Shakespeare Behind Bars

Critics Consensus

Shakespeare Behind Bars is a moving testament to the power -- and universality -- of art.



Reviews Counted: 26

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 709


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Movie Info

Some 20 male inmates in a Kentucky prison form a Shakespearean acting troupe.

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Critic Reviews for Shakespeare Behind Bars

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (15)

  • This fascinating video documentary covers a nine-month rehearsal of Shakespeare's final play by inmates at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in La Grange, Kentucky.

    Aug 12, 2008 | Full Review…
  • The up-close interviews with the prisoners, many of whom are in jail for murder, are the heart of the film.

    May 19, 2006 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Rogerson and producer Jilann Spitzmiller ably convey the humanity of the inmates while also exposing them as deeply flawed individuals. The film also reconfirms the enduring relevance and power of Shakespeare and his adaptability to almost any milieu.

    May 12, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Albeit a tad repetitive, Shakespeare Behind Bars succeeds in humanizing men we might too easily label as monsters, and provides a solid argument in favor of prisons that place rehabilitation above retribution.

    May 11, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Few non-fiction films about the arts hit as hard or soar to such heights of poetry and humanity.

    May 11, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Observes as the inmates use theater to massage knots of guilt and anguish in their psyches.

    May 5, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Shakespeare Behind Bars

Hmm...mixed feelings. First of all, I don't think the program is THAT big a deal, like people are making it out to be. Sure, some of the inmates might be profoundly moved by the play, but I hardly think they're representative of the population. (wow...I think in terms of psychology now -_-). Some of it seemed too cutsey. Like, "let's laugh at the semi-articulate black man prunce around in a female character's costume!" Errrr.... I kept imagining how the victims' families would see this movie. Although, there are some thought-provoking segments, particularly the speech given by a 7-victim sexual abuser. At my screening, the guy who ran the program was there and held a Q + A session. He was much more obnoxious in person. Isn't it ironic how self-proclaimed "bleeding heart liberals" are supposed to be "free" and whatnot but they all end up so Debbie-Downer bitter? Jeeze.

Joey Nevarez
Joey Nevarez

Super Reviewer

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