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Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 15,432 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 143 user | 127 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middleclass Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arnold Friedman ...
Himself (archive footage)
Elaine Friedman ...
Herself
...
Himself
Seth Friedman ...
Himself (archive footage)
Jesse Friedman ...
Himself
John McDermott ...
Himself
Frances Galasso ...
Herself (as Det. Frances Galasso)
Anthony Sgeugloi ...
Himself
Chuck Scarborough ...
Himself (archive footage)
Joseph Onorato ...
Himself
Judd Maltin ...
Himself
Howard Friedman ...
Himself
Abbey Boklan ...
Herself (as Judge Abbey Boklan)
Ron Georgalis ...
Himself
Scott Banks ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

In the late 1980's, the Friedmans - father and respected computer and music teacher Arnold Friedman, mother and housewife Elaine Friedman, and their three grown sons, David Friedman, Seth Friedman and Jesse Friedman - of Great Neck, Long Island, are seemingly your typical middle class American family. They all admit that the marriage was by no means close to being harmonious - Arnold and Elaine eventually got divorced - but the sons talk of their father, while also not being always there for them, as being a good man. This façade of respectability masks the fact that Arnold was buying and distributing child pornography. Following a sting operation to confirm this fact, the authorities began to investigate Arnold for sexual abuse of the minor-aged male students of his computer classes, which he held in the basement of the family home. Based on interviews with the students, not only was Arnold charged with and ultimately convicted of multiple counts of sodomy and sexual abuse of these ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 August 2003 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

A Captura dos Friedmans  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£66,689 (UK) (9 April 2004)

Gross:

£190,356 (UK) (16 April 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film sparked enough renewed interest in the case that a Jesse Friedman mounted an appeal to his earlier conviction. While the appeal was denied, the Nassau County District Attorney did agree to re-examine the case and appoint a special review committee to evaluate any impropriety in the original case, including coercion of Friedman's original confession of guilt. See more »

Crazy Credits

Only the immediate members of the Friedman family (listed 1-5) are credited in a standard cast list. The other cast members are identified by on-screen graphics. See more »


Soundtracks

Act Naturally
Performed by Buck Owens
Written by Vonnie Morrison and Johnny Russell
Courtesy of Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The outline of Hysteria
14 June 2003 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

Outstanding documentary, which demonstrates how quickly life can fall apart for anyone. The center of attention, of course, is Arnold Friedman, a pedophile whose personal issues create a firestorm that destroys his own life, but more tragically, the lives of his children. There are so many facets to this documentary that it amazes me that they could all be captured in the film's running time. Several important issues are highlighted; front and center is the hysteria surrounding pedophilia that emerged in the late eighties. Amidst the background of the McMartin and "Little Rascals" trials and the culture of quack psychology (repressed memories, hypnotic suggestion) emerged the case of Arnold Friedman.

The most interesting aspect of this case was that Friedman was a pedophile - there is no doubt about that. The question is whether he was guilty of the crimes charged, more than 300 charges of child abuse. Furthermore, could his son and assistant, Jesse, also be guilty? The filmmaker does not force out any answers to that question, but the testimonies of his accusers and the incompetent buffoonery of the police involved in the case lead one to conclude that the answer is a resounding "No."

The crimes are only part of the story. The true story lies in the destruction of the Friedman family. Arnold, the eccentric intellectual and apparently loving father turns out to be feeble and a pedohpile, a man crippled by guilt. Elaine, the "loving wife and mother" who is frozen out by her family turns out to be a weaker human being than her husband, bowing under pressure to administer horrifying "advice" to her youngest son. The brothers, lead by the eldest, fight a losing battle to save their family. One of the most tragic and moving pictures I have seen in ages.


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Jesse and Arnold's Innocence closerthanair
For anyone proclaiming Jesse's or Arnold's innocence willard86
Would you hire David Friedman as your party clown? maasai1066
the mother bentley-christopher
A few things that irritated me and a few things that i didn't understand tal-46
Everyone's a liar except the Friedmans osman_a1
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