The bizarre true story of Linda Riss and Burt Pugach.


Dan Klores, Fisher Stevens (co-director)


Dan Klores
5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Bob Janoff Bob Janoff ... Self - Burt's Friend
Burt Pugach ... Self
Linda Pugach ... Self (as Linda Riss)
Sylvia Hoffman Sylvia Hoffman ... Self - Linda's Cousin
Rita Kessler Rita Kessler ... Self - Friend
Joyce Guerriero Joyce Guerriero ... Self - Friend
Berry Stainback Berry Stainback ... Self - Biographer
Janet Pomerantz Janet Pomerantz ... Self - Burt's Secretary
Rusty Goldberg Rusty Goldberg ... Self - Friend
Jimmy Breslin ... Self - Journalist
Margaret Powers Margaret Powers ... Self - Police Officer
Norman Ackerman Norman Ackerman ... Self - Psychiatrist (as Dr. Norman Ackerman)
William Kunstler ... Self - Defense Attorney (archive footage)
Marvyn Kornberg Marvyn Kornberg ... Self - Defense Attorney
Marvin Scott ... Self - TV Reporter


The bizarre true story of Linda Riss and Burt Pugach.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He had to have her See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language including sexual references, and mature thematic elements | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Burt Pugach and Linda Pugach were two of the last people interviewed for this documentary. See more »


Features The Geraldo Rivera Show (1987) See more »


Can't Get Used To Losing You
Written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman
Performed by Julie London
Unichappell Music, Inc., o/b/o itself and 456 Music Associates (BMI)
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under Licence from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

User Reviews

Good documentary but don't call it a love story
26 March 2014 | by TanteWailekaSee all my reviews

The victim, Linda, who ends up married to the guy did not say in this documentary that she loved the man who paid someone to disfigure her and then years later married her. He disfigured her face, her beautiful eyes and ruined her life as much as possible without actually killing her. To me it is obvious he is a narcissist because he never really admits any GUILT over ANY of his BAD VERY BAD actions. Dating her when he was married, obviously he's about 8-9 years older than her. She never had sex with him, and it was 'hinted' but not stated outright that finally in her mid-30s after she'd been disfigured she was planning to lose her virginity, finally! to another guy, but when that guy saw her eyes not hidden behind dark glasses, he freaked. The one man she thought loved her (not Burt) broke off their engagement after she got out of the hospital after the acid attack. This woman was STRONG WILLED. To be blind to the point where she could only see light/dark and 'shapes' and yet walk to work, in a big city, without a seeing eye dog or even a white cane, shows her strength. But by the time Burt got out of jail, Linda had been single, and living alone, for years. She had no one, no money, barely surviving in a one-room 'apartment'. AND there's Burt, still relentlessly telling her he loves her, and asking for her forgiveness. So she has a love/hate relationship with him, what's new about that? She tells him 'if you love me send me money'... and although he was still in jail at the time, he was selling his lawyering services to the inmates and two weeks later she's got a certified check from him for $4,000.00... in early 1970-71. That was BIG money for that time. Enough time has passed that she has 'gotten over' what he did to her, as much as one could, and she no longer hates him. Hate is a strong emotion, and very draining, just like infatuation. (I think infatuation, not love, is the flip side of hate.) So he's out of jail, paid his 'debt to society' (as he said) and she wants some respite from her life of not-much. So she marries him. Odd, maybe, but not 'weird'. She doesn't love him, and he, purportedly, does love her (in his narcissistic way). I understand why she married him. Although he never stopped being a liar/cheat (he's a narcissist), he does seem to take care of her, and finally, that's better than living alone, struggling to survive financially with an overwe'ening sense of loneliness. Maybe his punishment is having to take care of the woman he supposedly loved and yet injured so seriously. Who knows. Life is short and difficult. So she took comfort from her enemy. Move along, people, nothing (new) to see here. Very well done documentary! I was surprised it kept my interest, but it did.

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Release Date:

1 June 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Love Is in the Air See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,952, 3 June 2007

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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