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Crazy Love (I) (2007)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary  |  1 June 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,796 users   Metascore: 69/100
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The bizarre true story of Linda Riss and Burt Pugach.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bob Janoff ...
Himself - Burt's Friend
Herself (as Linda Riss)
Sylvia Hoffman ...
Herself - Linda's Cousin
Rita Kessler ...
Herself - Friend
Joyce Guerriero ...
Herself - Friend
Berry Stainback ...
Himself - Biographer
Janet Pomerantz ...
Herself - Burt's Secretary
Rusty Goldberg ...
Herself - Friend
Jimmy Breslin ...
Himself - Journalist
Margaret Powers ...
Herself - Police Officer
Norman Ackerman ...
Himself - Psychiatrist (as Dr. Norman Ackerman)
William Kunstler ...
Himself - Defense Attorney (archive footage)
Marvyn Kornberg ...
Himself - Defense Attorney
Marvin Scott ...
Himself - TV Reporter


The bizarre true story of Linda Riss and Burt Pugach.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A love story stranger than fiction. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language including sexual references, and mature thematic elements | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 June 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Love Is in the Air  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$17,952 (USA) (1 June 2007)


$300,372 (USA) (7 September 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Features The Joe Franklin Show (1950) See more »


Poison Ivy
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Performed by The Leiber-Stoller Big Band
Jerry Leiber Music (ASCAP)
Mike Stoller Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film and TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

You Can't Keep a Bad Man Down (review of the DVD)
22 November 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I first encountered the story of Burt and Linda Pugach, some many years ago, in the paper back edition of Burt's biography, what I read on the cover I simply could not believe. At first I thought it was a novel, some kind of elaborate publishing hoax with a rather sick premise, but gradually I came to realize this was for real. I didn't buy the book, I confess. I treated it like it was radioactive and after a few minutes I put gingerly in back on the rack thinking: no good can come from this. But, I never forgot the essence of the story. What did it say about them, us, everyone? So when the documentary was finally made I jumped at the chance to see it.

The DVD is probably the way to go with this story, not watching it in theaters. It is just to intimate, in all the senses of the word, a tale. Watch it all, cut scenes, features etc. Most of all, make sure you listen to the commentary track. At the end, you will then be able decide for yourself. Personally, I think the documentary did their story as fairly and as in depth as could be done. It really is an outstanding achievement. It frustrates some people however because it must seem the truth is missing: this story is so off the scale, so far beyond "Freudian," that while it is tempting to make psychological assessments, don't. The overwhelming majority of people are not competent to do so -- I'm certainly not -- and one would advise against it in any event. Here are two people who themselves probably, even after fifty years of living with the story, have no idea what really happened. But they are living whatever it was, and that is all they or we need to know.

As for Burt, he remains one scary dude, as the director himself would find out first hand, yet one cannot help but respect him, in a way. He is a survivor with a strong element of luck in his life, if that is correct way to put it. He certainly suffered, both before and after his crime, but whether he suffered enough I leave to others to judge. He's smart, resourceful, and in a word indeed "obsessed." "Determined" doesn't quite seem to say it about Burt. For someone who is 80, he comes across as sharp and tough as ever. Given all that he has been through and all that he has done, this is no small accomplishment.

I should point out that Burt does at times appear callous and indifferent to Linda's blindness (a point the director himself makes in the commentary), but I can't help but wonder if he simply does not see Linda as she is now, but only sees her as she was in the late 1950's. The documentary seems to come to that conclusion as well. Love is blind, in more ways than one. Certainly forgiveness is, if it is to be worthy of the name.

As for Linda, she's an old-fashioned girl who was saving herself for the right monster and one day Mr. Wrong did come along. Nevertheless, I confess I like her. She is obviously quite talented, intelligent, witty and every bit Burt's match in toughness. But as with Burt, I'm relieved I never had to interact with either of them. I care for them both, however, and certainly one of the most amazing things about "Crazy Love" is the degree we come to view both of them as human beings. This is not a freak show. There is so much suffering in the world if these two people can hold on to some measure of happiness given their history, then more power to them. I think as a viewer, you can't help but hope the best for them and at the end of the film wonder what will happen to the other when either of them dies.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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