Brubaker


2h 10m 1980
Brubaker

Brief Synopsis

A new prison warden takes on corruption that has spread to the state government.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Prison
Release Date
1980

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m

Synopsis

A warden arrives disguised as an inmate to see first-hand what life is like inside. He implements a series of sweeping reforms that have him marked for danger with guards and local business owners that liked things the way they were.

Crew

Jon Andersen

Assistant Director

Enrique Bravo

Camera Operator

Tom Bronson

Costumes

Robert Brown

Editor

D Scott Easton

Assistant Director

Zoltan Elek

Makeup

Chip Fowler

Production Coordinator

John Franco

Set Decorator

Mary Gaffney

Casting

Mickey Gilbert

Stunt Coordinator

William Hartman

Sound Effects Editor

Jack Hayes

Original Music

Gretchen Higgins

Casting

Rick Horwitch

Assistant

Joe Hyams

Book As Source Material

David M Ice

Sound Effects Editor

Michael Jablow

Assistant Editor

Harry Kohoyda

Production Accountant

Kenny Lee

Wrangler

Gary Liddiard

Makeup

Ted Mann

Executive Producer

Godfrey Marks

Dialogue Editor

Mike Moschella

Makeup

Thomas O Murton

Technical Advisor

Thomas O Murton

Book As Source Material

Willie Navarro

Assistant Editor

Helen Taini Nayfack

Assistant

Louis Noto

Camera Assistant

Bruno Nuytten

Director Of Photography

Marina Pedraza

Hair

Joseph Pender

Gaffer

Julie Pitkanen

Script Supervisor

Bernie Pollack

Costumes

Robert H Raff

Music Editor

W.d. Richter

From Story

W.d. Richter

Screenplay

J. Michael Riva

Art Director

Robert Rooy

Assistant Director

Arthur A. Ross

From Story

Vincent Saizis

Photography

Lalo Schifrin

Music

Pamela Sharp

Assistant Editor

Ron Silverman

Producer

Theodore Soderberg

Sound

Richard Sperber

Sound Effects Editor

Aida Swenson

Costumes

Garrison True

Casting

Gordon Webb

Unit Production Manager

Gordon Webb

Associate Producer

Paul Wells

Sound

Stephen Wever

Photography

Charles Wilborn

Sound

Douglas O. Williams

Sound

Doug Willis

Key Grip

Al Wright

Special Effects

Hendrik Wynands

Construction Coordinator

John Zemansky

Property Master

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Prison
Release Date
1980

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m

Award Nominations

Best Original Screenplay

1980

Articles

Brubaker


Warner Bros. made film history back in 1932 with I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, an angry protest film about prison corruption during the Great Depression. But in later years, political outrage films were often dismissed as propaganda. A project to film an exposé of the Arkansas prison reformer Tom Murton was tossed around Hollywood for a decade before finally being filmed as Brubaker (1980), starring Robert Redford. The screenplay by W.D. Richter adds new twists to the old story of corruption. To get to the bottom of ugly rumors at a rural prison, the new warden Brubaker (Redford) first appears in disguise as a normal prisoner. He's horrified by the corruption he discovers. Prison authorities are selling paroles, collecting premiums on non-existent heavy equipment, and stealing the prisoners' food to be sold elsewhere. The prison doctor treats only those prisoners that can pay.

When Brubaker assumes his official role he finds that the prisoners are as hostile to his reforms as the guards and the local fat cats. The reform effort then becomes a nightmare when Brubaker hears about unexplained mass burials out on the prison property. Robert Redford's nervous underplaying serves to heighten the suspense. The supporting cast is a veritable dream team: Yaphet Kotto, Morgan Freeman, Murray Hamilton, David Keith, Matt Clark, M. Emmet Walsh, Albert Salmi, Everett McGill, Val Avery, Joe Spinell, John McMartin and Wilford Brimley. The only element lacking is romance, as almost the only woman character is a governor's assistant played by Jane Alexander. Director Stuart Rosenberg had already enjoyed one hit with a prison movie, 1967's Cool Hand Luke. The Hollywood trade papers compared Brubaker to the recent 'issue' films Norma Rae and The China Syndrome (both 1979) and predicted that the film wouldn't do well. The grim story instead proved a substantial hit, bringing in a healthy $19 million dollars. The film took up residence on the editorial pages, where pundits asked if the public really cared about prison reform, and debated whether exposé films had any real positive effect on social issues.

