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Brubaker (1980)

R | | Crime, Drama | 20 June 1980 (USA)
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5:10 | Clip
The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.

Director:

Stuart Rosenberg

Writers:

W.D. Richter (screenplay), W.D. Richter (story) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Redford ... Henry Brubaker
Yaphet Kotto ... Richard 'Dickie' Coombes
Jane Alexander ... Lillian Gray
Murray Hamilton ... John Deach
David Keith ... Larry Lee Bullen
Morgan Freeman ... Walter
Matt Clark ... Roy Purcell
Tim McIntire ... Huey Rauch
Richard Ward ... Abraham Cook
Jon Van Ness ... Zaranska
M. Emmet Walsh ... C.P. 'Woody' Woodward
Albert Salmi ... Rory Poke
Linda Haynes ... Carol
Everett McGill ... Eddie Caldwell
Val Avery ... Wendel
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Storyline

When the new warden comes in disguised as an inmate, he sees firsthand all the corruption and scams the guards and prison officials are running. When he reveals himself and starts to implement reforms to stop the corruption, the local business community, who had been benefiting from the scams, fights back, and the corrupt prison system starts making political trouble for the new warden. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most wanted man in Wakefield prison is the warden! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 June 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shadow Walk See more »

Filming Locations:

Columbus, Ohio, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,748,079, 22 June 1980

Gross USA:

$37,121,708

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$37,121,708
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was made and released eleven years after its source book "Accomplices to the Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal" by Thomas O. Murton and Joe Hyams was published in 1969. The film is a fictionalized version of the book, and was also based on Murton's true-life prison system experiences. It was made and released twelve to thirteen years after the events of the Arkansas prison scandal, which had taken place around 1967-1968. See more »

Goofs

Brubaker takes the (hot?) TV-Dinner out of the oven with his bare hands and carries it casually to the dining room table. See more »

Quotes

Henry Brubaker: Why don't we build them a roof that won't cave in on their heads?
Huey Rauch: That's enough.
Henry Brubaker: An insured roof, this time.
Glenn Elwood: What do you mean?
Henry Brubaker: The collapsed roof isn't covered at all - that's what I mean. But we DO have coverage for thrashing machines, balers, swathers, a tractor...
Huey Rauch: Sounds pretty sensible to me to have the things insured. I approved those policies personally.
Henry Brubaker: You did more than that: your company sold us the policies. The only trouble with it is: we don't have any of that equipment on our farm....
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Scorpion: Fish Filet (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Respect
(uncredited)
Written by Otis Redding
Performed by Morgan Freeman when he attacks another inmate
See more »

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User Reviews

 
In prison, even the stink 'stinks'
27 February 2005 | by freemanistSee all my reviews

Brubaker (Robert Redford) as a messiah-type, seemingly on the fringe of municipal importance, takes up the job of Warden at a Southern state penal farm and decides to see the extent of what he is up against by entering in disguise as just another inmate, with no privileges. He feels that to absorb the experience from the inside looking out is preferable to relying on preconceptions. He is right as the thrust of the film would have otherwise been lost and the overall plot (simple though it is) is stronger for the fact that Brubaker has 'been there'.

He manages to carve a bond with a few prisoners before he modestly reveals his true identity and, through a series of well acted confrontations, he begins to make the prison machine tick over nicely. In the final analysis his efforts are not totally successful, but the film does reflect change and at least the viewer can agree that he seized the chance to make a difference.

The film is possibly a bit too long and the principal character is under-developed. 'Brubaker' was apparently a rather mournful, strained film to work on and the original director, Bob Rafelson, was sacked for smacking Ron Silverman (producer) in the nose during an early on-set argument.

However, I think it is well acted and very absorbing to watch. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Brubaker gets his staff to release a few long term solitary confinements, stating that before they do so, the requisite pairs of sunglasses should be given to them as they come out of complete darkness for the first time in ages - the staff think Brubaker is crazy: of course, they cannot see that this is all about building trust. The master plan is therefore to get the inmates on board and allow the trustees to follow. Nice theory, not so nice to put into practice as he is up against a rancid, but self policing establishment from day one.

Watch out for Wilford Brimley as "Rogers" - a later teaming up with Redford took place in the outstanding "The Natural", with Brimley starring in a major role as the jaundiced, downtrodden, Pop Fisher.


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