Penitentiary (1980)

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Movie Info

An innocent man must fight to survive when he's wrongfully imprisoned in this gritty urban drama. Martel Gordone (Leon Isaac Kennedy), called Too Sweet by his friends because he loves candy, is hitchhiking through the California desert when he's picked up by Linda (Hazel Spears), a prostitute. When Too Sweet and Linda stop at a roadside diner, they're harassed by a pack of bikers; a fist-fight breaks out, and one of the bikers winds up dead. Too Sweet is charged with murder, and convicted … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Jamaa Fanaka
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 20, 2000
Runtime:
Xenon

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Cast


as Martel 'Too Sweet' G...

as Eugene T. Lawson

as 'Half Dead' Johnson

as Lt. Arnsworth
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Critic Reviews for Penitentiary

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 15, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

November 5, 2004
EmanuelLevy.Com

Full Review… | May 24, 2003
Film4

Audience Reviews for Penitentiary

As a second wave of blaxploitation flicks that emerge out of the 1970's,the movie Penitentiary is still bedeviled by the uncomfortable contradictions of its macho forebearers,which made it a huge boxoffice hit when it was released in 1979. It's basically the servicable yarn of a young stranger on a bum rap,sentenced to an institutional hell-hole,and eventually bucking the terror regime with two righteous fists. And daubed onto the screen with the vitality of all around excess,teetering craziliy between heavy amounts of gore,rough language and all outright farce. But its assumptions for the better of its sake,either worked beyond the comprehendsion of some of its scenes which were very honest and sometimes brutal. This was a grand film that looked into the life of a penal institional system as seen through the eyes of his character,played by Leon Issac Kennedy.
Another example of black cinema that was still standing at the end of the decade with some of the most replusive stereotyping ever imagine while the audience cheers on the victor who must fight in a system to stay alive at all costs. Done on a low budget,it was consciousness. A sequel followed in 1982 with Leon Issac Kennedy reprising the role. Another sequel followed in 1987 with Leon Issac Kennedy again reprising the role that made him successful in the first two installments.

rayman0071
Mister Caple

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