Chattahoochee (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes


Chattahoochee (1989)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Chattahoochee Photos

Movie Info

Aiming to procure insurance money for his family, Emmet Foley, a Korean War vet, attempts to commit suicide in the '50s and is soon locked up in a Florida state mental hospital after being wrongly declared insane. It is here that he finds unbelievably cruel treatment by the staff of the defenseless patients and he spends years attempting to call public attention to what is going on inside the institution. Gary Oldman stars in this truth-based drama about Chris Calhoun, supported by actors Dennis Hopper, Ned Beatty, Pamela Reed and Frances McDormand among others.

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Gary Oldman
as Emmett Foley
Pamela Reed
as Earlene
Ned Beatty
as Dr. Harwood
Lee Wilkof
as Vernon
Tim Scott
as Harley
Richard Portnow
as Dr. Debner
Whitey Hughes
as Mr. Johnson
Traber Burns
as Miami Cop
Ralph Pace
as Leonard
Laurens Moore
as Pa Foley
Peggy Beasley
as Mae's Mother
David Fitzsimmons
as Ambulance Driver
Gary Bullock
as Sadistic Attendant
David Dwyer
as Goading Attendant
John Brasington
as Dr. Towney
Jim E. Quick
as Dr. Everly
Michael Easler
as Attendant
George Nannerello
as Patient Without Shoes
Ed Grady
as Stream of Conciousness Man
Kevin Barber
as Upside-down Inmate
James "Fred" Culclasure
as Hymn-singing Inmate
Kevin Campbell
as Inmate in Cesspool
E. Pat Hall
as Inmate in Movie Theater
Jerry Campbell
as Inmate in Tunnel
Suzi Bass
as Harwood's Secretary
Jill Rankin
as Governor's Secretary
Joe Loy
as Quincy Cop
Randy Randolph
as Miami Guard
Kathryn Cobb
as Miami Nurse
Jim Gloster
as Miami Attendant
Wallace Merck
as Patrolman
Don Wayne Bass
as First Guard
Mykel Mariette
as Male Nurse
Raul Apartella
as First Man at Investigation
B.J. Koonce
as Woman at Investigation
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Critic Reviews for Chattahoochee

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

When a story sags or a character seems unlikely, the excuse of the "true story" always is the same: This really happened! Yes, but we are not at the movies because it really happened.

May 24, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

...a well-intentioned misfire that's rarely, if ever, as enthralling as Jackson has obviously intended.

October 5, 2021 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Unless you're a sadism fan, watching it can seem as tedious as actually spending a few years in the institution it both criticizes and secretly celebrates.

January 4, 2018 | Full Review…

This fact based story from the mid 50s American penal system is a sobering and dramatic reminder of how many states treated mentally ill patients, criminal or otherwise

January 9, 2009 | Full Review…

Off the beaten track, but too bleak to merit the detour.

July 8, 2004 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for Chattahoochee

Great performances by Oldman, Hopper, Reed and McDormand add to the intriguing true story of one patient's battle to reform a mental institution. Nice direction and realistic throughout.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

Hard as hell to sit through, but SO worth it if you do. Gary Oldman plays a Korean War veteran who cracks up and is sent to an asylum/prison camp that makes the farm in Cool Hand Luke look like Disneyland. Supposedly based on a true story about a place in Louisiana. Oldman is fantastic. He's so talented. It's a shame he wastes so much effort playing freaks -- True Romance, anyone?

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer


Based on a true story, a Korean war vet named Emmett Folley (played by Gary Oldman) can't adjust to life back home and has a crisis with the law. He is sent to Chattahoochee, an outhouse of an institution where the state of Florida locks the mentally ill and the criminals together. Emmet is a rebel against the cruel guards. Emmet's wife and kid are visiting less and less, so Emmet finds companionship in Walker Benson (played by Dennis Hopper). The two of them talk of escaping this place, but Emmett has a bigger idea... A movie of the human spirit against all disgusting odds; they were probably hoping for Academy Award nominations with this one. It's grim and gritty, but is ultimately a joy to watch.

Lafe Fredbjornson
Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

Chattahoochee Quotes

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