Music Box is a 1989 film that tells the story of a Hungarian-American immigrant who is accused of having been a war criminal. The plot revolves around his daughter, an attorney, who defends him, and her struggle to uncover the truth.
The movie was written by Joe Eszterhas and directed by Costa-Gavras. It stars Jessica Lange, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Frederic Forrest, Donald Moffat and Lukas Haas.
It is loosely based on the real life case of John Demjanjuk and, as well, on Joe Eszterhas' own life. Eszterhas learned at age 45 that his father, Count István Esterházy, had concealed his wartime involvement in Hungary's Fascist and militantly racist Arrow Cross Party. According to Eszterhas, his father, "organized book burnings and had cranked out the vilest anti-Semitic propaganda imaginable." After this discovery, Eszterhas severed all contact with his father, never reconciling before István's death.
Chicago defense attorney Anne Talbot learns that her father, Hungarian immigrant Michael J. Laszlo, is in danger of having his U.S. citizenship revoked. The reasons are that he stands accused of war crimes. He insists that it is a case of mistaken identity. Against the advice of her former father-in-law, corporate attorney Harry Talbot, Anne resolves to defend her father in court. One of her reasons is how deeply her son, Mikey, loves and admires his grandfather.