The Last Castle

Critics Consensus

The Last Castle is well acted and rousing for the most part, but the story can't stand up to close scrutiny.



Total Count: 114


Audience Score

User Ratings: 45,838
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Movie Info

The Castle is an unlikely last stop in the brilliant career of three-star General Irwin. Court-martialed and stripped of his rank, Irwin has been sentenced to the maximum-security military prison, which is run with an iron fist by its warden, Colonel Winter. Winter can't help but respect the once-legendary general, but it isn't long before that respect turns to resentment and then open hostility as Irwin continually confronts the warden on his methods. Setting out to break Irwin by whatever means necessary, the colonel's tactics only fuel Irwin's defiance and cause the other prisoners to rally behind the general in his new mission: to seize control of the prison and remove Winter from his command. The men imprisoned in The Castle have been told that they are no longer soldiers... but they are about to prove that they can still fight a war.


Critic Reviews for The Last Castle

All Critics (114) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (55)

  • Not a serious prison flick, but director Lurie finds fresh ways to frame familiar situations, and pulls it off with enough tongue-in-cheek wit.

    Dec 24, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Nev Pierce
    Top Critic
  • Bizarre, confused, sanctimonious manure.

    Oct 23, 2001
  • The themes that ring out most loudly in the end -- some men are just born leaders; others do best if they just conform -- are numbingly retrograde.

    Oct 20, 2001
  • Devolves into a mundane warden-versus-inmate conclusion.

    Oct 19, 2001 | Rating: 2/5
  • A heavy-handed military prison melodrama.

    Oct 19, 2001 | Rating: 2/5
  • The Last Castle, while engrossing in parts, might have benefited from more pre-shooting talk about what makes an intriguing character -- and what makes a star performance.

    Oct 19, 2001 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Last Castle

  • Mar 21, 2012
    I usually like seeing movies where the underdog finds a way to triumph over the nasty villain, but this movie is a bit hard to take. In five minutes of movie time General Irwin goes from "Hmmm, we should overtake this prison" to the full fledged revolt overcoming guns, water cannons and helicopters.
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • Oct 15, 2011
    Robert Redford? Sign me up. Can't believe I've never reviewed this movie but I absolutely love this movie. It's made in the mold of a feel good prison tale that follows a 3 star general, Eugene Irwin (Robert Redford) who has abused his power of command and lost 8 men because of it. Due to this despite every plea of his friends and family he submits himself to the consequences of his actions and is court marshaled and incarcerated. He wants to simply serve his time to pay for his crimes and go home but he can't help but rise again to leadership after seeing how the warden, Colonel Winter, runs the facility. Call me a sucker for prison movies, or movies dealing with honour and self sacrifice for a higher cause. But this movie is just awesome in all regards, I wouldn't say its better than Shawshank in the prison movie category but its certainly a good movie. And the closing scenes are quite entertaining. Great movie if you're in the mood for this sort of thing.
    Jason T Super Reviewer
  • Oct 07, 2011
    A prisoner's fantasy: decorated U.S. General Robert Redford has been Court Marshalled for disobeying orders during wartime--which resulted in the deaths of eight soldiers--and is sent to a prison for violent criminals (!). He immediately gets on the wrong side of warden James Gandolfini and rallies the inmates to take control of the yard. Fairly typical genre picture with all the usual details, including the stuttering innocent whose bad treatment becomes a catalyst in the warring sides. There were many character stereotypes in this story including Aguilar, the dim bulb; Yates, the amoral prison bookie; the fallen-from-grace doctor, the big black guy, the big white guy, the big guy of uncertain ethnic descent and the token Latino guy. The prison is run strictly and without regard to military law or basic inmate legal rights. Inmates are occasionally killed by turret manning snipers who apparently have never understood that it's a crime to follow criminal orders. So what does a former lieutenant general do? He organizes the appropriately racially balanced inmates with their predictable range of personalities into an army of sorts to topple the colonel. In conclusion, I would like to state that this was boring movie I have watched..
    Mouhannad S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 29, 2011
    The Last Castle was an odd film when it came out, clearly lacking the normal output by the studio system. The film is a tough one to sell and having only Redford to guide the audience, it was quite a gamble. The failed the box office, but it was not a horrible film by any means. There is a strong cast at the anchor and many of them have moved onto bigger things. I have been one of Rod Lurie's biggest champions over the years and this film was a another solid tick in my opinion. Forget the outlandish plot for a second and think about the acting. Each scene is electric and the confrontations between the actors is the key to the success. I honestly feel this is a film that is ripe for rediscovery and is now a forgotten gem that was trashed by critics who wanted something more. Great cast and filmmaking, but sadly ignored on release. 30/03/2019
    Brendan N Super Reviewer

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