A Death in Canaan

A Death in Canaan

Tony Richardson (1978)

12 Certificate


Our Score
Police manipulation and lies lead to a disturbing miscarriage of justice in veteran film-maker Tony Richardson's Emmy-nominated crime drama, based on a real-life 1970s murder case. Adapted from the best-selling book by Joan Barthel (played here by an agreeably understated Stefanie Powers), this superior though largely one-sided TV movie sees locals in a small Connecticut town rallying to help naive teen Peter Reilly (Paul Clemens) after he's accused of killing his mother. Matter-of-fact direction means events speak for themselves and allows the tightly focused first hour to vividly capture the oppressive intensity of Reilly's interrogation-cum-brainwashing by determined cops. Strong performances increase the realism and bolster a less gripping courtroom-centred second half. Clemens makes a particular impression, amid a quality cast that includes Brian Dennehy and Tom Atkins, totally nailing his protagonist's growing frustration and despair.


A kind-hearted community comes to the aid of a teenager who is accused of murdering his mother. Drama, starring Stefanie Powers, Paul Clemens, Tom Atkins and Jacqueline Brookes.

Cast & Crew

Joan Barthel Stefanie Powers
Peter Reilly Paul Clemens
Lt Bragdon Tom Atkins
Mildred Carston Jacqueline Brookes
Barney Parsons Brian Dennehy
Director Tony Richardson
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColour