In 1971, inmates at Attica State Prison seized control of D-yard and took 35 hostages after peaceful efforts for reforms failed. Attica investigates the rebellion and its bloody suppression, revealing institutionalized injustices, sanctioned dishonesty, and abuses of power.
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A TV-movie re-creation of the tragic events which followed the Attica Correctional Facility rebellion of September 9, 1971. Inmates demanding better food and living conditions took 38 guards as hostage. Negotiations begin immediately, only to continually break down thanks to uncompromising stubbornness on both sides. Four days into the crisis, the rebellion ends in a bloodbath, with state troopers firing on the prisoners, killing several of the guards in the process. Based on the eyewitness reporting of the New York Times' Tom Wicker, who was one of the civilian negotiators during the stalemate. Written by
ATTICA, a made-for-TV film released in 1980, is an intense re-telling of the true story of the Attica prison riot in 1971 which led to a number of inmates being gunned down in cold blood by the authorities. This devastating incident is an almost legendary part of American history - I knew about it from watching DOG DAY AFTERNOON - so I was eager to see how the material was handled.
It turns out that this is a very well made production that sticks to the facts of the case without sensationalising them. The story is stark, complex, and deeply human, and the casting director deserves particular kudos for assembling a team of greats. On the one hand we have the likes of Charles Durning and Henry Darrow as the guys at the top trying to sort things out and then we get Morgan Freeman and David Harris as the empowered convicts trying to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
This is a thoughtful exploration of a hot topic and really an actor's dream, because many of the dialogue scenes are powerfully put across. ATTICA might well be the definitive retelling of an unforgettable true story.
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