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HISTORY

On 11 Mar 1991, Var listed Fortress among three new projects under Davis Entertainment Company’s domestic distribution deal with Twentieth Century Fox. The $14 million project was to be co-produced with the U.S. branch of the Australian company, Village Roadshow Pictures. Although a 17 Jun 1991 Var item estimated a budget closer to $15 million in Australian dollars, or $11.5 million in U.S. currency, the project was still considered to be Village Roadshow’s “biggest private film undertaking to date.” With Christopher Lambert cast in the leading role, the 24 Jun 1991 HR reported that the script was undergoing a rewrite.
       According to the 22 Oct 1991 HR, principal photography began 21 Oct 1991 for nine weeks at the Warner Roadshow Movie World Studios in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The 2 Sep 1993 LADN stated that the production occupied eight sound stages.
       A 27 Aug 1993 DV article indicated that Miramax Films intended to release the film in 800 domestic theaters under its Dimension Films banner. However, when the Walt Disney Company purchased Miramax in 1993, Disney’s Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc. expanded the opening to 1,200 screens over the Labor Day weekend. The 6 Sep 1993 LAT review indicated that Fortress opened 3 Sep 1993 without critics’ screenings.
       The day before the film’s release, a 2 Sep 1993 DV article reported that screenwriters Troy Neighbors and Steven Feinberg had been asked by Village Roadshow and Davis Entertainment to develop a sequel, tentatively titled Fortress 2. Lambert agreed to reprise his role, and filming was ... More Less

On 11 Mar 1991, Var listed Fortress among three new projects under Davis Entertainment Company’s domestic distribution deal with Twentieth Century Fox. The $14 million project was to be co-produced with the U.S. branch of the Australian company, Village Roadshow Pictures. Although a 17 Jun 1991 Var item estimated a budget closer to $15 million in Australian dollars, or $11.5 million in U.S. currency, the project was still considered to be Village Roadshow’s “biggest private film undertaking to date.” With Christopher Lambert cast in the leading role, the 24 Jun 1991 HR reported that the script was undergoing a rewrite.
       According to the 22 Oct 1991 HR, principal photography began 21 Oct 1991 for nine weeks at the Warner Roadshow Movie World Studios in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The 2 Sep 1993 LADN stated that the production occupied eight sound stages.
       A 27 Aug 1993 DV article indicated that Miramax Films intended to release the film in 800 domestic theaters under its Dimension Films banner. However, when the Walt Disney Company purchased Miramax in 1993, Disney’s Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc. expanded the opening to 1,200 screens over the Labor Day weekend. The 6 Sep 1993 LAT review indicated that Fortress opened 3 Sep 1993 without critics’ screenings.
       The day before the film’s release, a 2 Sep 1993 DV article reported that screenwriters Troy Neighbors and Steven Feinberg had been asked by Village Roadshow and Davis Entertainment to develop a sequel, tentatively titled Fortress 2. Lambert agreed to reprise his role, and filming was expected to begin in early 1994. However, following the negative critical reception of Fortress, production on the sequel did not move ahead.
       The DVD viewed for this record had a ninety-five minute running time and contained the final truck chase and barn explosion, which, according to modern sources, was omitted from the ninety-one minute U.S. theatrical release.
       End credits state: “The Producers Wish to Thank: Queensland Film Development Office; Queensland Fire Service; Queensland Police Department; Albert Shire Council; Mr. Eddie Kornhauser; Alabar Pty. Limited; Lynn Barker; Scott Fort; Dan Schweiger; Rick Cluchey, San Quentin Drama Workshop; Shari Jennings, Corrections Specialist, National Institute of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service, U.S. Department of Justice; Ron Lopp, Radio/TV News Producer, California Medical Association; Dr. Harvey Moldofsky, Professor of Psychiatry & Medicine, University of Toronto Hospital/Western Division; Warden Charles D. Marshall, Lt. Al Dines, Public Information Officer, Pelican Bay State Prison; Sgt. Merlyn Poppleton, Chaplain Gerald F. Chumick, Peter Pitchess Honor Rancho East Facility; Custody Asst. Kim Frum, Lt. Jim Stevenson, North County Correctional Facility”; and, “Filmed entirely in Queensland, Australia on location at the Gold Coast and Warner Roadshow Movie World Studios.” A closing statement reads: “This film is dedicated to the memory of Paul Gantner." Gantner served as the film’s visual effects gaffer. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Aug 1993.
