From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

Penitentiary (1979, USA) is a Crime film directed by Jamaa Fanaka. Followed by Penitentiary II.


Main Details

  • Released on November 21, 1979 (Detroit, Michigan)
  • Color
  • Running Time: 99 Min.
  • Production Co: Jerry Gross Productions
  • Distribution Co: The Jerry Gross Organization, The (1980) (USA) (theatrical) | Movietime (1981) (Canada)
  • Directed by Jamaa Fanaka
  • Written by Jamaa Fanaka
  • Starring Leon Isaac Kennedy, Thommy Pollard, Hazel Spears
  • Produced by Jamaa Fanaka, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Irving Parham
  • Original Music by Frankie Gaye
  • Cinematography by Marty Ollstein
  • Film Editing by Betsy Blankett Milicevic (as Betsy Blankett)

Plot Summary

  • A hitchhiker named Martel Gordone gets in a fight with two bikers over a prostitute, and one of the bikers is killed. Gordone is arrested and sent to prison, where he joins the prison's boxing team in an effort to secure an early parole and to establish his dominance over the prison's toughest gang.


  • All that stands between him and freedom is the ring.
  • There's only one way out, and 100 fools stand in the way!
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