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I Know My First Name Is Steven 

The harrowing true account of Steven Stayner, who was kidnapped by a perverted pseudo-priest and his lackey during the 1970s. As he gets older, he realizes that he needs to try to make an escape and get back home.
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete series cast summary:
Cindy Pickett ...  Kay Stayner 2 episodes, 1989
John Ashton ...  Del Stayner 2 episodes, 1989
Corin Nemec ...  Dennis Parnell / ... 2 episodes, 1989
Luke Edwards ...  Steven Stayner (Age 7) 2 episodes, 1989
Pruitt Taylor Vince ...  Irving Murphy 2 episodes, 1989
Ray Walston ...  Bob Augustine 2 episodes, 1989
Gregg Henry ...  Officer Kean 2 episodes, 1989
Jim Haynie ...  Officer Scott 2 episodes, 1989
Barbara Tarbuck ...  School Counselor 2 episodes, 1989
Scott Curtis ...  Cary Stayner (Age 11) 2 episodes, 1989
Stephanie Walski Stephanie Walski ...  Cindy Stayner (Age 9) 2 episodes, 1989
Sumer Stamper Sumer Stamper ...  Jody Stayner (Age 5) 2 episodes, 1989
Cassy Friel Cassy Friel ...  Cory Stayner (Age 4) 2 episodes, 1989
Juney Ellis Juney Ellis ...  Miss Rebecca 2 episodes, 1989
Billy O'Sullivan ...  Victor (Age 7) 2 episodes, 1989
Jason Presson ...  Deke 2 episodes, 1989
Stephen Dorff ...  Pete 2 episodes, 1989
Scott Reeves ...  Bruce 2 episodes, 1989
Bryan Cranston ...  Officer Dickenson 2 episodes, 1989
Jacob Gelman ...  Timmy White 2 episodes, 1989
Dennis Fimple ...  Fred 2 episodes, 1989
Vance Valencia ...  Selfides 2 episodes, 1989
Shane McCabe Shane McCabe ...  Fat Clerk 2 episodes, 1989
Al Berry ...  Customer 2 episodes, 1989
Brenda Hillhouse Brenda Hillhouse ...  Barbara 2 episodes, 1989
Robina Suwol Robina Suwol ...  Checker 2 episodes, 1989
Kenneth Zavayna Kenneth Zavayna ...  Man 2 episodes, 1989
Lyla Graham Lyla Graham ...  Lady 2 episodes, 1989
Nell Heller Nell Heller ...  Mrs. Alpha 2 episodes, 1989
Anne Faulkner Anne Faulkner ...  Mrs. Ditschman 2 episodes, 1989
Beth Grant ...  Mrs. Beta 2 episodes, 1989
Lynnsey Ryan Lynnsey Ryan ...  Secretary 2 episodes, 1989
Kenny McMurphy Kenny McMurphy ...  Punk #1 2 episodes, 1989
Raymond Cruz ...  Punk #2 2 episodes, 1989
Karl Wiedergott Karl Wiedergott ...  Punk #3 2 episodes, 1989
Allison Mack ...  Nettie 2 episodes, 1989
Anne Convery Anne Convery ...  Female Officer 2 episodes, 1989
Amy O'Neill ...  Jodie 2 episodes, 1989
Barry Corbin ...  Officer Warner 2 episodes, 1989
Peter Michael Goetz ...  Pat Hallford 2 episodes, 1989
Alan Fudge ...  Chief Johnson 2 episodes, 1989
Todd Eric Andrews Todd Eric Andrews ...  Cary Stayner (Age 18) 2 episodes, 1989
Hilary Morse Hilary Morse ...  Cindy Stayner (Age 16) 2 episodes, 1989
Shantell Stebbins Shantell Stebbins ...  Jody Stayner (Age 12) 2 episodes, 1989
Marice Leeds Marice Leeds ...  Cory Stayner (Age 11) 2 episodes, 1989
Harold Pruett Harold Pruett ...  Birch 2 episodes, 1989
Jonathan Perpich Jonathan Perpich ...  Officer Severeid 2 episodes, 1989
William Frankfather ...  Judge Sabraw 2 episodes, 1989
John Vickery ...  George McLure 2 episodes, 1989
James Ingersoll James Ingersoll ...  Joe Allen 2 episodes, 1989
John DeMita ...  Dan Smith 2 episodes, 1989
Billy Ray Sharkey Billy Ray Sharkey ...  Sheriff Suggs 2 episodes, 1989
Shannon Holt Shannon Holt ...  Angela White 2 episodes, 1989
Mark Tymchyshyn ...  Jim White 2 episodes, 1989
Michael Chieffo ...  Don 2 episodes, 1989
Whitney Rydbeck Whitney Rydbeck ...  Mr. Craft 2 episodes, 1989
Natividad Vacío Natividad Vacío ...  Vicente 2 episodes, 1989
Pamela McMyler ...  Rosanna 2 episodes, 1989
Ron Tank Ron Tank ...  TV Journalist 2 episodes, 1989
Andrew Amador ...  TV Reporter 2 episodes, 1989
Jeremy McCollum Jeremy McCollum ...  Kleekie 2 episodes, 1989
David Glasser ...  Boots 2 episodes, 1989
Robert Balderson Robert Balderson ...  P.E. Teacher 2 episodes, 1989
Mars Callahan ...  Victor (Age 14) 2 episodes, 1989
Wendy Gordon Wendy Gordon ...  TV Newscaster 2 episodes, 1989
Darcy DeMoss ...  Debbie 2 episodes, 1989
Dave Adams ...  Cashier 2 episodes, 1989
Annie O'Donnell ...  Official 2 episodes, 1989
Dan Kelpine Dan Kelpine ...  Court Officer 2 episodes, 1989
Tiiu Leek ...  Reporter #1 2 episodes, 1989
Kim Maxwell Kim Maxwell ...  Reporter #3 2 episodes, 1989
Jeff Olson ...  Reporter #4 2 episodes, 1989


