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A Crime on the Bayou

Available screening types




Available until

Jan 01, 2025

Available in

United States of America, Canada

Brought to you by

Bullfrog Films

About the film

In 1966, young Black fisherman Gary Duncan tries to break up a fight between white and Black teenagers outside a newly integrated school in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. During the confrontation, he touches one of the white teens on the arm. That night, police arrest 19-year-old Duncan for assault on a minor.In Washington, DC, a young Jewish attorney named Richard Sobol leaves a prestigious law firm to offer his legal services in New Orleans as a volunteer for the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee. With Sobol's help, Duncan confronts a racist Louisiana legal system—manipulated by segregationist and de facto Parish boss Leander Perez—to challenge his unfair arrest. A CRIME ON THE BAYOU chronicles their legal fight as it goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in the process enshrines the Constitutional right to a jury trial at the state level.




1h 31m




Nancy Buirski


Nancy Buirski, Susan Margolin, Claire L. Chandler

Executive Producer

Regina K. Scully, John Legend, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius, Austin Biggers, Geralyn Dreyfous, Harlene Freezer, Jules Horowitz, Felicia Horowitz, Brenda Robinson, Mark Trustin, Jamie Wolf


Gary Duncan, Richard Sobol, Lolis Eric Elie

Awards & recognition

Critics Choice Association

Nominee, Best Documentary Feature & Best Historical or Biographical Documentary

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Official Selection

Rotten Tomatoes

100% Fresh

What people are saying

Vivid...Provide[s] an unusually palpable sense of just how much deeply-ingrained institutional and cultural bias needed to be overcome for the civil rights movement to make real headway...[An] engrossing, flavorful document.

Dennis Harvey


A Crime on the Bayou never explodes with fury. But that doesn't mean you won't feel enraged while taking in the maddening series of systematic wrongs committed against Sobol and Duncan.

Robert Daniels

Los Angeles Times

Thoughtful and illuminating...Shines a light on a groundbreaking piece of recent American history that will be news to many viewers.

Sheri Linden

The Hollywood Reporter

Filmmaker Nancy Buirski has an elegant, judicious way of imparting the facts of the case, taking not just the political temperature of the moment (boiling) but finely sketching the character and minds of the people involved. 4 out of 4 stars.

Steven Boone

Must-see documentary...A Crime on the Bayou focuses on an incident that happened in 1966 but is, infuriatingly, still timely and relevant more than half a century later.

Lois Alter Mark

Alliance of Women Film Journalists

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