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An American Crime (2007)

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The true story of suburban housewife Gertrude Baniszewski, who kept a teenage girl locked in the basement of her Indiana home during the 1960s.

Director:

Tommy O'Haver
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Popularity
4,039 ( 585)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Patricia Place ... Mrs. Doyle
Calvin Keet Calvin Keet ... Mr. Doyle
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Storyline

Based on a true story that shocked the nation in 1965, the film recounts one of the most shocking crimes ever committed against a single victim. Sylvia and Jennie Fae Likens, the two daughters of traveling carnival workers are left for an extended stay at the Indianapolis home of single mother Gertrude Baniszewski and her six children. Times are tough, and Gertrude's financial needs cause her to make this arrangement before realizing how the burden will push her unstable nature to a breaking point. What transpires in the next three months is both riveting and horrific. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of a shocking crime and a secret that wouldn't keep. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong and disturbing depiction of child abuse and torture | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 December 2007 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Basement See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real life daughter, Paula Baniszewski, was released from prison and changed her name. She ended up getting a job as a guidance counselor aide in an Iowa school and worked there for 14 years before anyone found out about her real past. She was immediately fired. See more »

Goofs

A Ford Maverick is seen parked outside the house. The Maverick was not introduced until 1969, four years after the events of the film. See more »

Quotes

Gertrude Baniszewski: You know what it's like to be sick, Sylvia. I've been sick for so long, too. I can't... discipline my kids they was I should. I punish them I know, but... sometimes with my medicine I gets so I don't know what I'm doing.
[begins to cry]
Gertrude Baniszewski: And I care for them so much. Paula, the thing is... Paula's a lot like me. I had her when I was just about your age. Then Stephanie. Then all the others. Then John left... And here I am on medicine, doing whatever I can to keep my family together. I want ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The final credit states "Sylvia Likens, 1949-1965". See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Afflicted (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

You Don't Own Me
Written by John Madara and Dave White
Performed by Lesley Gore
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An American Crime vs. Girl Next Door
30 May 2008 | by hateisgreatokSee all my reviews

First of all someone said " The Girl Next Door" wasn't based on actual events .You'd have to be oblivious not to see it's based on this case with some minor changes.

I feel that The Girl Next Door is a much more disturbing film then An American Crime because the degree of abuse is much more accurate in relation to what happened in real life.

Also I was somewhat disturbed that the the director tried to show Gertrude in a somewhat sympathetic light as if he was trying to make some sort of feminist statement that Gertrude was a victim of 50's male oppression.In reality she was a sexual sadist of unspeakable proportions.


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