film / Documentaries

The Witness

In 1964, when Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death near her Kew Gardens, Queens apartment, the New York Times reported on the incident in a front-page article. Its coverage of the murder stated that 38 people in Kitty's neighborhood witnessed the crime and failed to do anything about it — they hadn't even bothered to call the police. The crime became the face of urban apathy, condemned a city and defined an era. The murder became one of the most famous in modern American history.

40 years later, Kitty Genovese's brother Bill, who had lost both legs in Vietnam, decided to investigate the infamous murder to learn what actually happened. What he discovered disputes many aspects of the original coverage, raises questions about journalistic ethics, police procedures (especially concerning the gay community), domestic violence and personal responsibility.

Through a decade-long, painstaking investigation and a shattering re-enactment of the crime, this award-winning feature documentary manages to focus on the life of Bill Genovese's beloved sister and shut down some of the myths that created this false narrative.

A Film By

  • James Solomon


  • 2015


  • 89 Minutes


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