7.3/10
31,932
157 user 53 critic

An American Crime (2007)

Trailer
1:17 | Trailer
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
Reviews
Popularity
4,058 ( 1,382)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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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:

This has been the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ellen Page was the only choice to play Sylvia Likens. See more »

Goofs

During the big "rescue" scene Ricky and Sylvia flee from Gertie in a 67-68 model Ford Mustang, a blatant error considering the movie is set in 1965. 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 something...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The Afflicted (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Birds and the Bees
Performed by Jewel Akens
Written by Herb Newman
Courtesy of Dominion Entertainment, Inc.
Under license from Spirit Music Group, Inc.
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User Reviews

The American Crime
25 February 2015 | by bstmo29See all my reviews

The "disclaimer" at the end of "An American Crime" could not be more appropriate. Why does Hollywood have to make up "fake scenarios" about one of the most horrific crimes ever committed? Are the actual facts not "interesting" enough for the big screen? I can assure you, they are indeed, and need to be told. Anyone who has ever comprehensively researched this case can tell you, there is very little "fact" here. The ferocity and unrelenting cruelty of the monster "Gertrude," as well as the "enthusiasm" of the children who participated in the torture of Sylvia Likens, particularly, daughter Paula, has been falsely conveyed and greatly understated. It's really a travesty and dishonors the memory of an innocent young girl. They had a great opportunity to show the truth, and they blew it. Shame on them.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,306,875
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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