Film: The Accused

A 1988 film starring Jodie Foster based on the real-life gang rape of Cheryl Araujo that occurred at Big Dan's Bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on March 6, 1983. The Accused was one of the first Hollywood films to deal with rape in a direct manner.

Foster won an Academy Award for her role.

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  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Subverted. Sarah's dog Sadi gets into a barking fit the moment Kathryn walks into the door—even though she's the DA assigned to the case, and one of the heroines.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Sarah cuts off her hair shortly after the rape.
  • Fan Disservice: Jodie Foster wears a low-cut top and does a sexy dance... then gets brutally gang-raped.
  • Flash Back: The rape scene is shown this way, visualizing what the college boy witness tells the court at the second trial.
  • Freak Out: Sarah after running into one of the guys who cheered the rapists on and he verbally abuses her ("Wanna play pinball?"). She reacts by driving her car into his truck several times.
  • Good Victims, Bad Victims: Explored. Sarah is not seen as a good victim due to her flirty nature and pot smoking.
  • Hollywood Law: When one of the rapists is arrested and his rights are read, the "One Phone Call" line is dropped.
  • Jerk Ass: Sarah's boyfriend could count as one, asking her when she'll "get over this" after she dismisses his advances, saying that "this is getting boring". Brought Up to Eleven with the guy with the scorpion tattoo who cheered the rapists on.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: The guys playing the rapists were disturbed during shooting the rape scene; Jodie Foster had to reassure them repeatedly that she was okay.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: The argument made by the man with the scorpion tattoo who cheered on the rape. Of course, the fact that Sarah didn't enjoy it is just one of the issues at hand, here....
  • Rape as Drama
  • Race Lift: Arajuo and her attackers were all Portuguese-American in Real Life, not so in the film.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The script was loosely based on the gang rape of Cheryl Ann Araujo, which occurred in 1983.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Sarah repeatedly converses with Kathryn over what the latter's astrology symbol is. It's indicated she's trying to reach out to someone after the incident.
  • Skewed Priorities: The emergency service operator seemed more concerned with getting the spectator's name than listening him to explain what the problem was. While attempting to get a caller's name is a reasonable action, if it becomes clear they aren't going to divulge it, it seems as if an emergency operator should move on and focus on the reason behind the call, especially when the call is recorded and made on a traceable phone.
  • Slut-Shaming: Sarah is blamed for her rape due to her clothing and flirty behavior.
  • Villain Ball: Two of the rapists remain at the bar to be identified by Sarah—long enough for her to have been medically examined and to converse with Kathryn Murphy over what happened.