The Accused (1988)

R | 110 mins | Drama | 14 October 1988

Director:

Jonathan Kaplan

Writer:

Tom Topor

Cinematographer:

Ralf Bode

Production Designer:

Richard Kent Wilcox

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

       Although the location of the story is identified as Birchfield County, WA, Birchfield is actually an unincorporated community within Yakima County, WA.
       The film was based on a 6 Mar 1983 New Bedford, MA, incident occurring in Big Dan's Tavern in which Cheryl Araujo was gang raped as spectators cheered, according to an item in the 20 Apr 1987 People magazine, which also reported that twenty-five-year-old Araujo had been killed in an automobile accident in Dec 1986.
       Army Archerd's 25 Mar 1985 DV "Just For Variety" column carried an item stating that Jane Fonda would play the role of the attorney in the project that then had the working title Witness. The story also noted that the title would be changed, undoubtedly to avoid confusion with Paramount's 1985 film titled Witness (see entry).
       An item in the 22 Apr 1987 Var outlining three feature film projects set to shoot in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, mentioned that the film, now titled Reckless Endangerment, would begin principal photography on 27 Apr 1987 with a budget of $13 million and a projected wrap date of 22 Jun 1987.
       The 23 Sep 1988 DV carried a brief publicity blurb touting that The Accused received a bigger test audience response than the previous Jaffe-Lansing production, Fatal Attraction (1987, see entry). However, with the picture set to be released 14 Oct 1988, the Portuguese-American Business Association urged New England exhibitors to boycott the film, claiming it would "threaten the positive identity of the Portuguese community," based on the original 1983 rape and subsequent trial of ... More Less