By Glenn Erickson
Brubaker

Brubaker

Warner Bros. made film history back in 1932 with I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, an angry protest film about prison corruption during the Great Depression. But in later years, political outrage films were often dismissed as propaganda. A project to film an exposé of the Arkansas prison reformer Tom Murton was tossed around Hollywood for a decade before finally being filmed as Brubaker (1980), starring Robert Redford. The screenplay by W.D. Richter adds new twists to the old story of corruption. To get to the bottom of ugly rumors at a rural prison, the new warden Brubaker (Redford) first appears in disguise as a normal prisoner. He's horrified by the corruption he discovers. Prison authorities are selling paroles, collecting premiums on non-existent heavy equipment, and stealing the prisoners' food to be sold elsewhere. The prison doctor treats only those prisoners that can pay. When Brubaker assumes his official role he finds that the prisoners are as hostile to his reforms as the guards and the local fat cats. The reform effort then becomes a nightmare when Brubaker hears about unexplained mass burials out on the prison property. Robert Redford's nervous underplaying serves to heighten the suspense. The supporting cast is a veritable dream team: Yaphet Kotto, Morgan Freeman, Murray Hamilton, David Keith, Matt Clark, M. Emmet Walsh, Albert Salmi, Everett McGill, Val Avery, Joe Spinell, John McMartin and Wilford Brimley. The only element lacking is romance, as almost the only woman character is a governor's assistant played by Jane Alexander. Director Stuart Rosenberg had already enjoyed one hit with a prison movie, 1967's Cool Hand Luke. The Hollywood trade papers compared Brubaker to the recent 'issue' films Norma Rae and The China Syndrome (both 1979) and predicted that the film wouldn't do well. The grim story instead proved a substantial hit, bringing in a healthy $19 million dollars. The film took up residence on the editorial pages, where pundits asked if the public really cared about prison reform, and debated whether exposé films had any real positive effect on social issues. By Glenn Erickson

Noble Willingham (1931-2004)


Noble Willingham, the gruffly voiced character actor best known for his role as saloon owner C.D. Parker on Chuck Norris' long-running series Walker, Texas Ranger, died of natural causes on January 17th at his Palm Springs home. He was 72.

Born on August 31, 1931 in Mineola, Texas, Willingham was educated at North Texas State University where he earned a degree in Economics. He later taught government and economics at a high school in Houston, leaving his life-long dreams of becoming an actor on hold until the opportunity presented itself. Such an opportunity happened when in late 1970, Peter Bogdonovich was doing some on-location shooting in south Texas for The Last Picture Show (1971); at the urging of some friends, he audition and won a small role in the picture. From there, Willingham slowly began to find work in some prominent films, including Bogdonovich's Paper Moon (1973), and Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974). Around this time, Willingham kept busy with many guest appearances on a variety of popular shows: Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Waltons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Rockford Files and several others.

Critics didn't take notice of his acting abilities until he landed the role of Leroy Mason, the soulless plant manager who stares down Sally Field in Norma Rae (1979). Few could forget him screaming at her, "Lady, I want you off the premises now!" with unapologetic malice. It may have not been a likable character, but after this stint, better roles came along, most notably the corrupt Dr. Fenster in Robert Redford's prison drama Brubaker (1980); and the evil sheriff in the thriller The Howling (1981).

By the late '80s, Willingham was an in-demand character actor, and he scored in three hit films: a border patrol sergeant - a great straight man to Cheech Marin - in the ethnic comedy Born in East L.A.; his wonderfully avuncular performance as General Taylor, the military brass who was sympathetic to an unorthodox disc jockey in Saigon, played by Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam (both 1987); and his good 'ole boy villainy in the Rutger Hauer action flick Blind Fury (1988). His performances in these films proved that if nothing else, Willingham was a solid backup player who was adept at both comedy and drama.

