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Short Eyes (1977)

R  |   |  Drama  |  20 July 1979 (Norway)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 593 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 17 user | 20 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

A child molester sent to prison finds that criminals exact harsher justice than society.

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An American student starts working with his Arab colleague while putting all politics aside. However, is his colleague just a regular Joe? Set around the time of Arab-Israeli Six Day War.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
José Pérez ...
Juan
Nathan George ...
Ice
Don Blakely ...
El Raheem
Tony DiBenedetto ...
Tony (as Tony Di Benedetto)
...
Paco
Tito Goya ...
Cupcakes
...
Longshoe
Bob Maroff ...
Mr. Nett
Keith Davis ...
Mr. Brown
...
(as Luis Guzman)
Miguel Pinero ...
Go-Go
Bob O'Connell ...
Mr. Allard
...
Mr. Morrison
Richard Matamoros ...
Gomez
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Storyline

A young man who is charged with child molestation is placed in New York City's infamous Tombs prison. When the other inmates in his cell block find out what he is charged with, life becomes extremely difficult for him. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"Jesus, help me, 'cause man won't."

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 July 1979 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Slammer  »

Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Miguel Pinero, the author of the play upon which this film is based (and the actor who plays Go-Go), wrote the play as part of an inmate writers' workshop while incarcerated at Sing Sing Prison for armed robbery. He missed the premiere of the film because he had been arrested for armed robbery. All of the money he received for the film ($40,000) he gave away to homeless friends and former prison-mates. He reportedly lived on the street even after the film's acclaimed release, using a pay phone as an office. See more »

Quotes

El Raheem: Yakoo, maker and creator of the devil! Swine merchant, your time is near at hand. Fuck with me, and your time will be now. Your presence here affects the mind of my people like a fever. You, yakoo, are the bearer of 9,999 diseases: evil, corrupt pork-chop-eating atrocities!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Stick (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Short Eyes/Freak, Freak, Free, Free, Free
Written by Curtis Mayfield
Performed by Curtis Mayfield
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User Reviews

 
Scared Straight
5 September 2010 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Short Eyes is to prison pictures what the atom bomb is to weaponry— powerful and frightening from one end to the other. In fact, I'm surprised the movie got made at all since it's got all the commercial appeal of live surgery. But once you start watching, you can't stop. The characters are real and riveting, the setting an actual prison (The Tombs), and the violence sudden and brutal. It's almost like being in prison, except thankfully you're not.

The story is about one floor of the lockup where the packed-in racial groups appear poised for combat like Europe in 1914. There's a tense truce as long as Whites, Blacks, and Browns observe the unwritten rules and don't invade the wrong space. Too bad they're not making music all the time because that's the only time they seem in harmony. Then into this tense mix comes a guy everyone can despise, a child-molester (Davison). Worse, he's a white guy who even looks like "the man". So he's got as much chance of surviving as a minnow has among sharks-- that is, if the authorities don't pull him out first. And, kind of surprisingly, we wish they would since after listening to his "story", he seems more pathetic than wicked.

Two things to note. Catch how difficult it is for any kind of humanity to survive amid racially charged, oppressive conditions that the authorities (guards, supervisors) only make worse. Juan (Perez) wants to cling to some vestige, but he's got to do it within the unwritten rules. And, in this testosterone-soaked atmosphere, the problem isn't just ethnic, it's other guys in general. However, the most nightmarish part is the threat of emasculation, men being denied their identity and turned into substitute women. That scene in the shower between Cupcakes and Paco may be more unsettling than even the knifing in Psycho (1960). I expect this loss of sexual identity may be the most unnerving part of a genuinely frightening movie, by which Hollywood's prison films pale in comparison.


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