald guest star.

star 8.60
5 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Fred S. Fox, Seaman Jacobs
The Woman

#22 - The Woman

Season 1 - Episode 12

Mr. Drummond's intention to marry an attractive widow doesn't meet with his children's approval, and Arnold, Willis and Kimberly devise a scheme they hope will turn his "romantic" proposal into a disaster.

star 8.57
14 votes
Directors: Herbert Kenwith
Writers: Ron Alexander
Mrs. Garrett's Crisis

#23 - Mrs. Garrett's Crisis

Season 1 - Episode 18

When Mrs. Garrett decides her life as a housekeeper is unfulfilling, she ends up being a guest in the Drummond home, and then makes an important decision concerning the future.

star 8.55
11 votes
Health Club

#24 - Health Club

Season 4 - Episode 8

Arnold and Willis discover that Drummond's health club, which has just named him the recipient of an award, excludes minorities from membership.

star 8.50
4 votes
Writers: Joseph Bonaduce
Dreams

#25 - Dreams

Season 4 - Episode 12

A cancelled fishing trip leaves Arnold having a series of bad dreams that the entire family loses sleep over, until a psychiatrist's examination reveals what really is causing his nighttime terror.

star 8.50
6 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Kurt Taylor, Booker Bradshaw