Crime Film Documentaries

Instructor: James R. Elkins

"Capturing the Friedmans"

[1 hr. 47 mins.] [film by Andrew Jarecki]


"A family in crisis is 'captured' through real home video. The Friedmans, an average upper-middle-class Jewish family in Great Neck, NY, found their world turned upside down when the father and son were charged with child molestation in 1987. The media inundated the airwaves with coverage of the alleged crime, but some of the best footage was shot by the family themselves—seen publicly for the first time in this documentary." ~ Netflix


Internet Movie Database

Rotten Tomatoes


The DVD: "Capturing the Friedmans" is a 2 disc set. The second disk contains a Charlie Rose interview of director Andrew Jarecki and film footage that was not included in the film. The disc also contains miscellanous legal documents.

Reading: Susan A. Bandes, The Lessons of Capturing the Friedmans: Moral Panic, Institutional Denial, and Due Process (published in Law, Culture, & Humanities) [on-line pre-publication draft]

The Film

Jesse Friedman's Web Site
[Jesse Friedman's website provides access to legal documents in Friedman's case and his efforts to have his
guilty plea and conviction overturned. He continues to seek exoneration.]

Capturing the

Exonerating the Friedmans

Peter Merholz: Blog Entry

Deconstructing the Myths: Capturing the Friedmans

Capturing the Friedmans: Annotated Bibliography
[most of the links to news accounts on this webpage are inoperable]

Capturing the Friedmans: Weblog

The Film & the Case: Videos

The Jesse Friedman Case
[42:56 mins.] [February 21, 2012, presentation at St. Francis College; Jesse Friedman tells the story about his case, beginning of the video to 5:39 mins. when Ron Kuby begins his presentation] [for in class viewing skip 11:35 mins. to 14:46 when [Jesse Friedman resumes his presenation; Ron Kuby takes over again at 20:30 mins. (talking about Judge Abbey Boklan and her posture in the case, and the "situation" with other mass hysteria sex-abuse cases of the time) and then he and Friedman jointly present until the end of the video.]

Jesse Friedman & Ron Kuby Explain Jesse's Innocence
[44:26 mins.]

What Was Left Out? A Critique of "Capturing the Friedmans"
[10:00 mins.]

Clearing Jesse Friedman
[4:21 mins.]

Jesse's Last Night
[55:04 mins.] [Note accompanying the video (purportedly by Jesse Friedman): "My brother David shot 110 minutes of VHS videotape during my last twelve hours before going to prison. This material was featured prominently in 'Capturing the Friedmans.' My brother and I have edited the material and produced 'Jesse's Last Night,' which is now a one hour film comprised exclusively of this home movie footage. The content is virtually unedited, and is a feature film entirely of 'found footage.' "]

Debbie Nathan (the journalist who appears in the film)

Complex Persecution: A Long Island Family's Nightmare Struggle With Porn, Pedophilia, and Public Hysteria
[Debbie Nathan, aarticle in the Village Voice, May 20, 2003]

Jessie Friedman Case Update: Video and News Accounts

2013 Update of the Case and the Release of the Nassau County DA's Report
[video :: 15:31 mins.] [CBS News]

Jesse Friedman Interview
[Village Voice blog, May 30, 2013]

Fighting the Molestation Charges
[November 2, 2014, Huffington Post]

Jesse Friedman's Case and the Appearance of Impropriety
[January 8, 2015, Huffington Post]

NY Times: Opinion Pages
[February 9, 2015; updating legal proceedings following release of the Nasau County DA's report]

Legal Proceedings

Friedman v. Rehal, 618 F.3d 142 (2010) [online text]

Conviction Integrity Review: People v. Jesse Friedman
[a report commissioned by Kathleen M. Rice, Nannau County District Attorney, dated June 2013]

"Capturing the Friedmans" :: Reviews: Roger Ebert Austin Chronicle Dan Schneider Joel Bocko USA Today Christian Science Monitor San Francisco Chronicle Slate Village Voice The Guardian World Socialist Matt Morris Eric D. Snider DVD Talk Entertainment Weekly Slant Magazine The Film Yap DVD Verdict Odd Todd James Berardinelli Blog Critics Reeling Reviews



Misc.: Secret History: Kinsey's Paedophiles :: [YouTube video: 9:49 mins.][Yorkshire Television production for Channel 4, produced and directed by Tim Tate, aired August 10, 1998] :: Part2 [YouTube video: 9:46mins] :: Part3 [YouTube video: 10:10 mins.] :: Part4 [YouTube video: 8:12 mins.] :: Part5 [YouTube video: 6:58 mins.] :: Part6 [YouTube video: 6:32 mins.]