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An American Crime
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An American Crime (2007) More at IMDbPro »

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An American Crime -- In Tommy O’Haver’s heartbreaking and hard-hitting film, AN AMERICAN CRIME, Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener portrays Gertrude Baniszewski, the seemingly ordinary housewife who imprisons and tortures a beautiful teenager.
An American Crime -- The true story of suburban housewife Gertrude Baniszewski, who kept a teenage girl locked in the basement of her Indiana home during the 1960s.
An American Crime -- nine individuals whose world is turned upside down as they wake up to the mysterious disappearances of people all over the world. 
Through a series of "random" events, the nine find themselves taking refuge in the basement of a church.  As chaos ensues around them they have to piece their lives back together while the world slowly falls apart around them.
An American Crime -- In Tommy O’Haver’s heartbreaking and hard-hitting film, AN AMERICAN CRIME, Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener portrays Gertrude Baniszewski, the seemingly ordinary housewife who imprisons and tortures a beautiful teenager.


User Rating:
7.4/10   24,157 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 28% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Tommy O'Haver (written by) &
Irene Turner (written by)
View company contact information for An American Crime on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 December 2007 (Sweden) See more »
This has been the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana See more »
The true story of suburban housewife Gertrude Baniszewski, who kept a teenage girl locked in the basement of her Indiana home during the 1960s. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Shocking, Repulsive...and Fascinating See more (111 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ellen Page ... Sylvia Likens

Hayley McFarland ... Jennie Likens

Nick Searcy ... Lester Likens

Romy Rosemont ... Betty Likens

Catherine Keener ... Gertrude Baniszewski

Ari Graynor ... Paula Baniszewski

Scout Taylor-Compton ... Stephanie Baniszewski

Tristan Jarred ... Johnny Baniszewski

Hannah Leigh ... Shirley Baniszewski (as Hannah Leigh Dworkin)

Bradley Whitford ... Prosecutor

Michael O'Keefe ... Reverend Bill Collier

Carlie Westerman ... Marie Baniszewski

Michelle Benes ... Hope Orbach
Patricia Place ... Mrs. Doyle
Calvin Keet ... Mr. Doyle

Jeremy Sumpter ... Coy Hubbard

James Franco ... Andy

Brian Geraghty ... Bradley

Channing Nichols ... Patty
Eliza Dean ... Mary

Michael Welch ... Teddy

Evan Peters ... Ricky Hobbs

Amy Ferguson ... Sally

Scott Eastwood ... Eric (as Scott Reeves)

Will Carter ... Officer Waters (as William Carter)

Edward James Gage ... Bailiff

Kuma ... Dog
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Paul Grace ... Cottin Candy Vendor (uncredited)
Chris Harris ... Jury Member (uncredited)
James Meehan ... Defense Attorney (uncredited)

Paul Palo ... Newspaper Reporter (uncredited)
Isabel Shaw ... Juror (uncredited)

Gary Sievers ... Carnie (uncredited)

Directed by
Tommy O'Haver 
Writing credits
Tommy O'Haver (written by) &
Irene Turner (written by)

