True Crime

True Crime

30 Episodes

While most genres wax and wane in popularity over time, one thing remains constant: our unending fascination with true crime stories. Real-life murderers, mobsters, and swindlers have provided models for popular horror, disquieting psychological realism, and avant-garde experiments alike. Inspired by some of the most infamous cases of all time—including the Papin sisters (LES ABYSSES, LA CÉRÉMONIE), John Dillinger (DILLINGER), Jack the Ripper (FROM HELL), and the Zodiac Killer (ZODIAC)—these ripped-from-the-headlines tales of notorious killers and outlaws prove that truth is often stranger, and more shocking, than fiction.

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True Crime
  • M
    1:49:42
    Episode 1

    M

    Episode 1

    Directed by Fritz Lang • 1931 • Germany

    A simple, haunting musical phrase whistled offscreen tells us that a young girl will be killed. "Who Is the Murderer?" pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann... In his harrowing masterwork M, ...

  • Arsenic and Old Lace

    Episode 2

    Directed by Frank Capra • 1944 • United States
    Starring Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey

    Cary Grant stars as the one sane member of a charmingly lunatic family in Frank Capra’s classic comedy. When Mortimer Brewster (Grant) brings his new bride to meet his two kindly aunts, he discover...

  • Try and Get Me!

    Episode 3

    Directed by Cy Endfield • 1950 • United States
    Starring Frank Lovejoy, Kathleen Ryan, Richard Carlson

    Inspired by the highly publicized 1933 murder of department store heir Brooke Hart (also the basis for Fritz Lang’s FURY), this noir from blacklisted director Cy Endfield follows desperate, unem...

  • Salvatore Giuliano

    Episode 4

    Directed by Francesco Rosi • 1962 • Italy

    July 5, 1950--Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano's bullet-riddled corpse is found facedown in a courtyard in Castelvetrano, a handgun and rifle by his side. Local and international press descend upon the scene, hoping to crack open the true story behind ...

  • Les abysses

    Episode 5

    Directed by Nico Papatakis • 1963 • France
    Starring Francine Bergé, Colette Bergé, Pascale de Boysson

    Inspired by the notorious case of Christine and Léa Papin—French sisters working as maids who murdered their employer’s wife and daughter in 1933—Nico Papatakis’s debut feature was a succès de s...

  • In Cold Blood

    Episode 6

    Directed by Richard Brooks • 1967 • United States
    Starring Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe

    Truman Capote’s best seller, a breakthrough narrative account of real-life crime and punishment, became an equally chilling film in the hands of writer-director Richard Brooks. Cast for their uns...

  • The Honeymoon Killers

    Episode 7

    Directed by Leonard Kastle • 1969 • United States

    Martha Beck (Shirley Stoler) is sullen, overweight, and lonely. Desperate for affection, she joins Aunt Carrie's Friendship Club and strikes up a correspondence with Ray Fernandez (Tony Lo Bianco), a charismatic smooth talker who could be the man...

  • 10 Rillington Place

    Episode 8

    Directed by Richard Fleischer • 1971 • United Kingdom
    Starring Richard Attenborough, Judy Geeson, John Hurt

    Based on Ludovic Kennedy’s investigative book, this is the true and horrifying story of British mass murderer John Christie, chillingly played by Richard Attenborough. When Timothy (John H...

  • The Valachi Papers

    Episode 9

    Directed by Terence Young • 1972 • Italy, France
    Starring Charles Bronson, Lino Ventura, Jill Ireland

    In 1963, Joseph Valachi, a member of the infamous Genovese crime family, sent shock waves through the justice system when he turned informant and became the first member of the Italian American ...

  • Dillinger

    Episode 10

    Directed by John Milius • 1973 • United States
    Starring Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman

    Warren Oates delivers a commanding performance as notorious gangster John Dillinger in the blood-spattered directorial debut of APOCALYPSE NOW and DIRTY HARRY screenwriter John Milius. Produced by ...

  • The Day of the Jackal

    Episode 11

    Directed by Fred Zinnemann • 1973 • United Kingdom, France
    Starring Edward Fox, Alan Badel, Tony Britton

    Inspired by a 1962 plot to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle, this political thriller from the genre’s 1970s golden age is a master class in cinematic suspense. Edward Fox is the...

