7 user

David (1988)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 25 October 1988
The true story of David Rothenberg whose disturbed father set him on fire.


John Erman


Marie Rothenberg (book), Mel White (book) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bernadette Peters ... Marie Rothenberg
John Glover ... Charles Rothenberg
Dan Lauria ... John
George Grizzard ... Dr. Achauer
Christopher Allport ... Terry
Georgann Johnson ... Loraine
Jordan Charney ... Judge
Matthew Lawrence ... David Rothenberg
Cheryl Anderson ... Dee Fraser
Alexandra Borrie Alexandra Borrie ... Geri Chambers
Frederick Combs Frederick Combs ... Ken Curtis
Jack Rader ... Dick Hafdahl
Lisa Blake Richards Lisa Blake Richards ... Judy Curtis
Barbara Tarbuck ... Sue Martinez
Caryn Ward ... Jennifer


David is a six-year-old boy who is caught in the middle of his two feuding (and divorced) parents. His father, Charles, kidnaps and takes him to California, where he eventually sets him on fire as a means of revenge against his mother, Marie. He receives third degree burns over 90% of his body. This movie chronicles his struggle to recover and the obstacles he faces along the way. Written by Anonymous

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Matthew Lawrence' TV Movie debut. See more »


David Rothenberg: i look like a monster!
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User Reviews

a real life horror story
21 December 2001 | by dtucker86See all my reviews

I think the character that plays the judge in this film says it best, I have never seen such a hideous crime or so innocent a victim. Bernadette Peters is basically known as a singer, but she does an awesome acting job in this real life horror story. What kind of an animal would pour gasoline over his six year old child and burn him over 90% of his body. John Glover said that this was the only time in his career that he was really traumatized playing a character. This movie doesn't really show why Rothenberg was so evil, but it does an excellent job of showing the horrible suffering he caused this child. Be warned, this movie is so grim that at time its almost unwatchable. An infuriating footnote, Rothenberg sentenced his son to a lifetime of disfigurement and pain, but he was released from jail after serving only six years. They have since changed the laws he was sentenced under, today he would have gotten life without parole.

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Release Date:

25 October 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

David See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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