Produced by
Jocelyn Hayes .... producer (as Jocelyn Hayes Simpson)
Pamela Koffler .... executive producer
Hans Ritter .... co-producer
Katie Roumel .... producer
Richard Shore .... executive producer
Kevin Turen .... producer
Christine Vachon .... producer
Ruth Vitale .... executive producer
John Wells .... executive producer
Henry Winterstern .... producer
Original Music by
Alan Ari Lazar  (as Alan Lazar)
Cinematography by
Byron Shah (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Melissa Kent 
Casting by
Anya Colloff 
Judy Cook 
Amy McIntyre Britt 
Michael V. Nicolo 
Production Design by
Nathan Amondson 
Art Direction by
Zach Bangma 
Set Decoration by
Lisa Alkofer 
Costume Design by
Alix Hester 
Makeup Department
Mandy Danielle Benton .... additional makeup artist (as Mandy Benton)
Marc Boyle .... additional hair stylist
Essie Cha .... additional makeup artist
Daniel Curet .... hair department head
Jorjee Douglass .... makeup department head (as Jorjee Douglas)
Rebecca Perkins .... special effects makeup
Randa Squillacote .... key hair stylist
Nancy Stimac .... additional hair stylist
Liz Webster .... additional hair stylist (as Elizabeth Webster)
Production Management
Stuart Burkin .... executive in charge of production
Beau J. Genot .... post-production supervisor
Jonathan McCoy .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Cleta Elaine Ellington .... additional second second assistant director (as Cleta E. Ellington)
John LaBrucherie .... additional second second assistant director
Lance W. Lanfear .... day player first assistant director (as Lance Lanfear)
Chad Rosen .... first assistant director
Tessa Lyn Stephenson .... second assistant director (as Tessa Stephenson)
Frank Tignini .... second second assistant director (as Francesco Tignini)
Frankie Tignini .... second second assistant director
Art Department
Isaac Amondson .... set dresser
Rachel Amondson .... art department production assistant
Bruce Bellamy .... set dresser
Craig D. Bentley .... propmaker
Max Bozeman .... leadman (as Max K. Bozeman)
Nelson Bush .... leadman
Michael A. Clark .... propmaker gang boss
Scott Cockerell .... assistant property master (as Scott C. Cockerell)
Billy Constantine .... painter
Juliane Crump .... conceptual researcher
Scott Enge .... plasterer
David Esparza .... painter
Eduardo H. Esparza .... propmaker gang boss (as Eddie Esparza)
Brian Fernandez .... plasterer
Craig Handschu .... set dresser
Ken Howland .... plasterer
Sean D. Jackson .... set dresser
Roger Kelton .... construction coordinator
Jina Kim .... p.a.
Scott Kitchen .... propmaker foreman (as Scott A. Kitchen)
Chris Larsen .... set dresser
Robert C. Moore .... propmaker
Jeffrey M. O'Brien .... property master
Doreen Parker .... painter
Chris Patterson .... set dresser
Paul V. Picerni Jr. .... on-set property (as Paul V. Picerni)
Kip Sawyer .... paint foreman
Jamie Silverstein .... set intern
Dan Thompson .... set intern
Dennis J. Vannatta .... set dresser (as Dennis Vannatta)
Chapel West .... painter
Helen Wilson .... swing
Herbert James Winterstern .... art department intern
Adam C. Woods .... propmaker
Sound Department
Albert Aquino .... boom operator
Vince Balunas .... adr & dialogue editor
Jeff K. Brunello .... sound effects editor (as Jeffrey K. Brunello)
Dennis Carlin .... sound utility (as Dennis T. Carlin)
Daniel Colman .... sound effects editor
Mick Davies .... boom operator
Bill Devine .... adr recordist
Michael J. Fox .... adr mixer
David Holmes .... sound utility
Marti D. Humphrey .... sound re-recording mixer
Chris M. Jacobson .... sound re-recording mixer
Sean Keegan .... foley mixer
Jack Levy .... supervising sound editor
Doug Madick .... foley artist
Richard Partlow .... foley artist (as Rick Partlow)
Scott Stolz .... sound mixer
Ollin Suarez .... assistant sound editor
Steve Weiss .... sound mixer
Ronald L. Wright .... boom operator
Special Effects by
David Waine .... special effects coordinator
Visual Effects by
Travis Baumann .... compositing artist: Digiscope
Kristin Johnson .... digital effects compositor
Kristin Johnson .... visual effects supervisor
Albert Mason .... visual effects producer
Brennan Prevatt .... compositing artist: Digiscope
Laurel Lyn Schulman .... digital effects producer: Digiscope (as Laurel Schulman)
