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The Farm: Angola, USA (1998)

Documentary depicting day to day life in Angola Prison mostly from an inmate's perspective. Interviews are with several inmates including one with a life sentence who is about to die.

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(investigative reports)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Burl Cain ...
Himself (Angola Warden)
George Crawford ...
Himself
Wilbert Rideau ...
Himself
Vincent Simmons ...
Himself
Eugene 'Bishop' Tannehill ...
Himself
Logan 'Bones' Theriot ...
Himself
Ashanti Witherspoon ...
Himself
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Storyline

Documentary depicting day to day life in Angola Prison mostly from an inmate's perspective. Interviews are with several inmates including one with a life sentence who is about to die.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Enter the gateway to hell and meet the men who call it home.

Genres:

Documentary

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Release Date:

17 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Investigative Reports: The Farm - Life Inside Angola Prison  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

After 44 years at The Farm, Wilbert Rideau was finally released in January 2005. He had 4 trials during that time. The latest jury found him not guilty of premediation in his killing back in 1961. He was known for writing the Angolite censor-free prison newspaper. See more »

Connections

Followed by The Farm: 10 Down (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Truth is more telling than fiction
30 March 1999 | by (Pittsburgh, PA) – See all my reviews

In the tradition of other great documentaries (Hoop Dreams, The Thin Blue Line, etc.), the makers of "The Farm" tell a story that needs to be told by acquiring unprecedented access to their subject. In the process, they illuminate a host of issues about the penal and criminal justice systems.

The most remarkable thing about this film is how quietly and stoically the story is told. Preachiness and sensationalism are nowhere to be found. An example: one of the most difficult scenes in the film concerns a prisoner on death row. While most films treat capital punishment melodramatically, this film shows the remnants of his last meal interposed with voiceovers of his family and his fellow inmates bidding him farewell. No matter what gratification people may receive from giving 'dangerous criminals' a death sentence, the issues will always be far more complex.

Perhaps the most unforgettable scene is at a parole hearing where the hypocrisy of the review board is captured on film, as if the officials had forgotten that the camera was still on.

The Angola Penitentiary is one of the toughest, most unforgiving prisons in the United States. But it is that way because society's most monstrous assumptions have perpetuated a cycle of despair, irrationality, and ignorance. That two filmmakers could expose such qualities with a modest budget and an unflinching eye is a testament to where film can take us.


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