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The Last Castle (2001)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, Thriller  |  19 October 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 54,540 users   Metascore: 43/100
Reviews: 276 user | 109 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

A court-martialed general rallies together 1200 inmates to rise against the corrupt system that put him away.



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Duffy (as Samuel Ball)
George W. Scott ...
Frank Military ...
Maurice Bullard ...
Sgt. McLaren
Nick Kokich ...
Pvt. Niebolt


When three star General Irwin is transferred to a maximum security military prison, its warden, Colonel Winter, can't hide his admiration towards the highly decorated and experienced soldier. Irwin has been stripped of his rank for disobedience in a mission, but not of fame. Colonel Winter, who runs the prison with an iron fist, deeply admires the General, but works with completely different methods in order to keep up discipline. After a short while, Irwin can feel Winter's unjust treatment of the inmates. He decides to teach Winter a lesson by taking over command of the facility and thus depriving him of his smug attitude. When Winter decides to participate in what he still thinks of as a game, it may already be too late to win. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A castle can only have one king


Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 October 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Castle  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,088,213 (USA) (19 October 2001)


$286,201 (Japan) (29 November 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The main score of the movie, composed by Jerry Goldsmith, was named "September 11th 2001", because it was recorded on that day. Also, the movie's posters were changed after 9/11 because they showed an American flag flying upside-down; a new poster was put up featuring faces of the cast. See more »


It was an error to have Irwin be a 3-star general. 3-star and 4-star generals hold their ranks temporarily, as long as they occupy a 3-star or 4-star position. When they are transferred from one 3- or 4-star position to another, the President must re-nominate them for Senate confirmation. If an officer is relieved (fired) from one of those positions, he reverts to 2-star by operation of law unless awaiting retirement (and then only for 60 days). Irwin was court-martialed, so the Army certainly wouldn't keep him in a 3-star slot. They'd relieve him and he'd go to court-martial as a 2-star. See 10 USC 601. See more »


[first lines]
Irwin: Take a look at a castle. Any castle. Now break down the key elements that make it a castle. They haven't changed in a thousand years. 1: Location. A site on high ground that commands the territory as far as the eye can see. 2: Protection. Big walls, walls strong enough to withstand a frontal attack. 3: A garrison. Men who are trained and willing to kill. 4: A flag. You tell your men you are soldiers and that's your flag. You tell them nobody takes our flag. And you raise that flag ...
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References Brute Force (1947) See more »


Get Behind the Mule
Written by Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan
Performed by John Hammond
Courtesy of Pointblank Records/Virgin Records America, Inc.
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User Reviews

Wait for this to reach cable
27 March 2002 | by (Columbus, OH) – See all my reviews

I have eagerly awaited my chance to see The Last Castle. I thought the previews looked interesting and at the very least I loved The Rock and think Redford is great so I figured this movie would be good. Heck I almost skipped paying the $4 rental fee to just buy the DVD. Glad I didn't.

Despite what others may believe, I feel that this movie strongly apes Shawshank Redemption and other heretofore well-tramped ground. We have a power-hungry, egocentric warden, a quiet, reserved new prisoner who was quite successful on the outside and whose previous life is known of by his inmates. And a struggle of wits, warden vs. prisoner plays out like a game of chess. Interesting to note, both Shawshank and Last Castle incorporate chess as the greatest battle of wits...I doubt the similarity is coincidental.

The acting is good...I won't take that away from the film. The characters are relatively believable and the actors handle their roles well. The problem with this film is that it relies too much on illogical or contradictory ideas to move itself along. Ok, first the title "the last castle" is contradicted again and again as Redford keeps saying that anywhere you raise the flag and say you can't take this away from me is a castle. It's almost the theme of the film and it directly contradicts the title...seems like a case of a line too good to throw out, even though it really does not fit.

Also, Redford demonstrates a great deal of respect to the warden but speaks very harshly of him when the warden is simply removed to the other room to grab a book to have signed. Redford criticizes the warden in a most uncivil way right in front of the warden and it just doesn't make sense...it's completely unlike the character to do so. But there has to be some animosity between the two and that was the easiest way to do it...illogical yes, but whatever gets the action moving, right? The guards are also painfully one-dimensional. We get a glimpse early on that the captain is a good guy forced to do bad things but all that we know of the snipers, etc. is that they enjoy shooting prisoners and that the warden enjoys manipulating everyone within the walls. A scene that showed them to be human, to have any feeling other than hate for prisoners, would make them far more believable and make the story that much better...again, this is an action movie and moving the story along fast is key: not a logical progression of events, not keeping the promise to show both sides of the story made in the opening scenes.

In short, this movie is woefully inconsistent. Is it filled with good action sequences, especially for a prison movie. Is it entertaining...sure, it's not bad. But as a film, a piece of art, it just does not pass muster...in their attempts to push this movie onto the screen the film makers simply left too much out and obviously did not spend enough time developing the script. It has so much potential and so little payoff. A 6 in my book.

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