7.4/10
27,300
118 user 52 critic

An American Crime (2007)

The true story of suburban housewife Gertrude Baniszewski, who kept a teenage girl locked in the basement of her Indiana home during the 1960s.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
4,385 ( 187)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Paula Baniszewski
...
...
...
Shirley Baniszewski (as Hannah Leigh Dworkin)
...
...
Reverend Bill Collier
...
Marie Baniszewski
...
Hope Orbach
Patricia Place ...
Mrs. Doyle
Calvin Keet ...
Mr. Doyle
Edit

Storyline

Based on a true story that shocked the nation in 1965, the film recounts one of the most shocking crimes ever committed against a single victim. Sylvia and Jennie Fae Likens, the two daughters of traveling carnival workers are left for an extended stay at the Indianapolis home of single mother Gertrude Baniszewski and her six children. Times are tough, and Gertrude's financial needs cause her to make this arrangement before realizing how the burden will push her unstable nature to a breaking point. What transpires in the next three months is both riveting and horrific. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of a child's punishment that became a woman's crime. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong and disturbing depiction of child abuse and torture | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 December 2007 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Basement  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was the second attempt to tell Sylvia Likens' story on the big screen and the first one to be successful. In the early 1980s there were moves to make a movie about Sylvia but they were dropped in the face of intense opposition from Sylvia's sister Jenny. It wasn't until after Jenny's death in 2004 that efforts to tell the events of 1965 in a movie were revived. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Gertrude and Ricky are smoking together, Gertrude says, "You ain't old enough for smoke". In 1965, it was legal for minors to smoke as there was no legal smoking age. See more »

Quotes

Shirley Baniszewski: Don't worry Jennie. Mamma's just teaching her.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The final credit states "Sylvia Likens, 1949-1965". See more »

Connections

Featured in The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Tell the World About This
Written by Mahalia Jackson
Performed by Mahalia Jackson
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An American Crime vs. Girl Next Door
30 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First of all someone said " The Girl Next Door" wasn't based on actual events .You'd have to be oblivious not to see it's based on this case with some minor changes.

I feel that The Girl Next Door is a much more disturbing film then An American Crime because the degree of abuse is much more accurate in relation to what happened in real life.

Also I was somewhat disturbed that the the director tried to show Gertrude in a somewhat sympathetic light as if he was trying to make some sort of feminist statement that Gertrude was a victim of 50's male oppression.In reality she was a sexual sadist of unspeakable proportions.


58 of 95 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?