IMDb > Punishment Park (1971)
Punishment Park
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Punishment Park (1971) More at IMDbPro »


User Rating:
7.9/10   3,985 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 29% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for Punishment Park on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1980 (West Germany) See more »
"Punishment Park" is a pseudo-documentary purporting to be a film crews's news coverage of the team of soldiers escorting a group of hippies... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
The Punishment Is Worth It *Spoilers* See more (47 total) »


  (in credits order)
Patrick Boland ... First Tribunal Defendant
Kent Foreman ... Defendant in the tribunal

Carmen Argenziano ... Jay Kaufman, Tribunal Defendant
Luke Johnson ... Defendant in the tribunal
Katherine Quittner ... Nancy Smith

Scott Turner ... James Arthur Kohler, Tribunal Defendant
Stan Armsted ... Charles Robbins
Mary Ellen Kleinhall ... Allison Mitchner
Mark Keats ... William C. Hoeger, Tribunal Chairman
Gladys Golden ... Mary Jurgens, Tribunal Member
Sanford Golden ... Sen. Harris
George Gregory ... Mr. Keagan
Norman Sinclair ... Alfred J. Sully - Tribunal Member
Sigmund Rich ... Prof. Hazlett
Paul Rosenstein ... Paul Reynolds - Tribunal Member
Lee Marks ... Robert J. Donovan, FBI Agent
Sandy Cox ... Stenographer
Fred Franklyn ... James Daly, Defense Attorney (as Frederick Franklyn)
Ross Briegleb ... Tribunal Doctor
Joe Hudgins ... Chief Tribunal Marshall
Radger Greene ... Federal Marshall
Tom Kemp ... Tribunal Marshall
Harry McKasson ... Tribunal Marshall
Harold Beaulieu ... Desert Militant
Cynthia Jenkins ... Desert Militant
Jack London ... Desert Militant
Bob Lewine ... Desert Militant (as Rob Lewine)
Rolando González ... Desert Semi-Militant (as Roland Gonzalez)
Viola Gonzalez ... Desert Semi-Militant
Jack Gozdick ... Desert Semi-Militant
Brian Hart ... Desert Semi-Militant
Linda Mandel ... Desert Semi-Militant
Don Pino ... Desert Semi-Militant
Jason Sunners ... Desert Semi-Militant (as Jason Sommers)
Conchita Thornston ... Desert Semi-Militant (as Conchita Thornton)
Gary Johnson ... Desert Pacifist
Michelle Johnson ... Desert Pacifist (as Michele Johnson)
Ted Martin ... Desert Pacifist
Don McDonald ... Desert Pacifist
Harold Schneider ... Desert Pacifist
Jim Bohan ... Captain, Sheriff's Dept.
Van Daniels ... Member, Sheriff's Dept. (as Van Daniel)
Harlan Green ... Member, Sheriff's Dept.
Dennis Wilson ... Sheriff's dept.
Paul Alelyanes ... Policeman
Kerry Cannon ... Policeman
Bob Franklin ... Policeman
Bruce McGuire ... Policeman
Ron Pennington ... Policeman
Allen Powell ... Policeman
Jim Wettstein ... Policeman
Jim Churchill ... National Guardsman
Danny Conlon ... National Guardsman
Wally McKay ... National Guardsman
Cliff Pinard ... National Guardsman
Don Vann ... National Guardsman
Charlie Wyatt ... National Guardsman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mitchell Harding ... Newscaster (voice)
Mike Hodel ... Newscaster (voice) (as Michael Hodel)
John Kerry ... Policeman
Peter Watkins ... Documentarist (uncredited)

Directed by
Peter Watkins 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Peter Watkins 

Produced by
Susan Martin .... producer
Original Music by
Paul Motian 
Cinematography by
Joan Churchill 
Peter Smokler 
Film Editing by
Terry Hodel 
Peter Watkins 
Casting by
Linda Elbow 
Laura Golden 
Art Direction by
David Hancock 
Makeup Department
Miriam Nunberg .... makeup artist
Art Department
Barry Wilson .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Michael C. Moore .... sound (as Michael Moore)
Wayne Nakatsu .... sound mixer
Doug Stevenson .... sound assistant
Hiroaki 'Zom' Yamamoto .... sound mixer (as Hiroki Yamoto)
Camera and Electrical Department
Harlan Chapman .... lighting technician
Kit Kalionzes .... lighting technician
John Arthur Morrill .... lighting technician (as John Morril)
Peter Smokler .... assistant camera
Richard Wells .... assistant camera
Editorial Department
Susan Martin .... assistant editor
Other crew
Linda Elbow .... continuity
Laura Golden .... production assistant
Harlan Green .... production assistant
Brian Hart .... titles

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
88 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
France:-12 | Germany:16 | UK:X | UK:15 (video rating) | USA:R

Did You Know?

