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6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In September 1971, Attica State Correctional Facility was in the midst of rebellion. Demanding improvement of their rights, restless inmates took over the yard and held prison staff hostage until their needs were met. But the riot was not a peaceful one, and before negotiations were through, many were dead. Based on the observations of an eye witness, Academy Award® winner Morgan Freeman (Best Supporting Actor, Million Dollar Baby, 2005) leads a stellar cast in this riveting look at the bloodiest prison uprising in U.S. history.

Product Details

  • Actors: Morgan Freeman, Charles Durning, Anthony Zerbe, Glynn Turman
  • Directors: Marvin J. Chomsky
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2014
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00KLIXD28
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,492 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark bennett on September 14, 2014
Format: DVD
This is a an old TV movie covering the Attica prison uprising in the early 1970s. Its based on reporter Tom Wicker's book "a time to die". Its interesting as a curiosity more than as a great film. From an acting point of view, its slightly interesting because its the genesis of Morgan Freeman's stock film character that he made a whole career out of in the decades after. And he out-acts everyone else in the film.

The film gets through the initial takeover in about 13 minutes. It does a really bad job of establishing the prisoners grievances. In particular it talks about them rather than shows them and makes a real strong point about an incident in California rather than points in the prison.

Then the film gets to its real subject: the ego of reporter Tom Wicker. Tom Wicker is drawn broadly as the only "sane" character while everyone else is generally done as stick-figures. Wicker is always right. Wicker is always wise. Wicker is always the one with the plan. But he can't get too involved (even though he is involved) because he is a journalist first. There is a weird moment where he declines a position of responsibility because it would get in the way of filing his stories. They even do a special set-piece to tell us that Wicker is the moderate heart of america criticized by both left and right.

William Kunstler is portrayed as completely cynical and the film has him at Attica strictly to bring attention when the prison is (in his view) inevitably retaken. Bobby Seele is shown coming in, taking what amounts to a bow and then leaving. The film then has the other characters offer explanations and sympathy for Seele doing nothing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Spain on July 3, 2011
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I saw this shattering, powerful made-for-television film on the occasion of its first broadcast on the ABC television network in 1981. Having only a fleeting and incomplete recall of the September 13th, 1971 prison uprising, the film hit me very hard. Directed by Marvin Chomsky - linguist/activist Noam Chomsky's brother, and who also directed the original production of "Roots" -- this teleplay is presented in an unflinching, somewhat documentary style that presents all of what I imagine would be the claustrophobic, oppressive weight of our American prison system in terse and unsentimental detail. Even though the outcome of the rebellion is known, a nightmarish, nail-biting sense of dread builds slowly as communications between the oppressed, angry prisoners and the inflexible prison authorities break down, leading to a shocking, heart-breaking, though masterfully directed scene of cold-blooded carnage as State troopers dressed in full riot gear advance in a wall of indiscriminate gunfire, mowing down the terrorized prisoners and ultimately taking the lives of 29 convicts, 10 hostages, and leaving eighty-nine wounded. A most grisly detail of the scene are the raincoats worn by the troopers. I don't know if it rained on that terrible day, but seeing those armed civil servants in their rubberized outwear reminds you of slaughterhouse workers - a sickening analogy.

Enough of the details of the prisoners' grievances are presented with admirable fidelity to the reports written by the on-the-scene journalists at the prison at the time of the uprising. As Bruce Jackson wrote in his stinging editorial chronology of the event published in "ArtVoice" magazine, "In 1971, Attica inmates were allotted one roll of toilet paper per man per month.
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By David Alianiello on August 1, 2014
Format: DVD
I was living in Lima, Ohio in the early '80's when the call went out for extras needed for this movie about Attica. It was filmed in Lima Correctional Facility for the Criminally Insane as the building's structure closely resembled Attica's arcitecture. I was a paid extra for 3 nights and days of filming the scenes when the prisoners stormed the grounds, and the scenes when the National Guardsmen opened fire on the prisoners. Fun experience. Of course when it was broadcast as a ABC 2-night Movie of the week, I could not find myself among the 100 or so extras and the chaos of the ensuing riot scenes.

I notice on the specs that it is listed as having a 96 min run time. Is this accurate? I could've sworn it was broadcast as a two-part, 4 hours special. Is this version seriously edited? Anyone.
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