His best remembered role will no doubt be his six year run as the genial barkeep C.D. Parker opposite Chuck Norris in the popular adventure series Walker, Texas Ranger (1993-99). However, film reviewers raved over his tortured performance as a foul-mouthed, bigoted boat salesman who suffers a traffic downfall in the little seen, but searing indie drama The Corndog Man (1998); the role earned Willingham a nomination for Best Actor at the Independent Spirit Awards and it showed that this ably supporting performer had enough charisma and talent to hold his own in a lead role.

In 2000, Willingham tried his hand at politics when he unsuccessfully tried to unseat Democrat Max Dandlin in a congressional campaign in east Texas. After the experience, Willingham returned to acting filming Blind Horizon with Val Kilmer in 2003. The movie is to be released later this year. Willingham is survived by his wife, Patti Ross Willingham; a son, John Ross McGlohen; two daughters, Stari Willingham and Meghan McGlohen; and a grandson.

by Michael T. Toole

Noble Willingham (1931-2004)

Noble Willingham, the gruffly voiced character actor best known for his role as saloon owner C.D. Parker on Chuck Norris' long-running series Walker, Texas Ranger, died of natural causes on January 17th at his Palm Springs home. He was 72. Born on August 31, 1931 in Mineola, Texas, Willingham was educated at North Texas State University where he earned a degree in Economics. He later taught government and economics at a high school in Houston, leaving his life-long dreams of becoming an actor on hold until the opportunity presented itself. Such an opportunity happened when in late 1970, Peter Bogdonovich was doing some on-location shooting in south Texas for The Last Picture Show (1971); at the urging of some friends, he audition and won a small role in the picture. From there, Willingham slowly began to find work in some prominent films, including Bogdonovich's Paper Moon (1973), and Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974). Around this time, Willingham kept busy with many guest appearances on a variety of popular shows: Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Waltons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Rockford Files and several others. Critics didn't take notice of his acting abilities until he landed the role of Leroy Mason, the soulless plant manager who stares down Sally Field in Norma Rae (1979). Few could forget him screaming at her, "Lady, I want you off the premises now!" with unapologetic malice. It may have not been a likable character, but after this stint, better roles came along, most notably the corrupt Dr. Fenster in Robert Redford's prison drama Brubaker (1980); and the evil sheriff in the thriller The Howling (1981). By the late '80s, Willingham was an in-demand character actor, and he scored in three hit films: a border patrol sergeant - a great straight man to Cheech Marin - in the ethnic comedy Born in East L.A.; his wonderfully avuncular performance as General Taylor, the military brass who was sympathetic to an unorthodox disc jockey in Saigon, played by Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam (both 1987); and his good 'ole boy villainy in the Rutger Hauer action flick Blind Fury (1988). His performances in these films proved that if nothing else, Willingham was a solid backup player who was adept at both comedy and drama. His best remembered role will no doubt be his six year run as the genial barkeep C.D. Parker opposite Chuck Norris in the popular adventure series Walker, Texas Ranger (1993-99). However, film reviewers raved over his tortured performance as a foul-mouthed, bigoted boat salesman who suffers a traffic downfall in the little seen, but searing indie drama The Corndog Man (1998); the role earned Willingham a nomination for Best Actor at the Independent Spirit Awards and it showed that this ably supporting performer had enough charisma and talent to hold his own in a lead role. In 2000, Willingham tried his hand at politics when he unsuccessfully tried to unseat Democrat Max Dandlin in a congressional campaign in east Texas. After the experience, Willingham returned to acting filming Blind Horizon with Val Kilmer in 2003. The movie is to be released later this year. Willingham is survived by his wife, Patti Ross Willingham; a son, John Ross McGlohen; two daughters, Stari Willingham and Meghan McGlohen; and a grandson. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States June 1980

Released in United States Summer June 20, 1980

Released in United States June 1980

Released in United States Summer June 20, 1980