Showtime Offers ‘Attica’ Prison Uprising Doc for Free Ahead of MLK Day

Attica Movie (Credit: Showtime)

Showtime is offering free access to critically acclaimed prison uprising documentary Attica ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The film, which made the documentary shortlist for consideration for the 2022 Oscars, became available without a subscription starting Jan. 14 through the end of Black History Month on and YouTube, as well as across multiple Showtime streaming and on demand platforms.

The documentary from Emmy-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till) and co-director Traci A. Curry, recounts the bloodiest prison rebellion in U.S. history.

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On Sept. 9, 1971 prisoners seized control of the maximum security Attica prison in upstate New York, taking 39 guards as hostages. Five days later, state police and corrections officers stormed the prison and fired off thousand of rounds.  When it was over, 29 inmates and 10 hostages were dead. The violence was sparked by prisoner demands for better living conditions.

“Guys were complaining about the basic things like toothpaste, a roll of toilet paper,” one former inmate says in the trailer for Attica.

A voiceover in the video notes that the prison’s population was “seventy percent Black and Brown prisoners, all white guards. What could go wrong?”

A white guard says in archival footage, “The inmates were considered like animals.”

The film includes original interviews with former inmates, family members of the hostages and other witnesses, and includes hours of footage and never-before-seen archival tapes from inside the prison.

Attica is produced by Nelson’s Firelight Films and Topic Studios for Showtime Documentary Films. Marcia Smith and Jihan Robinson are executive producers.

Watch the trailer below.