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Riot in Cell Block 11 [VHS]

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Actors: Neville Brand, Emile Meyer, Frank Faylen, Leo Gordon, Robert Osterloh
  • Directors: Don Siegel
  • Writers: Richard Collins
  • Producers: Walter Mirisch, Walter Wanger
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • VHS Release Date: April 12, 1990
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300209016
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,812 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

This surprisingly intelligent B-picture describes the dramatic arc of an organized rebellion at Folsom prison. The inmates, who are sick of living conditions, brutal guards, and the presence of the seriously deranged in the general prison population, decide to stage a riot to demand change. Neville Brand stars as Dunn, the vocal prisoner who leads the uprising. After the inmates take some guards hostage, Dunn makes the prisoner's demands for reform known to the warden. While acknowledging the validity of their grievances, for which he's already harangued politicians without success, he warns them that there's nothing that can be done immediately. As Dunn contacts media outlets to further publicize his cause, word of the riot spreads to other cell blocks, and they too become involved. Fearing a bloody mass insurrection, the warden reluctantly calls in the militia. Dunn, who thus far has been able to restrain his disturbed cohort Carnie (Leo Gordon) from inciting violence, is beginning to lose control.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
If producer Walter Wanger hadn’t gone to prison for shooting theatrical agent Jennings Lang in the lower region of his body, RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11 might never have been made. Wanger pulled the weapon on Lang because he believed that the agent was having an affair with his wife, actress Joan Bennett.

The producer only served a four-month term in a minimum-security correctional facility, but he emerged from that experience with some strong feelings about prison reform. That, and the fact that there was a spate of prison riots across the country during the early 1950s, motivated Wanger to make the 1954 film, now a minor classic of the genre.

Written by Richard Collins, directed by Don Siegel and actually shot at Folsom Prison, RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11 is a vigorous, violent drama about desperate men pushed to their limit; trying to regain a portion of their humanity. The cast is filled with many familiar faces; character actors who seldom got the opportunity during their careers to play roles as rich as these.

Neville Brand and Leo Gordon are the ringleaders of the riot, taking guards as hostages to insure that their demands for better prison conditions are met. Robert Osterloh is another convict, a passive member of the rebellion, who helps Brand better frame the demands, and Emile Meyer, as the warden, and Frank Faylen, as the governor’s representative, are the authority figures.

Siegel’s direction is gritty, fast paced; his scenes often shocking. If the movie has a flaw, it is an over abundance of speechifying about prison reform.

RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11 has now been released by The Criterion Collection in a 2K digital restoration; two-disc set (Blu-Ray/DVD). Extras include audio commentary by film scholar Matthew H.
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Comment 16 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Starkly shot in an unused part of Folsom prison with perfect casting of many unknowns and great character actors of the time --director Don Siegel and producer Walter Wanger communicate a vivid variety of inmates in prison --crowded, understaffed conditions --as a riot erupts in cell block 11. Beautiful transfer to blu ray from pristine film elements. Lots of interesting supplements and commentaries, as well. Criterion, you've done it again!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Leo Gordon, who plays one of the convict leaders was once a convict himself in San Quentin. Gordon served a stretch in San Quentin prison for armed robbery. "Riot in Cell Block 11" was filmed at San Quentin, and many of the guards remembered Gordon from his time there, when he was regarded as a troublemaker. Prison officials would not let Gordon enter and leave the institution with the other cast and crew members; he was only allowed to enter and exit by himself, and was thoroughly searched each time.

This is a very good movie and is a good example of movies made in the 1950', especially when directed by Don Siegel
1 Comment 15 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
great movie , i had it on vhs . this 1954 classic movie needs to be on DVD the film shows neville brand starring in this as one of the inmates that riots for better rights in the prison a very good storyline
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is a tight, intense "issue oriented" B movie -- a cult classic, with a solid cast of fine character actors, and the film that really established Don Siegel as a solid director. Although it does get a bit preachy on 2 or 3 occasions, it never lags. It's well photographed (at Folsom Prison) and quite engrossing. Criterion did a fine job with the transfer. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because it's a bit short on bonus features given that it's a Criterion product and it's price point. Nevertheless, I certainly recommend it.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had never seen this movie before, but it seemed worth a viewing. What a catch! This is an early 1950's movie with a cast of second tier actors such as Faylen and Brand. These folks often had long careers, and I think for many of them, this movie saw their best roles! It's a black & white story of a prison riot. It is a tells its tale without melodrama. It has been considered important in the movements for prison reform during the 50's and 60's.
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Format: DVD
This film does a fantastic job of describing the pains of prison life in America. The filmmaker Don Siegel is very smart because he portrays the guards, the prison officials, and the prisoners themselves as likeable people in this crime drama, which has to be one of the best American prison films ever made. There aren't any stock characters here, everyone has a moment to shine and show a humane side.

The riot scenes are very well-shot and the film creates a sense of suspense and tension that kept me engaged. Well-made, underrated American crime film.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I bought this mainly because of the director Don Seagel and because it's a Criterion release. I enjoyed the movie very much!
The only 'star' in the movie I knew of was Neville Brand ... but sometimes that can be good because you can just get into the
picture itself more when you don't know all the actors. Seemed pretty realistic to the time period it was made. Will enjoy watching it again.
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