A Cry For Help: The Tracy Thurman Story (1989) starring
Nancy McKeon and Dale Midkiff (Not
avail at Amazon. "Internet Movie database" link - register)(can sometimes be seen
on cable TV). A Torrington, Connecticut woman sues the
police in 1983 for allowing her abusive estranged husband
to stalk and eventually brutally beat and stab her despite
her repeated attempts to protect herself by calling the
police and using the legal system as it was intended to
The Burning Bed (Farrah Fawcett, Paul LeMat); Anchor
Bay Entertainment (1995) The story of Francine Hughes,
who set fire to her house and her ex-husband, Mickey, after
years of horrendous beatings and relentless stalking. She
was eventually found "not guilty" by reason of temporary
Duel (1971) starring Dennis Weaver (Universal City
Studios) A traveling salesman does something on the
highway to offend the driver of an enormous tractor trailer
truck, which leads to a terrifying road rage incident where
the salesman is nearly killed by the unseen and completely
anonymous truck driver.
Every Nine Seconds (1997) (Hearst Entertainment) (Not
avail at Amazon. "Internet Movie database" link - register) (can sometimes be seen on cable TV) The story of a
reporter, who grew up in an abusive family herself, who
goes undercover at a crisis phone line to research an article
on domestic abuse. She becomes involved with two battered
women through her work there. One is the wife of an insurance
executive, whose husband is just returning from an 18-month
prison term for beating her with a golf club. The other
is a 16-year-old who is flattered to be going out with
an older man whose boyfriend is continually pressuring
her to have sex and is verbally and physically abusive.
I Never Sang for My Father (Gene Hackman, Melvyn Douglas); Columbia
video tells the story of a father, who was driven, shaming, and abusive
with his children because of his own tormented youth, and his 44-year-old
son, who has never been able to truly separate from his father and live
a life of his own. The film culminates with a powerful confrontation between
son and father about the son's desire to move away to California and marry
the woman he loves, where, for the first time, the son is able to assert
himself with his father despite his father's attempts to shame and control
Once Were Warriors (Rena Owen, Tamuera Morrison); Fine Line
husband and wife, both Maori and living in a housing development
in New Zealand, struggle with his alcohol binges and the emotional
neglect and verbal and physical abuse that follows when he drinks.
Rape and Marriage: The Rideout Case (Linda Hamilton, Mickey
Rourke, Rip Torn); (1980) A
video that portrays the events surrounding the infamous 1978 husband-wife
rape case in Oregon.
Searching for Bobby Fischer (1994) starring Joe Montegna,
Laurence Fishburne, Joan Allen, Max Pomeranc, and Ben Kingsley (Paramount
story of a young boy who is a chess prodigy and the shaming and
control he endures at the hands of his prickly tutor whose
"win at all cost" mentality flies in the face of the boy's emotional
and sensitive nature.
Sleeping With the Enemy (Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin);
20th Century Fox (1991) This
video, particularly in the first 20-30 minutes, portrays the compulsivity,
control, and violence in a upscale battering relationship and the
humiliating, demeaning, and terrifying atmosphere in which a battered
woman lives. It also clearly demonstrates the careful planning necessary
to leave a battering relationship.
This Boy's Life (Robert De Niro, Ellen Barkin); Warner Brothers
Boy's Life is based on a memoir by author Tobias Wolff, which presents
a slice-of life drama of his conflict as a rebellious teen with
his overbearing, tyrannical, and abusive stepfather.
What's Love Got to Do With It (Angela Bassett, Laurence
Fishburne); Touchstone Pictures (1993)
This video is the story of Ike and Tina Turner. It shows
Ike "strung out" on cocaine, flaunting an endless
series of girlfriends, attempting to control Tina's personal
and professional life, and perpetrating vicious verbal
abuse and violent beatings on Tina through the course of
their relationship. The domestic abuse escalates, particularly
when Tina begins to come into her own as a singer and starts
to take more of the "show biz" spotlight than
Ike, who feels more and more inadequate and envious as
(1978) starring Karen Grassle, Mike Farrell, LeVar Burton,
Howard Duff, and Joan Blondell (Hearst Entertainment):
can be seen on cable TV This video presents a tale
of three different couples of different ages, backgrounds,
and circumstances where domestic abuse is occurring.
The Color Purple (Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg);
Warner Brothers (1985) The story of a black woman who
grows up in the early decades of the twentieth century
in the rural South. She marries a man who womanizes, isolates
her from her long-lost sister, and controls her in every
way imaginable, including being emotionally, verbally,
and physically abusive with her.
Doing Time On Maple Drive (1992) starring James
B. Sikking, Bibi Besch, and Jim Carrey. A story about the
impact of years of secrets and lies on two generations
of a shame- based family. It includes an especially powerful
scene where family members finally talk openly about the
unhealthy dynamics of the system and its effect on their
thoughts and behaviors in the present.
Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story (Adam
Storke, Maria Pitillo) (Not
avail at Amazon. "Internet Movie database" link - register) (can
sometimes be seen on cable TV) An estranged husband, who has been verbally
and physically, stalks and then kidnaps his Oklahoma wife after shooting
The Great Santini (Robert Duvall, Blythe Danner); (1980)A
story about "Bull" Meechum, an ace Marine fighter pilot,
modelled after author Pat Conroy's father, who is a warrior without
a war to fight in 1962. In the video, he expects his children to
behave in the same way his soldiers do and acts out his own insecurities
with his wife and children through explosive anger, abusive and violent
behavior, and an intense desire to control.
Mommie Dearest (Faye Dunaway, Steve Forrest); Paramount Pictures
story of the relationship between movie star Joan Crawford and her
adopted daughter Christina from a best-selling memoir by Christina,
which tells a tale of Joan's insecurities, alcohol binges, and emotional,
verbal, and physical abuse of her daughter.
One Would Tell (Fred Savage, Candace Cameron); (1996)
(Available at Amazon.com June 2006)
Movie database" link - register)
sometimes be seen on cable TV) An adolescent girl falls for the high school "hunk," only
to discover later that he is, in fact, controlling and physically abusive.
Ordinary People(1980) starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler-Moore,
and Timothy Hutton (Paramount Pictures) This
story focuses on a "normal" suburban family that experiences
a gut-wrenching tragedy when the older son dies in a boating accident.
The emotional turmoil centers around the mother, who loved her older
son more than her younger one, and is unable and unwilling to connect
with her younger son in any meaningful way. It includes a powerful
scene where the father finally confronts his wife with the cold and
steely shaming that she is doing to their remaining son and realizes,
at long last, that she is incapable of really giving emotionally
of herself to him or their son.
Dreams (Lindsey Wagner, Michael Nouri) (1990)The
story of John and Charlotte Fedders, from Charlotte's book, that talks
about their life together through John's work as a Wall Street attorney
and as "top cop" of Ronald Reagan's Securities and Exchange
Commission and the battering that she experienced throughout their marriage.
The video offers an excellent example of the "cycle of violence," clearly
demonstrating the escalation, explosion, and deception phases around
the first violent incident in their relationship when John slaps Charlotte
and breaks her eardrum.
Sling Blade(1996) starring Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam,
J.T. Walsh, and John Ritter (Miramax Films) The
story of a retarded man who, after being released from an institution
for killing his mother and her lover, comes to live with a woman
and her son. The woman's boyfriend is entitled, shaming, hostile,
and abusive, particularly with her son.
avail at Amazon. "Internet Movie database" link - register)This
video offers the story of a verbally and physically abusive man who
begins to understand and change his attitudes and behaviors and goes
on to develop treatment programs for other abusive men.