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The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)

In Massachusetts in 1893, Lizzie Borden is put on trial for murdering her father and stepmother with an axe.


Paul Wendkos


William Bast
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elizabeth Montgomery ... Lizzie Borden
Fionnula Flanagan ... Bridget Sullivan
Ed Flanders ... Hosea Knowlton
Katherine Helmond ... Emma Borden
Don Porter ... George Robinson
Fritz Weaver ... Andrew Borden
Bonnie Bartlett ... Sylvia Knowlton
John Beal ... Dr. Bowen
Helen Craig Helen Craig ... Abby Borden
Alan Hewitt ... Mayor Coughlin
Gail Kobe ... Alice Russell
Hayden Rorke ... Julien Ralph
Amzie Strickland Amzie Strickland ... Adelaide Churchill
Robert Symonds ... Andrew Jennings
Iggie Wolfington Iggie Wolfington ... Store Proprietor


Elizabeth Montgomery stars as Lizzie Borden, a 19th-century Massachusetts woman, who is put on trial for the brutal slaughter of her father and step-mother in the family mansion. She is accused of hacking up her parents with an ax after carefully removing her clothes to avoid bloodstains. Based on fact and considered shocking at the time for a TV-movie. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Lizzie Borden took an ax, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, gave her father forty-one. See more »


Drama | History | Mystery



Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

10 February 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Legend of Lizzie Borden See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In 1976, Elizabeth Montgomery told reporter Joan E. Vadeboncoeur about a letter she received after the film aired which left her perplexed. "One guy wrote a critique that went on for three pages. It was very articulate. I put it down and looked at the envelope and it was from a state institution. I'm wondering what he was in for. He didn't tell me." See more »


High voltage power cables on pylons can be seen on the hills behind the Borden house. See more »


Hosea Knowlton: That woman actually believes she can get off scot-free by hiding behind her skirts.
Sylvia Knowlton: What else has she?
[he looks at her]
Sylvia Knowlton: I'm sorry, Hosea. It just seems that you men have only yourselves to blame if women hide behind their femininity as a last defense. After all, you cast us in this role.
Hosea Knowlton: You look upon your womanhood as a role my dear?
Sylvia Knowlton: It's not always a convenient part to play.
Hosea Knowlton: I've never heard you talk like this. Next you'll be asking for the vote. I gather you sympathize with this murderess.
Sylvia Knowlton: ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

A European video release runs about 3 minutes shorter than the original American version One version shows a glimpse of Elizabeth Montgomery's breast while she is murdering her stepmother. Some prints have a different camera angle that does not show this. The closing credits of the American version says "A George Lemaire Production in association with" then fades to black and shows the Paramount logo while the end music is still playing. The European video release says "A George Lemaire Production in association with" then fades to black and does not show the Paramount logo. The 2014 DVD from Cinedigm uses the original American broadcast version. See more »


Spoofed in Serial Mom (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

18 March 2003 | by HoohawnaynaySee all my reviews

This movie is so fascinating on so many different levels. First, we have the brilliant Elizabeth Montgomery. Her treatment of "Lizzie Borden" is so perfect. The sets, the costumes, the acting, everything about this movie adeptly recreates 1892 Fall River, Mass. Even the set of the Borden house was recreated using diagrahms of the original house. While Lizzie never admits to the killings, we get to see how some people thought she got away with it. Interesting mix of fact and speculation. Quite graphic for a TV movie, we see blood splattered, axes swinging and glimpses of a nude Elizabeth Montgomery washing blood off of her body. The acting is top notch by everyone involved. This was an early role for Katherine Helmond (Who's the Boss) playing Lizzie's sister who doesn't know what or who to believe. Fritz Weaver is excellent as the penny pinching skinflint, Andrew Borden (Lizzie's father). Based on the political feelings about women at the time it's easy to see why Lizzie is acquitted of the crime. Still, the ending is quite creepy and the scenes that are speculated are fascinating to watch. Elizabeth should have won an emmy for this, I don't know what those voters were thinking giving the award to Katherine Hepburn that year. They should have had their SAG cards revoked. I hope they release this on DVD. Interestingly, Liz's nude scenes were edited for later broadcasts even though what you saw was tame by today's standards.

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