[Screen It]


(2001) (Robert Redford, James Gandolfini) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Minor Moderate Extreme Moderate Extreme
Mild None Moderate None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Mild Heavy Mild Mild Extreme

Drama: A former three-star general, now confined to a military prison, takes on the current warden who's breaking the rules in order to stoke his own ego and keep the inmates in line.
General Irwin (ROBERT REDFORD) is a highly decorated, three-star general who's been court-martialed and sentenced to ten years in a military prison run by Colonel Winter (JAMES GANDOLFINI) and his assistant, Captain Peretz (STEVE BURTON). Resigned to keep to himself and wait out his time, Irwin tries not to make any waves, but can't once he observes how Winter runs the place.

Not only does the Colonel not allow anyone to salute other inmates, and he routinely manipulates the prisoners to show them who's in charge, but some of the former soldiers also claim that Winter is responsible for the deaths of some inmates.

After he sees how the Colonel goes too far punishing Aguilar (CLIFTON COLLINS, JR.), a former marine, Irwin decides he must step in and do something. Doing so, however, puts him in a bad light with Winter who once revered the General, but now sees him as something of a troublemaker.

As former Apache chopper pilot and current prison yard bookie Clifford Yates (MARK RUFFALO) - whose father spent time as a POW with Irwin - watches from the sidelines, Irwin slowly gains the confidence of the various inmates - such as Dellwo (PAUL CALDERON), Beaupre (BRIAN GOODMAN), Thumper (GEORGE W. SCOTT), Thomas "Doc" Bernard (FRANK MILITARY) and Enriquez (MICHAEL IRBY) - and begins to command a loyal army.

Realizing things are getting out of control, Winter calls in General Wheeler (DELROY LINDO), hoping to convince him that Irwin is delusional and should be removed from the institution. Wheeler isn't convinced, however, and from that point on, it's a battle of wills between the two men as each attempts to thwart the other's efforts, leading to a military style confrontation where only the smartest and best leader will emerge the victor.

Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or prison-based movies, it doesn't seem likely that kids -- beyond older teens looking for a dramatic outing - will be interested in it.
For language and violence.
  • ROBERT REDFORD plays a former three-star general who's been court-martialed and sentenced to ten years in military prison for disobeying an executive order. A natural born leader, he eventually assembles an army of former soldiers-turned-convicts to take on a corrupt warden.
  • JAMES GANDOLFINI plays the prison warden who runs the institution with an iron-fist, but progressively becomes more upset when he meets his match in Irwin. He's responsible - directly and indirectly - for several inmates' deaths, and does what he can to undermine and stop Irwin's efforts.
  • MARK RUFFALO plays a former Apache chopper pilot who now acts as the prison yard bookie and initially is only looking out for himself. He uses some strong profanity.
  • STEVE BURTON plays Winter's right-hand man who enforces his various commands.
  • DELROY LINDO plays a General and friend of Irwin's who tries to figure out what's going on at the prison.
  • CLIFTON COLLINS, JR. plays a former marine who's picked on by others until Irwin takes him under his wing.
  • PAUL CALDERON plays a former master sergeant who instructs the impromptu army.
  • BRIAN GOODMAN plays a large and angry inmate who uses strong profanity and initially picks on Aguilar.
  • GEORGE W. SCOTT, FRANK MILITARY and MICHAEL IRBY play other inmates who assist Irwin in the uprising.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 41 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used and one sexually related comment is made as a joke.

    Violence is listed as extreme due to several deaths, attempts on others' lives, and all sorts of fighting before and during a prison uprising (some of which have bloody results). During those moments, guards fire rubber bullets that injure various people, and various moments of property damage/destruction occur. Those scenes and a few others may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    A little bit of tense family moments is present between an estranged father and daughter, while various characters smoke and some inmates are noted as being busted in the past for being involved with drugs. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific information about what's present in the film.

