Attica (1980) Henry Darrow, Charles Durning, Joel Fabiani, Morgan Freeman Movie Review

Attica (1980)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Morgan Freeman in Attica (1980)


Tension was already in the air at the Attica State Correctional Facility during 1971 as the inmates wanted improvements of their rights. But things blew up in the September when the inmates took over the yard and held guards hostage until their demands were met. But as this prison riot played out with negotiations going on people end up being killed.

Pretty much every opinion I have read on "Attica" seems to come from someone either involved with the movie or who was old enough to remember the actual events of 1971. The thing is that I wasn't even born in 1971 and know nothing of this prison riot other than having heard the name "Attica" mentioned in other movies. But that puts me in the best situation because I am sure many who stumble across "Attica" now will do so probably in the same boat as me, having no knowledge of the events and may be looking to watch because they spot the name Morgan Freeman in the cast

Unfortunately having no knowledge of the events at Attica is a stumbling block when it comes to the movie as it is made for those who already know some of the ins and outs. It actually makes it quite a dry, bitty experience when watched with no knowledge as it ends up more a drama of events rather than a recreation of a period of time. Now in fairness it warns you at the start of the movie that the events over 23 days are compressed and composite characters are used but it almost takes for granted that the audience already knows the story.

Despite this "Attica" is still watchable and throughout the movie there are various interesting points which are made from elements of racism and ignorance to people uniting for their rights. What it means is that "Attica" is not a movie which you can just watch as it will stimulate thoughts and if watched with others will stimulate discussion even if you were not around at the time this was going on.

What this all boils down to is that for me "Attica" is a mixed bag of a movie as it feels like it works best if you already have some knowledge of the events at Attica. But at the same time it serves up various elements which make you think about certain things to do with what went on at Attica and people's attitudes.