Felon (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byRic Roman Waugh
Produced byDan Keston
Nick Phillips
Christopher Wilhem
Written byRic Roman Waugh
StarringStephen Dorff
Harold Perrineau
Marisol Nichols
Anne Archer
Sam Shepard
Val Kilmer
Johnny Lewis
Music byGerhard Daum
CinematographyDana Gonzales
Edited byJonathan Chibnall
Distributed bySony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release date
  • July 18, 2008 (2008-07-18)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2,900,000 (estimated)
Box office$36,756,000

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. However, their dream becomes a nightmare when Wade unintentionally kills a burglar on his lawn. By attacking an unarmed intruder after he exited the house, he is arrested and charged with murder.

During the bus ride to prison Danny Sampson (Chris Browning), leader of the local Aryan Brotherhood, stabs a man and hides the knife with a young Aryan member named Snowman (Johnny Lewis) who is sitting behind Wade. In a moment's panic, Snowman hides the knife under Wade's seat and forces him to deny knowledge of it. As a result, Wade is sent to solitary confinement until the stabbing can be investigated. Lieutenant Jackson, (Harold Perrineau), interrogates Wade about the stabbing but he doesn't cooperate with the investigation. Jackson decides to send Wade to the Security Housing Unit (SHU) where he is the commanding officer.

John Smith (Val Kilmer), an inmate who is serving a life sentence becomes Wade's cellmate in "the SHU".

Life is tough in the SHU for Wade. Inmates are under 23-hour lock-down, and he can't have visitors for the first three months. Wade immediately realizes that the daily hour of yard time consists of inmate fights, on which the guards bet. At different points throughout the film, it's shown that not all of the guards are in favor of Jackson's methods.

In addition to the prison violence, Wade's regular visits with Laura start to take their toll on their relationship. Michael has nightmares after one of his visits, and the family's finances are running low. Laura, at the encouragement of her mother, breaks up with Wade through a letter. Enraged, and seemingly having nothing to live for, Wade breaks down and resorts to fighting the prisoners.

After talking to John, Wade devises a plan that can reveal the truth about the violence in the prison, and possibly get him released.



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


The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 61% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 23 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". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  2. ^ "Felon Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  3. ^ "Felon (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-10-10.

External links[edit]