Christopher Stack .... imaging supervisor: Digiscope
Ed McDermott II .... precision driver
Lou Simon .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Jeb Banegas .... camera intern
Amy Bojanowski .... additional loader
Cris Borgnine .... additional electrician
Richard W. Botchlet .... additional best boy electric
Patrick Brennan .... lighting board operator
Nathaniel R. Brown .... additional electrician (as Nate Brown)
Danielle C. Carroll .... additional loader
Brian Christie .... dolly grip
Jeff Clark .... Steadicam operator
Kelly Cummins .... second assistant camera
Jeanne Dear .... additional company grip
Guido Egger .... additional company grip
Eric Forand .... additional gaffer
Michael Francisco .... additional electrician (as Michael A. Francisco)
Samuel Buddy Fries .... camera operator (as Bud Fries)
Stephen Furry .... best boy rigging grip
Kevin C. Goff .... additional second assistant camera: "b" camera
Erik Gonzales .... additional set electrician
Jilliane Grodecki .... camera intern
Timothy Hedgecock .... electrician (as Tim Hedgecock)
Mike Horan .... best boy grip (as Mike 'Mega' Horan)
William Hyde .... rigging key grip (as William C. Hyde)
Paul Janossy .... first assistant camera
Hunter Laizure .... electrician
Heather Lea .... first assistant camera: "b" camera (as Heather Leroy)
Eric Lee .... still photographer
Sabyn Mayfield .... key grip
Wes Meilandt .... additional electrician
Gerald Mermian .... additional company grip
Daniel Miller .... additional company grip
Cris Moris .... additional electrician (as Chrisobal Moris)
Michael M. Mosley .... additional electrician (as Mike Moseley)
Kevin Mucha .... additional electrician
David Newbert .... grip
Elmer S. Osorio .... generator operator (as Elmer Osorio)
Rich Paisley .... gaffer (as Richard Paisley)
Matt Perry .... rigging best boy
Michelle Pizanis .... loader: "b" camera
Michelle Pizanis .... second assistant camera: "b" camera (as Michele Pizanis)
Kelly Price .... additional company grip (as Kelly Prize)
Avi Roffman .... additional electrician
Michael Roy .... rigging gaffer (as Michael Victor Roy)
Aaron Schulte .... best boy electric
Kevin Sheedy .... additional company grip
Michael Silva .... additional electrician (as Mike Silva)
Erik Solorio .... additional company grip
Travis Stewart .... electrician
Daniel Taylor .... second assistant camera
Maxwell Thorpe .... grip intern
Rick Tschudin .... additional first assistant camera: "b" camera
Kenny Tucker .... additional electrician
Jim West .... additional company grip
Matt Whitted .... grip (as Matthew Whitted)
Chad Wilson .... Steadicam operator
Casting Department
Judy Cook .... extras casting
Michael V. Nicolo .... casting associate (as Michael Nicolo)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Tiana Aiello .... costumer
Lori Ayala-Read .... costume supervisor (as Lori Reed)
Molly O'Haver .... costumer
Editorial Department
Sai-Bing Ho .... post-production assistant
Stacy Katzman .... assistant editor
Mato .... color timer
Music Department
Spring Aspers .... music supervisor
Greg Dennen .... scoring crew: studio engineer
Ryan Gaines .... music coordinator
Petra Haden .... vocalist
Alan Ari Lazar .... orchestrator (as Alan Lazar)
David Low .... orchestra contractor
Mike Nowak .... conductor (as Michael Nowak)
Larry Rench .... orchestrator
Casey Stone .... music recordist
Casey Stone .... music scoring mixer
Dean Menta .... music editor (uncredited)
Ashley Waldron .... executive in charge of music (uncredited)
Transportation Department
J. Wesley Adams .... stakebed driver
Joseph Aroesti .... props driver (as Joey Aroesti)
Morris Aroesti .... props driver
Andre Brandes .... ten ton electric driver
James Cantoni .... honeywagon driver
Hugo Cortez .... driver
Corey Dail .... stakebed driver
Wayne Flowers Jr. .... honeywagon driver (as Wayne Flowers)
Peter Grandfield .... props driver
Michael Grooms .... stakebed driver
Brian D. Hall .... props driver (as Brian Hall)
Kelly Harkess .... stakebed driver (as Kelly 'Ziggy' Harkess)
David Hernandez .... ten ton grip driver
Angelo Loffredo .... honeywagon driver
Ernesto A. Luna .... stakebed driver (as Ernesto Luna)
Luis Mata .... set dressing driver
Yo Matsuoka .... driver: passenger van
Criss Mavian .... driver: passenger van
