Scared Straight! (1978)

 |  Crime, Documentary  |  1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 605 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 9 critic

The filmed depiction of a program where convicts tell troubled kids about the horrors of prison life.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Doug Cronin


This film shows the Scared Straight program that has hardened convicts from maximum security prisons tell their stories about the truth about prison life in order to convince kids that no crime is worth the risk of being incarcerated Written by Kenneth Chisholm <>

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Crime | Documentary

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1978 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


When it won the Oscar and Emmy, producer 'Davil L. Wolper' was the one who presented the awards to Arnold Shapiro. See more »


Ali: I'm here for murder, kidnappin', robbery, armed-robbery, conspiracy, breakin' the dude's jaw and breakin' his fuckin' woman's both her gottdam arms! But fuck what's happenin' to me! It's whats' happenin' to juveniles we're concerned about.
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Referenced in Parker Lewis Can't Lose: A Walk on the Dark Side (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Terrific documentary classic
8 April 2002 | by (Järvenpää, Finland) – See all my reviews

I've watched "Scared straight!" couple of times and I've always been stunned by it. The idea is definitely exceptional. At the beginning film interviews group of cocky juvenile delinquents, foolish youthful low-lifes, proud self-satisfied rascals and rebellious brats who are feeling no remorse of anything they've done. On the contrary these little rogues have decided to make a living out of criminality. They make a little trip to jail where a bunch of furious, hard-boiled convicts tell 'em what it's like to be behind bars and like the title says practically scare 'em straight.

And afterwards we can see the miraculous change. I'm sure over the decades mere experience of watching "Scared straight!" has made hundreds and hundreds of juvenile offenders walk the narrow way. It is so simple, yet so effective. Friends of prison flicks will also get extra kicks out of the fact that this is not a movie, this is reality. I don't know if it's appropriate to call this documentary entertaining but hell: that's exactly what this is! As long as you're not in there. Don't miss "Scared straight!" if you get a chance to see it. After 24 years it's still shocking. I have to recommend this terrific timeless classic to everybody. 10/10.

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