Penitentiary - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Penitentiary Reviews

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June 10, 2014
The movie was released on Nov. 21, 1979. & they became the #1 independent movie of the world in the Spring of 1980.
October 27, 2012
Knockout results are nearly achieved in this Blaxploitation film about a new inmate whose participation in the prison boxing league leads to parole. Helped by a good lead in Leon Isaac Kennedy. "Too Sweet" may need to work on his nickname but not his right cross.
September 19, 2012
Knockout results are nearly achieved in this Blaxploitation film about a new inmate whose participation in the prison boxing league leads to parole. Helped by a good lead in Leon Isaac Kennedy. "Too Sweet" may need to work on his nickname but not his right cross.
½ June 8, 2011
Worth it for Half Dead, and Peaches (girl is thick). Part 2 has Mr T!
½ August 30, 2010
Add a revieAs 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. w...
rayman0071
Super Reviewer
April 28, 2010
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.
½ February 24, 2010
Stupid 70's blaxploitation movie about a "brother" who finds himself in prison and having to box for his life...The boxing scenes are ridiculous the acting truly godawful,and the direction is non-existent.Only a fan of this garbage would enjoy this crap.
July 21, 2009
Man is this film homoerotic (@ least the first 3rd anyways). It kinda subsides once the boxing starts (you get a couple of scenes of hetrosexual action in the bathrooms). I liked the sequel more; it had Mr T w/ a genie lamp in it for crying out loud
June 7, 2009
Tough, intense prison film with Kennedy finding salvation (and survival) on the inmate boxing squad after railroaded by being in wrong place at wrong time. Rare to see a prison film where the warden and guards are not entirely corrupt.
½ September 7, 2008
Prison and boxing are the subjects of this film that balances gritty sincerity with outrageous exploitation, including some totally gratuitous and raunchy sex scenes in a prison bathroom. There is something oddly poignant about this movie that I can't quite put my finger on.
½ August 4, 2008
Decent Blaxploitation/Boxing flick, I think I only liked it because I went in with low expectations.
July 31, 2008
The Original OZ in my opinion.
½ July 26, 2008
Lacking the Mr. T or crack smoking super-midget of it's sequels, this does not hold up as well in comparison.
½ May 6, 2008
Crap blaxploitation prison movie. Avoid, its all over the place. One guy though looks remarkably like ODB of the wu tang clan.
½ March 22, 2008
This movie was just on the Sci-Fi channel. It is alright...
½ February 13, 2008
A quality film, a bit dated but good overall.
½ February 13, 2008
saw this at a blaxploitation festival. its all over the place, but it does show an accurate depiction of prison life not shown in most main stream movies. There is an energy to the fights that is fresh. Not exactly a good film, but it has its moments.
December 8, 2007
very good film about prision boxing. Pretty underrated film.
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