Eric Moon .... transportation captain
Sean J. Moore .... driver: passenger van
Karl E. Nelson .... ten ton grip driver (as Karl Nelson)
Michael Perrotti .... transportation coordinator
Juan Ramirez .... transportation captain
Michael Scott .... driver: passenger van
Terrence Sheehan .... camera truck driver (as Terence Sheehan)
Mike Toston .... stakebed driver
Other crew
Caleb Aldrich .... production intern
Carlos A. Aragon .... location manager (as Carlos Aragon)
Matt Baker .... key set production assistant
Greg Bernstein .... legal services
MaryEllen Blair .... assistant: Mr. Winterstern
Charmaine Boos .... additional studio teacher (as Charmaine A. Boos)
Meghan Burchfield .... production office assistant
Tyson Caffo .... key assistant location manager
Joe Cappelletti .... group ADR director
Yee Yeo Chang .... assistant: Ms. Vachon
Aleah Charles .... stand in: Catherine Keener
Marjorie Chodorov .... production accountant
Sarah Clifford .... animal wrangler
Hugo Cortez .... chef
John Patrick L. Crum .... set production assistant (as J.P. Crum)
Gloria De Leon .... production intern
Chris Disher .... assistant: Mr. O'Haver (as Christopher Disher)
Greg Doyle .... accounting intern
Heather Fielding .... studio teacher
Ramsey Fong .... assistant: Killer Films
Sean P. Galvin .... set production assistant
Gilbert Hernandez .... security
Lola Hersh .... production intern
Danny Illouz .... payroll accountant (as Danny Ilous)
Paul Jaconi-Biery .... production office coordinator
Melissa Jones .... production office assistant
Alicia Kalvin .... additional studio teacher
Pam Kloods .... additional studio teacher
Erin Korda .... stand in: Ellen Page
Eloy Lara .... set medic (as Eloy Lara Jr.)
Emmanuel Leon .... assistant chef
Jan McWilliams .... script supervisor
Ania Milaszewicz .... assistant: Mr. O'Haver
Beth Newbauer .... assistant: Mr. Winterstern
Lee Nichnowitz .... craft service
Ali-Reza Nusrat .... production intern
Daniel Ortega .... assistant chef
Courtney Powell .... set production assistant
Charles Pugliese .... assistant: Killer Films
Cristi Rickey .... set production assistant
Hans Ritter .... head of production (as Hans Christian Ritter)
Karen Roberts .... post-production accountant
Matt Rubin .... assistant: Mr. Turen
Kristina Santoro .... additional key assistant location manager
Lou Simon .... fight choreographer
Joaquin Solis .... assistant chef
Linda Stanley .... additional studio teacher
Jonathan Stopek .... assistant: Ms. Hayes-Simpson
Apolinario Urruita .... assistant chef (as Apolilario Urrutia)
Ludbia Urrutia .... assistant chef
Truman Van Dyke .... insurance
Fiona Walsh .... set production assistant
Matthew Warren .... completion bond: Film Finances (as Matt Warren)
Herbert James Winterstern .... set production assistant (as Jamie Winterstern)
Kevin Ylauan .... production intern
Joanna Lara Zuppardi .... assistant production coordinator (as Joanna Lara)
Jonathan Bell .... thanks
Hugh Dancy .... special thanks
Billy Mulligan .... special thanks
Kirsten Smith .... special thanks
John Waters .... very special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial Effects
  • Digiscope (digital effects) (as Digiscope, LLC)
Other Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for strong and disturbing depiction of child abuse and torture
98 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Real pictures of sylvia can be found online mainly crime scene photos.See more »
Anachronisms: Marlboro "Blue Pack" ( formerly known as "Milds") cigarettes can be seen behind the counter of the convenience store. This variety did not exist until 1999.See more »
Gertrude Baniszewski:[preparing to write the tattoo onto Sylvia's belly] Ricky... she came back from juvenile! Started stirring up trouble again... Johnny hold her!
Sylvia Likens:No, please, please!
Gertrude Baniszewski:Keep her still!
Marie Baniszewski:If you move, it'll only be messy.
Gertrude Baniszewski:[gives Marie a lighter and a safety pin] Light that.
Sylvia Likens:No! No! No! Please! No! No! Please! Please!
Gertrude Baniszewski:Stop it!
Shirley Baniszewski:You got it right, mama?
Gertrude Baniszewski:Make sure it's hot!
Sylvia Likens:I'm sorry! I'm sorry!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Girl Next Door (2007)See more »
You Don't Own MeSee more »


