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Directed by Peter Watkins

United Kingdom, United States 1971 91 mins. In English

Highly controversial and chilling upon its initial release, Watkins’s brutal mockumentary follows two sets of anti-war protesters in an alternate version of 1970—where those deemed potential disruptors to US military ambition in Vietnam are sent to Death Valley and offered two choices: serving a full sentence in prison, or spending three days in “punishment park.” Using a vérité style and made ostensibly for a BBC-like television network, the film features interviews with both prisoners and police, Watkins ratcheting up the tension at every turn and offering surprising insight into human action as shaped by differing ideologies. A vital document of protest, Punishment Park remains “raw, bracing, visceral and confrontational . . . feels as vital today as it did back in 1971.”—Christopher Bruno, Little White Lies.

Genres: Comedy, Mockumentary



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.