Rolling Stone - 02/04/1993
"The year's best documentary....BROTHER'S KEEPER has the texture, emotion and raw urgency of a Woody Guthrie anthem - it keeps coming back to haunt you..."
New York Times - 09/09/1992
"...A rich slice of Americana....[BROTHER'S KEEPER] haunts the mind..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 03/26/1993
"...BROTHER'S KEEPER, the year's best documentary, has an impact and immediacy that most fiction films can only envy. It tells a strong story, and some passages are truly inspirational..."
Entertainment Weekly - 08/01/2003
"...A gripping courtroom drama is enlivened by a glimpse into a rarely seen corner of rural America..."
USA Today - 08/01/2003
"...1992' s most critically praised movie was BROTHER'S KEEPER....Exceptional..."
This acclaimed documentary explores the odd world of the four elderly Ward brothers--disheveled, illiterate farmers who have lived their entire lives in a dilapidated two room shack. When William Ward dies in the bed that he shared with his brother Delbert, police officers become suspicious. Citing motives ranging from sex crime to euthanasia, they arrest Delbert for murder, penetrating the isolated, antiquated world that left "the boys" forgotten eccentrics for so many years. As the hazy case against Delbert is investigated and brought to trial, the previously distant population of their idyllic New York town, Munnsville, warmly embrace the remaining Ward brothers, rallying in small town solidarity against the seemingly corrupt urban authorities. Though the film's raison d'Ítre is the murder case, the Ward brothers' existence forms the riveting and intriguing crux of the film. Using their nearly unparalleled ability to gain the trust and affection of their subjects, Berlinger and Sinofsky open up a stunningly rich and complex world. This is anthropology at its most haunting; an in-depth look into an untouched slice of Americana that succeeds, as only the best documentary can, in capturing lives that are far too strange, beautiful, and elusive to be imagined.
Family Interaction |
Tear Jerker |
Theatrical Release |
Release date: March 26, 1993 (Limited)
Munnsville, NY, where the film takes place, has a population of 499.
BROTHER'S KEEPER was filmed over a period of nine months.
Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinfosky won the "Best Director" award from The Director's Guild of America.
The film was placed on over 50 American film critics' "10 Best Films of 1992" lists.
BROTHER'S KEEPER was broadcast on PBS's AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE in May of 1994.
Sinofsky and Berlinger discovered the story of the Ward brothers, and thus the subject of their documentary, in an article in The New York Times.
BROTHER'S KEEPER won The 1992 New York Film Critics Circle and the 1992 National Board of Review Awards for "Best Documentary." It also won the "Audience Award" at 1992's Sundance Film Festival.