7.2/10
5,236
36 user 36 critic

Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)

Nick Broomfield's second documentary on Aileen Carol Wuornos, a highway prostitute who was executed in 2002 for killing six men in the state of Florida. This second installment includes the filmmaker's testimony at Wournous's trial.

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

1992, Florida, USA. Aileen Wuornos is claimed to be the world's first female serial killer.

Director: Nick Broomfield
Stars: Jesse 'The Human Bomb' Aviles, Nick Broomfield, Cannonball
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Nick Broomfield digs into the case of the notorious serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper, who terrorized South Central Los Angeles over a span of twenty-five years.

Directors: Nick Broomfield, Barney Broomfield, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Nick Broomfield, Lonnie David Franklin Jr., Donna
Documentary | Crime | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A documentary on the life of Kurt Cobain and his relationship with Courtney Love.

Director: Nick Broomfield
Stars: Courtney Love, Nick Broomfield, Kurt Cobain
Cropsey (2009)
Documentary | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Realizing the urban legend of their youth has actually come true; two filmmakers delve into the mystery surrounding five missing children and the real-life boogeyman linked to their disappearances.

Directors: Barbara Brancaccio, Joshua Zeman
Stars: Joshua Zeman, Barbara Brancaccio, Bill Ellis
Amanda Knox (2016)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

American exchange student Amanda Knox is convicted and eventually acquitted for the 2007 death of another student in Italy.

Directors: Rod Blackhurst, Brian McGinn
Stars: Amanda Knox, Meredith Kercher, Raffaele Sollecito
Documentary | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

WHO TOOK JOHNNY is an examination into an infamous thirty-year-old cold case: the disappearance of Iowa paperboy Johnny Gosch, the first missing child to appear on a milk carton. The film ... See full summary »

Directors: David Beilinson, Michael Galinsky, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Nancy Allen, Paul Bonacci, Troy Boner
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A documentary crew from the BBC arrives in L.A. intent on interviewing Heidi Fleiss, a year after her arrest for running a brothel but before her trial. Several months elapse before the ... See full summary »

Director: Nick Broomfield
Stars: Nick Broomfield, Nina Xining Zuo, Madam Alex
Documentary | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Documentary on the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls and the East Coast/West Coast, hip-hop/rap rivalry that culminated in late 1996 and early 1997.

Director: Nick Broomfield
Stars: The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Nick Broomfield
Ghosts (2006)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A young Chinese girl is smuggled into the UK so she can support her son and family in China.

Director: Nick Broomfield
Stars: Zhan Yu, Tao Li, Ai Qin Lin
The Witness I (2015)
Documentary | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The brother of Kitty Genovese investigates the circumstances of her murder and the truth of the story that dozens of locals witnessed the crime and did nothing to intervene.

Director: James D. Solomon
Stars: William Genovese, Shannon Beeby, Kitty Genovese
Documentary | Crime | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Delving into our collective nightmares, this horror-documentary investigates the origins of our most terrifying urban legends and the true stories that may have inspired them.

Director: Joshua Zeman
Stars: Rachel Mills, Joshua Zeman, Stephen Winick
Documentary | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A convicted murderer who has spent 23 years on Death Row tells his story.

Director: David Sington
Stars: Sammy Silverwatch, Nick Yarris
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nick Broomfield ...
Terry Humphreys-Slay ...
Herself - Her Father was Killed by Wuornos (archive footage)
Leitha Prather ...
Herself - Victim's Sister (archive footage) (as Leitha Prater)
Shirley Humphreys ...
Herself - Victim's Widow (archive footage)
Joe Hobson ...
Himself - Wuornos' Attorney
Steve Glazer ...
Arlene Pralle ...
Herself - Wuornos' Adoptive Mother (archive footage)
Dawn Botkins ...
Tyria Moore ...
Herself - Wuornos' Former Lover (archive footage)
Uriel Blount ...
Herself (archive footage) (as Judge Muriel Blount)
Danny Caldwell ...
Himself - Wuornos' Childhood Friend / Witness
Jerry Moss ...
Himself - Wuornos' Childhood Friend / Witness
Michelle Chauvin ...
Herself - Wuornos' Childhood Friend / Witness
...
Himself - Governor of Florida (archive footage)
Edit

