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The Violation of Sarah McDavid (1981)

The Violation of Sarah McDavid is a TV film written by Lois & Arnold Peyser and directed by John Llewellyn Moxey. It premiered in May 1981.

The film hasn’t been released on VHS or DVD, but it is available on YouTube, starting here.


The Violation of Sarah McDavid is a surprisingly explicit TV movie concerning the undercurrent of violence in a purportedly “good” high school. Patty Duke Astin is a new teacher at Benjamin Harrison High, where the GPA is high but where sadism and brutality amongst the students is the order of the day. Ms. Astin is able to maintain an even keel until, at the end of one school day, she is raped. Assuming she will be backed up in her accusations by the school administration, the teacher discovers that the principal (Ned Beatty), more concerned with image than with justice, wants to sweep the rape incident under the rug. As Astin struggles to make her complaint public, the film touches upon such hot-potato subjects as executive incompetence and the culpability of a “don’t ask don’t tell” public.


Patty Duke (Sarah McDavid), Ned Beatty (Dr. Walter Keys), James Sloyan (Eddie), Vernee Watson-Johnson (Kip Leslie), Fran Bennett (Ms. Merriam), Eric Stoltz (Pete Brady), Richard Venture (Mr. Hourgil), Marilyn Kagan (Nan), Victoria Racimo (Sgt. Smith), Ally Sheedy (Tracy Barnes), Robert Picardo (Scott Crowell)

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