Brubaker Poster

Release Date: 1980

DVD Release Date: May 20th, 2003

R|2 hr 12 min

Plot Summary
Posing as an inmate at a small Arkansas prison, the new warden of the penitentiary, Henry Brubaker (Robert Redford), witnesses firsthand the corruption and abuse inflicted upon the prisoners by the staff. After revealing his true identity, Brubaker brings much-needed reform to the prison with the help of supporters Dickie Coombes (Yaphet Kotto) and Lillian Gray (Jane Alexander). Yet when the benefactors of the old corrupt system are threatened by the changes, Brubaker's battles really begin.

Cast: Robert Redford, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Alexander, Murray Hamilton, David Keith, Morgan Freeman, Matt Clark, Tim McIntire

Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Genres: Drama

Production Co: 20th Century Fox

Keywords: 1980s, Doctor, Gritty, Dark, Investigation, Small town, Quest, Rivalry, Mystery, Prison

Ratings & Reviews

view all
  • David Keith, a native of Tennessee, had a tiny role in The Rose (as Bette Midler's soldier friend) and he is one of the few in the Brubaker cast whose accent is authentic and who appears to have the wherewithal to survive in a penitentiary. His scenes are the only respite from the movie's shrill, simplistic self-congratulation. [21 June 1980]

  • Robert Redford stars as a reform-minded prison warden fighting for his life against a corrupt prison system. Competent but dreary. [11 July 1980, p.8]

  • Brubaker is a grim and depressing drama about prison outrages - a movie that should, given its absolutely realistic vision, have kept us involved from beginning to end. That it doesn't is the result, I think, of a deliberate but unwise decision to focus on the issues involved in the story, instead of on the characters. show more

See all critic reviews on


Nominated Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen)