Based on the true story of the student protests at Kent State University in Ohio. This film focuses on the four students who were killed when the National Guard attempted to quell the riots... See full summary »



(teleplay), (book) | 4 more credits »
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane Fleiss ...
Allison Krause
Barry Levine
Sandy Scheuer
Jeff Miller
Bill Schroeder
Peter Miner ...
Michael Higgins ...
Professor Glenn Frank
Professor Ted Arnold
Shepperd Strudwick ...
Professor Warren
Jean Arnold
David VandeBrake ...


Based on the true story of the student protests at Kent State University in Ohio. This film focuses on the four students who were killed when the National Guard attempted to quell the riots that began on May 4, 1970, after President Nixon announced that American troops would begin bombing the heretofore neutral country of Cambodia. Written by Keath

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 February 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tod auf dem Campus  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The administration at the real Kent State University would not allow the movie to be filmed on their campus. Gadsden State Junior College in Alabama was chosen because of its remarkable similarity (at the time) to Kent State University. See more »

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User Reviews

Back To May 4, 1970
27 April 2014 | by (San Gabriel, Ca., USA) – See all my reviews

So many traumatic events occurred on the home front during that most divisive of wars, the Vietnam War, that its effects are continuing to be felt even to this day, including the extreme ideological divides between Republicans and Democrats; war hawks and peaceniks; conservatives and liberals. And one of the most traumatic of these home front events was what took place on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, 1970, when, in an attempt to quell an anti-war protest that had erupted on the seemingly conservative blue-collar campus fifty miles south of Cleveland, because of America's expansion of the war into neighboring Cambodia, plus the enormous anger over the My Lai massacre, National Guard troops opened fire on a sizable group of protesters. Thirteen students were wounded in the mêlée, four of them fatally. The outrage that erupted following that horrible tragedy sent the nation into a further spasm of hysteria, paranoia, and hate.

This is the story that gets told in KENT STATE, a made-for-TV movie that first aired on NBC on February 8, 1981. Based on three compelling accounts of the incident, this movie presents a fairly even-handed look at this incident, putting both the National Guard soldiers who had to open by fire, by whatever provocation (there has never been any certainty as to what exactly triggered their actions, and the film wisely doesn't show clearly what it was), and the students themselves inside what amounted to a Ground Zero of the unrest in America that reached almost Civil War conditions during 1970. The students that took the fatal bullets were Allison Krause (here portrayed by Jane Fleiss), Jeffrey Miller (played by Keith Gordon), Sandra Scheuer (Talia Balsam), and William Schroeder (Jeff McCracken). Though clearly a made-for-TV docudrama, and one that does skew the facts a touch, this is nevertheless a remarkable effort to come to an understanding of one of the darkest moments of America's late 20th century past.

Veteran director James Goldstone (who helmed the terribly underrated 1977 suspense thriller Roller-coaster) does a very good job of delineating the events that led up to the shooting, including the burning of the ROTC building that occurred just two days beforehand, and the menacing build-up to the violent nightmare that erupted at 12:24 PM on that fateful day. The cast also does fairly accurate portrayals of the real-life people involved. KENT STATE, even with its TV film production values, is a film well worth watching, particularly in the absence of a feature-length film or a true documentary being done on the incident.

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