7-year old Steven Stayner is kidnapped a few days before Christmas by Kenneth Parnell. Under the belief that Parnell has been given legal custody of him, and that his family has moved away, he stays with Parnell for seven years, enduring repetitive sexual abuse the entire time. Finally, at fourteen, he returns home to his family. Written by Liz Jordan <c9310494@alinga.newcastle.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Know My First Name Is Steven See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In the scene where Parnell escorts Steven into Highland Elementary School, a dubbed woman's voice says, "Mr. Teaney says you're failing his history class. I can help you!" Ken Teaney was the supervising sound editor for this film. See more »


Kenneth Parnell: [after striking Steven across the face] Coulda been a ballbat!
See more »

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User Reviews

Disturbing to think this is a true story
29 April 2004 | by cosmic_questSee all my reviews

This film revolves around the true story that begins in 1972 with the abduction of seven-year-old Steven Stayner, who was snatched on his way home from school by a known paedophile Kenneth Parnell. Steven was then kept as the man's son for seven years and forced for endure systematical sexual abuse at the hands of his kidnapper. He finally managed to escape when Parnell abducted a five-year-old boy whom Steven was determined would not suffer as he had. However, upon his return to his real family-- who never gave up that he would be reunited with them one day-- Steven found it hard to adjust as he had no understanding of what it was to be part of a loving family. I have since read that he was killed in a car accident when he was twenty-nine, tragically snatched away from his family for good this time.

I first watched this when I was about ten so the abuse went right over my head but even then, at that age, I was saddened by how this boy suffered when he was torn from his family only to be reunited after the damage has been done to his mind and soul. When I watched the film again as a teenage, my sadness was mixed with disgust and anger that the perverted monster that was Parnell was allowed to wander around unchecked despite having a criminal record for offences against children. It was also horrifying to see what little was actually done to either help Steven, as not only when he did try to tell a teacher of his abduction, he was accused of lying and being ungrateful but Parnell was able to freely go from town-to-town with a child who was not his own and with no-one challenging this. This film depicts both the trauma Steven faces as he grew up in such horrifying circumstances and the grief of the parents he left behind but it also shows the courage of the Stayners, who all remained strong through everything.

As true stories go, I think this has to be one of the best films out there and I recommend it to everyone. Do be prepared for your blood pressure to soar though when it is revealed that, infuriatingly, Parnell was let off with a light sentence for kidnapping and abusing Steven. It certainly shattered my illusions that the US has a great criminal justice system that the terribly lax system in the UK should take lessons from. This is one piece of filth who surely deserved a trip on 'Old Sparky' to fry for those vile acts to a little boy who almost loved him as a father to some degree.

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