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The Accused (1988 film)

the accused (1988 film), the accused (1988 film)mougli)viedeo
The Accused is a 1988 Canadian-American drama film written by Tom Topor and directed by Jonathan Kaplan It stars Jodie Foster and Kelly McGillis The film is set in Washington state and filmed in Vancouver, Canada The film was loosely based on the 1983 gang rape of Cheryl Araujo in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and the resulting trial, which received national coverage This film was one of the first Hollywood films to portray rape graphicallycitation needed

The film was well received Jodie Foster portrayed Sarah Tobias, the victim, earning the Academy Award for Best Actress, the film's sole nomination This was the first time that the lead actress won the Best Actress Academy Award without the film being nominated in any other category since 1962, when Sophia Loren won Best Actress for her performance in Two Women1


  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Soundtrack
  • 4 Reception and awards
  • 5 Background
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 Further reading
  • 9 External links


One night at a bar, working-class woman Sarah Tobias Foster is gang raped by several drunk bar patrons, while onlookers cheer them on Assistant district attorney, Kathryn Murphy McGillis is assigned to the rape case Her superior wants to drop the case, believing that Sarah's background and prior record will make her testimony appear weak to the jury and that she will not win the case After a heated argument, her superior suggests she arrange a plea bargain with the rape defendants that requires some jail time They make a plea bargain to charges of reckless endangerment, and are sentenced to prison Sarah is enraged by the deal, as she did not get to testify in court against her attackers

Sarah is hospitalized after she rammed a pickup truck, recognizing its driver as one of the witnesses from the bar, and being outraged by his crude proposition of her After this, Kathryn decides to prosecute the men who cheered the rape for criminal solicitation Sarah's friend Sally Ann Hearn, a waitress at the bar where the rape took place, picks three men out of a line-up as those who encouraged the attackers They get three different defense attorneys for the ensuing trial

Sarah testifies that she was raped College student Kenneth Joyce Bernie Coulson, a friend of one of the rapists, testifies to watching the rape before he made a 911 call to notify police After Kathryn's closing statement and a single summation from the three defense lawyers, the jury deliberates for a long time They ask several times for Ken's testimony to be reread to them

In the end, the jury convicts the three defendants As the trial provides testimony and evidence that the men raped Sarah, the three men already serving prison time for reckless endangerment are unlikely to be granted early parole and will likely have to register as sex offenders for many years afterwards


  • Jodie Foster as Sarah Tobias
  • Kelly McGillis as Assistant District Attorney Kathryn Murphy
  • Bernie Coulson as Kenneth Joyce
  • Leo Rossi as Cliff "Scorpion" Albrect
  • Ann Hearn as Sally Fraser
  • Carmen Argenziano as District Attorney Paul Rudolph
  • Steve Antin as Bob Joiner
  • Tom O'Brien as Larry
  • Peter Van Norden as Attorney Paulsen
  • Terry David Mulligan as Lieutenant Duncan
  • Woody Brown as Danny
  • Scott Paulin as Attorney Ben Wainwright
  • Kim Kondrashoff as Kurt


  • "I'm Talking Love" by Vanessa Anderson
  • "At This Moment" by Billy Vera & The Beaters
  • "Kiss of Fire" by James Harman
  • "Love to the Limit" by Only Child
  • "Love in Return" by Gina Schock
  • "Middle of Nowhere" Gina Schock and Vance DeGeneres
  • "Walk in My Sleep" by House of Schock
  • "Mojo Boogie" by Johnny Winter

Reception and awardsedit

The film grossed a total of $32,078,3182

Writing of the two criminal prosecutions in the film, Roger Ebert finds that the lesson of the trial "may be the most important message this movie has to offerthat verbal sexual harassment, whether crudely in a saloon back room or subtly in an everyday situation, is a form of violence - one that leaves no visible marks but can make its victims feel unable to move freely and casually in society It is a form of imprisonment"3

The film was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival in 19894

Jodie Foster won an Academy Award as Best Actress for her performance; the film received no other nominations for Academy Awards It was the first time this had occurred since 1962, when Sophia Loren won Best Actress for her performance in Two Women

Since The Accused, there have been other instances in which female leads have won Academy Awards for Best Actress in films that did not receive other nominations: Kathy Bates for Misery in which she plays a psychotic, obsessed fan holding the object of her affection hostage; Jessica Lange for Blue Sky in which she portrays a housewife living with bipolar disorder; Charlize Theron for Monster in which she portrays a serial killer who attacks men; and Julianne Moore for Still Alice in which she portrays a woman with Alzheimer's disease5678

Marjorie Heins, in the 1998 book The V-Chip Debate: Content Filtering from Television to the Internet, said that educators worried that the film would "receive V ratings and be subject to at least a presumption against curricular use in many public schools"9


Kelly McGillis acknowledged at the time of film release that she had survived an attack and rape Based on her experience, the actress took the role of the fictional Assistant District Attorney Murphy in the film McGillis was initially recruited to play the role of Sarah Tobias the assault victim but declined, citing her personal experience10

In 1982, McGillis was assaulted, raped, and robbed in her home by Leroy Johnson, a sex offender who had recently escaped from juvenile jail, and his adult accomplice<ref name="offender">

See alsoedit

  • Aestheticization of violence, includes a discussion of Kaplan's use of a violent rape scene in The Accused
  • List of films based on actual events
  • 61st Academy Awards


  1. ^ http://wwwimdbcom/title/tt0054749/awardsref_=tt_awd
  2. ^ "The Accused 1988" Box Office Mojo Retrieved January 13, 2012
  3. ^ Roger Ebert October 14, 1988 "The Accused", Chicago Sun-Times
  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1989 Programme" berlinalede Retrieved 2011-03-09 
  5. ^ http://wwwimdbcom/title/tt0100157/awardsref_=tt_awd
  6. ^ http://wwwimdbcom/title/tt0109306/awardsref_=tt_awd
  7. ^ http://wwwimdbcom/title/tt0340855/awardsref_=tt_awd
  8. ^ http://wwwimdbcom/title/tt3316960/awardsref_=tt_awd
  9. ^ Marjorie Heins, "Three Questions About Television Ratings," in The V-Chip Debate: Content Filtering from Television to the Internet, ed Monroe E Price Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers 1998: 54
  10. ^ Kelly McGillis, as told to Kristin McMurran 14 November 1988 "Memoir of a Brief Time in Hell" People Retrieved 18 August 2015 

Further readingedit

  • Aquino, John T 2005 "Big Dan's Tavern Rape Trial 1983 / Film: The Accused 1988," in Truth and Lives on Film: The Legal Problems of Depicting Real Persons and Events in a Fictional Medium McFarland pp 140–143 ISBN 0786420448

External linksedit

  • The Accused on Box Office Mojo
  • The Accused at Rotten Tomatoes
  • The Accused on Internet Movie Database
  • The Accused at the TCM Movie Database

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