Felon (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh
Produced by Dan Keston
Nick Phillips
Christopher Wilhem
Written by Ric Roman Waugh
Starring Stephen Dorff
Harold Perrineau
Marisol Nichols
Anne Archer
Sam Shepard
Val Kilmer
Music by Gerhard Daum
Cinematography Dana Gonzales
Editing by Jonathan Chibnall
Studio Stage 6 Films
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release dates
  • July 18, 2008 (2008-07-18)
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,900,000 (estimated)
Box office $36,756

Felon is a 2008 American prison film written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh. The film stars Stephen Dorff, Val Kilmer and Harold Perrineau. The film tells the story of the family man who ends up in state prison after he kills an intruder. The story is based on events that took place in the 1990s at the notorious California State Prison, Corcoran.[1] The film was released in the United States on July 18, 2008.


Family man Wade Porter (Stephen Dorff) is living the American Dream with his girlfriend Laura (Marisol Nichols) and their son Michael: they have a nice house, he has just raised a loan to make his company grow and they are going to get married. However their dream becomes a nightmare when Wade unintentionally kills a burglar that had broken into their house in the middle of the night on his lawn. Due to the fact that Wade attacked the intruder and killed him outside of the house, he is tried for murder, and accepts a deal proposed by the prosecutor, being sentenced to three years in prison. In the county jail, Wade gets into a brawl the first night after being attacked by an inmate in the community cell.

After his sentencing is given, he is transferred to Corcoran State Prison. On the bus ride over, Danny Sampson, leader of the local Aryan Brotherhood, kills a man and hides the knife with a young Aryan member sitting behind Wade. In a moment's panic, the young man hides the knife under Wade and forces him to deny knowledge of the knife. As a result, Wade is sent to solitary confinement until the mess can be sorted out. Upon further investigation by Lieutenant Jackson (Harold Perrineau), Jackson is convinced Wade is an accessory to murder, and decides to send Wade to the Security Housing Unit (SHU), of which Jackson is the commanding officer.

Life is tough for Wade in the SHU. In addition to 23-hour lockdown days, and the inability to see his family at first, the 1-hour yard days consist of fights, to which the guards bet on. Scared and desperate, Wade initially groups with the Aryans, even going so far as to shave his head. His cell-mate John Smith (Val Kilmer) who was serving a life sentence after avenging the death of his family befriends Wade and gives helpful advice and hope to him.



It is set and filmed in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 24 days on October 9 and November 2, 2007.


The film received mainly positive to mixed reviews from critics. As of January 10, 2012, Felon holds a score of 7.6 out of ten on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) based upon 34,497 votes. As of January 26, 2009, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 62% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 21 reviews.[2] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 58 out of 100, based on 10 reviews — indicating good or above average reviews.[3] The film had a limited screening in the US.

Home media[edit]

DVD was released in Region 1 in the United States on August 12, 2008, and also Region 2 in the United Kingdom on October 6, 2008, it was distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.


  1. ^ Holden, Stephen (2008-07-18). "Movie Review". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  2. ^ "Felon Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  3. ^ "Felon (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 

External links[edit]