Films on Rape

The Invisible War

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 37m. The Invisible War exposes a rape epidemic in the armed forces, investigating the institutions that perpetuate it as well as its personal consequences. See Full Review

The Central Park Five

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 58m. This documentary examines the case of five teenagers, all African-American or Latino, who were falsely accused and convicted of the brutal rape of a white woman in 1989. The facts are revealed that the entire police brass, DAs, politicians and especially the NYC media was complicit in railroading these youths. Modern forensics exonerated them with the help the actual perpetrator who eventually confessed. When I heard Ken Burns was involved in producing this film, I immediately wanted to see it. See Full Review

The Confessions

Documentary Frontline 2010 NR 83 minutes. In this edition of the investigative PBS series, show producer Ofra Bikel looks into the case of four U.S. Navy seamen living in the hellish aftermath of falsely confessing to the 1997 rape and murder of a Virginia woman. Through interviews with the convicted men, Bikel exposes the high-pressure interrogation methods used by police to extract confessions despite the absence of evidence connecting the sailors to the crime.See Full Review

Scottsboro: An American Tragedy

Documentary American Experience 2000 NR 90 minutes. When two white women accused nine black teenagers of raping them on an Alabama train in 1931, their claims set off a chain reaction that eventually reached the Supreme Court — and launched the modern-day Civil Rights movement. Shot over five years on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, this fascinating installment of the “American Experience” series dissects the particulars of the case through the words of those who lived it.  See Full Review

Requiem for Frank Lee Smith

Documentary Frontline 2002. In December 2000, after spending fourteen years on Florida’s Death Row, Frank Lee Smith was finally cleared of the rape and murder of eight-year-old Shandra Whitehead. Like nearly 100 prisoners before him, Smith’s belated exoneration came as a result of sophisticated DNA testing that was unavailable when he was first convicted. But for Frank Lee Smith, the good news came too late: Ten months before he was proven innocent, Smith died of cancer in his jail cell, just steps away from Florida’s electric chair. How did Frank Lee Smith end up on Death Row for a crime he didn’t commit? And why was he allowed to die there despite possible evidence of his innocence?

What Jennifer Saw

Documentary Frontline 1997. Identified by the victim, Ronald Cotton spent eleven years in prison for rape. But in 1995, DNA evidence proved Cotton could not have been the attacker. With unprecedented access to the central figures in the investigation, confidential police reports and legal files, Frontline delves into the Cotton case, examining the reliability of eyewitness identification and the implications of DNA evidence for the American justice system. In an exclusive interview, Jennifer Thompson tells the story of her brutal rape and how, twelve years later, she must confront the consequences of her mistaken identification.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Drama 1962 NR 130 minutes. Southern comforts abound in this big-screen adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel as lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck, in an Oscar-winning role) defends an innocent black man (Brock Peters) against rape charges but ends up in a maelstrom of hate and prejudice. Meanwhile, with help from a friend (John Megna), Finch’s children, Jem (Phillip Alford) and Scout (Mary Badham), set their sights on making contact with a reclusive neighbor (Robert Duvall).  See Full Review

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