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Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 February 1954 (USA)
Fed up with the inhumane prison living conditions, a general prison riot breaks out, leading to hostage-taking, a stand-off with the guards and eventual negotiations with the prison administration officials.



(story), (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
James V. Dunn
Emile Meyer ...
Warden Reynolds
Commissioner Haskell
Crazy Mike Carnie
Robert Osterloh ...
The Colonel
Paul Frees ...
Alvy Moore ...
Guard Acton
Guard Captain Barrett
Harold J. Kennedy ...
Jonathan Hole ...
Reporter Russell


Producer Walter Wanger, who had just been released from a prison term after shooting a man he believed was having an affair with his wife, wanted to make a film about the appalling conditions he saw while he was incarcerated. He got together with director Don Siegel and they came up with this film, in which several prison inmates, to protest brutal guards, substandard food, overcrowding and barely livable conditions, stage an uprising, in which most of the inmates join, and take several guards hostage. Negotiations between the inmates and prison officials are stymied, however, by politicians interfering with the prison administration, and by dissension and infighting in the inmates' own ranks. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


YOU ARE CAUGHT IN THE SCORCHING CENTER OF A PRISON RIOT! YOU feel the savage frenzy of 4000 caged humans! YOU see the horror of the wolf pack on a vengeance kick! YOU sweat out every second with tortured hostages! YOU rock with the impact of brute force against bullets! See more »


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 February 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les révoltés de la cellule 11  »

Box Office


$298,780 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was such a hit that Walter Wanger teamed with Don Siegel two years later for the now classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). See more »


Referenced in The Seven Year Itch (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

Exceptionally done
31 October 2002 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

An exceptional social issue film about prisoners rioting, trying to get the press to tell the stories of their mistreatment and trying to get the government to effect change in the prison system. Everything about it is absolutely top-notch: the screenplay and the direction are realistic and very, very taut. Don Siegel, I assume, didn't have a huge budget on this one, and he accomplishes an amazing lot. I love the way Richard Collin's script pits the rioters not only against the establishment, but also against each other. In a cell block full of so many differing personalities (or perhaps "criminalities" is a better word), they're not all likely to agree. The acting is almost universally excellent, with the one exception of Emile Meyer, who plays the Warden. He's a little creaky, but all the others, including Neville Brand, Leo Gordon (who had been a real prisoner in the prison seen in this film), and Robert Osterloh among many others, are pretty much perfect. One strong moment after another makes Riot in Cell Block 11 a must-see gem, a low-budget masterpiece. 10/10.

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