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Brubaker (1980)

R  |   |  Drama  |  20 June 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 11,045 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 27 critic

The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.



(screenplay), (story), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim McIntire ...
Richard Ward ...
Linda Haynes ...


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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One man against a cruel system. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 June 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Grades do Inferno  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)


$37,100,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film was made and released about eleven years after its source book "Accomplices to the Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal" by Thomas O. Murton and Joe Hyams was first published in 1969. The film is a fictionalized version of this book and was also based on Murton's true life prison system experiences. The film was made and released about twelve to thirteen years after the events of the Arkansas Prison Scandal had taken place around 1967-1968. 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 »


Larry Lee Bullen: [looking at pretty girl] God Almighty. Do you know what I'd like to do with her?
Rory Poke: Yeah, I know what you'd like to do.
Larry Lee Bullen: You're wrong. You ever just want to talk?
Rory Poke: Shit. You been whackin' it so long Bullen your mind's startin' to collapse in on itself.
See more »


References The Wombles (1973) See more »


Written by Jimmy Webb
Performed by Glen Campbell
Heard on Brubaker's car radio
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent film rendition of the Thomas Merton story
18 September 2004 | by (New Orleans, LA) – See all my reviews

This was a well put together film for the period in which it was done in the late 70's. Redford who has always been a social reformer placed an emphasis on communicating the dedication of the Brubaker character in this role.

If you happen to live in the Deep South where prison farms have used convicts as virtual slave labor for years, you can appreciate the story

as well as the attitudes of the government and local officials who are portrayed. If you are not from that kind of background, then it is a revelation for you.

This film is a portrayal of the attempt at prison reform in Arkansas undertaken by Thomas Murton. In the process Murton discovered untold corruption and evidence of multiple murders by previous prison administrations. When he attempted to bring this to light he was threatened with charges of grave robbery.

I would heartily recommend this film. It is one of a kind.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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