Based on a real-life 1983 incident, The Accused tells the story of Sarah Tobias (Jodie Foster), a working-class party girl who likes to live it up with her friends and flirt hard with the guys.
After a fight with her boyfriend, she heads to a local bar to cool down -- and after a few drinks, plus some dancing and flirting, she finds herself thrown on top of a pinball machine and gang-raped by a bunch of locals, while others watch and cheer the proceedings.
District attorney Kathryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis) takes Sarah's case but quickly negotiates a plea bargain in which the attackers' charges are reduced to reckless endangerment. Her reason: defense attorneys could use Sarah's not-so-pretty past to paint her as asking for it, getting their clients off completely.
But a stunned Sarah accuses Murphy of selling her out, and when the lawyer sees how the incident continues to destroy Sarah's life, she decides she must seek true justice. This time, she goes after the crowd of onlookers for criminal solicitation -- those who were egging the rapists on. Foster won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance.