6 Gripping Movies About True Crimes Of Passion

These horrifying crimes were made into gripping films. 

By Gina Tron

These dramatizations based on real crimes of passion will leave you heartbroken and on the edge of your seat. From a pack of teens who murder their friend to a plastic surgeon accused of killing his heiress wife, these stories prove that truth is often more violent than fiction. 

1. To Die For, 1995

This film is based on the true life Pamela Smart trial and the Joyce Maynard novel with the same name. The film stars Nicole Kidman as Pamela Smart (pictured above), who worked as a media coordinator at a high school where she had an affair with 15-year-old Billy Flynn. Smart, then 22, led a program that was meant to help teenagers cope with sex and drugs. Allegedly, Smart convinced Flynn to kill her husband, Gregg Smart. Flynn and three friends killed Smart’s husband in 1990 while she was at a board meeting. Pamela Smart has admitted to seducing Flynn, but has always claimed innocence about the murder.

2. The People vs. Jean Harris, 1981

Ellen Burstyn plays Jean Harris, a 57-year old headmistress of a Virginia girl's school who was arrested for killing her lover Dr. Herman Tarnower, a well-known cardiologist and author of "The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet." She never denied that she killed him, and she insisted that the court hear her reasoning for the murder. Tarnower allegedly had many other relationships during their 14-year-love affair. He was killed in 1980.

3. Boys Don’t Cry, 1999

This movie is a dramatization of the real-life story of Brandon Teena (played by Hilary Swank), a trans man who tries to find love in Nebraska but is murdered by two friends in a homophobic hate crime. First, Brandon is brutally raped when the two men find out he is a cisgender female. Brandon had been dating a woman in their social circle. When he reported the rape to police, they focus only on his 'sexual identity crisis.' The film is credited for bringing attention to real life hate crimes against the LGBTQ community.

4. A Killing In A Small Town, 1990

Based on a true story, this film tells the tale of Sunday School teacher Candy Morrison who decides to have an affair with a fellow churchgoer in small town Texas. When the church goer's wife finds out, she attacks Candy with an axe. After a struggle though, Candy kills the wife, striking her 41 times with an axe. She claimed self-defense.

5. Bully, 2001

Based on a 1993 murder in Hollywood, Florida, this film shows the grim events that led to the murder of a teen by several of his young friends. Bobby Kent is killed by his girlfriend and best friends who alleged that he was abusive towards them. He allegedly raped and attacked several of them before they strategized a way to kill him.

6. Murder in Texas, 1981

Texas heiress Joan Robinson married plastic surgeon John Hill and the heiress’ father is suspicious that his daughter is being used for her money. The surgeon has an affair, and mysteriously Joan dies of a sickness. Her father thinks John killed Joan, before marrying his mistress.

[Getty Images]

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