Neverland: The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army

Director: Robert Stone

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


"Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people!"
"Mom? Dad? I'm with a…combat unit…"
"An arrest warrant has been served to Patricia Campbell Hearst . . ."

In 1974, a teenage newspaper heiress and Berkeley undergrad was kidnapped at gunpoint from her apartment, setting off one of the most bizarre episodes in recent history. The kidnappers, completely off the map before Patty Hearst disappeared into the San Francisco night, were a small band of young, ferociously militant political radicals, dedicated to the rights of prisoners and the working class. They called themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army. Over the course of about three years they robbed banks, senselessly killed two innocent people, instigated a firefight after attempting to shoplift a pair of socks, and, most famously, converted their hostage and victim. They also achieved an undeniably visionary manipulation of the media, inciting perhaps the first modern media frenzy.

Presenting resonating questions about the role of the media in America—mouthpiece? messenger? truth seeker?—the ethical dilemmas posed by new technologies, and the proximity of madness to political extremism, Robert Stone's Neverland is an unprecedented, elegant, and thoroughly fascinating account of the spiraling, disastrous descent of the most notorious domestic terrorists in American history.

— Elizabeth Richardson

Screening Details


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