Up 12,773 this week

Prisoner of the Iron Bars (2003)
"O Prisioneiro da Grade de Ferro" (original title)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 209 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

Documentary about Carandiru Penitentiary, with scenes filmed by the prisoners themselves.


0Check in

IMDb Picks: June

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in June, brought to you by Swiffer.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 942 titles
created 26 Nov 2011
a list of 69 titles
created 23 Sep 2013
list image
a list of 50 titles
created 02 Jan 2014
a list of 568 titles
created 5 months ago
a list of 192 titles
created 4 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Prisoner of the Iron Bars (2003)

Prisoner of the Iron Bars (2003) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Prisoner of the Iron Bars.
7 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

La Ciénaga (2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The life of two women and their families in a small provincial town of Salta, Argentina.

Director: Lucrecia Martel
Stars: Mercedes Morán, Graciela Borges, Martín Adjemián
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The gravedigger Zé do Caixão continues his search for the perfect woman to bear his son.

Director: José Mojica Marins
Stars: José Mojica Marins, Jece Valadão, Adriano Stuart
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Documentary uncovering the failure of the UN sanctioned war on drugs.

Directors: Fernando Grostein Andrade, Cosmo Feilding-Mellen
Stars: Fran Boyd Andrews, Brenda Blom, Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

André, relatively poor, falls in love with Silvia, a neighbor whom he spies with a telescope. Falling more and more in love with her, he begins to follow her around the city and realizes ... See full summary »

Director: Jorge Furtado
Stars: Lázaro Ramos, Renata de Lélis, Sérgio Lulkin
Maids (2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Five maids in São Paulo are observed in this episodic, impressionistic film. The women interact with each other, ride busses, work, and have longings: Rai for a husband, Créo for her lost ... See full summary »

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Nando Olival
Stars: Cláudia Missura, Graziela Moretto, Lena Roque
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Once upon a time there was a little nutty boy... who turned out to be a very nice guy.

Director: Helvecio Ratton
Stars: Samuel Costa, Patricia Pillar, Roberto Bomtempo
Justice (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The daily routine at a Brazilian court, including the people who work there: lawyers, judges and accused.

Director: Maria Ramos
Stars: Fátima Maria Clemente, Carlos Eduardo, Maria Ignez Kato
In Therapy (2009)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In Rio de Janeiro, the forty-something year old, Mercedes, goes to the psychoanalyst and tells the story of her life - from a child who lost her mother. Over three years of analysis, her ... See full summary »

Director: José Alvarenga Jr.
Stars: Lília Cabral, José Mayer, Reynaldo Gianecchini
Pixo (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary about the urban impact and cultural movement of "pichação", the spray painting that that invades the São Paulo walls and facades of buildings transforming the city appearance.

Directors: Roberto T. Oliveira, João Wainer


In 2002, the greatest prison in Latin America, Complex Carandiru, was demolished. With a population of about 7,000 prisoners distributed in nine pavilions of five floors, this prison became known worldwide after the famous massacre of one hundred and eleven prisoners in 1992. A couple of months before its implosion, director Paulo Sacramento trained some inmates and together with his crew, they produced many hours of footage, showing the daily life in prison. Their internal rules, punishment, entertainment, weapons, death, drugs, booze, life conditions, food, sexual life, religion, creeds, families, hopes and dreams are exposed and disclosed along 123 minutes running time of documentary. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Official Sites:



Release Date:

16 April 2004 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Fylakismenos sta sidera  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


See  »

Did You Know?


References Carandiru (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A powerful documentary about teh biggest prision of Latin-America
22 April 2004 | by (Sp, Brazil) – See all my reviews

The Prisional System Professor F. Favero, aka Detention House, aka Carandiru, or Carandiru Complex was going to be demolished in 2002. Then started a national rush to cover as much as possible of this incredible (on the bad side) place.

Carandiru Complex was made of 9 pavillions, each one with 5 floors, where no guards/wardens could enter and go up. Made to receive about 4,000 inmates, it once held 9,000, and by the time of the demolition had 7,000. The building was falling apart.

Famous by the massacre of 1992 (111 inmates executed), nicely portrait by Babenco's 2003 movie(Carandiru), the documentary is a compilation of more than 170 hours of footage recorded by the inmates themselves, who were given 20 DV cameras and a video workshop.

How can you control 7,000 people (killers, drug-dealers, robbers, stealers, rapists, transvestites, innocents maybe) with almost no money and less than hundred wardens? The inmates had their own rules, and the simple one: you do something wrong, you die. This is how they could make people, who had once break the rules, to obey rules. And it is an incredible environmet: transvestites, crack, marijuana, bosses, evangelics, etc..., all in the same place.

The documentary is slow at times, but it never gets out of a trilling pace. The inmates tried to focus on dreams and hope, instead of murders and past stories. Of course the camera work is at times shaky, and confusing, but the editor perfectly could arrange the 170 hours in 2, getting the "best" of Carandiru.

To everyone that is completely bored of happy-ending blockbusters movie. It is not a depressing movie at all, but you will never get a happy ending. Watch it!

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

Message Boards

Discuss Prisoner of the Iron Bars (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page