7.4/10
29,191
129 user 52 critic

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
1,621 ( 233)
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:

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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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

Hayley McFarland,Scout Taylor-Compton and Hannah Leigh all played minor roles in the Gilmore Girls TV Series! Hayley played April Nardini's school friend, Scout played Dean's sister and Hannah played Charlotte, one of Emily Gilmore's apprentices. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Gertrude and Ricky are smoking together, Gertrude says, "You ain't old enough for smoke". In 1965, it was legal for minors to smoke as there was no legal smoking age. See more »

Quotes

Gertrude Baniszewski: [preparing to write the tattoo onto Sylvia's belly] Ricky... she came back from juvenile! Started stirring up trouble again... Johnny hold her!
Sylvia Likens: No, please, please!
Gertrude Baniszewski: Keep her still!
Marie Baniszewski: If you move, it'll only be messy.
Gertrude Baniszewski: [gives Marie a lighter and a safety pin] Light that.
Sylvia Likens: No! No! No! Please! No! No! Please! Please!
Gertrude Baniszewski: Stop it!
Shirley Baniszewski: You got it right, mama?
Gertrude Baniszewski: Make sure it's hot!
Sylvia Likens: I'm sorry! I'm sorry!
[...]
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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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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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