       Although the location of the story is identified as Birchfield County, WA, Birchfield is actually an unincorporated community within Yakima County, WA.
       The film was based on a 6 Mar 1983 New Bedford, MA, incident occurring in Big Dan's Tavern in which Cheryl Araujo was gang raped as spectators cheered, according to an item in the 20 Apr 1987 People magazine, which also reported that twenty-five-year-old Araujo had been killed in an automobile accident in Dec 1986.
       Army Archerd's 25 Mar 1985 DV "Just For Variety" column carried an item stating that Jane Fonda would play the role of the attorney in the project that then had the working title Witness. The story also noted that the title would be changed, undoubtedly to avoid confusion with Paramount's 1985 film titled Witness (see entry).
       An item in the 22 Apr 1987 Var outlining three feature film projects set to shoot in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, mentioned that the film, now titled Reckless Endangerment, would begin principal photography on 27 Apr 1987 with a budget of $13 million and a projected wrap date of 22 Jun 1987.
       The 23 Sep 1988 DV carried a brief publicity blurb touting that The Accused received a bigger test audience response than the previous Jaffe-Lansing production, Fatal Attraction (1987, see entry). However, with the picture set to be released 14 Oct 1988, the Portuguese-American Business Association urged New England exhibitors to boycott the film, claiming it would "threaten the positive identity of the Portuguese community," based on the original 1983 rape and subsequent trial of several onlookers of Portuguese descent, according to the 13 Sep 1988 LAT and the 12 Oct 1988 Var. As early as 13 Sep 1988, as noted in the LAHExam on that date, Paramount spokesperson Jane Lanouette had announced that the film did " . . . not depict Portuguese or any other ethnic group as committing the rape."
       For what was described by David Denby in the 31 Oct 1988 New York as her "first full-scale, grown -up performance in the movies," Jodie Foster won the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama, and this recognition, along with Foster traveling overseas to promote the film, helped boost overseas ticket sales, according to an article in the 10 May 1989 Var. As of that date, The Accused had posted a domestic box-office gross of $33 million; but since its 17 Feb 1989 foreign release, the film had taken in $37.5 million and was projected to earn at least $43 million before it had played out in foreign venues.
             A title following the final shot of the film reads: "In the United States a rape is reported every six minutes. One out of every four rape victims is attacked by two or more assailants." End credits include the following statements: "The producers wish to thank: Vancouver Art Gallery; British Columbia Buildings Corporation; Pacific National Exhibition; University of British Columbia; Vancouver General Hospital; City of Vancouver"; "Filmed on location in British Columbia, Canada, in association with Paramount Pictures Corporation (Canada), Inc."
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Mar 1985.
---
Daily Variety
11 Mar 1987.
---
Daily Variety
23 Sep 1988.
---
Daily Variety
31 Mar 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1988
p. 6, 14, 81.
LAHExam
13 Sep 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Sep 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
14 Oct 1988
Calendar, p. 4.
New York
31 Oct 1988
p. 68.
New York Times
14 Oct 1988
Section C, p. 13.
People
20 Apr 1987.
---
Variety
22 Apr 1987.
---
Variety
17 Feb 1988.
---
Variety
12 Oct 1988.
---
Variety
19 Oct 1988
p. 14.
Variety
10 May 1989
pp. 13-14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Courthouse reporters:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Jaffe/Lansing Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
3d asst dir
DGC trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl op
Addl op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl 1st asst cam
Still photog
Cam trainee
Video playback
Video consultant (24 frame)
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Lamp op
Lamp op
ART DIRECTORS
Des consultant
Art dir
Graphics des
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
1st asst ed (Canada)
2d asst ed (Canada)
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Asst set dec
Draughtsman
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set dec buyer
Set dec buyer
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dec labourer
Greens
Const coord
Const foreperson
Lead carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter's helper
Head painter
Lead painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Supv mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Conductor
Orchestra recorded at
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cable person trainee
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst ADR ed
Apprentice sd ed
Dubbing ed (Los Angeles)
Dubbing ed (Los Angeles)
Re-rec mixer (Los Angeles)
Re-rec mixer (Los Angeles)
Re-rec mixer (Los Angeles)
Re-rec mixer (New York)
Re-recordist (Los Angeles)
Re-recordist (Los Angeles
Sd eff recordist
Foley artist
Dolby stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff asst
Opticals by
MAKEUP
Head make-up artist
Head hairstylist
Asst make-up artist
Asst hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Animal handler
Scr supv
Prod coord
Pub consultant
Prod auditor
Accountant
Courtroom tech consultant
Canadian casting by
Extras casting coordinator
Casting asst
Casting asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst prod coord
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Asst to Mr. Kaplan
Craft service/First aid
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
"I'm Talking Love," by Brad Fiedel & Ross Levinson, performed by Vanessa Anderson
"At This Moment," by Billy Vera, performed by Billy Vera & The Beaters, courtesy of Rhino Records, Inc.
"Kiss Of Fire," by James Harman, Kid Ramos, Willie J. Campbell & Stephen T. Hodges, performed by The James Harman Band, courtesy of Rhino Records, Inc.
+
SONGS
"I'm Talking Love," by Brad Fiedel & Ross Levinson, performed by Vanessa Anderson
"At This Moment," by Billy Vera, performed by Billy Vera & The Beaters, courtesy of Rhino Records, Inc.
"Kiss Of Fire," by James Harman, Kid Ramos, Willie J. Campbell & Stephen T. Hodges, performed by The James Harman Band, courtesy of Rhino Records, Inc.
"Love To The Limit," by Paul Sabu & Debrah Neal, performed by Only Child, courtesy of Rhino Records, Inc.
"Love In Return," by Gina Schock
"Middle of Nowhere," by Gina Schock & Vance DeGeneres
"Walk In My Sleep," by Gina Schock, Vance DeGeneres & Paul Sanchez, performed by House of Schock, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc. Special Markets Division
"Mojo Boogie," by J. B. Lenoir, performed by Johnny Winter, courtesy of Alligator Records
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DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Witness
Reckless Endangerment
Release Date:
14 October 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 October 1988
Production Date:
27 April--late June 1987 in Vancouver, British Columbia
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
21 November 1988
Copyright Number:
PA395407
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28980
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Kenneth Joyce runs out of the Mill, a roadside bar in Birchfield County, Washington, to a pay telephone and reports a girl “in trouble.” Seconds later, Sarah Tobias runs out clutching at her clothes and screaming for help. At the hospital, Sarah, who has multiple bruises and scratches on her body, is questioned about her sexual history. Carol Hunnicutt from the Rape Center arrives and offers any assistance she can provide. During Sarah’s physical examination, deputy district attorney Kathryn Murphy enters. As Sarah goes to shower, Murphy discusses the case with Hunnicutt, noting that Sarah was legally drunk and had been smoking marijuana before the incident, and making clear that as a prosecutor she has to make the case for rape before she can bring charges or go to trial. As Murphy questions Sarah, Detective Lieutenant “Dunc” Duncan comes in and they ask Sarah to return to the Mill to see if she can identify any of her attackers. Reluctantly, Sarah agrees. Back at the Mill, Murphy notices the personalized license plate on Sarah’s car: SXY SADI. Sarah identifies Kurt and Danny as two of her three attackers. When Murphy drives her home, Sarah recalls Bob Joiner, “the college one,” as the third rapist, and mentions that her friend, Sally Fraser, was in the Mill when she was attacked. Sarah asks Murphy to drop her off before they pull up to her mobile home because she doesn’t want to disturb her boyfriend, Larry, who likes to get stoned and fall asleep listening to music. Larry does not know what to say to Sarah when he ... +