---
Daily Variety
2 Sep 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 1993
p. 6, 60.
Los Angeles Daily News
2 Sep 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Sep 1993
Calendar, p. 3.
New York Times
4 Sep 1993
Section I, p. 11.
Variety
11 Mar 1991.
---
Variety
17 Jun 1991.
---
Variety
1 Feb 1993
p. 97.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Davis Entertainment Company and Village Roadshow Pictures Present
A John Flock Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
4th asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
Line prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
"B" cam/Steadicam op
"A" cam 1st asst
"A" cam 2d asst
"B" cam 1st asst
"B" cam 2d asst
Video playback
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Lamp op
Lamp op
Key grip
2d grip
3d grip
Asst grip
Video playback
Queensland
Still photog
Tape transfers
Cam & lenses supplied by
Cam & lenses supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Art dept coord
Storyboard artist
Storyboard artist
Storyboard artist
3-D computer art dir
Computer graphics
Computer graphics
Art dept runner
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed (Australia)
1st asst ed (U.S.)
2d asst ed (Australia)
2d asst ed (Australia)
2d asst ed (U.S.)
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop buyer
Prop buyer
Standby props
Asst standby
Const mgr
Const foreman
On set carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Asst carpenter
Asst carpenter
Steel const
Steel const
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Standby ward
Standby ward
Cost armor
Seamstress
Cost asst
Cost asst
MUSIC
Mus comp and conducted by
Supv mus ed
Mus ed
Mus supv
Asst mus supv
SOUND
Boom op
Cableman
Post prod supv
Supv sd ed
Supv Foley artist
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Foley rec
ADR mixer
ADR rec
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Stage eng
Dolby Stereo consultant
Post prod & rerec facilities
a division of LucasArts Entertainment Company
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff by
Spec eff supv
Effectsman
Effectsman
Pyrotechnician
Asst pyrotechnician
Mechanical eff
Eff asst
Eff asst
Eff asst
Supv, Visual eff crew
Prod, Visual eff crew
1st asst cam, Visual eff crew
Gaffer, Visual eff crew
Asst, Visual eff crew
Motion programmer/AC, Visual eff crew
Miniatures supv, Visual eff crew
Chief modelmaker, Visual eff crew
Chief modelmaker, Visual eff crew
Model crew, Visual eff crew
Model crew, Visual eff crew
Model crew, Visual eff crew
Model crew, Visual eff crew
Model crew, Visual eff crew
Model crew, Visual eff crew
Model crew, Visual eff crew
Model crew, Visual eff crew
Model crew, Visual eff crew
Mechanical eff crew, Visual eff crew
Mechanical eff crew, Visual eff crew
Mechanical eff crew, Visual eff crew
Mechanical eff crew, Visual eff crew
Painter, Visual eff crew
Painter, Visual eff crew
Miniatures PA/Runner, Visual eff crew
Opt supv, Visual eff crew
Opt cam op, Visual eff crew
Rotoscope artist, Visual eff crew
Matte artist, Visual eff crew
Ink and paint, Visual eff crew
Ink and paint, Visual eff crew
Ink and paint, Visual eff crew
CGI anim, Visual eff crew
CGI anim, Visual eff crew
On-set modelmaker, Visual eff crew
Swing, Visual eff crew
Swing, Visual eff crew
Prod accounting, Visual eff crew
Facility mgr, Visual eff crew
Prod coord, Visual eff crew
Prod asst/Driver, Visual eff crew
Spec digital eff Mind Wipe seq created at
Hollywood
Digital eff, Modern Videofilm
Digital eff ed, Modern Videofilm
Spec eff runner
Spec eff runner
Main title des
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Supv make-up & hair stylist
Make-up & hair stylist
Make-up & hair stylist
Make-up & hair stylist
Spec make-up eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Safety officer
Australian casting
Loc mgr
Unit mgr
Prod consultant
Exec in charge of prod for Davis Entertainment
Exec in charge of prod for Davis Entertainment
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod asst
Asst to John Flock
Asst to John Davis
Asst to John Davis
Asst to Michael Lake
Accounting
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Payroll clerk
Extras casting
Extras casting, Maura Fay & Associates
Extras casting, Maura Fay & Associates
Unit pub
Unit asst
Unit asst
Unit nurse
Projectionist
Loc catering
Loc catering, Kaos Katering
Catering asst
Catering asst
