''The Accused'' premiered at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival, where it competed for the Golden Bear. It was released in limited theatres on October 14, 1988 by Paramount Pictures and was highly controversial upon release, mostly due to its graphic representation of gang rape. The film became a critical and commercial success, grossing over $92 million worldwide against a $13 million budget, and was chosen by the National Board of Review as the 3rd best film of the year. Critics praised the film's audacity, the authenticity of the portrayal of its subject matter, and credited it for being one of the first mainstream films to deal with the horrors of rape and its aftermath on a victim's life. Foster's performance marked her breakthrough into adult roles, earning numerous accolades including the Academy Award for Best Actress.