The Burning Bed
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Product Description

This controversial, 1984 made-for-television movie gave Farrah Fawcett her first true showcase as an actress. Playing an abused wife who kills her monstrous husband (Paul Le Mat), Fawcett demonstrates a facility with the moral ambiguities of the story, which concerns the painful but fascinating questions of where justice lies. Fine support from Richard Masur and Grace Zabriskie, and the assured direction is by Robert Greenwald (Xanadu. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews:

  • I also saw this in college
    I would love to have this on DVD. It is a good movie....more info
  • Still one of the most disturbing TV movies
    I watched this for the first time when it came on tv on Monday October 8th, 1984. It's still one of the most disturbing tv movies, and I still find it more disturbing than "Amelia" the movie with Ted Danson who plays a father who molests his daughter Amellia. I saw the actual beatings that Francine would experience in this movie where the actual seducing of Amellia was non-existent. I feel bad for Francine through this movie as she's feeling trapped at times, but there are also moments where she shows that people enjoy stomping on a heart that's good. I had watched another movie called "Intimate Strangers" with Dennis Weaver and Sally Struthers only 2 months earlier. There's a difference in the 2 movies. in Intimate Weaver's character admits he was physically abused by his father here there may have been some abuse that happened to Francine's husband, but it's not really disclosed. He does have a drinking problem, but there's one element that's explained here, and that's there's no excuse needed for a person to start abusing another person only the will and desire to do so. Francine's husband had the will and desire to do harm to her; it was well-veilled in the beginning, but then it only took for the husband's family to barge in on them shortly after returning from the honeymoon. It appears that the husband resented having his family show up unannounced, and probably uninvited, and he dind't handle it too well which leads me to believe that he would've abused Francine regardless that day. Who knows? However, once it started it grew more and more disturbing with every time it happened, but the last time was the worst because it showed that he was probably getting off from hitting her, and this was after she complied with burning her school books, but this was to foreware her if she ever did it again. I applaud what she did as she felt there was no other recourse. I say this because I did exhibit abuse behavior towards my wife. Not necessarily striking her physically, but slamming doors, pounding my fist, the terrifying glare, and alot of put-downs and painful words. I do need help with this as it makes me an abuser. I know alot of my family would think that I'm too drastic with my reasoning, but let's face it I needed to keep the upper hand on things to keep me from slamming myself down, or feel like others were. I need help with this before getting involved with another woman. This is something that all schools should show to help people with relationships. ...more info
  • Still relevant, the human faces of domestic violence
    The prelude to this 1984 NBC-TV movie was a massive media blitz about Farrah Fawcett's chances of proving her acting worthiness. It was, and still is to some extent, unfortunate because it detracted from the purpose of the film: to bring the then-generally hushed family secret of domestic violence into the light and elevate it as a matter of public policy. Fawcett, of course, proved beyond anyone's doubt her acting prowess, and watching her as a deglamorized, demoralized and traumatized physically battered wife was a shock of extremities at the time. Before "Burning Bed," who saw Fawcett as anything other than a giggly sex kitten? The film opens with a clearly beaten Fawcett nearly roboticized in the mechanics of carrying a container of gas into the bedroom where her drunken husband has passed out after what we learn later is his latest (and last) in countless wife-beating episodes that lasted for nearly a decade. It is no consolation watching Fawcett's character of Francine douse her husband and then ignite him and his bed with a match. What follows is the obligatory murder trial where, in mostly flashbacks by way of interviews with her court-appointed attorney (unflappably played by Richard Masur) and trial testimony, Francine and corraborating witnesses recount the years of spousal violence. Through it all, at a time when domestic violence shamefully was pretty much still in the closet as one of those family embarrassments that no one discussed, director Robert Greenwald hits us with a painful and disarming portrait of the results of family violence. But Fawcett is shattering! She manages to project her character not only as someone to be pitied and as someone truly desperate but who, somewhere in all the demoralizing inflicted over 10 years, finds some courage within to end her vicitimization, even at the risk of a death sentence. And Fawcett's acting when her character takes the stand in her own defense is nothing less than riveting! Fawcett's truly beaten-down character makes it very easy to hope the worst for her victimizer (Paul Le Mat as the bullying wife-beater) and his nauseating supportive mother (character actress Grace Zabriskie in a magnificent portrayal). In the wake of "Burning Bed," Fawcett herself appeared in public service announcements empowering battered women not to endure anymore, and the subject of domestic violence gained a status in the national diaglogue that it hadn't before. The film's message is still relevent and important today, unfortunately. But now, unlike the days when the real Francine faced her legal judgement, victims have more choices than the only one open to Francine. If for no other reason, though, Fawcett's performance is a must-see, and she'll numb you. It remains perhaps her greatest acting achievement!...more info
  • Walking on eggs
    Farrah Fawcett does an excellent job in this battered wife movie. Unless you have experienced family violence, you may not appreciate the realness of this story.

    Should there be any reviews not offering 5 stars, then it may well be assumed that the reviewer is a misogynist (woman hater).

    Why goodness me, there we have two misogynists already.