Catering asst
U.S. prod liaison
Prod runner
Post prod accountant
Post prod asst
Post prod runner
Vehicles supplied by
Vehicles supplied by
Loc security
Travel & freight agent
Travel & freight agent, Showtravel Tours
Travel & freight agent, Showtravel Tours
Financing arr by
London
Financing arr by
Completion guarantor
International legal and financial services by
International distribution by
on behalf of Magnet Films International
International distribution by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Asst stunt coord
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Laboratory
Laboratory, Atlab Australia
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Die Kunst Der Fuge BWV 1080," Contrapunctus 3 &11a4, Canon Per Augmentationem In Contrario Motu, written by Johanna Sebastian Bach, performed by Bell' Arte Ensemble, courtesy of Koch Import Service.
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 September 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 3 September 1993
Production Date:
began 21 October 1991
Copyright Claimant:
NW Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 August 1992
Copyright Number:
PA589459
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording® Dolby Stereo SR™ in selected theatres
Sound
This film recorded digitally in a THX Sound System Theater
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Cameras & Lenses
Duration(in mins):
91
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Australia, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31924
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the year 2017, the U.S. has become a heavily militarized nation and enforces strict population controls that prohibit couples from having more than one child. Although their first baby died, former military officers John and Karen Brannick decide to cross the border to Vancouver, Canada, after Karen accidentally becomes pregnant again. At the checkpoint, a security officer catches Karen attempting to trick security sensors. She gets away, but John is sentenced to thirty-one years in the underground desert “Fortress,” a maximum security prison privately owned by the Men-Tel Corporation. Upon arrival, John is forced to swallow a behavior control device called an “Intestinator,” which inflicts pain upon any prisoner who misbehaves and instantly kills those who go beyond the designated boundary lines. He and young Niño Gomez are assigned to an overcrowded bunk with aggressive inmate. Stiggs, and his friend, Maddox; Abraham, a well-behaved prisoner waiting for parole; and “D-Day,” a manic computer and explosives expert. That night, John dreams of making love to his wife, while Prison Director Poe watches the fantasy as it is scanned by Men-Tel’s computerized surveillance system, “Zed-10.” Flagging John’s thoughts as inappropriate, Zed-10 activates his Intestinator, which rouses him from sleep. In the morning, John joins his bunkmates working as an excavator to help expand the facility. When Maddox attempts to rape Niño, John intervenes, and takes the fall for starting a fight. Afterward, he reports to Prison Director Poe, who reveals that Karen was captured and now resides on the upper floor prison located in the women’s section. Later, John gets into a brawl with Maddox. Poe orders John to kill his opponent, but he refuses to commit murder. Poe kills ... +


In the year 2017, the U.S. has become a heavily militarized nation and enforces strict population controls that prohibit couples from having more than one child. Although their first baby died, former military officers John and Karen Brannick decide to cross the border to Vancouver, Canada, after Karen accidentally becomes pregnant again. At the checkpoint, a security officer catches Karen attempting to trick security sensors. She gets away, but John is sentenced to thirty-one years in the underground desert “Fortress,” a maximum security prison privately owned by the Men-Tel Corporation. Upon arrival, John is forced to swallow a behavior control device called an “Intestinator,” which inflicts pain upon any prisoner who misbehaves and instantly kills those who go beyond the designated boundary lines. He and young Niño Gomez are assigned to an overcrowded bunk with aggressive inmate. Stiggs, and his friend, Maddox; Abraham, a well-behaved prisoner waiting for parole; and “D-Day,” a manic