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Breakout (1975 film)

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Director  Tom Gries
Music director  Jerry Goldsmith
Language  English
6.1/10 IMDb

Genre  Action, Adventure, Drama
Country  United States
Breakout (1975 film) movie poster
Writer  Eliot Asinof, Elliott Baker
Release date  1975 (1975)
Initial release  March 7, 1975 (West Germany)
Genres  Action Film, Drama, Thriller, Adventure Film
Cast  Charles Bronson (Nick Colton), Robert Duvall (Jay Wagner), Jill Ireland (Ann Wagner), Randy Quaid (Hawk Hawkins), Sheree North (Myrna), John Huston (Harris Wagner)
Similar movies  Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, Interstellar, Knock Knock, The Maze Runner, Blackhat
Tagline  Sentenced to 28 years in prison for a crime he never committed. Only two things can get him out - A lot of money and Charles Bronson!

Breakout 1975 trailer

Breakout is a 1975 action film from Columbia Pictures starring Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Robert Duvall, John Huston, Sheree North and Randy Quaid. Bronson and Ireland, the lead actor and actress, were married in real life. The film is notable for giving the usually serious Bronson a more comedic, lighthearted role.


Breakout (1975 film) movie scenes


Breakout (1975 film) movie scenes

Harris Wagner (Huston) frames Jay Wagner (Duvall). In order to keep him silent, Jay is incarcerated in a Mexican prison.

Breakout (1975 film) movie scenes

Jay's wife Ann (Ireland) is unhappy at this turn of events and hires a Texas bush pilot in Brownsville, Texas, Nick Colton (Bronson) and his partner Hawk (Quaid), to fly into the prison and rescue her husband.

Breakout (1975 film) movie scenes

The first attempts don't work, so Colton quickly learns how to pilot a helicopter.

Breakout (1975 film) movie scenes

While Hawk and accomplice Myrna (North) feign a rape to distract the prison guards, Colton pilots a helicopter into the prison complex, Wagner boards the helicopter, and they escape. The group (Colton, Hawk, Myrna, Wagner) return to Texas in a four-passenger light aircraft.

Breakout (1975 film) movie scenes

Alerted to the escape, Harris Wagner orders his agent Cable (Mantee) to Texas to intercept the group. Cable, driving a Citroën SM with Washington, D.C. license plates, locates Ann Wagner and follows her Chevrolet Impala convertible, knowing she will lead him to Jay Wagner.

Breakout (1975 film) movie scenes

Cable uses false identification to lure Jay Wagner away from the group when they land. Cable nearly succeeds in kidnapping Wagner, but Colton becomes suspicious and pursues them. The film ends with a runway incursion as Cable and Colton fight among departing airplanes at Brownsville Airport.


Breakout (1975 film) movie scenes
  • Charles Bronson as Nick Colton
  • Robert Duvall as Jay Wagner
  • Jill Ireland as Ann Wagner
  • John Huston as Harris Wagner
  • Randy Quaid as Hawk Hawkins
  • Sheree North as Myrna
  • Alejandro Rey as Sanchez
  • Emilio Fernández as J.V.
  • Paul Mantee as Cable
  • Alan Vint as Harve
  • Roy Jenson as Sheriff Spencer
  • Actual Event

    The film was loosely based on an actual event that took place in August, 1971. In a plan hatched by San Francisco attorney Vasilios Basil "Bill" Choulos (1928–2003), a pilot, Vic Stadler, flew a Bell helicopter with its bottom painted in colors similar to that of the Mexican attorney general's into Mexico City's Santa Maria Acatitla prison and assisted a prisoner in a daring escape. That prisoner, New York businessman Joel David Kaplan, claimed to have been framed for murder and had been serving a 28-year sentence since 1962. A Venezuelan prisoner, Carlos Antonio Contreras Castro, escaped along with Kaplan. Unlike in the film, there was no rape distraction, no shots were fired and there was no pursuit by Mexican law enforcement.


    The prison scenes were filmed at Fort de Bellegarde, Mexico would not participate in portraying this event. Romani people (also known as gypsies) local to Southern France stood in for many of the Mexicans.

    The film featured a French Aérospatiale Alouette II turbine helicopter in place of an American Bell Helicopter.


    The film earned $7.5 million in North American theatrical rentals, and was distributed internationally.

    Part of its box-office success was due to the then-novel strategy of "saturation booking", in which Columbia released 1300 prints simultaneously, combined with a heavy advertising campaign on the opening week. This was one of the first major studio films to use this method of release. Inspired by the success of Breakout, Universal Pictures used the same technique to promote Jaws. After Jaws became the highest-grossing movie of all time, saturation booking became the standard method of releasing major films.


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