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Penitentiary (1979)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Sport  |  December 1979 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 476 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 21 critic

A hitchhiker named Martel Gordone gets in a fight with two bikers over a prostitute, and one of the bikers is killed. Gordone is arrested and sent to prison, where he joins the prison's ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wilbur 'Hi-Fi' White ...
Sweet Pea
...
Martel 'Too Sweet' Gordone
Thommy Pollard ...
Eugene T. Lawson
Hazel Spears ...
Linda (as Hazel Spear)
Donovan Womack ...
Jesse Amos
Floyd 'Wildcat' Chatman ...
Hezzikia 'Seldom Seen' Jackson (as Floyd Chatman)
Gloria Delaney ...
Peaches
Badja Djola ...
'Half Dead' Johnson
Chuck Mitchell ...
Lieutenant Arnsworth
Cepheus Jaxon ...
Poindexter
Dwaine Fobbs ...
Lying Latney Winborn
Ernest Wilson ...
Cheese
Will Richardson ...
Magilla Gorilla
Elijah Mitchell ...
Nut #1
Tony Andrea ...
Mook
Edit

Storyline

A hitchhiker named Martel Gordone gets in a fight with two bikers over a prostitute, and one of the bikers is killed. Gordone is arrested and sent to prison, where he joins the prison's boxing team in an effort to secure an early parole and to establish his dominance over the prison's toughest gang. Written by page8701

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All that stands between him and freedom is the ring. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jamaa Fanaka's Penitentiary  »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The fight in the jail cell between Badja Djola and Leon Isaac Kennedy took three days to film. Neither Djola nor Kennedy used stunt doubles for this brutal and lengthy fight set piece. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 4 (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Kissy Face
Written, Produced and Performed by Mark Gaillard and the Slim and Trim Band
See more »

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User Reviews

Passionate and very intense cinema experience
3 June 2000 | by (Motown, Philly) – See all my reviews

I read in an article that "Penitentiary" is one of John Singelton's favorite films. I can see why. It is an film that is kind of like an "acquired taste". It has its own audience. Hard-hitting, intense, and memorable, with some very well done casting, especially bad-man Badja Djola as "Half Dead". The musical score takes great risks that ultimately pay off. There is one part during the terrific fight scene between Too-Sweet and Half-Dead where there is no score, just screeching. Another interesting point, in Penitentiary 2, Ernie Hudson is just as good as Half-Dead's replacement.


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