|Directed by||Mick Jackson|
|Written by||James Hicks|
|Music by||John E. Keane|
|Edited by||Don Fairservice|
|Distributed by||Hemdale Film Corporation|
Chattahoochee is a 1989 American drama film directed by Mick Jackson and starring Gary Oldman and Dennis Hopper. The film is based on the real-life experiences of Chris Calhoun, who met screenwriter James Hicks, who then wrote a script based on his internment in a Florida state mental institution. It was turned down by several major studios before being accepted by Hemdale Film Corporation, a small British-owned, Los Angeles-based company that also produced Platoon, Hoosiers, The Last Emperor, and Salvador.
Emmett Foley (Oldman) is an American hero of the Korean War who attempts to commit suicide, first by provoking local police and then by shooting himself in the chest. After his recovery, he is sent to the Florida State Hospital, an institution in Chattahoochee, Florida, where he fights against doctors and staff who are terrorizing and torturing their patients. His efforts eventually led to sweeping reforms in the Florida mental health system.
- Gary Oldman as Emmett Foley
- Dennis Hopper as Walker Benson
- Frances McDormand as Mae Foley
- Pamela Reed as Earlene
- Ned Beatty as Dr. Harwood
- M. Emmet Walsh as Morris
- Lee Wilkof as Vernon
- Matt Craven as Lonny
- Richard Portnow as Dr. Debner
- Wilbur Fitzgerald as Duane
- William Newman as Jonathan
The movie is based on Chris Calhoun. The main character, Emmitt Foley, is a fictional character based on Calhoun. Chattahoochee appeared in theaters nationwide May 11, 1990. (Theatrical Release Date: April 20, 1990) This film was well-researched, and is a great resource for viewers who want to know what conditions were in state mental hospitals prior to the 1970s when radical legislative reform swept the nation. Another famous person institutionalized at Chattahoochee was Ruby McCollum, the African-American woman who shot state senator elect, Dr. C. Leroy Adams in 1952. Her case brought many of these same practices to light.