Cry in the Wild: The Taking of Peggy Ann (1991)
Recreating the true story of a teenage girl abducted in the 1960s’ Pennsylvania by a mentally challenged man with a criminal record, Cry in the Wild: The Taking of Peggy Ann has a tell-tale title. But there is more to the movie than meets the eye in the title or the logline.
The TV movie written by Durrell Royce Crays and directed by Charles Correll originally aired on NBC in May 1991 and now is available for streaming on the free movie channel/app Tubi. It features the real-life abduction of Peggy Ann Bradnick, a 17-year-old girl in Shade Gap, Pennsylvania, in May 1966. The abductor William Diller Hollenbaugh, aka Bicycle Pete, was a mental patient with a criminal record, who lived as a mountain man in the woods.
The movie is a crime drama and a thriller engaging the viewers from the start with Hollenbaugh’s feral acts of violence against townsfolk. As he takes Peggy away at gun point and escapes into the woods, the police starts its search for rescuing the girl and the hunt for arresting the criminal, aided by an FBI agent Terry Anderson. During the week-long captivity, a traumatized Peggy gets to see glimpses of the human side of her captor as he reveals some details of his past life as a rejected and abused person.
The movie has been brilliantly directed to great avail of the acting talent with David Morse’s exceptional portrayal of Bicycle Pete while Megan Follows plays Peggy and David Soul impresses in the inspiring role of Agent Terry Anderson. The movie succeeds in delivering an important message – the need to address core human needs of love, attention, and care in order to prevent them from slipping into a feral life that ultimately becomes a threat to the society.
Cry in the Wild: The Taking of Peggy Ann is for mature audiences due to violence, mainly gun fight, though as a TV movie of the early 90s, it’s tame in comparison with today’s standards of graphic violence for mature audiences.
Note: Not to be confused with the 1990 survival drama film A Cry in the Wild by Mark Griffiths.
IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099328/