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Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954)

aka Riot in Cell Block 11

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 80 mins · English


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Small James V. Dunn
Small Warden Reynolds
Small Commissioner Haskell
Small Crazy Mike Carnie
Small The Colonel
Small Guard Monroe
No_movie_poster Reporter
Small Gator
No_movie_poster Schuyler
Small Guard Snader
No_movie_poster Guard Acton
No_movie_poster Captain of the Guards Barrett
No_movie_poster Reporter
Small Reporter
No_movie_poster Reporter Russell
No_movie_poster Frank
No_movie_poster Mickey
No_movie_poster Al
No_movie_poster Guard Delmar
No_movie_poster Mac
No_movie_poster Manuel
No_movie_poster Guard Ambrose


No_movie_poster Russell Harlan Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Walter Wanger Producer
Small Don Siegel Director
No_movie_poster Herschel Burke Gilbert Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Richard Collins Story
No_movie_poster Bruce B. Pierce Editor


One night, several prison inmates take guards prisoner to protest brutal conditions in their prison. They then make their demands known to the Warden. A liberal-minded administrator who has complained for many years about the same conditions. James V. Dunn, the prisoners' leader, meets the press outside the cell block and makes demands that they will no longer tolerate the brutal guards, substandard food, overcrowding and barely liveable conditions.

The next day inmates from two other blocks start a riot but they are forced back into the cell blocks by the state police. Negotiations between the inmates and prison officials are stymied by the state politicians who do not want to make any concessions.

Meanwhile factions within the prisoners begin to vie for power and control within the rebellious cell block. At the same time, the state police are given the go ahead to blow a hole in the wall to end the siege. But the inmates inside create a human shield by tying the hostages to the interior wall.

Eventually the governor agrees to sign a petition from the prisoners. The riot ends when the inmates see the next-day newspapers saying that they had won. But it's a pyrrhic victory for the leader, Dunn. Two weeks later he is called to the warden's office. The state legislature had overturned the Governor's signature thus repudiating all the prisoners' demands.

The Warden tells Dunn that he will stand trial for leading the riot and taking hostages. Charges that will mostly likely mean an additional 30-year sentence. But the Warden, who explains that he is to be replaced, tells Dunn that he did get a small victory, the mentally-ill inmates are to be moved to asylums and some prisoners will be paroled. The warden tells Dunn that his actions were front page news which may bring about some good.

The downbeat ending is indicative of the realistic social commentary prevalent throughout the film.