The last fortress

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German title The last fortress
Original title The Last Castle
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2001
length 126 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Rod Lurie
script David Scarpa ,
Graham Yost
production Robert Lawrence ,
Don Zepfel
music Jerry Goldsmith ,
Tom Waits
camera Shelly Johnson
cut Michael Jablow ,
Kevin Stitt

The Last Fortress is a 2001 American drama directed by Rod Lurie . The main roles are played by Robert Redford and James Gandolfini .


Lieutenant General Eugene Irwin goes against the President's orders and organizes a commando to arrest a war criminal. Eight soldiers die in the action. Irwin is sentenced to ten years in prison and taken to a military prison under Colonel Winter.

Winter respects Irwin and even suggests that a base should be named after the general.

At the first meeting he shows Irwin his collection of various militaria relics, including those from the American Civil War , and mentions a copy of Irwin's book, where he asks him to sign it. When Winter wants to fetch the book in an adjoining room and a captain takes care of Irwin, Irwin expresses himself disparagingly about soldiers who collect militaria, as they probably still lack real experience of the battle. Winter hears it and lies that he just couldn't find the book.

Several prisoners complain to Irwin about the harassing and sometimes sadistic methods of the commandant, who has already been investigated three times. They hope Irwin will use his ties in Washington. Irwin initially rejects this because he suspects that the inmates are exaggerating.

His daughter Rosalie visits him. She says she doesn't know what to say to her father because although he is generally respected, she never had the chance to experience him as a father. He asks her to send him an up-to-date picture of his grandson - whom he has never seen before.

In the further course, Irwin has the opportunity to ensure respect and loyalty to other inmates through pedagogically skillful treatment. So together they build a wall as a symbol of a fortress, which Winter can tear down again with a bulldozer.

Inmate Aguilar, who was very involved in the construction of the wall, is deliberately killed by a security guard with a rubber bullet aimed directly at the head . Irwin salutes the prisoners and bids farewell to the dead marine with due honor. Winter assumes that a riot will soon begin and has Irwin spied on by the inmate Yates. Irwin sees through the informer immediately and pulls Yates on his side. The upside down spy tells Winter that Irwin is planning to take control of the detention center and hoist the US flag with the starfield down. With this distress signal he wanted to finally discredit Winter so that he would be relieved of the management of the prison.

Irwin leads the revolt against Winter. The watchtowers are destroyed by the prisoners, but the heavily armed guards occupy the roofs of the buildings, from where they can keep the prisoners gathered in the courtyard at bay. However, they refuse to give Winter's orders to shoot the unarmed prisoners. Irwin begins to fly the US flag, despite Winter ordering all prisoners to lie on the ground. Winter shoots Irwin four times with his service pistol and is then disarmed and arrested by Captain Peretz.

The hit Irwin, who can still finish the raising of the flag despite the bullets in the upper body, is on the ground. An inmate who tries to stop the bleeding is prevented from doing so by a soldier. Irwin dies. To Winter's horror, Irwin hoisted the US flag the right way round, and everyone present is saluting it.

The prisoners continue to build the wall and immortalize the names and life dates of the killed marine Aguilar and General Irwins in the stones.


Tennessee State Prison

The film was shot in Kentucky and Tennessee . It was filmed at the Tennessee State Prison, which has featured in The Green Mile and Last Dance . Filming began on March 19, 2001 and ended in June 2001. Production cost between $ 60 and 72 million US dollars . The last fortress was seen in the USA from October 19, 2001. The film opened on November 29, 2001 in Germany and Switzerland and one day later in Austria. On the opening weekend, more than 7 million US dollars were raised in the USA. Overall, the film grossed over US $ 18.2 million with more than 3.3 million viewers in the USA. At the German box office, almost 255,000 viewers were counted, in Switzerland it was just under 18,000.

Due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 , the movie poster was changed, which originally showed an upside-down US flag .

