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|Neville Brand||James V. Dunn|
|Emile Meyer||Warden Reynolds|
|Frank Faylen||Commissioner Haskell|
|Leo Gordon||Crazy Mike Carnie|
|Robert Osterloh||The Colonel|
|Paul Frees||Guard Monroe|
|Whit Bissell||Guard Snader|
|James Anderson||Guard Acton|
|Carleton Young||Captain of the Guards Barrett|
|Harold J. Kennedy||Reporter|
|Jonathan Hole||Reporter Russell|
|Roy Glenn||Guard Delmar|
|Robert Burton||Guard Ambrose|
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.