Whole movie was filmed using Eclair 16 mm camera. Theather cut and the version for released DVD is been blown up to 35 mm film.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): In her tribunal closing statement, Alison Mitchner makes reference to the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, and uses the phrase "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". This phrase is in the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.See more »
Charles Robbins:Would you like for me to define what a politician is? A politician is nothing but a debater. All that you do is debate issues, you fat pig, you meathead. That's all that you are, because you are lying, sucker, you're lying to the camera, you're lying to your mama, you're lying to everybody, but every time I hear you open up your mouth, all I hear is oink, you pig. That's all I hear, oink. 'Cause you ain't got no humanity in you, 'cause you're a pig, you lying punk.See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
9 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
The Punishment Is Worth It *Spoilers*, 14 March 2006
Author: joepublic from the outer reaches of your mind

Set in a California detention camp in an indistinct future, an English film crew capture proceedings as young students and political dissidents are put on trial under a fictional 'Insurrection Act' that allows the United States government to suspend civil liberties for its own citizens in cases of emergency without the right to bail or the necessity of evidence. In such cases the government is authorised to apprehend and detain anyone they believe may engage in future activities of sabotage. The group on trial includes a feminist, a black panther and a folk singer.

Those convicted by the a Conservative tribunal have the choice of a lengthy prison sentence or three days in Punishment Park, in which they can attain their freedom by reaching an American flag in the desert. They must accomplish this without food or water. They are also to be pursued by armed National Guards and police who can return them to the camp if captured to face the penal sentence attributed to each person convicted. The reality is different; those that choose Punishment Park are hunted and killed or brutalised with no hope of gaining their freedom after a policeman is found dead in the park. The park seems to be a training ground for the police and guards who need to master these acts of suppression so they can be put to use in open American society.

Shot on 16mm and in the documentary style developed by Watkins, in his celebrated Culloden and the controversial The War Game for the BBC; he interacts with the prisoners and guards and observes the unconstitutional trial, inter cutting between them to create a totally convincing political movie that still remains vital and relevant. Using his knowledge of the medium, Watkins has produced a driving, relentless and ultimately frightening film portrayal of an entirely fictional American political detention camp that would not convince if it wasn't for his flawless construction. Many of the actors are amateurs improvising with broad characters. The sparks fly in the trial scenes in which each case is heard, in part to the fact that Watkins kept those on trial away from the jury until the filming of those scenes. Watkins also claims that the actors are often expressing their own opinions which certainly explain the ferocity as well as the believability of their performances.

The film has been heavily criticised for polarising the opinions of those that see it. It has been claimed that the film is reactionary and unequivocally represents that conservatism and war are the root of America's social problems. While these criticisms may be valid it is important to consider that the film is working on a fictional, metaphorical level and it is perhaps the realism that the film so cleverly constructs that encourages such a heated opinion on its content. In fact the films most important theme is the problem of polarisation itself. The 'conservative' judges and brutal law officers are on one side and the 'liberal' convicts are clearly on the other with no concessions made on either side. This seems to be what the movie is really about. The new law and the park itself is the outgrowth of a situation where mediation between the two political positions has been lost.

Made during and in protest to the Vietnam War and the treatment of those who opposed the war in America the films main themes of Governmental persecution of its own citizens and Conservatism impinging on civil liberties still strike the same chord in the era of the Patriot act and the identity card. It also strikes a disturbing chord with news footage of Guantanamo Bay and the treatment of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of Allied forces.

The threat of internal 'terrorism' is such a volatile issue that the film cannot fail to connect with current attitudes to the subject. Not surprisingly the film has had a checkered distribution history, being marginalised to an extreme due to its content but the disturbing fact that this movie is that can still remain so relevant today suggests that the wait has not been for nothing. Punishment Park is a film that has had to fight to be seen anywhere and it demands your attention.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (47 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Punishment Park (1971)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Masters Of Cinema Cast thefilmmann
Why is this film not more well known ? thegroovygrover
Unrealistic crevy
films like this make me laugh chaosbaron
Is this film helpful or harmful? Mean_Joe_Weeks
M.I.A's Born Free keir_strickland
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Weather Underground The Road to Guantanamo The Best of Youth Children of the Revolution The Battle of Algiers
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.