Storyline

This documentary looks at Aileen Wuornos convicted of killing 7 men while working as a prostitute in Florida. This is actually the second Wuornos documentary made by this group the first being Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992). With her execution now on the horizon Nick Broomfield returns to Florida to complete the story. Her argument has always been that the killings were in self-defense but she eventually pleaded no contest or guilty to most of the murders. Broomfield was able to film several interviews which reveals her state of mind and puts into question her mental competence. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, including violent and sexual dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

21 November 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Aileen: Bir Seri Katilin Yasami ve Ölümü  »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,158, 11 January 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$97,362, 26 February 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

[In the courtroom at Aileen's final appeal, Nick Broomfield goes over to say hello to Aileen's former lawyer]
Nick Broomfield: [voiceover] This is the first time I've seen Steve for 11 years. He said my film got him run out of town.
Steve Glazer: [laughing] Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you and the Queen. Fuck and your documentary.
See more »

Connections

References Star Trek (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Carnival
Performed by Natalie Merchant
Written by Natalie Merchant
(c) 1995 Indian Love Bride
Licensed by kind permission of Elektra Entertainment Group
A division of Warner Communications INC.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Suffers a bit from Broomfield's bias but is still chilling and Wuornos is clearly not mentally competent
16 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

Almost a decade after he made his original documentary around the trial of Aileen Wuornos, Nick Broomfield is surprised to open his door one morning and be served with a subpoena to attend what would turn out to be Wuornos final appeal. After being heavily criticised for editing his film to give false impressions, Broomfield's involvement is finished when Wuornos gives up on her appeal and volunteers for the death sentence. Broomfield continues his documentary, looking back at the original trial and getting several interviews with Aileen before her death.

I have not seen the film Monster but I may rent it out after seeing this film as it has raised my interest and given me more factual background to the story than I imagine a Hollywood film would give me. I'm not a massive fan of Broomfield and I was amused to see him being slightly hauled over the coals in court over his editing (the implication being that he made it look like Aileen's lawyer had smoked several spliffs before coming to advise her). However, despite opening himself to this criticism, Broomfield starts looking at the case and digs up some interesting fans, but the real value of the film is the interviews with Wuornos herself. While the film has plenty of little legal points about whether or not she was well advised and about how the media seemed to vilify her more than other similar male killers, it is almost impossible to agree with the penalty when you hear Wuornos talking.

Throughout the film her story changes and I was confused as to what the truth was as she seemed to be lying with every other word. We are then given background of abuse and tough living conditions and suggestions that she is the creation of her harsh and unpleasant background. Despite some interviews (particularly with her mother) that cast doubt on her life, the overwhelming impression of her youth is one of suffering, hardship and cruelty. On top of this, Wuornos herself is increasingly erratic and is clearly not in her right mind – reason enough for locking her away for life rather than killing her. She appears to be suffering from some form of split personality – one moment talking calmly to Nick, the next swearing non-stop at the courts to let her die. The idea that Bush's competency hearing lasting 15 minutes just makes matters worse.

Broomfield is clearly a liberal and is very against the death penalty (his comment 'it has been proven that the death penalty is no deterrent' is just lazy) and this does give the film a real slant in Aileen's favour. Despite this the film is still chilling – it is not totally clear what is true and what isn't but there are two things that are very clear. Firstly, there is no doubt that Aileen killed those men and that (in my opinion) self-defence is no defence for all of them. Secondly, Aileen is not in her right mind and should not have been killed but should have been jailed for life. It is chilling that so much is stacked in her favour and that Wuornos is only one of many people involved who want to flick the switch.

Overall, this is not an easy watch and even the Bush brothers would maybe have doubts over her death penalty. Her last interview descends into total paranoia and instability and is horrible to watch – I was left in no doubt that she deserved jail but in no way did this woman deserve to be killed. It is a well made film despite some bias from Nick and the end result is a chilling film that really made me worry about the systems in some states in the US that seem to treat the death penalty with such ease – like Nick says in reference to the physiological competency test, 'it makes you wonder what you have to do to fail'. After this film Broomfield was interviewed in The Times and said 'When I moved to the US in the 1970's, I had a real belief that it was the land of the free. For me this film marked the end of that belief' – it is to the film's credit that many viewers will be shaken in the same way.


32 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 36 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page