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Paradise Lost - The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

Jason Baldwin , Steven Branch , Bruce Sinofsky  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jason Baldwin, Steven Branch, Christopher Byers, John Mark Byers, Melissa Byers
  • Directors: Bruce Sinofsky
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AYEIY0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,281 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Paradise Lost - The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 45 Minutes of Previously Unreleased Footage
  • Timeline of Events
  • Appeal Updates
  • Resources
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Filmmaker Biographies

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One of the most influential documentaries in recent years, the Sundance favorite PARADISE LOST is an emotionally raw, must-see crime doc from two of today's most exciting filmmakers--Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (the team behind Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Brother's Keeper).

This dark odyssey began with the tragic murders of three 8-year-old boys, whose bodies were discovered in a shallow creek in West Memphis, Arkansas. The community demanded justice, and one month later the police delivered: three local teenagers accused of sacrificing the boys as part of a Satanic ritual. Despite overwhelming public antipathy towards them, defendants Damian Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley steadfastly maintained their innocence. Although the trial produced virtually no physical evidence connecting the defendants to the crime, the town, the jury, and the police felt that they had their killers, and used the young men s penchant for heavy metal music and black clothing and a fascination with the Wicca religion as evidence of their guilt.

With unprecedented access to all the players, Berlinger and Sinofsky captured the events as they unfolded before their cameras. From actual courtroom footage and clandestine jailhouse interviews to behind-the-scenes strategy meetings and intimate portraits of grief-stricken families, PARADISE LOST is a shocking yet uniquely American real-life drama.

Special Features

  • Exclusive Trial Footage
  • Timeline of Events
  • Trial Updates
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Filmmaker Biographies
  • Interactive Menus
  • Scene Selection

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most incredible and disturbing films ever made November 28, 2005
This film motivated me to do my own research and I read as much material on the case as I could possibly find--especially arguments from those who maintained that the three teenagers are guilty. To be honest, I had a natural skepticism about the West Memphis Three's claims of innocence. A coworker of mine was brutally murdered some years ago and two of her "friends" who were also coworkers were arrested for the murder. I refused to believe it at first. But it became clear over time that the evidence was overwhelming and conclusive. Still there were those who refused to believe the facts and zealously argued their friends' innocence. When all is done and said - it does come down to facts and whether or not one chooses to face reality and believe facts.

First, please allow me to correct a few misconceptions from some of the other reviewers.

The Michael Moore mentioned in the credits refers to one of the little eight-year-old child murder victims, not the filmmaker.

A couple of reviewers mentioned a necklace worn by Damien Echols which supposedly had blood on it from some of the victims. Actually, nothing more determinable than common blood types was found. One almost microscopic spot on the pendant was consistent with the blood type of Damien Echols (one of the accused), the other micro-spot was consistent with the blood type shared by both Jason Baldwin (one of the accused) and Steven Branch (one of the eight-year-old victims) -- as well as 11% of the rest of the Caucasian population of the United States. All experts agree that tiny micro-spots of blood can be transferred by a number of ways--especially a teenage boy wearing the necklace against their bare skin. Police photos verify that Jason Baldwin had also worn Damien's necklace.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and appalling March 1, 2007
I saw this movie in a theatre ten years ago and recently saw the DVD version. It's pretty obvious that these boys are innocent. It's even more obvious they never got a fair trial.

I'm impressed by Damien, the young man accused of satanism. He's smart and articulate and he kept his cool.

But what's even more appalling is that, given the publicity attached to this case, the young men remain in prison. Why hasn't the governor commuted their sentences? With so many holes in the prosecution's case -- absence of blood being just one -- why have appeals failed?

