7.4/10
26,116
117 user 53 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
3,811 ( 456)

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 shocking crime and a secret that wouldn't keep. 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

Real pictures of Sylvia can be found online, mainly crime scene photos. 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

Gertrude Baniszewski: Who's in charge here?
Johnny Baniszewski: You are, mama.
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

Baby, I'm Yours
Written by Van McCoy
Performed by Barbara Lewis
Couresty of Atlantic Recording Group
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
I couldn't move...
29 August 2008 | by (Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.) – See all my reviews

I collect movies...ALL kinds of movies and have several thousand in my collection...which means I see thousands of movies every year. I'd never heard of "An American Crime" until Netflix put it into my queue as a recommendation. I knew absolutely nothing about the film except for the cast. I'd watch Catherine Keener do a Dairy Queen commercial and give her a standing ovation. Forty minutes into the film, I became aware that I was clutching the arms on my chair. I was short-winded as I'd been holding my breath but didn't know it. I almost cheated and ran the movie fast forward just to see how it would end as I was terrified by what I was viewing. This movie should have been hailed by critics and had long lines outside the box office. Ellen Page and Catherine Keener were superb as was the entire cast...not even a 'walk-on' was miscast. James Franco, stepped out of the box to play an unlikeable character as did Jeremy (Peter Pan) Sumpter. If you love good movies, heavy drama, and fantastic acting...this is one to put on your MUST SEE list. When the movie finally did end. I just cut off my TV set. I couldn't watch anything of equal magnitude, no matter what was showing on any channel. One of the best films of all time...and the most horrifying in my entire collection...bar none!


65 of 81 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The most evil of them all Fleurus
The film's major flaw kincaid-5
I'm no expert on the case but I know this isn't how it went down iseemoviepeople
Compared to The Girl Nextdoor chelsi-boswell
Deletions ManofArete
So Inacurate melmwells
Discuss An American Crime (2007) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?