computer and explosives expert. That night, John dreams of making love to his wife, while Prison Director Poe watches the fantasy as it is scanned by Men-Tel’s computerized surveillance system, “Zed-10.” Flagging John’s thoughts as inappropriate, Zed-10 activates his Intestinator, which rouses him from sleep. In the morning, John joins his bunkmates working as an excavator to help expand the facility. When Maddox attempts to rape Niño, John intervenes, and takes the fall for starting a fight. Afterward, he reports to Prison Director Poe, who reveals that Karen was captured and now resides on the upper floor prison located in the women’s section. Later, John gets into a brawl with Maddox. Poe orders John to kill his opponent, but he refuses to commit murder. Poe kills Maddox anyway, and John grabs his Intestinator and gives it to D-Day for safekeeping. As punishment, John is subjected to three days in a “mind wipe” chamber, purging him of memories and impure thoughts. During this time, Poe takes an interest in Karen and asks her to move into his quarters as his personal companion. Karen agrees, hoping her compliance will ensure her husband’s fair treatment. Zed-10 suggests that Poe is behaving unprofessionally, but the prison director argues, “I make my own decisions,” and forbids Karen, who worked as a computer technician in the army, from ever touching Zed-10’s console. One night, Karen awakens to find Poe strapped into a “human efficiency” machine that allows him to survive without food and sleep. He reveals that he was the subject of an experiment run by Men-Tel, and that the company hopes to popularize the procedure on the prisoners’ newborn children. After four months, Karen convinces Poe to drink champagne for the first time. When the alcohol knocks him unconscious, she hacks into Zed-10’s console and imprints John’s brain with images of her face. As a result, John is roused from the zombie-like state induced by his mind-wipe. Remembering that he possesses Maddox’s Intestinator, D-Day agrees to deconstruct the device and figure out how they can use it to escape. In Poe’s quarters, Karen steals a map of the facility and convinces Abraham, who serves as Poe’s trusted aide, to bring it to her husband. That night, John and the other bunkmates devise an escape route through the Fortress heating system, and Abraham returns the map before Poe notices it was missing. As Karen’s due date nears, Poe insists she divorce John so she can marry him. In addition to John’s freedom, he promises to exempt her child from Men-Tel’s experimentation and raise it as his own. While he prepares the documents for John’s release, however, Zed-10 plays back footage of Karen stealing the map. Believing Poe’s relationship with Karen has clouded his judgment, Zed-10 locks him out of the control room. Meanwhile, D-Day determines that he can use the spare Intestinator like a magnet to draw the devices up and out of their throats. After their Intestinators are removed, John, Stiggs, D-Day, and Niño attempt to flee through an air duct. Alerted to the security breach, Poe overrides Zed-10 in attempt to stop them. A robotic “Strike Clone” shoots Stiggs, but the other escapees bludgeon the cyborg and discover it was once a human being. Armed with the clone’s machine gun, John barges into Poe’s quarters and finds the prison director has strangled Abraham and sent Karen to emergency surgery to extract her baby. Knowing she will die during the procedure, John orders Poe to lead him to the operating room. When he complies, Zed-10 determines that Poe’s actions have compromised Fortress security and launches a missile, killing Poe. As more Strike Clones attack, D-Day implants a virus into the mainframe computer, which shuts down all security systems. D-Day dies in the ambush, but John continues to the operating room to rescue Karen. As the Fortress erupts in chaos, John, Karen, and Niño steal a truck and escape to Mexico. Karen goes into labor, forcing them to stop at an abandoned barn just beyond the border. Suddenly, Men-Tel’s remote security system activates. The truck mows over Niño and demolishes the barn with Karen still inside. Although he believes she is dead, John hears a wailing cry in the distance and finds his wife just beyond the wreckage, clutching their newborn child. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.