Is Lifetime's 'Girl in the Basement' a True Story?

By Theodora

What is the real story behind Lifetime's "Girl in the Basement"? Elisabeth Fritzl, the Lifetime "Girl in the Basement" profile, is missing. This is everything you need to know about Lifetime’s "Girl in the Basement."

Lifetime's "Girl in The Basement" is a true story?

Lifetime continues its 'Ripped from the Headlines' marathon with Girl In The Basement. This new film is based on Elisabeth Fritzl's tragic story of a young girl who spent nearly 25 years held captive by her father. Girl In The Basement, like many Lifetime films recently, dramatizes Elisabeth Fritzl's true story while adding, omitting and rewriting some elements.

Despite its errors, Girl In The Basement is a horrifying watch. And the true story is more terrifying. Is the girl in the Basementtrue tale? Is Elisabeth Fritzl the girl in the basement? This is everything you should know.


Lifetime's Girls in the Basement tells the horrifying story of Sara Scott (Stefanie), a suburban teenager who is held captive by Don (Judd Nelson) in their basement. Don claims Sara fled, but she is actually being held prisoner by Don's wife, Joely Fisher. He tortures and rapes Sara for over 20 years. Sara is blessed with several children and Don and Irene take over the care of her youngest child. Irene thinks Sara sent him there from another part of the country. Sara is finally able to flee, but the whole world learns about her story and the family must face the truth.

Related Reading: All 'Batman' Movies in Order to Watch


Warning! The following graphic portrayals of sexual abuse and assault are explicit.

Girl In The Basement is based upon the true story of Elisabeth Fritzl. She was a young Austrian girl who was held by Josef Fritzl from 1984 to 2008. According to Oxygen on August 28, 1984, Josef lured Elisabeth into their basement and put an ether-soaked cloth on her forehead. After she fell asleep, he placed a handcuff on her neck and locked her up in an underground prison. Josef forced Elisabeth to write a letter to Rosemarie in which he claimed that she left Amstetten, Austria, and didn't want to be found.

Josef sexually assaulted Elisabeth nearly every day for the next 24+ years. In 1988, she had her first child, Kerstin, and subsequently gave birth to six more children — Stefan, Lisa, Monika, Alexander, Michael, and Felix — but unfortunately, Michael died three days after birth.

Josef began to remove some children from the basement over the years and informed Rosemarie, that Elisabeth had sent them, as she needed her to help raising them. Rosemarie accepted his story and began to care for the children.

Elisabeth, her oldest daughter Kerstin's mother, fell unconscious on April 19. Elisabeth was the first to emerge from the basement. After Kerstin had been brought to the hospital, Elisabeth returned to her basement. However, one week later she was taken to the police to be interrogated by hospital staff. Elisabeth recounted her horrendous story for many hours. Her father was then arrested on April 26.

Josef pleaded guilty less than one year later to murder and other charges in relation to Michael's death. Josef was sentenced to life at Garsten Abbey where he continues to live to the present day.

Related Reading: Is Ghostbusters Afterlife Streaming on Netflix, HBO MAX, or Amazon Prime Video?


Mirror reports that Elisabeth Fritzl, who was being tried for infidelity, received a new name and now lives in Austria with six of her children.

The Mirror reported that the children are now between 17-31 years old and have their doors left open. They had been through weekly therapy to heal from the traumas suffered in the basement. The Mirror reported that the family's two-story home, which is under CCTV surveillance, has been monitored by security guards and any outsider in its vicinity can be expected to be arrested within minutes.

Fritzl is also reported to be in a relationship, reportedly with Thomas Wagner, her ex-bodyguard. Thomas lives with Fritzl and their family.

Related Reading: Wonder Woman 1984 HBO Max


Girl In the Basementfirst aired on Saturday, February 27, at 7:59 PM. There are still ways to catch it if you miss it. You can stream the Elisabeth Fritzl movie on Lifetime's website and app. However, you will need to log in to your cable provider to view it.


Netflix does not stream Girl In The Basement.

Cord-cutters, however, can still catch Lifetime movies with active Hulu + Live TV subscriptions or Philo accounts. Both offer complimentary trials to new subscribers.