    ...more info
  • A bummer if you read the book
    The movie would have been better if I hadn't read the book. The ordeal that Francine went through in real life was significantly down played in the movie. If you have already read the novel, the movie will be a big disappointment for you. If you haven't read the book, do so after watching the movie....more info
  • GREAT!!~~~
    This movie was GREAT and so was the book. The book is alot better then the movie....more info
  • At Her Best
    Farrah is at her best in this one!! She gave a very believable performance of an abused wife. The story is great, the acting is exceptional and the ending very heart warming. A definate must see!...more info
  • True Story- Intense Abuse drives a woman to the brink of insanity
    This is a true story about a woman who was driven to the point of insanity because of an abusive husband. The movie is set during a day and age where there was no help for the abused. My mom had bought this movie off of Amazon and shown it to me. Its worth every star and more. You start to feel deeply for the children and their mother who suffer great abuse at the hands of their father/husband. This movie is full of vivid horrendous scenes that feel very real. You start to feel immense hatred towards the husband, his parents, and her mother. How can they sit back and do nothing when their son is beating on his wife infront of his children?! How can her own mother tell her to go back to her husband, that no matter what, her place is by his side?! The Burning Bed made me feel a lot of things, including happiness when the husband died, I felt he deserved it for all the pain he inflicted on others. Watch this movie and you wont be disappointed, its a must see....more info
  • Farrah's Best!
    If Farrah didn't receive an award for this movie, she was seriously robbed! She must have researched the subject of wife abuse thoroughly right down to the humiliation seen on her face and the sheer terror that whatever she said could possible cause yet another smack. Superb acting!...more info
  • GREAT~~~~~
    This movie was the BEST!!The book was alot better then the movie was....more info
  • A Harrowing Journey Into The Reality Of Domestic Violence
    This was one of the first TV movies to deal with the serious subject of domestic abuse, which is still an ongoing problem.

    Farrah Fawcett proves that she is much more than a pretty face with sparkling white teeth as Francine Hughes, a young woman who falls for a slightly older high school dropout, Mickey (Paul Le Mat), but after she marries him, discovers that he has some major anger issues, and, finding herself trapped in a nightmare of horrible mistreatment, seeks help, but her family and in-laws (whose bizarre denial almost calls for straight-jackets), basically tell her to stay put. On top of this, social services seems all too willing to look the other way.

    Francine tries to make the best of her situation, she finds herself drawn back to him, and even after she manages to obtain a divorce, Mickey is still able to insinuate himself into her life, insisting that they need to be a family. No matter how many times she leaves him, or attempts to escape, he is always right on her heels, and uses their children as leverage in order to coerce her into reconciling with him. Even when law enforcement intervenes, it does not deter him. Mickey blames his behavior on his drinking, inability to hold down a job, and on Francine, and, like many abusive spouses, does everything and anything he can to rob her of her independence and sense of self-worth. He feels threatened when she even looks at other men, wears revealing clothing, and attempts to further her education. When he is severely injured in an auto accident, he is not above manipulating the situation to his advantage. Finally, Francine snaps. She douses the bedroom with gasoline as he lies in a drunken sleep, and lights a match, fleeing in her automobile with her offspring.

    It then must be determined if she committed premeditated murder, or if she was temporarily unhinged.

    The jury's verdict is in favor of the defense, and as people file out of the courtroom, Francine cuddles her children around her . . . . . .

    People who have not experienced domestic violence themselves or studied this crime may not be sympathetic or understanding toward what these victims experience. There is indeed a string of victims, not just the abused partner in question but also the children. Ignorant individuals sometimes blame or second-guess the victims, typical questions, "Why didn't she leave earlier?", "Why didn't she call the cops?", or, "Why does she keep going back to him?" This film should be aired frequently, and has recently been released on DVD. Kudos to the cast for their realistic and heartbreaking portrayals in this true life story. This is an ongoing and serious issue that still needs to be addressed. Recommended. ...more info
  • Hilarious melodrama!
    Farrah gives a stand-out performance in what many consider her best role. The film goes out of its way to portray her husband as the bad guy. Ladies please, the man just wanted him some beer! And if he didn't want his wife going to no school, then that was his choice. While he did take it to the extreme, I have to agree that she deserved a whuppin' for making him a TV dinner. After a long hard day o' drinkin' a mans got to have some supper! Grace Zibriskie adds to the comedy playing LeMat's mom who begs Farrah to stay with him cause that's what a woman does. She also gets beat, too....more info
  • The Burning Bed
    I had to upgrade to a DVD. This is part of my curriculum and VHS tape is wearing out. Will be using this DVD from now on in my Parenting classes. ...more info
  • Feminist trash movie
    Feminist trash classic where a woman is made a heroine for burning her husband alive, instead of going through proper channels for her so called abuse complaints that were manufactured by some Hollywood screen writer who thought he would make more money if he told a lop sided story.

    It's a feminist twisted and completely one-sided fiction of a Francine Hughes real life case, as well as any other case involving a wife killing her husband.

    Francine Hughes got away on a female-only "battered wife syndrome", which is basically a license for wifes to murder their husbands whether or not there was immediate provocation or immediate danger of harm. Burning a man while he's asleep is NOT self-defense!

    More on battered wife syndrome, by a woman Michelle Malkin:

    (...)...more info
  • Good Movie
    I have seen this movie on tv before and I really like it so I decided to purchase it. Farrah Fawcett is awsome in the role....more info
  • Not as expected.
    This was a movie put from VHS to DVD. Unfortunately, when it arrived, it was region oe encoding, so I was not able to view it. I have seen the movie on VHS, and it is excellent, with suberb acting from ms. Fawcett....more info
  • Good,but it was the usual "men bad,women good "movie
    This movie was good,but it was the usual,run-of-the-mill "men bad,women good" movie.Like "Enough",the acting was good,but the storyline was just another "abusive husband" thing......more info
  • great
    this is a very good movie I had seen it when I was a kid...more info
  • GREAT~~~~
    This movie was GREAT. The book was alot Better then the movie was.~~~...more info
  • Must see for all young women
    This movie made me realize how far women's rights have come, and the fact that stories like this still happen makes me realize how far we still have to go.
    To those reviewers who say the ending is unrealistic, I would like to point out that this is a true story. You can't get more realistic than that. ...more info