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Penitentiary (1979)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Sport  |  December 1979 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 486 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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Title: Penitentiary (1979)

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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:

He's Too Fast, Two Fisted, "Too Sweet"! 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

Writer/director Jamaa Fanaka was still a student at UCLA when he made this film. Moreover, the quadrangle at the UCLA cinema department was used as the location for the prison yard. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Rod Stewart (1981) 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

 
Blaxploitation worth 100 lame contemp. Hollywood "action" films!
22 August 2000 | by (Hollywood) – See all my reviews

Lowlife scum's, trashola conns and pscyhotronics check this one out! A masterpiece of exploitation, PENITENTIARY(1979) is especially worth watching because of it's strange, neo-realism. Often I enjoyed watching wall-hangings or shoes for it's 70s appeal as much as the foreground action! An almost all-unknown cast (that also contributes a lot to the movie's appeal), realistic 1970s African American dialog and backgrounds, realistic and mind-bending scenes of perverse violence and huge doses of humor make this a blast in every department. Very realistic scenes of prison -- including sexual -- life, and the knowledge that this was NOT written by some Hollywood screenwriter (and same-schmuk's idea of "what prison must be like"), along with the near-documentary feel make this a must-see. I've seen 100s so-called Hollywood "action" films in the last few years, most of which I remember nothing about ("Was that the one with Stallone or Bruce Willis?"), and each of which cost 100s of times as much as the unforgettable PENITENTIARY! Note: Don't miss PEN 2 (the debut of Mr. T., and a Rudy Ray Moore cameo, no less); and PEN 3, which many believe to be the best of the three. But, the first will always be may favorite. Oh yeah -- the PLOT involves boxing matches in a corrupt ('natch) prison, but thankfully rarely gets in the way of the fun and action!


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