The Accused Movie Review

The Accused

The first scream was for help. The second was for justice
The Accused Picture
The fateful night in the bar


Jodie Foster, Kelly McGillis, Bernie Coulson, Leo Rossi

Carmen Argenziano, Ann Hearn, Steve Antin, Tom O'Brien, Peter Van Norden, Terry David Mulligan, Woody Brown, Scott Paulin, Kim Kondrashoff, Stephen E. Miller, Tom Heaton, Andrew Kavadas, Tom McBeath Update Cast

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According to Jodie Foster in her interview in Boffo! Tinseltown's Bombs and Blockbusters (2006), producer Stanley R. Jaffe felt she was "not sexy enough" for the role and wanted to cast another actress.

He apparently begged director Jonathan Kaplan to cast Kim Basinger in the role of Sarah, as he felt that 24-year-old Jodie Foster did not have the right talent for the role.

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This provocative drama asks several important questions about our views of people and of the legal system. Are people in receiving of acts because they look the part? Is the legal system truly standing up for its victims? This movie gives us an opinion on such topics.

Sarah Tobias (Foster) is a small-town woman on various substances and of questionable morals, with a nasty boyfriend (O'Brien). Hanging out at her favorite bar, The Mill, one night, she is assaulted by 3 men and viewed by more. Running out of the bar in hysterics, she heads for home. The events cause her boyfriend to ditch her. Angered, she takes her attackers to court but, outrageously, the 3 men are let off with a light sentence. Why? Because Sarah is said to be of poor morality, they figured that whatever happened was bound to, so what would be the point of heavy sentences?

Sarah is furious... The deputy district attorney Kathryn Murphy (McGillis), who helped the attackers receive a light sentence, tries to explain her side, but Sarah won't rest until justice is served. The two hatch a plan to do something rarely done in legal history... Sarah will bring the witnesses to court and sue them to blazes.

This seems rather simple, if controversial, yet these witnesses aren't lying down without a fight. They follow Sarah to a record store, (look for 80s singer posters in the background), they wreck her car, they try to prove their power over Sarah.

Kathryn is still looking for information... She gets some out of a college student who says that Sarah was drunk and was looking to be assaulted. She confirms this with a waitress (Hearn) at The Mill. Despite her objections, she angrily grills Sarah about this before coming to her senses.

Now the days of reckoning begin. Various witnesses have their say about Sarah, who eventually takes the stand to describe the events. After a horrendous flashback, she ends her testimony.

Even in this, one of the heaviest dramas of the Greed Decade, there is one essential 80s element, the happy ending. Sarah reforms her drinking and drug taking ways and the spectators get the heavy sentences they deserve.

Author: John Edward KilduffUpdate This Review


A point is deducted for the darkness of the movie, but this film is great. Jodie Foster worked at high-quality in this movie, and landed an Oscar. She does everything in this movie to earn that award. Despite many people's feelings, I believe that Kelly McGillis was very good in her role as Foster's attorney. The attackers were rightly played as sleazes (Leo Rossi turning in a great performance as spectator "Scorpion" Albrect), and the movie is still very 80s.

It wasn't all joy and laughter in the 80s... This movie is a fine dramatic work.

The performances are stellar and the script is good.
Definitely not for the squeamish...

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The Movie Data

Key Crew

Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Writer: Tom Topor
Producers: Stanley R. Jaffe, Sherry Lansing, Jack Roe
Locations Manager: Colleen Nystedt

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Release Date: 14 Oct 1988
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Production: Paramount Pictures
Genre: Drama

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The Movie Trailer
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1988 Paramount Pictures
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