Crown Heights (film)

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Crown Heights
Directed byMatt Ruskin
Written byMatt Ruskin
Based onThis American Life: Colin Warner
Produced by
CinematographyBen Kutchins
Edited byPaul Greenhouse
Music byMark De Gli Antoni
Distributed by
Release dates
  • January 23, 2017 (2017-01-23) (Sundance)
  • August 18, 2017 (2017-08-18) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$238,558[1]

Crown Heights is a 2017 American biographical crime drama film written and directed by Matt Ruskin. Adapted from a This American Life podcast, the film tells the true story of Colin Warner who was wrongfully convicted of murder, and how his best friend Carl King devoted his life to proving Colin's innocence. The film stars Lakeith Stanfield as Colin Warner and Nnamdi Asomugha as Carl King.

It premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2017 and won the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Film.[2][3] The film was released on August 18, 2017, by Amazon Studios and IFC Films.



On August 6, 2015, it was announced that Matt Ruskin would direct a biographical film about wrongfully convicted prisoner Colin Warner based on his own script, which Lila Yacoub would produce along with Black Maple Films and iAm21 Entertainment.[4] Lakeith Stanfield was added to the cast to play Warner who spent 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit in 1980, when he was just 18 years old.[4] Nnamdi Asomugha would also star as Carl King, Warner's lifelong friend who fought to prove Warner's innocence.[4] On September 15, 2015, newcomer Natalie Paul was cast in the film.[5]

Principal photography on the film began on September 9, 2015 in New York City.[4]


Crown Heights premiered in competition in the US Dramatic Category at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2017. Amazon Studios acquired distribution rights to the film.[6] IFC Films co-distributed the film alongside Amazon on August 18, 2017.[7] The film received generally favorable reviews out of the Sundance Film Festival,[8][9] winning the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Film.[2][10]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, Crown Heights has an approval rating of 77% based on 84 reviews. The site’s critics consensus states, "Crown Heights' heartbreaking fact-based narrative -- and LaKeith Stanfield's remarkable starring performance -- push this powerful drama past its structural flaws."[11] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 64 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[12]

Awards and recognition[edit]


  1. ^ "Crown Heights". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b Joe Utichi (January 28, 2017). "Crown Heights Nets Sundance U.S. Dramatic Audience Award". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  3. ^ Patrick Ryan (January 29, 2017). "Sundance Winners: 'Crown Heights reigns victorious'". USA Today. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Lincoln, Ross A. (August 6, 2015). "Keith Stanfield Will Play Unjustly Convicted Prisoner Colin Warner In Biopic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  5. ^ Pedersen, Erik (September 15, 2015). "Emily Ratajkowski & Spencer Boldman Go For 'Cruise'; Natalie Paul Joins Untitled Colin Warner Pic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  6. ^ Seetodeh, Ramin; Lang, Brent (January 27, 2017). "Sundance: Amazon Buys Prison Drama 'Crown Heights' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  7. ^ Evans, Greg (May 10, 2017). "Sundance Winner 'Crown Heights' Gets Release Date From Amazon/IFC Films". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  8. ^ Andrew Barker (January 23, 2017). "Sundance Film Review: 'Crown Heights'". Variety. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  9. ^ Tribune Staff (February 3, 2017). "Sundance Film Review: 'Crown Heights'". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  10. ^ Patrick Ryan (January 29, 2017). "Sundance Winners: 'Crown Heights reigns victorious'". USA Today. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  11. ^ "Crown Heights". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  12. ^ "Crown Heights". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved December 5, 2022.
  13. ^ "Nnamdi Asomugha: Nominated for Best Supporting Male". Film Independent. Archived from the original on 25 December 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2017.

External links[edit]