Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired


Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

Critics Consensus

A courtroom drama and an exploration of celebrity and responsibility.



Total Count: 48


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,206
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Movie Info

Reopening a case that has inspired curiosity, controversy, and confusion for over three decades, Zenovich's film is an extensive exploration of the circumstances that led up to--and the circus that followed--Polanski's conviction for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Zenovich had unprecedented access to several of the key players in the case, including the lawyers representing the case, the media covering it, and the unusually clear-eyed and candid victim. Unearthing a trove of telling footage from the past, and combining it with insightful interviews from today, she brings comprehension and clarity to events long clouded by myth and misconception. A thrilling examination of a trial that became the prototype for innumerable Hollywood courtroom scandals to follow, the film becomes a brilliant discourse on the attraction/repulsion that defines celebrity culture in contemporary America.

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Critic Reviews for Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (7)

  • He claims here to have been influenced early on by Snow White. I should have thought Peter Pan instead.

    Jan 4, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Though Marina Zenovich's film deals with the notorious case of the film director who pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old, the film's real subject is the California legal system turned upside down by celebrity and media pressure.

    Jul 25, 2008 | Rating: 3/4
  • With a subject like Roman Polanski, you don't really need to do much to capture audience interest. But maybe that's the reason Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired doesn't live up to its promise.

    Jul 25, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, a documentary by Marina Zenovich that is also a first-rate work of reportage, makes a forceful case that the whole truth of the matter was never heard in court and Polanski was more sinned against than sinning.

    Jul 25, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Roman Polanski (The Pianist, Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown) is unquestionably a great filmmaker, but as Marina Zenovich's documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired perhaps unintentionally demonstrates, he's also a creep.

    Jul 25, 2008 | Rating: 2/4
  • Whether you can swallow that or not, the mesmerizing narrative recounts a media circus of unrivaled malignance.

    Jul 25, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

  • Nov 21, 2012
    Roman Polanski is my all time favorite directors, his films while not always consistent, when they're good they're the greatest ever made. He could just be the most genuine person in the industry.The film did a good job telling his two most personal life events, murder of his wife, and the child molestation case. For the case of child molestation it brought in all parties, the victim, prosecuter, and Polanskis friends were all interviewed. All of them could agree on two things, the swine of the media, and the awfulness in Judge Rittenband. Even the prosecuter stated he would flee under those conditions. It's one of the all time lows of the American judicial system. The documentary told his stories, side by side with Polanskis films. Making it feel almost as if Polanski foreshadowed all of this. Deeply personal and informative, I loved this documentary
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2012
    A mediocre doc designed mainly for Polanski. It goes on to depict how Polanski couldn't get a fair trial that he deserved more than any other human due to a judge craving for media popularity.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Jan 29, 2010
    A wonderful look at corruption and justice, even if it's justice we don't agree with. Putting Polanski's crimes to one side, there is no denying he is an exceptional filmmaker. He is able to address a darkness many hope never to experience. It's very easy to see Polanski as a coward that ran from sentencing, but we also have a fascinating story of a judge hungry for fame. That cares more about peoples opinion of him, than he does keeping his word. It's a fascinating battle where everyone appears to be in the wrong, and the two lawyers seem to be the most honest of the bunch. It's a great watch, just for all of the different reactions it can evoke, with Polanski's troubled and harrowing life as a backdrop for greater tragedies to come.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 26, 2009
    Wanted and Desired isn't a particularly entertaining or dynamic documentary (I fell asleep twice during it, but in the film's defense it was Thanksgiving Day), but if nothing else it gives you a more clear understanding of what happened behind the scenes of Roman Polanski's controversial trial from the mid-70s. If you're a fan of archival footage intercut with movie scenes and interviews you're in luck. Filmmaker Marina Zenovich seems to be in Polanski's corner and I kind of took the same stance. As far as Polanski's concerned, the guy survived the Holocaust and his wife and friends were slaughtered by the Mansons. I'm not saying that should give someone carte blanche to dope and cornhole a teenager, but when even the family of said teenager is calling bullshit on the case, something's seriously wrong. And as far this documentary getting made just when you thought all the dust was settled? All I've got to say is never trust lifetime awards from Swiss film festivals...
    Michael G Super Reviewer

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