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Chattahoochee (1989)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  20 April 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,356 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 9 critic

In 1955 Florida, a Korean vet has a breakdown and is incarcerated in a "maximum security" mental health prison, where patients are abused.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mae Foley
Dr. Harwood
William De Acutis ...
Gary Howard Klar ...
Clarence (as Gary Klar)
Timothy Scott ...
Dr. Debner
William Newman ...
Whitey Hughes ...
Mr. Johnson


An American war hero attempts suicide and ends up in Chattahoochee State Mental Hospital. But he realizes that the doctors in the hospital are humiliating patients, and staff are murdering them. Written by Harun Mehmedinovic <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Heroes happen in crazy places. See more »


Biography | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 April 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A téboly börtöne  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$259,486 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The "Emmet Fowley" character is based on real life Christopher Calhoun, who moved to Los Angeles after his release and wrote about and became an activist for similarly abused people. See more »


[first lines]
Emmett Foley: When you come back a certified hero, it kinda raises people's expectations. Makes 'em think you're a big guy.
Mae Foley: It started off like any other Sunday as far as I could see. I can't even remember what I did that morning. You always think, I guess, that, well, if you seen it coming, you coulda done something. But I don't know what it woulda been. He seemed normal enough the last time I seen him. A little tight around the eyes, but nothing worth mentioning. Kinda like maybe he looked ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers would like to thank the people of Columbia and Newberry, South Carolina for their generosity and support during the making of this film. See more »

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User Reviews

Harrowing yet, what's the word ... yeah, conventional
10 January 2005 | by (Nixa, Missouri) – See all my reviews

I first watched 'Chattahoochee' in the early years of the 1990s when it was first released on cable. It was an eye-opening experience. At the time I was just beginning high school. Some ten years later, when attempting to compile a list of films I have seen, I realized that I remembered nothing from the film other than loving it.

Upon my rewatching, I now see how my tastes in cinema have changed, as well as my maturity and understanding of United States history. Mick Jackson, the director of 'Chattahoochee,' just a year later would release one of my favorite comedies, 'L.A. Story.' Jackson, not well known even to film buffs, has gone on to direct a wide variety of films, including the enormously successful Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner vehicle 'The Bodyguard.' With 'Chattahoochee' Jackson has a juicy story with which to work. Based on true events, Gary Oldman plays a Korean War veteran who loses his mind after returning home to the United States. One day, for reasons the film never truly explains, he begins firing a pistol at his neighbors' dwellings, clotheslines, and even someone's wife.

He is sent to an insane asylum not meant to cure, as we understand institutions to do today, rather to house an assortment of criminals with a variety of mental illnesses, and others likely with none at all. The brutality inflicted upon these patients is inhumane and by all accounts undeserving.

Oldman's character does what he can to bring the violence out in the open, to start he writes letters to the relatives of the abused. What began with those letters ends, I suppose, with this film. And though this understanding lends it a tact truthfulness, the direction and writing are fearfully melodramatic.

Oldman's performance is beyond measure as is Frances McDormand, who plays his wife. The film, as a whole, seems very "made for TV-ish" and is the type of heavy-handed, clichéd work you might find on Lifetime if the violence wasn't so hard to censor. Mature, history minded adults will find a harrowing story in the background, but will be unable to identify with the puppets shown in the film. A more astutely directed film would allow the audience to enter the institution with the main character, instead of leaving them at arm's length emotionally. **.5 out of ****

1 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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