  • Man on a Swing

    Episode 12

    Directed by Frank Perry • 1974 • United States
    Starring Cliff Robertson, Joel Grey, Dorothy Tristan

    Purportedly drawn from a puzzling true case, this haunting thriller follows small-town police chief Lee Tucker (Cliff Robertson), whose investigation into the mysterious murder of a young schoolte...

  • In the Realm of the Senses

    Episode 13

    Directed by Nagisa Oshima • 1976 • Japan
    Starring Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda

    IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES (AI NO CORRIDA), by the always provocative Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, remains one of the most controversial films of all time. Based on a true incident, it graphically depicts the all-co...

  • Vengeance Is Mine

    Episode 14

    Directed by Shohei Imamura • 1979 • Japan
    Starring Ken Ogata, Mayumi Ogawa, Mitsuko Baisho

    A thief, a murderer, and a charming lady-killer, Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) is on the run from the police. Director Shohei Imamura turns this fact-based story—about the seventy-eight-day killing spree of a r...

  • Smooth Talk

    Episode 15

    Directed by Joyce Chopra • 1985 • United States
    Starring Laura Dern, Treat Williams, Mary Kay Place

    Suspended between carefree youth and the harsh realities of the adult world, a teenage girl experiences an unsettling awakening in this haunting vision of innocence lost. Based on Joyce Carol Oate...

  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

    Episode 16

    Directed by John McNaughton • 1986 • United States
    Starring Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles

    One of the most harrowing American films ever made, HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is a shocking, thought-provoking plunge into the darkest recesses of the human soul that continues to distur...

  • Landscape Suicide

    Episode 17

    Directed by James Benning • 1987 • United States
    Starring Rhonda Bell, Elion Sucher

    For forty years, James Benning has been a singular, defiant voice in the world of avant-garde cinema, forging a personal vision of America through his rigorous studies of the country’s landscapes. In one of his m...

  • Reversal of Fortune

    Episode 18

    Directed by Barbet Schroeder • 1990 • United States
    Starring Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, Ron Silver

    Jeremy Irons won a richly deserved Oscar for his deliciously unnerving portrayal of the icy, aristocratic socialite Claus von Bülow in this brilliantly entertaining, cuttingly witty true story abou...

  • A Brighter Summer Day

    Episode 19

    Directed by Edward Yang • 1991 • Taiwan
    Starring Chang Chen, Lisa Yang

    Among the most praised and sought-after titles in all contemporary film, this singular masterpiece of Taiwanese cinema, directed by Edward Yang, finally comes to home video in the United States. Set in the early sixties in...

  • Let Him Have It

    Episode 20

    Directed by Peter Medak • 1991 • United Kingdom
    Starring Christopher Eccleston, Paul Reynolds, Tom Courtenay

    In one tragic moment, two lives are destroyed in this riveting exploration of a dark true story in the British legal system. “Let him have it.” After Derek Bentley (Christopher Eccleston)...

  • Swoon

    Episode 21

    Directed by Tom Kalin • 1992 • United States
    Starring Daniel Schlachet, Craig Chester, Ron Vawter

    The notorious case of Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb—two young, gay University of Chicago students whose 1924 thrill-killing of fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks captured headlines as the “crime o...

  • To Die For

    Episode 22

    Directed by Gus Van Sant • 1995 • United States, United Kingdom
    Starring Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix

    Based on the novel by Joyce Maynard (which was inspired by the true story of Pamela Smart), Gus Van Sant’s whip-smart, darkly comic satire explores America’s obsession with celebr...

  • La cérémonie

    Episode 23

    Directed by Claude Chabrol • 1995 • France, Germany
    Starring Sandrine Bonnaire, Isabelle Huppert, Jacqueline Bisset

    Catherine (Jacqueline Bisset) hires the illiterate Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire) as her maid. But Sophie soon falls under the influence of the mysterious postal worker Jeanne (Isab...

  • Deep Crimson

    Episode 24

    Directed by Arturo Ripstein • 1996 • France, Mexico, Spain

    In this alternately macabre and mirthful thriller, based on a true-crime story, renowned Mexican director Arturo Ripstein brings a stylish audacity to the tale of the "Lonely Hearts Killers," a couple who, in the 1940s, posed as brother ...