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Animal Factory (2000)

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A young man goes to prison and a tough, older convict takes him under his wing as a mentor.



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Earl Copen
... Ron Decker
... Vito
... Paul Adams
... Lt. Seeman
... Jan the Actress
... Buck Rowan
... James Decker
... Bad Eye
Rockets Redglare ... Big Rand
Jake La Botz ... Jesse (as Jake LaBotz)
... T.J.
... Buzzard
... Psycho Mike
... Richland


Ron, who's young, slight, and privileged, is sentenced to prison on marijuana charges. For whatever reason, he brings out paternal feelings in an 18-year prison veteran, Earl Copan, who takes Ron under his wing. The film explores the nature of that relationship, Ron's part in Earl's gang, and the way Ron deals with aggressive cons intent on assault and rape. There's casual racism, too, in the prisoners and the guards, a strike called by Black prisoners, and the nearly omnipresence of hard drugs. Ron's lawyer is working on getting Ron out quickly, Earl has a shot at parole, and death seems to be waiting in the next cell. Will prison turn Ron into an animal? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"Before Prison Break there was Animal Factory" See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 August 2000 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Elukkatehdas  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,746, 22 October 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$43,805, 26 November 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Many of the film's scenes were shot on location at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which closed for good in 1971 and reopened to the public in 1994. See more »


Ron's hair when he first meets Earl. See more »


Earl Copen: Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.
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Headset Zen
Written by T. Graham, B. Luckinbill, & C. Eisner (ASCAP)
Performed by Illegibles
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Underrated, but will be enjoyed by few...
17 January 2001 | by See all my reviews

Whew. What can I say. This was a fascinating film that was very hard to turn away from (even to answer the phone!). Edward Furlong turns in another very solid performance as a too-young-to-be-in-this-type-of-place prisoner and Willem Dafoe was very interesting as his would-be mentor.

Prison films are always tough to make as they tend to lean heavily upon stereotypes (the prisoner who runs the prison, male rape scenes, the violence in the prison yard) and this film is no exception. Buscemi gets away with it by making it all seem so workaday and routine, which in some ways is even more frightening.

Overall I enjoyed this film but I imagine the audience for a stark prison flick is pretty small. Kudos to Buscemi for having the nerve to make it, tho.

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