The Prisoner

Synopsis: A cardinal is arrested for treason against the state. As a prince of his church, and a popular hero of this people, for his resistance against the Nazis during the war and afterward his resistance when his country again fell to another totalitarian conqueror. In prison, his interrogator is determined to get a confession of guilt against the state from the strong willed man, and thus destroy his power over his people. The verbal and psychological battles are gripping and powerful - not even the increasing pressures put upon the Cardinal can force him to weaken; not even solitary confinement, continuous blazing light in his cell, sleeplessness, efforts to persuade him he is going mad. And yet, in the deepening conflict, the superb indomitable prisoner, creates a tremendous pity on his tormentor, the interrogator.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Peter Glenville
Production: Sony Pictures Entertainment
  Nominated for 5 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
91 min

Am I allowed to know on what charge

you're arresting me?

Treason against the state.

Try to remember.

Any confession I may be said to have

made in prison will be a lie...

...or the result of human weakness.

We've got to collect your valuables,

you know. Regulations.

Watch, wrist, one.

- Gunmetal.

- Gunmetal.

Cigarette tin.

Beads, rosary, one.


Look at it.





That's where the money goes, eh?

You've no need for larceny,

have you?

Petty larceny, that is.

And if you do rob your own

poor boxes, who's to know?

- Do you really believe that?

- Come on.

Right hand.

- You've been in a fire?

- Of a kind.

Won't spoil your fingerprints,

you know.

Thank you.

Here, if you want it.

I'm sorry about the nonsense

we've had to put you through.

I imagine this is more awkward

for you than it is for me.

- Well, hardly that, I suppose.

- I don't know.

In spite of your political creed,

it's you who are the gentleman.

No titles nowadays, of course,

but yours was a noble line.

You are a prince of the church.

- And you to interrogate me.

- Times have changed.

You were a hero to me in the

Resistance, as you were to all of us.

Do you ever miss those days?

At least one was on the same side

as all one's fellow countrymen.

I make no distinction

between my fellow men.

Their service demands everything,

and, I warn you, permits everything.

Is there a particular plot...

...or counterrevolution

you hope to unmask?

Not unless you know of one.

You believe us harmless,

yet require us discredited.

And the point of arresting me?

- A cigarette?

- No, thank you.

If I may smoke my own,

while they last?

Come, now.

Drugged cigarettes already?

You see, you represent a religion...

...which provides an organization

outside the state.

In your pulpit you are more

dangerous than a politician.

With your war record,

you're a national monument.

You are outside the party,

and that monument must be...



You see? I show you

my hand from the start.

Do you want to see mine?

I am difficult to trap

and impossible to persuade.

I am tenacious, wary and proud.

- Proud?

- Quite sinfully.

Of my record in dealings

with your predecessors, the Gestapo.

I am tolerably inured to physical pain.

Well, they never caught me.

Your masters are in a hurry,

I fancy.

People who plan to make

heaven on earth usually are... hadn't we better

come to the point?

Steven, bring me the completed

confession, will you?


It'll give us some sort of agenda

to work from.

You wouldn't care to sign it right away

and save us trouble?

- You know, you might just as well.

- I'd love to read it first, if I may.

Steven, I shall want you

to stand by tonight.

Sit down...

...Your Eminence.

Come on, now. No dozing off.

You can't do that, you know.

Very strict, your interrogator.

No dozing off.

Walk up and down a bit,

I should.

No talking to anyone

but me and him.

Psychology, they call that.

It's very modern.

Still, they say he always gets

what he wants in the end... spite of his fancy ways

of going about it.

Does he indeed?

- You're being difficult, are you?

- I hope so.

Not guilty.

"Not me, I'm not like the others,

officer. I'm not guilty."

- You neither, I suppose?

- That's right.


Whatever they're in for, they've always

got something on their conscience.

Political, that's your line.

Not a very interesting one.

But you've got something

on your conscience too.

Confidence trickster.

That's your line.

- Why do you say that?

- You hide yourself up your sleeve.

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Bridget Boland

Bridget Boland (13 March 1913 – 19 January 1988) was an Irish-British sceenwriter, playwright and novelist. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"The Prisoner" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 7 Aug. 2020. <>.

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