Kenneth Joyce runs out of the Mill, a roadside bar in Birchfield County, Washington, to a pay telephone and reports a girl “in trouble.” Seconds later, Sarah Tobias runs out clutching at her clothes and screaming for help. At the hospital, Sarah, who has multiple bruises and scratches on her body, is questioned about her sexual history. Carol Hunnicutt from the Rape Center arrives and offers any assistance she can provide. During Sarah’s physical examination, deputy district attorney Kathryn Murphy enters. As Sarah goes to shower, Murphy discusses the case with Hunnicutt, noting that Sarah was legally drunk and had been smoking marijuana before the incident, and making clear that as a prosecutor she has to make the case for rape before she can bring charges or go to trial. As Murphy questions Sarah, Detective Lieutenant “Dunc” Duncan comes in and they ask Sarah to return to the Mill to see if she can identify any of her attackers. Reluctantly, Sarah agrees. Back at the Mill, Murphy notices the personalized license plate on Sarah’s car: SXY SADI. Sarah identifies Kurt and Danny as two of her three attackers. When Murphy drives her home, Sarah recalls Bob Joiner, “the college one,” as the third rapist, and mentions that her friend, Sally Fraser, was in the Mill when she was attacked. Sarah asks Murphy to drop her off before they pull up to her mobile home because she doesn’t want to disturb her boyfriend, Larry, who likes to get stoned and fall asleep listening to music. Larry does not know what to say to Sarah when he learns of the rape, and offers to take her for a ride on his motorcycle to get some air, but when she does not want to go, he leaves on his own. Sarah calls her mother, wanting to come home, but is told that her mom is going to Florida. The next day, at the college, Sarah points out Bob to Murphy and Dunc, and the college student is arrested. At a preliminary hearing bail is set at ten thousand dollars for the three accused rapists. At her job as a waitress at the Dugout, a sports café, Sarah sees the story of their release on bond. In an interview with Murphy, Sarah is grilled by the attorney about her drinking and sexual habits and about a previous drug arrest. Sarah objects, but Murphy explains that these are the types of questions defense attorneys will ask. At the Mill, Murphy questions Sarah’s friend, Sally, who claims not to have seen anything, and from what she heard she thought Sarah was “just partying.” When prodded, Sally mentions that one of the guys in the room had a scorpion tattoo. Sally mentions that Sarah had just had a fight with her live-in boyfriend, Larry. She describes Larry as a would-be musician who is primarily a drug dealer and rides a motorcycle. At the bar, Dunc threatens to tell authorities that the uncooperative bartender, Jesse, kept pouring liquor even as a violent felony was occurring in the back room. Later, Murphy outlines the case to District Attorney Paul Rudolph, who instructs her to make a deal to put the accused “away” on any sort of reduced violent felony charge. In negotiations with defense attorneys, Murphy says her “best offer” is for a plea of second-degree rape. One attorney responds that his client will not plead guilty to a sexual offense, and Murphy suggests reckless endangerment as an alternative plea. All agree. When Sarah learns of the plea deal while watching television, she barges into Murphy’s house, interrupting a dinner party, and accuses Murphy of selling her out. Back at home, Sarah takes a pair of scissors to her hair, and Larry is shocked when he sees what she has done. He attempts to make love to her, but she asks him to stop, and when Larry says her attitude is getting “boring,” she kicks him out and tells him not to return. At a record store Sarah is accosted by Cliff Albrecht who claims to know her as “sexy Sadie.” When he blocks her car with his pickup truck as she attempts to drive out of the parking lot, Sarah deliberately rams his truck with her car. At the hospital as Murphy waits to see Sarah, she notices the scorpion tattoo on Cliff’s left forearm. Sarah tells Murphy what happened, and bemoans the fact that no one believes she was raped since she did not have an opportunity to tell her story because of the plea deal. After seeing Sarah, Murphy chases down Cliff, who admits he was at the Mill and says that Sarah put on a “great show.” Murphy returns to her office and listens again to the tape recording of the emergency call from the night of the rape, although the identity of the caller remains unknown. Murphy proposes to the District Attorney that they prosecute Cliff and the others in the