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The Preppie Murder

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 Preppie Murder
The Preppie Murder.jpg
UK DVD cover
Written byJohn Herzfeld
Irv Roud
Story byIrv Roud
Directed byJohn Herzfeld
StarringDanny Aiello
William Baldwin
Lara Flynn Boyle
Theme music composerChris Isaak
Simon Rogers
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Jack Grossbart
Producer(s)Sydell Albert
Paul Pompian
Production location(s)Los Angeles
New York City
CinematographySteven Shaw
Editor(s)Janet Bartels-Vandagriff
Running time100 minutes
Production company(s)Jack Grossbart Productions
Original networkABC
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original release
  • September 24, 1989 (1989-09-24)


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.


Perrey Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Diedrich Bader, Rick Aiello, and Mike Sheehan appear in smaller parts.


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.[1] Director John Herzfeld wanted to tell Jennifer Levin's story and "clear a little of the mud off her".[2]


The Preppie Murder aired September 24, 1989, on ABC.[2] It was released on home video in November 1993.[3]


Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times called it "vexing, powerful and heartbreaking—yet strangely enigmatic".[2] John Leonard of New York called it "pointless" and compared it negatively to Linda Wolfe's book, Wasted: The Preppie Murder.[4] 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."[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kunen, James S. (1989-09-25). "Art Imitates Death in The Preppie Murder". People. 32 (13). Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  2. ^ a b c Rosenberg, Howard (1989-09-23). "'Preppie Murder' Drama Pleads Case for Victims". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  3. ^ Cornell, Christopher (1993-11-18). "Reforming In Seattle But 'Lost In Yonkers'". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  4. ^ Leonard, John (1989-09-25). "Sex, Lies, and Videotape". New York. 22 (38): 126. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  5. ^ 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.

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