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Attica (1974)

7.8
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In 1971, inmates at Attica State Prison seized control of D-yard and took 35 hostages after peaceful efforts for reforms failed. Attica investigates the rebellion and its bloody suppression, revealing institutionalized injustices, sanctioned dishonesty, and abuses of power.

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In 1971, inmates at Attica State Prison seized control of D-yard and took 35 hostages after peaceful efforts for reforms failed. Attica investigates the rebellion and its bloody suppression, revealing institutionalized injustices, sanctioned dishonesty, and abuses of power.

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April 1974 (USA)  »

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Exegersi stis fylakes Attica  »

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Historic event -- the best look you may now never see
31 March 2006 | by (Eagle River, Alaska) – See all my reviews

I saw "Attica" more than 30 years ago. I am distressed that it still has never been available on DVD (or even VHS). The movie documents the prison uprising at Attica prison, and the crushing suppression by the government.

This was no ordinary prison riot. The authorities faced something probably never seen before or since -- black and white prisoners were united, and at least for that brief period, considered, acted, and treated each other as brothers. Their unity became political, for once seeing that instead of remaining pitted against each other, they could resist by uniting. It was a unique and powerful event that scared the bejeezus out of prison and governmental authorities. The lowest of the under-classes became radicalized and united, and they exerted their new found power. It was not an example to let stand. It had to be quashed, and it was.

I don't remember the numbers, but the uprising was crushed, violently and brutally -- many, many inmates killed in the siege. Reports were initially leaked that hostages had been executed by prisoners, reports later proved completely false. There has since been a book or two about the events, but none from a perspective as inside as this movie gives.

We have this movie to thank for bringing some public light to this historic event. (Remember in "Dog Day Afternoon" when Al Pacino exhorted the crowd to resist the police by chanting "Attica, Attica"? This was the movie that told us why.) I can only hope and implore that this movie be released on DVD. I don't know the reasons, but one must question. It's enough to make me feel what David Foster Wallace once wrote, "I know I'm paranoid, but am I paranoid enough?"

Cinda Firestone's "Attica" is too important to just vanish. This is not a movie with an agenda, but a considered documentary of an important time and event. It may be the most important movie never released on DVD.


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