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Scared Straight/Scared Straight: 20 Years Later (1978)

Cast: Peter Falk, Peter Falk
Director: Arnold Shapiro, Arnold Shapiro
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: New Video Group
Genre: Documentary, Political & Social Issues
Running Time: 90 min.
Languages: English
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Directed by Arnold Shapiro, this 1970s documentary brought 17 juvenile delinquents to a maximum security New Jersey prison and left them to spend the day with some of the most notoriously dangerous criminals behind bars. The inmates -- who were, for the most part, serving life sentences -- offered the troubled kids a disturbingly realistic, no-holds-barred account of prison life and all of the brutality that comes with the territory. Scared Straight! won an Oscar in 1978 for Best Documentary Feature, and was revisited in the mid-'90s when MTV recreated the show in hopes of reaching new young delinquents. ~ Tracie Cooper, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Too little of the original by kingdavid27 January 13, 2005 - 2:49 PM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
The original "Scared Straight" seemed yo be longer and spend more time on the experience inside the jail. This version takes about 45min of the original and wraps "where are they now" bits around them. While it's gratifying to see how the experience at Rahway changed most everyone, the original impact of the film suffers for it. I showed it to my kids, and they weren't as impacted as I remember being. Still, very good filmmaking despite the tacked on epilogue that takes almost half of the program.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.85)
13 Votes
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