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The Burning Bed (1984)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | TV Movie 8 October 1984
An abused battered wife has had enough of husband beating up on her. Everywhere she turns for help, there's not much anyone will do. After he rapes her one night, she sets the bed on fire with him in it asleep.

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(teleplay), (book)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Francine Hughes
...
Mickey Hughes (as Paul LeMat)
...
Aryon Greydanus
...
Flossie Hughes
...
Gaby
Christa Denton ...
Christy age 12
...
Berlin Hughes (as James Callahan)
...
District Attorney
David Friedman ...
Jimmy age 10
...
Wimpy Hughes
...
Police Witness
...
Virg
Dixie K. Wade ...
Hazel Moran
Heather Rich ...
Christy age 6
Justin Gocke ...
Jimmy age 4
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Storyline

Abused battered wife has had enough of husband beating up on her. Everywhere she turns for help, there's not much anyone will do. After he rapes one night, she sets the bed on fire with him in it while asleep. Written by Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He didn't know how to stop it... she did.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 October 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das brennende Bett  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the true story of Francine Hughes, who was accused of murdering her husband on March 9, 1977 in Dansville, Michigan. She was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity, and her case created a legal precedent for how domestic violence cases were to be handled in the future. See more »

Goofs

The real Francine Hughes had four children, not three as depicted in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Hazel Moran: If you make a hard bed, you have to lay in it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Melrose Place: The Burning Couch (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Read the book if you don't get it
13 September 2003 | by See all my reviews

I have seen the movie and read the book "The Burning Bed". As is always the case, a two hour movie (actually an hour and a half at the most, when you allow for commercials) can't fit in every single detail. For those reviewers (mostly male, it appears) who don't "get it", who are hung up on the details of "why didn't the cops do this, why didn't Francine do that?", read the book and maybe you will be able to grasp the situation this woman lived in day in and day out.

As for the movie, I think it did what it was supposed to do. It was not a big budget Hollywood blockbuster, it was a made for TV movie. It told a story, a woman who was driven to do something desperate because she couldn't find help anywhere else.

In a perfect world men like Mickey Harper would not exist. But they do, and at the time that this took place (the 1970's) spousal abuse was, in the eyes of the law, no big deal. In fact, the book points out the only times Mickey was arrested was if he got physical with the cops. Otherwise he was basically told, "now behave yourself" and they would leave him to continue beating the daylights out of Francine as soon as they were gone. The attitude was "well, if you don't want him beating you up, just leave".

I don't know for sure what I think about what Francine did. Part of me can see how she couldn't see any other way out. Another part of me wonders if maybe she couldn't have done anything else. Not ever having been faced with her exact situation, I can't say what I would have done. But I don't believe she is some evil, vicious person.

And to the reviewer who said spousal abuse was less of a problem today because "women are seen as educable" and families have fewer children...I can see WHY you have an EX-wife. For the record, spousal abuse occurs in ALL types and sizes of families--and Mickey Harper beat his wife up all during their marriage--it wasn't having four children (I think the movie might have only shown three--it's been a while since I saw it--but they had four) that cause it.


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