Is Gertrude Baniszewski still alive?
Did Gertrude or her children serve any time?
Is Sylvia's sister Jenny still alive?
See more »
18 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
Shocking, Repulsive...and Fascinating, 26 May 2008
Author: gradyharp from United States

AN American CRIME is a problematic little reenactment of a real criminal case of child abuse dating back to 1965. The story is horrifying and while the film places the facts in our faces, the impact of the film is out of focus. This is due to the script that elects to glaze over the motivational aspects of a brutal crime in favor of attempting to investigate fully the mindset of both the perpetrator and the victims. Were it not for some sterling performances by Catherine Keener and Ellen Page this film might be easily dismissed: the strength of these actresses to overcome a weak script and manage to involve us is much to their credit as artists.

Indiana, 1965, and Gertrude Baniszewski (Catherine Keener) is a 'borderline' single mother of several children who is asked to take care of Sylvia (Ellen Page) and Jennie Likens (Hayley McFarland) while the girls parents remain on the road as carnies, promising to send checks to help support their farmed out children. Gertrude is a woman of loose morals who adds babies to her large family during liaisons with young men like the itinerant Dennis (James Franco). Gertrude takes in laundry to support her household and requires her young children to work toward the same goal. A friction develops between Sylvia and Jenny and the children by Gertrude's illicit adventures as well as covert sexual similarities surfacing in her children and at 'family meetings' Gertrude doles out punishment for Sylvia - punishment including cigarette burns, coke bottle insertions, branding etc. - all of which are undeserved and eventually lead to Sylvia's imprisonment in the basement where Gertrude and her children and their friends daily torture Sylvia. Eventually Sylvia dies and Gertrude and family are brought to court for charges of first-degree murder and variations thereof. The court proceedings (under the leadership of lawyer Leroy K. New played by Bradley Whitford) provide the story drivers as each allegation is then acted out by flashbacks until the verdicts are reached.

Catherine Keener is superb as the deranged, maladaptive Gertrude and Ellen Page adds yet another feather to her cap in a role that in another actor's hands could have been over the top. Writer/director Tommy O'Haver (the script was written with the aid of Irene Turner) does manage to show us the facts of this atrocity yet fails to go inside the characters to give us the psychobiographies this film has the potential for illuminating. It may well repel some viewers, but it does bring to the forefront a crime that is all too common in this country.

Grady Harp

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for An American Crime (2007)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
How she died VermilionCat
The film's major flaw kincaid-5
Paula Fired As Teacher's Aid JerryVandiver79
Whatever happened to the guy who loved Sylvia?(eastwood's Character)? ohumstudio
So Inacurate melmwells
I'm no expert on the case but I know this isn't how it went down iseemoviepeople
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