When the new warden comes in disguised as an inmate, he sees firsthand all the corruption and scams the guards and prison officials are running. When he reveals himself and starts to implement reforms to stop the corruption, the local business community, who had been benefiting from the scams, fights back, and the corrupt prison system starts making political trouble for the new warden. Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
The real-life prison, used to play the fictitious Wakefield State Penitentiary, was the Junction City Prison Farm in Junction City, Ohio, which was about fifty miles outside of Columbus. The prison was built in 1904, and had been decommissioned two years prior to filming, and had had its own history of riot and rebellion. The film's Wakefield Penitentiary, is based on both the Tucker and Cummins State Prison Farms, in Arkansas. See more »
At the end, when the car is leaving the prison, the grass around is violently shaking revealing the helicopter carrying the camera. See more »
I want to know why you always think you can just walk out.
Because that's murder they're talking about in there. And if I condone it, you can't turn around and tell these men why they're locked up. It's one standard for everyone, the way I see it.
And you can't see any options, no middle ground.
No, I don't see playing politics with the truth, Lillian.
No way to compromise?
Oh, on strategy, maybe... but not on principle.
But that's what I... goddamn it, I agree with you...
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W.D. Richter did the screenplay for the 1978 remake of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He also did the screen story for this Robert Redford film about prison reform. In fact his screenplay/story was nominated for an Oscar.
I know prison reform is an anachronism today. Incarceration is simply removal from society with no concern for rehabilitation.
The film is based on real life. Thomas Murton of Arkansas tried to fix the system. I grew up in Arkansas and was exposed to stories about the "Tucker Telephone" from the Tucker prison farm, and stories of bodies of murdered prisoners being dug up on prison grounds.
So Redford sports a John Edwards haircut in the film, he still does a great job. He is assisted in this film by Yaphet Kotto, who I always enjoy, and Morgan Freeman.
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