It’s the mid 1970s. Moving back home with her mother Virginia in Tennessee, Marie Ragghianti was able to leave an abusive marriage to eke out a better life for herself and her three young children – the youngest, Ricky, for who she would have to deal with his major health issues – by waiting tables, all the while being able to complete the degree requirements at Vanderbilt to obtain a B.A. in English and Psychology.
She is unapologetic in asking a college acquaintance, Eddie Sisk, for a job, he who has just been appointed legal counsel for just elected Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton. In what he considers a win-win situation, Eddie offers Marie a job as the Extradition Officer for the state, a job offer which she accepts. From there, Marie quickly moves up the chain of command, first to become the liaison to the Governor via Eddie on Parole Board recommendations – the role which is meant to be a two way street, where there is an understood quid pro quo in recommendations from the Board.
Marie (also known as Marie: A True Story) is a 1985 American biographical film starring Sissy Spacek as the real-life Marie Ragghianti, former head of the Tennessee Board of Pardons and Paroles, who was removed from office in 1977 after refusing to release prisoners on whose behalf, it was discovered, bribes had been paid to aides to then-Governor Ray Blanton. Ragghianti, a single mother and political appointee, was hounded for refusal to cooperate with the culture of corruption with which she found herself confronted. Many of Blanton’s aides faced prosecution for their roles in the scandal. The film was based on the book Marie: A True Story by Peter Maas.
The film was directed by Roger Donaldson, with a screenplay by John Briley, best known as the screenwriter of Gandhi. It also starred Jeff Daniels, Keith Szarabajka, Morgan Freeman, Fred Thompson, Lisa Banes, John Cullum, Graham Beckel, and Macon McCalman.
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Starring: Sissy Spacek, Jeff Daniels, Keith Szarabajka, Morgan Freeman, Fred Dalton Thompson, Lisa Banes, Trey Wilson, John Cullum
Screenplay by: John Briley
Cinematography by: Chris Menges
Film Editing by: Neil Travis
Costume Design by: Joe I. Tompkins
Set Decoration by: Edward ‘Tantar’ LeViseur
Art Direction by: Ron Foreman
Music by: Francis Lai
Distributed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer, United Artists
Release Date: September 25, 1985