The Preppie Murder
|The Preppie Murder|
UK DVD cover
|Written by||John Herzfeld
|Story by||Irv Roud|
|Directed by||John Herzfeld|
Lara Flynn Boyle
|Theme music composer||Chris Isaak
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||100 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Jack Grossbart Productions|
The Preppie Murder is a television film directed by John Herzfeld, written by Herzfeld and Irv Roud, and starring William Baldwin as Robert Chambers and Lara Flynn Boyle as Jennifer Levin. The film aired on ABC in 1989. It was based on the events of a murder committed by Robert Chambers, nicknamed the Preppie Killer. The film co-stars Danny Aiello, Joanna Kerns and William Devane.
The film reenacts Robert Chambers' murder of Jennifer Levin. Robert Chambers, a man who attended prep schools on a scholarship, kills Jennifer Levin, who herself was of a privileged background after they leave a trendy Manhattan bar together. When Detective Mike Sheehan arrests him, Chambers claims that he killed her in self-defense after rough sex got out of hand. In the ensuing trial, Chambers' attorney, Jack Litman, attacks Levin's personal history. Chambers eventually pleads guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
- Danny Aiello as Detective Mike Sheehan
- William Baldwin as Robert Chambers
- Joanna Kerns as Linda Fairstein
- Lara Flynn Boyle as Jennifer Levin
- Dorothy Fielding as Phyllis Chambers
- James Handy as Detective Joe Brady Quinn
- William Devane as Jack Litman
The film was shot mostly in Los Angeles, but some exterior shots took place in New York City. Mike Sheehan, who investigated the case, served as a consultant. Jennifer Levin's parents declined involvement; her father called it "exploitative". Linda Fairstein and Jack Litman also declined involvement. Director John Herzfeld wanted to tell Jennifer Levin's story and "clear a little of the mud off her".
Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times called it "vexing, powerful and heartbreaking—yet strangely enigmatic". John Leonard of New York called it "pointless" and compared it negatively to Linda Wolfe's book, Wasted: The Preppie Murder. John J. O'Connor of The New York Times wrote that the film's denunciation of the press as exploitative was ironic, as it "merely warms up the old headlines it pretends to abhor."
- Kunen, James S. (1989-09-25). "Art Imitates Death in The Preppie Murder". People. 32 (13). Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- Rosenberg, Howard (1989-09-23). "'Preppie Murder' Drama Pleads Case for Victims". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- Cornell, Christopher (1993-11-18). "Reforming In Seattle But 'Lost In Yonkers'". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- Leonard, John (1989-09-25). "Sex, Lies, and Videotape". New York. 22 (38): 126. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- O'Connor, John J. (1989-09-22). "TV Weekend; Death in Central Park, Lives of 80's Youth". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- Mark Gado. "A Killing in Central Park: The Preppy Murder Case". Tru TV. Retrieved 2011-10-22.