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Brubaker (1980)

R | | Crime, Drama | 20 June 1980 (USA)
The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (story) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

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Walter
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Richard Ward ...
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

One man against a cruel system. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 June 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shadow Walk  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$37,100,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

In a restaurant scene, a Conn's Potato Chip sales display can be seen. Conn's are only made and sold in Ohio, not Arkansas. See more »

Quotes

Huey Rauch: Sanitation detail. You too, Bullen!
Richard 'Dickie' Coombes: Now, wait a minute. This man's hurt.
Huey Rauch: You just deal with colored - I'll take care of the white folks. 'Sides, I don't think Bullen's got much more'n refried shit for brains this morning.
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Connections

Referenced in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Respect
(uncredited)
Written by Otis Redding
Performed by Morgan Freeman when he attacks another inmate
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User Reviews

 
In prison, even the stink 'stinks'
27 February 2005 | by (Suffolk, England) – See all my reviews

Brubaker (Robert Redford) as a messiah-type, seemingly on the fringe of municipal importance, takes up the job of Warden at a Southern state penal farm and decides to see the extent of what he is up against by entering in disguise as just another inmate, with no privileges. He feels that to absorb the experience from the inside looking out is preferable to relying on preconceptions. He is right as the thrust of the film would have otherwise been lost and the overall plot (simple though it is) is stronger for the fact that Brubaker has 'been there'.

He manages to carve a bond with a few prisoners before he modestly reveals his true identity and, through a series of well acted confrontations, he begins to make the prison machine tick over nicely. In the final analysis his efforts are not totally successful, but the film does reflect change and at least the viewer can agree that he seized the chance to make a difference.

The film is possibly a bit too long and the principal character is under-developed. 'Brubaker' was apparently a rather mournful, strained film to work on and the original director, Bob Rafelson, was sacked for smacking Ron Silverman (producer) in the nose during an early on-set argument.

However, I think it is well acted and very absorbing to watch. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Brubaker gets his staff to release a few long term solitary confinements, stating that before they do so, the requisite pairs of sunglasses should be given to them as they come out of complete darkness for the first time in ages - the staff think Brubaker is crazy: of course, they cannot see that this is all about building trust. The master plan is therefore to get the inmates on board and allow the trustees to follow. Nice theory, not so nice to put into practice as he is up against a rancid, but self policing establishment from day one.

Watch out for Wilford Brimley as "Rogers" - a later teaming up with Redford took place in the outstanding "The Natural", with Brimley starring in a major role as the jaundiced, downtrodden, Pop Fisher.


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