Manson (1973)

R  |   |  Documentary, Biography, Crime  |  January 1973 (USA)
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Reviews: 21 user | 7 critic

Documentary on Charles Manson and his family. Has a number of insightful interviews with many family members most notably Squeaky and Sandy (Blue and Red). There is also a history of Manson... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Mary Brunner ...
Vincent Bugliosi ...
Bruce Davis ...
Lynette Fromme ...
Sandra Good ...
Steve Grogan ...
Ronnie Howard ...
Charles Manson ...
Narrator (voice) (as Jess Pearson)
Phil Phillips ...
Nancy Pitman ...
Brooks Poston ...
Catherine Share ...
George Spahn ...
Paul Watkins ...


Documentary on Charles Manson and his family. Has a number of insightful interviews with many family members most notably Squeaky and Sandy (Blue and Red). There is also a history of Manson from his birth to the family formation to the Tate/La Bianca murders. Plenty of footage of the family playing at Spahn Ranch. Written by Josh Pasnak <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Terrifying Truth Behind the Sharon Tate Massacre! See more »


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

January 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Manson and Squeaky Fromme  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Brooks Poston and Paul Watkins, who provided the musical score for the film, were both former members of the "Manson Family". See more »


Lynette Fromme: [holding a rifle] You have to make love with it. You have to know it...
Lynette Fromme: You have to know every part of it. And to know you know it is to know it, so that you could pick it up, any second, and SHOOT!
See more »


Referenced in The Book of Manson (1989) See more »


Bright Yellow
Written and Performed by Paul Watkins and Brooks Poston
See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant, often overlooked documentary
17 April 2004 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

"Manson" was filmed in the early 1970s, when Charles Manson and several of his followers were in jail (still on death row at the time of filming, though their terms were later commuted to life imprisonment). At that time many members of the "family" were free and still sticking together, and were, amazingly, willing to appear in this documentary.

This documentary offers a fascinating window into their world; at times frolicking, childlike in the wilderness, dancing, singing, laughing, swimming, riding horses ... but at other times looking at the camera, brandishing large rifles, shotguns and hunting knives, talking about love and killing and, of course, Manson.

Perhaps the most mesmerizing of them is Squeaky Fromme, who a few years later would be sent to prison for trying to assassinate President Gerald Ford, though all of them are fascinating. The producers are careful to point out the solid, often highly educated backgrounds of these women.

Also interviewed are a couple of men who fled the family around the time of the Tate-La Bianca murders, who talk about life inside the family. There are also interviews with past cellmates of the women, who tell often harrowing stories of things the murderous women told them.

Underlying the movie is the stark generational divide of those times. While the past and present members of the family are young, expressive and with a loose, casual look, the appearance of the prosecutor who tried the case -- and whose own account of the trial, "Helter Skelter," (also a movie) is the main source of information on the case -- appears in a three-piece suit, an earnest tone of voice, and melodramatic mannerisms.

If you're wondering why the Manson phenomenon happened, don't watch this hoping for an answer. And if you're looking for more information, don't bother. But if you want to see the people involved, hear them speak and find out how they thought, by all means give it a watch.

An excellent documentary, largely forgotten nowadays (alas).

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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