The true story of David Rothenberg whose disturbed father set him on fire.



(book), (book) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

From $4.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Just Ask My Children (TV Movie 2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A couple is accused of sodomy and pedophilia by two little girls. Soon they find their beloved sons taken away from them and themselves thrown in jail.

Director: Arvin Brown
Stars: Virginia Madsen, Jeffrey Nordling, Graham Beckel
David (TV Movie 1997)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The tribes of Israel need to defeat the superior might of the Philistines: "Now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." (I Samuel, 8:5). And so the prophet Samuel ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Markowitz
Stars: Nathaniel Parker, Jonathan Pryce, Leonard Nimoy
I Know My First Name Is Steven (TV Mini-Series 1989)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The harrowing true account of Steven Stayner, who was kidnapped by a perverted pseudo-priest and his lackey during the 1970's. As he gets older, he realizes that he needs to try to make an escape and get back home.

Stars: Cindy Pickett, John Ashton, Corin Nemec
Joshua's Heart (TV Movie 1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

10 year old Joshua's father has a new girlfriend every 5-8 month. Joshua finds out how a mother's love feels, when he meets Claudia, his father's Nth girlfriend. The trouble is that his ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Pressman
Stars: Melissa Gilbert, Tim Matheson, Matthew Lawrence
Murder of Innocence (TV Movie 1993)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Newlywed Laurie Wade finds her marriage, and eventually the rest of her life, shattered by her deep-rooted psychotic behavior. She goes from brief "short-circuits" to overtly murderous ... See full summary »

Director: Tom McLoughlin
Stars: Valerie Bertinelli, Stephen Caffrey, Graham Beckel
Brothers of the Frontier (TV Movie 1996)
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Set in the Allegheny mountains of the late 1700s, three brothers are separated from their parents when a vengeful land baron runs them off their homestead. With the help of a young Native ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Sobel
Stars: Doug Abrahams, Michael Cram, Don S. Davis
No Child of Mine (TV Movie 1997)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A British schoolgirl struggles to come to terms with the horrific and disgusting sexual abuse inflicted upon her by the adults in her life. When she resorts to self-harm to escape her troubles, a caring teacher tries to get her some help.

Director: Peter Kosminsky
Stars: Brooke Kinsella, Colin Salmon, Billy Geraghty
Sleep, Baby, Sleep (TV Movie 1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Sylvie Pearson thinks her dreams have come true when she meets Peter Walker. He is kind and loving and Sylvia quickly moves in with him. Then she becomes pregnant. But Sylvie was born with ... See full summary »

Director: Armand Mastroianni
Stars: Tracey Gold, Kyle Chandler, Missy Crider
When You Remember Me (TV Movie 1990)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Fact-based story of Mike Mills, a teen with muscular dystrophy, who is placed in a state nursing home by his destitute single mother. There he must contend with being the only young person ... See full summary »

Director: Harry Winer
Stars: Fred Savage, Kevin Spacey, Ellen Burstyn
The Last Best Year (TV Movie 1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Returning from a business trip abroad, Jane (Bernadette Peters) has a dizzy spell while at home. As her condition does not improve, she consults a doctor who finds that she is very ill and ... See full summary »

Director: John Erman
Stars: Mary Tyler Moore, Bernadette Peters, Brian Bedford
A Matter of Justice (TV Movie 1993)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

True story about the mother of a murder victim seeking to bring her son's widow to justice and gain custody of her granddaughter.

Director: Michael Switzer
Stars: Patty Duke, Martin Sheen, Alexandra Powers
Daddy (TV Movie 1991)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

After twenty years of marriage, a man starts over with his children after his wife leaves him in order to "find herself."

Director: Michael Miller
Stars: Patrick Duffy, Kate Mulgrew, John Anderson


Cast overview, first billed only:
Marie Rothenberg
Charles Rothenberg
Dr. Achauer
David Rothenberg
Dee Fraser
Alexandra Borrie ...
Geri Chambers
Frederick Combs ...
Ken Curtis
Jack Rader ...
Dick Hafdahl
Judy Curtis
Sue Martinez


David is a six-year-old boy who is caught in the middle of his two feuding (& divorced) parents. His father, Charles, kidnaps him to California, where he eventually sets him on fire as a means of revenge against Marie, David's mother (Young David receives third-degree burns over 90% of his body). This movie chronicles David's struggle to recover and the obstacles he faces along the way. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 October 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Égető borzalom  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

a real life horror story
21 December 2001 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

I think the character that plays the judge in this film says it best, I have never seen such a hideous crime or so innocent a victim. Bernadette Peters is basically known as a singer, but she does an awesome acting job in this real life horror story. What kind of an animal would pour gasoline over his six year old child and burn him over 90% of his body. John Glover said that this was the only time in his career that he was really traumatized playing a character. This movie doesn't really show why Rothenberg was so evil, but it does an excellent job of showing the horrible suffering he caused this child. Be warned, this movie is so grim that at time its almost unwatchable. An infuriating footnote, Rothenberg sentenced his son to a lifetime of disfigurement and pain, but he was released from jail after serving only six years. They have since changed the laws he was sentenced under, today he would have gotten life without parole.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Nice to know I wasn't the only one... starlite025
Charles Rothenberg should have been given life sentence! alfalfa900
I would like to find a copy of the movie stokes_debbie
want to see this? alwyzstyln
Any One Have a Copy?? Or recent pics/information... xxlollipopkidxx
Any new news...or info of how to get a copy of the film? hulkster023
Discuss David (1988) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: