The Central Park Five
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In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged for brutally attacking and raping a white female jogger in Central Park. News media swarmed the case, calling it "the crime of the century." But the truth about what really happened didn't become clear until after the five had spent years in prison for a crime they didn't commit. With THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, this story of injustice finally gets the telling it deserves. Based on Sarah Burns' best-selling book and co-directed by her husband David McMahon and father, the beloved doc filmmaker Ken Burns, this… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's a vivid and gripping documentary (although, at two hours, somewhat longer than it needs to be), a grave indictment of a city and a system at the breaking point."
‑ David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer
"As grim a portrait of the criminal justice system as can be imagined."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"It's more like an interesting, in-depth article in The New Yorker than a movie."
‑ Eric D. Snider, Twitch
"Burns and Co. once again nail the complexity of history with traditionally eye-opening results, yet The Central Park Five isn't quite as comprehensive as hoped, capping such profound pain with a few nagging question marks."
‑ Brian Orndorf,
"When hysteria trumps innocence"
‑ Robert Denerstein, Movie Habit
"Expect your blood pressure to rise during The Central Park Five."
‑ Linda Barnard, Toronto Star
"How could this second crime have occurred? The film asks that question but only partly answers it, and in the process it raises an even more troubling one."
‑ Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
"The film, in some ways a primer on the perennial intractability of racial prejudice, clearly intends to be some sort of vindication of its five central figures. It succeeds in the first respect but falls wide of the mark in the second."
‑ Chris Chang, Film Comment Magazine
"The Central Park Five takes one of the most sensational crimes of the late 20th century and strips the circus that followed down to its roots. The horrific attack in the woods on that April night 24 years ago was just the beginning."
‑ Sara Smith, Kansas City Star
"Like the "Paradise Lost" films, it's a shocking but clear-eyed portrait of injustice."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"The doc is rife with smart or wrenching or shameful moments. The fresh interviews with the accused, now men, are invaluable."
‑ Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post
""The Central Park Five" is a sobering indictment of racism and vigilante justice, yet it is constrained by a PBS-style deference to the very system it critiques."
‑ Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"The filmmakers do a tremendous job of setting the mood and mind-set of New Yorkers in the spring of 1989, when violent crime was rampant and the Big Apple was rotting to the core."
‑ Al Alexander, The Patriot Ledger
"The Central Park Five," the second best documentary of 2013, examines the case, placing in perfect context of what was happening in 1989 in NYC and how it led to evil both in Central Park and in the offices of the people trying to keep us safe."
‑ Brian Tallerico,
"The Central Park Five is such a moving piece of work, it is difficult to watch at times."
‑ Shannon M. Houston, Paste Magazine
More reviews for The Central Park Five on Rotten Tomatoes