The Jericho Mile (1979, USA)

The Jericho Mile

This is the film to wear if you’re invited to a 1970s fancy dress party.  Shot on location in California’s Folsom Prison (with inmates playing some of the roles) and looking like a grainy home movie, it’s a bit like a fairytale with some solid, believable snippets of prison life thrown in.

The central character is Larry ‘Rain’ Murphy (Peter Strauss), in prison for murdering his drunken father to stop him bashing Larry’s teenage stepsister. Larry has baggage. He’s a loner, but we know he’s honourable, and he runs.  All he does is run; it’s his way of dealing with both the past and the present. Soon, the prison officials notice that he’s also running fast. The authorities are good, decent men who realise that if Larry could get selected in the Olympic squad, it would signify to all the prisoners that they can achieve more than just being in jail. Better still is their dress; the Warden leads by example and may be the only warden on film to wear both a powder blue and an electric blue suit while governing his prison. Larry is not bad in the sartorial stakes, either, his preference being a bare chest, tight short shorts, long white socks and maybe a hint of headband to hold back his flowing locks. The action hots up when Larry’s only mate (an African-American) falls foul of the white Mr Big, and winds up dead. Racial tensions, misunderstandings and fights ensue – through which Larry comes pretty much unscathed with the whole prison racially unified behind him, rooting for him to make the Olympic team. It would be a bit churlish to list all of the improbabilities that allow him to get to that point, but here’s just a few: the prison lets him train outside the prison with only his professional running coach for company, agrees to letting him have half an hour in the metal workshop, alone (so that he can rip the place apart and find a huge stash of drugs belonging to the crew that killed his mate), that after he ceremoniously burns the stash in front of Mr Big, no reprisal action is taken, and then the whole prison bands together to build him a quarter mile track inside the prison in 3 or 4 days to allow him to post a qualifying time. But even with all of that, the prison walls don’t come tumblin’ down.

The Jericho Mile #3 The Jericho Mile #2

Posted on May 16th, 2009 at 4:06 pm. Updated on August 21st, 2009 at 6:45 pm.

#213 in the Top 500

6 Responses to “The Jericho Mile (1979, USA)”

  1. March 7th, 2011 at 10:20 am
    Mr Jeff Bayman says:

    Ive been looking for this movie on dvd for long time and never found it. I like this movie more than i like the movie “Shane” with Alan Ladd.
    If anyone finds this movie please mail it to me please!!!!!

    Mr Jeff Bayman 85 walnut st apt#1005
    N6H 4P3

  2. July 19th, 2011 at 11:47 am
    Deee says:

    Jeff, You inquired about the Jericho Mile. It’s a great movie and it can be downloaded. A friend of mine made me a copy from a website, not sure, but I think this is the one. Feel free to comment back and let me know if it works for you.

    If not, maybe I can have my friend make you a copy.
    I’m watching this movie again tonite. One of the best ones out there!

  3. January 9th, 2012 at 3:59 pm
    Mr Jeff Bayman says:

    Greetings!! You probably dont remember me but last summer I was looking to find someone , anyone with information about a movie that I’ve been interestd in for a long long time. (The Jericho Mile 1979) with Peter Strauss. Anyways I got a hit from someone who did have a copy of this movie and you provided me with a website in which I could donwnload it for free and play it. I was extactic! It was a 4 part download. Thankyou very much for your help Mr whoever you are!!! Im having trouble finding a player that with work but eventually I will. Thanks again Mr……:)

  4. March 19th, 2012 at 7:05 pm
    Iyanna Godsey says:

    Wow, great blog article. Awesome.

  5. December 5th, 2020 at 1:48 pm
    Rain Gutierrez says:

    School was a prison for me and my twin brother D.J
    We did our own time, went through school not talking to anyone only talking in sign language.
    I could relate to Larry Murphy.
    I run all the time all over our neighborhood and everywhere to escape.
    and it was our step-father that was a drunk and abusive. He bashed our step sister every bloody day.

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