7.9/10
698
14 user 10 critic

Scared Straight! (1978)

The filmed depiction of a program where convicts tell troubled kids about the horrors of prison life.

Director:

Arnold Shapiro

Writer:

Arnold Shapiro
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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A follow up to the 1978 documentary. Wherein we take a look at the kids who were sent to a prison and were subjected to the words of the convicts in the prison in hopes of getting them to ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mickie Cold Mickie Cold ... Drug dealer
Doug Cronin Doug Cronin
Carlo Gallo Carlo Gallo ... Himself
Jesus Rodriguez Jesus Rodriguez ... Car thief
Jon Shipiro Jon Shipiro ... Arsonist / Bomb builder
Jerome Watts Jerome Watts ... Gang member
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Storyline

This film shows the Scared Straight program that has hardened convicts from maximum security prisons tell their stories about the truth about prison life in order to convince kids that no crime is worth the risk of being incarcerated Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Documentary

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Напуганы, точно! See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Golden West Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When it won the Oscar and Emmy, producer 'Davil L. Wolper' was the one who presented the awards to Arnold Shapiro. See more »

Quotes

Convict: I don't like nothin' in the first place and I don't like you!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wedding Weekend (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Powerful Documentary
4 September 2001 | by harry-76See all my reviews

In order to get a young teen with a long history of crime and committed to a continued future in that area to completely turn around and choose to "go straight"--all within a time frame of under three hours--you know such a transformation must be very powerful, if not miraculous.

What could possibly take place within so short a time to prompt 16 out of 17 young subjects kick their criminal habits, without a hand being laid on them? Hypnotism? Some form of brain-washing technique? An invisible laser- wave bombardment?

Actually, none of these, only words . . . powerful phrases spoken often at maximum volume by volunteers from a maximum security cell block of the Rahway State Prison in New Jersey.

Without laying a hand their subjects, "hardened" convicts serving 30 year to life sentences, share the truth about prison life in harsh, gross details, leaving nothing to the imagination.

In a demonstration of emotional response, the youths are ordered to remove their shoes, which are pitched into a center pile. A volounteer inquires how the group feels when robbed of their possessions, pointing out that that's also how their robbery victims feel.

The manner in which the documentary is presented positions the viewer as a intimate participant in this moving exercise. One can feel the emotional intensity of the experience, as volunteers expose some of the terror of prison life which awaits these potential inmates.

It's not an easy experience to sit through, and the uncensored language may be too harsh or harrowing for some viewers. Too, the 50-minute documentary may seem much longer, because on the intensity of the subject.

However, the statistical 90% success-rate of this "scare-tactic" program is astounding. The volunteers benefit from their doing something constructive in helping to turn young lives around. The youths benefit from their changed attitude and altered life choices.

Academy Award Winner of Best Documentary in 1978, this Arnold Shapiro written and directed short, now on VHS, remains as chillingly compelling today as when first shown. Rahway is a model for similar potential programs across the country. The public is indebted to the gifts of these volunteers, who are completely in charge of creating and running this unique "scared-straight" program. Peter Falk is the effective narrator.


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