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I Know My First Name Is Steven (1989)

TV Movie  -   -  Crime | Drama  -  22 May 1989 (USA)
7.8
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7-year old Steven Stayner is kidnapped a few days before Christmas by Kenneth Parnell. Under the belief that Parnell has been given legal custody of him, and that his family has moved away,... See full summary »

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Title: I Know My First Name Is Steven (TV Movie 1989)

I Know My First Name Is Steven (TV Movie 1989) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kay Stayner
...
Del Stayner
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Steven Gregory Stayner / Dennis Parnell (as Corin 'Corky' Nemec)
...
...
Irving Murphy
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Bob Augustine
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Officer Kean
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Officer Scott
...
School Counselor
...
Stephanie Walski ...
Sumer Stamper ...
Cassy Friel ...
June C. Ellis ...
Miss Rebecca
...
Victor (Age 7)
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Storyline

7-year old Steven Stayner is kidnapped a few days before Christmas by Kenneth Parnell. Under the belief that Parnell has been given legal custody of him, and that his family has moved away, he stays with Parnell for seven years, enduring repetitive sexual abuse the entire time. Finally, at fourteen, he returns home to his family. Written by Liz Jordan <c9310494@alinga.newcastle.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

22 May 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Missing Years  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Parnell escorts Steven into Highland Elementary School, a dubbed woman's voice says, "Mr. Teaney says you're failing his history class. I can help you!" Ken Teaney was the supervising sound editor for this film. See more »

Quotes

Del Stayner: How'd you forget to come home?
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User Reviews

 
Disturbing to think this is a true story
29 April 2004 | by (Dundee, Scotland) – See all my reviews

This film revolves around the true story that begins in 1972 with the abduction of seven-year-old Steven Stayner, who was snatched on his way home from school by a known paedophile Kenneth Parnell. Steven was then kept as the man's son for seven years and forced for endure systematical sexual abuse at the hands of his kidnapper. He finally managed to escape when Parnell abducted a five-year-old boy whom Steven was determined would not suffer as he had. However, upon his return to his real family-- who never gave up that he would be reunited with them one day-- Steven found it hard to adjust as he had no understanding of what it was to be part of a loving family. I have since read that he was killed in a car accident when he was twenty-nine, tragically snatched away from his family for good this time.

I first watched this when I was about ten so the abuse went right over my head but even then, at that age, I was saddened by how this boy suffered when he was torn from his family only to be reunited after the damage has been done to his mind and soul. When I watched the film again as a teenage, my sadness was mixed with disgust and anger that the perverted monster that was Parnell was allowed to wander around unchecked despite having a criminal record for offences against children. It was also horrifying to see what little was actually done to either help Steven, as not only when he did try to tell a teacher of his abduction, he was accused of lying and being ungrateful but Parnell was able to freely go from town-to-town with a child who was not his own and with no-one challenging this. This film depicts both the trauma Steven faces as he grew up in such horrifying circumstances and the grief of the parents he left behind but it also shows the courage of the Stayners, who all remained strong through everything.

As true stories go, I think this has to be one of the best films out there and I recommend it to everyone. Do be prepared for your blood pressure to soar though when it is revealed that, infuriatingly, Parnell was let off with a light sentence for kidnapping and abusing Steven. It certainly shattered my illusions that the US has a great criminal justice system that the terribly lax system in the UK should take lessons from. This is one piece of filth who surely deserved a trip on 'Old Sparky' to fry for those vile acts to a little boy who almost loved him as a father to some degree.


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