Oliver Hirschbiegel was offered to direct the film, but he declined.

In the scene in which Robert Redford has to remove a pile of stones as punishment, he was offered to carry light stone props. However, he insisted on wearing real stones to increase the authenticity of the scene. The photos that Robert Redford sticks to the wall of his prison cell in one scene are photos of Hunter, the son of director Rod Lurie . Mark Ruffalo performed the stunts in the scene in which he crashes a helicopter.


The main theme of the film, composed by Jerry Goldsmith , was named September 11th 2001 because it was recorded on the day that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center occurred.

The soundtrack was released on December 3, 2001 by Decca Records . It comprises 13 tracks with a total playing time of 42:59 minutes.

No. title Duration
1. The Castle 1:32
2. Irwin Arrives 2:18
3. The Rock Pile 5:03
4th Get Behind The Mule 5:54
5. Let's go ladies 2:40
6th Full alert 2:53
7th Military Justice 2:23
8th. The count down 2:20
9. Hold Them 1:52
10. Taking Command 3:36
11. The Flag 5:54
12. September 11, 2001 - Theme From The Last Castle 2:46
13. Chiseled In Stone 3:48


actor German speaker role
Robert Redford Rolf Schult Lt. Gene. Eugene Irwin
James Gandolfini Roland Hemmo Col. Winter
Mark Ruffalo Michael Deffert Yates
Steve Burton Timmo Niesner Capt. Peretz
Delroy Lindo Jürgen Kluckert Gene. Wheeler
Paul Calderón Torsten Michaelis Dellwo
Sam Ball Lutz Schnell Duffy
Jeremy Childs Marco Kroeger Cutbush
Clifton Collins Jr. Matthias Deutelmoser Cpl. Ramon Aguilar
George W. Scott Charles Rettinghaus Thumper
Brian Goodman Jan Spitzer Baupré
Michael Irby Björn Schalla Enriquez
Frank Military Erich Rauker Doc Lee Bernard
Maurice Bullard Tilo Schmitz Sgt. McLaren
Nick Kokich Dennis Schmidt-Foss Pvt. Niebolt
David Alford Bernd Vollbrecht Cpl. Zamorro
Joe Keenan Klaus Jepsen Lester
Peg Allen Marianne Gross Sheila Kelly
Robin Wright Arianne Borbach Rosalie Irwin


  • Jonathan Foreman wrote in the New York Post that it was a pleasure to see a film that combines action scenes with a clever, well-researched script. He praised James Gandolfini.
  • Mick LaSalle wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that the film is not as simple as it might seem at first glance. The scene in which Irwin meets his daughter is the key scene of the film. She told him he was a great man but wanted nothing to do with him. LaSalle praised Robert Redford and James Gandolfini, as well as the direction of Rod Lurie, who is brilliant at manipulating the conventions of film genres.
  • Lexicon of international film : a mixture of prison and war film, which undifferentiated terms such as humanity and justice dovetailed with the honor of soldiers and hero's death. A downright sloppily conceived film full of gaps and unbelief, which at most the two excellent leading actors ensure attention.


The film won the Taurus Award in one category in 2002 and was nominated for the Taurus Award in two other categories. Clifton Collins Jr. was nominated for the 2002 ALMA Award .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Internet Movie Database : Filming Locations
  2. a b c d e Internet Movie Database : Budget and Box Office Results
  3. ^ Box Office Mojo, LLC
  4. a b Internet Movie Database : Start Dates
  5. a b c d e f g Internet Movie Database : Background information
  6. The last fortress. In: German synchronous index , accessed on July 28, 2012 .
  7. ^ New York Post : "Castle" rocks , Jonathan Foreman, October 19, 2001
  8. ^ San Francisco Chronicle : Complex 'Castle' a morality tale / Redford, Gandolfini clash in prison
  9. The last fortress. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  10. a b Internet Movie Database : Nominations and Awards