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The Central Park Five (2012)

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A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

Directors:

Ken Burns, Sarah Burns | 1 more credit »
10 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Antron McCray ... Himself - Wrongfully Convicted (voice)
Kevin Richardson Kevin Richardson ... Himself - Wrongfully Convicted
Yusef Salaam ... Himself - Wrongfully Convicted
Raymond Santana ... Himself - Wrongfully Convicted
Kharey Wise ... Himself - Wrongfully Convicted (as Korey Wise)
Matias Reyes Matias Reyes ... Himself - Confessed Rapist (archive footage) (archive sound)
Jim Dwyer Jim Dwyer ... Himself - New York Times
Angela Black Angela Black ... Herself - Kevin's Sister
Ed Koch ... Himself - Former Mayor, New York
Craig Steven Wilder Craig Steven Wilder ... Himself - Historian
LynNell Hancock LynNell Hancock ... Herself - Journalist
Calvin O. Butts III Calvin O. Butts III ... Himself - Reverend (as Rev. Calvin Butts)
Raymond Santana Sr. Raymond Santana Sr. ... Himself - Raymond's Father
Michael Warren Michael Warren ... Himself - Lawyer
Natalie Byfield Natalie Byfield ... Herself - Daily News
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Storyline

In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and later convicted of raping a white woman in New York City's Central Park. They spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he alone had committed the crime, leading to their convictions being overturned. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension, THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE tells the story of that horrific crime, the rush to judgment by the police, a media clamoring for sensational stories and an outraged public, and the five lives upended by this miscarriage of justice. Written by CP5

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 April 2014 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Fünf vom Central Park See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,570, 25 November 2012

Gross USA:

$325,653

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$325,653
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Florentine Films, WETA See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Jim Dwyer - New York Times: What ever you do in life, you make mistakes, and you either face your mistakes, or you don't. I don't think the Press faced it's mistakes. I don't think the Police Department faced the truth in what had happened, because the truth of what had happened is almost unbearable. By prosecuting the wrong people in the central park rape case, Matais Reyes continued to hurt, maim and kill. And They could have had him, but they got stuck with a mistake, and they are still invested in that mistake.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ken Burns: America's Storyteller (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Paid in Full - Coldcut Remix
Written by Eric B. (as Eric Barrier), William Griffin and Benjamin Nagari
Published by Universal - Songs Of PolyGram Int'l, Inc. o/b/o itself
and Robert Hill Music, and Music Sales Corporation (ASCAP)
Performed by Eric B. & Rakim
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Contains a sample of "Im Nia'alu"
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Never be afraid to lawyer up.
3 October 2013 | by nesfilmreviewsSee all my reviews

"Central Park Five" serves as a warning about legal incompetence, innocent lives destroyed, and a judicial system vulnerable to manipulation. The documentary details a nightmare scenario for five Harlem teenagers facing hard time, and the condemnation of America for a crime they didn't commit. The production sets the situation immediately, introducing the viewer to NYC in the 1980s, where Wall Street is in the process of rebuilding its reputation, while crack ravages the inner city, creating an explosive racial divide.

The film examines the infamous 1989 Central Park Jogger case, where a young white woman is brutally beaten and raped in New York's Central Park. At the same time, a group of five young black and Latino teenagers were quickly arrested for the crime and imprisoned. Following swift arrests by law enforcement officials, the prosecutors proudly declared the conviction as a step forward in the reclamation of a the city. Despite the lack of concrete evidence, all five are found guilty on multiple charges. Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, and Kharey Wise each spent between six to 13 years in prison, professing their innocence, while maintaining that it was a coerced confession to the crime. However, a chance encounter between the oldest of them and convicted serial rapist Matias Reyes, who years later yields his free admission of sole responsibility for the crime, and the claim is further substantiated with DNA evidence.

The documentary's approach seamlessly blends past and present, re-examines the assault, and walks you through what happened to the teenagers, from their arrest through their exoneration. Burns captures the complexity of history with startling results, yet "The Central Park Five" isn't quite as comprehensive as hoped, and fails to add anything substantively new to the story. Additionally, an element of balance is missing that would have turned a very good documentary into an exceptional one.

"The Central Park Five" presents the facts of the case with clarity, and it is a courageous, revealing look at the often complex and broken legal system in the United States. Unfortunately, there is no avoiding the conclusion presented by historian Craig Steven Wilder: "Rather than tying (the case) up in a bow and thinking that there was something we can take away from it, and that we'll be better people, I think what we really need to realize is that we're not very good people."


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