Paradise Lost describes a 20th century witch hunt. And that's our justice system.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This film is a good overview of the case, and primer for the book "Devil's Knot" by Mara Leveritt. It's tough to present the details in the 90 minutes or so that it runs, but it does a pretty darn good job of it. While the Echols necklace evidence isn't presented in the documentary, it should also be noted that Judge Burnett's incessant denial of every motion made by the defense, while at the same time placating the prosecution at every turn, isn't presented either. It should also be noted, for the benefit of some of the other reviewers, that the blood specimens recovered from the Echols necklace couldn't be analyzed for DNA, only blood type. One was a blood type match for Damien Echols and the other matched both Jason Baldwin and Steven Branch. It seems highly implausible that 3 young men, one mentally handicapped, could pull off this horrific crime and only leave secondary fiber transfers and a spot of blood on a necklace, (the blood type of which matched one of the alleged perpetrators and only one of the victims). If the documentary is biased, it can't begin to counter-balance the bias of the trial judge who would later also serve as the appellate judge. The documentary is gripping, but at the same time fails to show that the miscarriage of justice was almost entirely the handiwork of an anything but impartial prosecutor in robes named Judge David Burnett. You need to read the book too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A 20th Century Witch hunt? December 30, 2007
Paradise Lost is not an uneventful documentary to say the least. The backdrop is West Memphis during the early to mid 1990s and concerns the disappearance and murder of three children and the sensational media blitz that followed in the wake of the arrest, trial and conviction of two teenagers and one young adult on the bases of a confession that many doubt the authenticity of, the circumstances of the extraction and the low-IQ of the confessor.

What makes this documentary so interesting is the lack of evidence and demonizing of the accused because of how they dress and the music they listen to and how one of them read books about Wicca. The prosecutors present a satanic panic case in order to make up for being short on the proof they need to agree with the confession to create a solid case. In this respect Paradise Lost does not say that the `West Memphis 3' are innocent, or even if justice has been served, but has the case been properly handled. What you mostly see during the trial is that the prosecutors terrify a fundamentalist Christian community with accusations and hearsay of satanic ritual killings accompanied by very dubious evidence to support that view.

The film makers focus on the lives of the families of the accused, the accused and especially the lawyers, but eventually turn their attention to one particular family member of a victim who eventually has to take the stand after blood stains are discovered on his hunting knife. The blood evidence however is inconclusive.

Even though the documentary is very popular, it does have some failings. It doesn't explain everything about the case and sometimes just jumps right into the events as they unfold without explaining how they got there.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Justice or injustice
You can decide for yourself after watching all three parts to this story if these children were treated fairly or if they were chosen because of the simple-minded.
Published 6 months ago by Dawn M Abernathey
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Lost - The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
Paradise Lost - The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is a great documentary - especially if you do not know the outcome. Which, when I first saw it, did not know the ending. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Byron W. Cork
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, disturbing and important
Powerful and thought provoking look at American justice, and how we
treat those who are outsiders or 'different'. Read more
Published on June 23, 2012 by K. Gordon
3.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic Documentary of Brutal Murder
Let me state my prejudice at the outset: the story takes place in Arkansas, and the accents grated on my nerves the whole time. Read more
Published on May 11, 2012 by Barbara Frederick
1.0 out of 5 stars paradise lost dvd critique
I saw this documentary on HBO and thought it was terrific. It really showed the Justice system at work. Read more
Published on October 27, 2011 by tony
5.0 out of 5 stars A witch-hunt at "the second Salem"? Miscarriage of justice? You decide
PARADISE LOST: THE CHILD MURDERS AT ROBIN HOOD HILLS (1996) is an interesting HBO Films documentary, the first of two, with a third and final part on the way (on HBO in January... Read more
Published on August 28, 2011 by E. Hernandez
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Mistake
I kinda got sucked into a very interesting, yet disturbing, look at the judicial system by accident. Read more
Published on April 29, 2011 by Dkulmer
4.0 out of 5 stars SATANIC PANIC
This movie is a 'must watch' for anyone directly involved in the criminal justice system, or for that matter, any citizen that lives in our great country. Read more
Published on April 11, 2011 by Joseph H. Race
4.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Lost - The documentary
I saw a blurb about this case on one of my true crime shows a while back. It sparked my interest to find out more. Read more
Published on November 2, 2010 by Susan Descutner Kaspersen
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting and graphic documentary
This is a very intimate look at the crimes committed by the West Memphis Three. This documentary chronicals the trial that, eventually, finds the three men guilty of a horrendous... Read more
Published on October 23, 2010 by Roy S. Tanksley
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