bar for “criminal solicitation,” but the D. A. refuses and threatens Murphy with being dismissed. Murphy replies that if she is fired she will bring civil charges against the rapists, the spectators and the D. A. for every “sleazy plea bargain” his office ever made. Murphy tells Sarah she wants to prosecute the others, and although the rape case itself has been settled, Sarah’s testifying to the crime will “put the rape on record” and ensure that the rapists will spend the full five year in prison instead of the nine months they are likely to serve. Sarah agrees to testify on condition that there are “no deals” struck. Murphy gets Sally, very reluctantly, to identify in police line-ups those who cheered on the rape, and among those she identifies is Cliff. However, Sally also reveals that on the night of the incident Sarah had had a fight with her boyfriend, Larry, and when she came into the bar and saw Bob, she made the comment that she’d like to take him home and make love to the college guy in front of Larry. Murphy is livid at the revelation, and Sarah walks out on her, although she later apologizes. Murphy goes to the Mill to speak with Jesse, but it is his day off. However, she goes to the back room and notices that the high-scorer on a video game the night of the rape was a person named “Ken.” Later, looking through a Delta Lambda Chi fraternity membership directory she comes across picture of Kenneth Joyce. Although Kenneth says he knows nothing about the crime, Murphy plays the tape of his 911 call. At trial on the stand, Sarah is called to tell what happened to her, and she says that when Danny initially raped her, the others in the bar urged him to “hold her down.” On cross examination, attorney Ben Wainwright elicits the admission from Sarah that due to intoxication, other sounds in the bar and the fact that she had her eyes closed at least part of the time, she cannot identify who or how many may have encouraged the rapists. Defense attorney Paulsen gets Sarah to admit that although she said, “No,” she did not say, “Stop,” or, “Rape.” On redirect, Murphy asks what words came to Sarah’s mind as she was being gang raped, and the witness replies, “No.” Later, at state prison, Kenneth Joyce visits his friend, Bob. Kenneth tells Bob he is being forced to testify, but wants to tell the truth. Bob urges him to “forget,” or else his nine-month sentence will be stretched to the full five years. Later, the District Attorney informs Murphy that if put on the stand, Kenneth will recant his earlier statements, and the D. A. advises Murphy to move for dismissal. Left alone in Murphy’s office, Sarah and Kenneth talk and she accuses him of being worse than the others. Both admit that they are scared. On the stand, Kenneth relates his version of events. Danny bought drinks for Sarah and Sally, and Sarah went willingly with Danny to the back room. Sometime later Sarah danced provocatively to a song playing on the jukebox. Danny began to aggressively kiss Sarah, but she told him she had to leave as she had to get up for work in the morning. At that point Cliff encouraged Danny to “go for it,” and told “college boy” Bob, “You’re next!” Finally Cliff egged on Kurt to have a go at Sarah, and when he hesitated, Cliff asked if Kurt was homosexual? Kenneth left the bar to phone for help, and Sarah got away from Kurt when she bit the hand he held over her mouth. Outside the courthouse, after the testimony of all the witnesses, Sarah asks Murphy what their chances are, and the lawyer responds, “Fifty-fifty.” In his summation, defense attorney Paulsen tells the jury that Sarah neither named nor described the men shouting encouragement. He goes on to say that testimony from Larry, Sally, Sarah and Jesse can be discounted. The question comes down to whether the jurors believe Kenneth Joyce. Like the others, Kenneth did watch a rape, and, Paulsen suggests, felt guilty, and has testified merely to purge his conscience. In her summation Murphy reiterates Sarah’s rape, and observes that all the men in the bar behaved badly. But watching silently, as Kenneth did, was not “criminal solicitation.” As they await the jury’s verdict, Sarah reads an astrological chart she has put together for Murphy, who has previously expressed no belief in astrology. The chart shows great things ahead for the attorney. When Murphy asks what her future holds, Sarah says she left her own chart at home and cannot remember what it said. After several days of deliberation, the jury finds the three defendants guilty.
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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