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Unable to adjust to civilian life, a decorated Korean War hero decides he is worth more to his wife dead than alive. He tries to provoke the police to shoot him, but they capture him and declare him insane. Subjected to sadistic practices and unsanitary conditions, he sets out to change these injustices. Based on a true story.
Based on a true story about a a decorated Korean war hero who fought an important battle on the homefront -- a battle to improve life for those living in mental institutions. In 1955, after successfully finishing his tour of duty, soldier Emmett Foley returns to his small southern town. Unable to cope with civilian life, and believing he's worth more to his family dead, Emmett tries to goad the police into killing him in a shootout. Though he gets hit, he survives, and ends up committed to the Chattahoochee State Mental institution in Florida. Although he accepts his fate calmly at first, he quickly discovers the institution's brutality, and so begins a personal crusade to change its cruel practices and unsanitary conditions.
Shot in South Carolina. Began shooting November 7, 1988; completed December 1988. Released theatrically in USA April 20, 1990. Copyright held by Hemdale Film Corporation, 1990. The character played by Gary Oldman, Emmett Foley, was released on September 15, 1959. "Based on his testimony and records provided by his sister, Earlene, many staff members were dismissed, sub-standard wards were demolished and the abuse of mental patients was no longer tolerated. Many of the patients were transferred or released, including Walter (played by Dennis Hopper) who remained a free man. In all the new reforms totalled 137."
"Integrity oozes from every frame of this fact-based film..." - 05/31/1990 Rolling Stone, p.39
"...[The film has] truth and integrity..." - 04/25/1990 USA Today, p.2D
"...Oldman projects a rare strength and dignity, transforms himself utterly....[Hopper] becomes a finer and more surprising character actor with each new role..." - 04/20/1990 New York Times, p.C11