  • We hear that Doc was arrested for possession of hashish, and later learn that Yates was involved in a drug smuggling operation (all before the story begins).
  • Thumper's face and shirt are bloody after fighting another inmate.
  • We see some blood on an inmate's arm as a tattoo is being applied.
  • Irwin spits out a fair amount of blood after being hit by clubs.
  • We see various scars on Irwin's back from where he was previously tortured decades ago.
  • Irwin has some dried blood on the side of his head.
  • We see some blood on an inmate's head after he's shot there with a rubber bullet.
  • An inmate has some bloody cuts after surviving a helicopter crash.
  • A little bit of blood squirts out and we then see large bloodstains on a shirt after an inmate is shot with real bullets.
  • We hear that Irwin disobeyed a direct order from the President and that his actions resulted in the deaths of eight men.
  • Winter has both types of attitudes for the way he runs the prison that includes being responsible - both directly and indirectly -- for several deaths, and purposefully manipulating the prisoners (occasionally apparently for his own enjoyment/sense of power) and pushing punishment levels beyond what's mandated and/or considered acceptable.
  • Yates is the outsider of the group, taking bets on whether Irwin will commit suicide and trying to work out a deal with Winter as his snitch so that he can be released early.
  • Beaupre gives Aguilar a hard time, particularly about rebuilding an old prison wall.
  • Winter refers to Aguilar as the "stuttering monkey."
  • Beaupre purposefully trips Irwin - who's been moving heavy rocks all day - so that he'll win a bet.
  • We learn that Aguilar took a hammer to his commanding officer (in the past).
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to viewers.
  • An inmate does not drop to the ground when ordered to do so, thus causing a guard to shoot him twice (but we later learn that he was shot with rubber bullets that injured, but did not kill him).
  • An inmate rushes out and stands his ground against a bulldozer that's about to level a wall he and others have built. When he won't lie down with the other inmates, Winter orders a guard to shoot the inmate in the head with a rubber bullet (that we've heard will kill people when hit there).
  • Winter orders that guards shoot (with real bullets) an inmate who's not following orders.
  • Shotguns/Handguns/Automatic Weapons/Clubs/Molotov Cocktails: Used to threaten, injure or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Various small weapons (shivs, etc.): Found during a prison shakedown.
  • Phrases: "F*ck you," "Shut the f*ck up," "What the f*ck /are you doing/is that?" "Stop your f*cking whining," "F*cked up," "You murdering f*ck," "You're a real f*cking coward," "F*cking prick," "Bastard," "Get the hell down," "Balls" (testicles), "What the hell are you doing?" "Get the hell down," "I don't give a rat's ass," "Grab ass," "Sit your asses down," "A bitch" (describing something that's difficult to do) and "Like hell you are."
  • Various prisoners have tattoos.
  • The inmates use makeshift, several-man slingshots to fire Molotov Cocktails on others.
  • None.
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful and action-oriented music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 41 "f" words (6 used with "mother"), 9 "s" words, 2 slang terms using male genitals ("pr*ck"), 7 hells, 5 asses, 3 damns, 1 crap, 1 S.O.B. and 1 use each of "G-damn," "For Christ's sakes," "God," "My God" and "Oh Jesus" as exclamations.
  • In addition, there's some background profanity (some of it noted above) that's obscured by foreground noise.
  • After a guard states the rules of meetings between inmates and outsiders - and includes that hands must be seen at all times - Irwin jokingly replies (in front of and referring to Wheeler), "I guess that rules out the hand job."
  • Various inmates smoke throughout the film, while Irwin discovers that he's won a bunch of cigarettes for surviving one of Winter's punishments. Since he doesn't smoke, he asks that they be distributed to the other inmates.
  • We see that Irwin has a strained relationship with his adult daughter (she states he was never really a father to her, and that neither really knows the other) and that he's never met his grandson.
  • Leadership.
  • Whether the film realistically portrays life in such a military prison and/or how things play out.
  • That we're asked to root for a bunch of criminals to be the heroes and view the guards as the villains.
  • Enriquez and Thumper get into a pushing match while playing basketball. This eventually turns into a full-scale fight with Enriquez punching Thumper many times, all over his body. Thumper then gets Enriquez in something of a combination bear hug and chokehold, at least until Enriquez elbows him in the crotch and then punches him in the face. More punches are thrown and Enriquez then repeatedly kicks Thumper on the ground. Thumper eventually is given what looks like a weight on the end of a rope that he swings around and uses to try to hit Enriquez.
  • An inmate does not drop to the ground when ordered to do so, thus causing a guard to shoot him twice (but we later learn that he was shot with rubber bullets that injured, but did not kill him).
  • Beaupre Aguilar by the hair and then pushes him away.
  • Irwin grabs Peretz's arm to prevent him from striking Aguilar with a club. Other guards then race up and hit Irwin with their clubs (including on the back of his head and back).
  • Beaupre purposefully trips Irwin, causing the general to fall, and his head to hit a large rock he's carrying.
  • Winter orders that a defiant inmate be shot in the head with a rubber bullet (and the impact kills the inmate).
  • Guards use a tank-like water cannon to knock down various inmates with the forceful stream of water.
  • Guards violently remove select inmates from their cells, slamming one into a railing. Another kicks and hits several guards before being repeatedly kicked by other guards.
  • Two inmates purposefully engage in a staged fight (with some punches thrown).
  • A guard hits an inmate with a club.
  • An inmate falls down some metal steps and slams into the railing after some guards push him.
  • The inmates suddenly attack the guards, grabbing and punching them, while other guards shoot rubber bullets at the inmates, hitting several of them. The inmates then fire various Molotov Cocktails at the guard posts, catching them on fire, while other inmates are hit with rubber bullets.
  • Various inmates, carrying metal cafeteria trays as shields, clash with guards carrying riot shields.
  • Using a makeshift bazooka, the inmates fire a gas canister at a guard post, resulting in a huge explosion on impact.
  • Using a makeshift catapult, the inmates fire rocks at Winter's office (eventually breaking his window and display case inside) and then fire a Molotov Cocktail inside as well, catching part of the room on fire.
  • A guard then shoots a rubber bullet that hits a Molotov Cocktail as it's being prepared, catching various inmates on fire (but the flames are put out rather quickly).
  • As the fighting and shooting continues, the water cannon is brought out again and fired upon various inmates, hitting them and large rocks that also then hit the inmates.
  • Beaupre jumps on a bunch of guards and punches them.
  • A soldier in a helicopter fires shots at various inmates (we don't know if they're real or rubber bullets) until one inmate climbs up a rope attached to the chopper and punches both the shooter and pilot. The new pilot then purposefully crashes his rear rotor into a guard tower (after a guard fires a real shot at him), destroying it (and wounding or killing the guard). The chopper then crashes, catches on fire and rolls several times, eventually exploding (but only one person is slightly injured).
  • Guards aim their automatic weapons (with real bullets) at the inmates.
  • Winter violently grabs his assistant.
  • Winter shoots and mortally wounds one inmate.

  • Reviewed October 16, 2001 / Posted October 19, 2001

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [The Batman] [Cyrano] [Studio 666] [The Cursed] [Dog] [Uncharted]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2022 Screen It, Inc.