The Last Castle

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The Last Castle is a 2001 drama film about a struggle between inmates and the warden of the prison, based on the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. A highly decorated U.S. Army Lieutenant General, court martialed and sentenced for insubordination, challenges the commandant over his treatment of the prisoners.

Directed by Rod Lurie. Written by David Scarpa, Graham Yost, and Sam Mercer.
A castle can only have one king. tag lines

Colonel Winter[edit]

  • Oh, as a courtesy? They should be naming a base after the man. Not sending him here. My God, Eugene Irwin... Well, we have a verdict, we have a sentence, we have a prisoner. We do our job. Whether we like it or not. Puts us on our toes, though, doesn't it?
  • I know what you're thinking. Do I salute you or do you salute me? Well, the answer is neither. My men salute me, of course, and each other according to rank but there is no saluting amongst the general prison population.
  • At the war college, his name was spoken with a reverence, as if the syllables themselves conveyed what it meant to be a soldier. Now here he is, commanding an army of one. The stuttering monkey.
  • I discussed the regulations for saluting with Aguilar, did I not? Remind him again. Effectively.
  • Whenever I am... filled with doubt... whenever sentiment creeps in... I just have to open an inmate's file and see what he's done. I see what he's capable of. I see the worst in him. And that makes my job easier. It crystallizes my mission.

Eugene Irwin[edit]

  • Take a look at a castle. Any castle. Now break down the key elements that make it a castle. They haven't changed in a thousand years. 1: Location. A site on high ground that commands the territory as far as the eye can see. 2: Protection. Big walls, walls strong enough to withstand a frontal attack. 3: A garrison. Men who are trained and willing to kill. 4: A flag. You tell your men you are soldiers and that's your flag. You tell them nobody takes our flag. And you raise that flag so it flies high where everyone can see it. Now you've got yourself a castle. The only difference between this castle and all the rest is that they were built to keep people out. This castle is built to keep people in.

Corporal Zamorro[edit]

  • [Last words] To hell with this rubber bullet shit.


[COL Witnter and several guards are observing the inmates out in the exercise yard, noticing Irwin's rising status among the prisoners.]
CPL Zamorro: Privates are "Pal", Corporal's "Buddy", Sergeant's "Sport", officers are "Chief"- playing soldiers, sir.
COL Winter: Hearts and minds. He is offering them self-respect, in exchange for loyalty. The general is building himself an army.
CPL Zamorro: He can have the hearts and minds, sir. Long as we got 'em by the balls.
COL Winter: Well put, Corporal.
CPL Zamorro: Thank you, sir.
[COL Winter starts to leave the guard tower; CPT Peretz follows.]
COL Winter: Bring him to my office.
CPT Peretz: Who?
COL Winter: The Prince of Venezuela! Who do you think?
CPT Peretz: General Irwin?
COL Winter: Mister Irwin!

COL Winter: Mr. Irwin, these men are not here for unpaid parking fines, or misdemeanors-
Irwin: I'm under no illusion as to why the men are here, Colonel. I just thought that they might be reminded of some of the good things they've done, instead of only the worst.
COL Irwin: Yes, that is something my predecessor used to say. And in his time here there were fights, escape attempts, guards assaulted- including one killed. Since I've assumed command there have been zero escape attempts, zero injury assaults, zero fatalities. Some may question my methods- but they do work. No soldier has ever died needlessly under my command, Mr. Irwin. You see, I too share the burden of command. You may not think I have ever set foot on a battlefield, but that is because you have never sat behind this desk. This desk! My men and I are vastly outnumbered. We spend every day behind enemy lines because, make no mistake about it Mr. Irwin, they are the enemy! [Pauses, gets up and faces Irwin.] This wall, that has been the focus of so much... tension... well, in about two minutes, there will be no more wall.

Irwin: [Winter is trying to compromise with Irwin] No. Not okay! It's too late, Colonel.
Winter: Too late for what?
Irwin: For your offer. The men don't want to salute. They don't want to use rank. They don't want better food and they don't want more TV. They just want your resignation. So do I.
Winter: My resignation?
Irwin: You're a disgrace, Colonel! A disgrace to the uniform! You should not be allowed to retain your command.
Winter: Well, I guess I better go pack!
Irwin: I think you should.
Winter: Tell me, Mr. Irwin. What's to stop me from simply placing you in the Hole, for say six months?
Irwin: Nothing. If that's the way you want to win.

BG Wheeler: So you thought he was gonna try to take me hostage?
COL Winter: Yes, sir, it was a precautionary move.
BG Wheeler: [Sharply] What the hell kind of grab-ass unit are you running here, Colonel?
[Winter looks insulted but pauses to compose himself]
COL Winter: Sir, at 11:58 this morning I received a letter stating that a group of inmates were planning on taking you hostage at 12:10. I thought it prudent to act immediately to ensure your safety-
BG Wheeler: Let me tell you something. I've been hearing some pretty disturbing things about what goes on in here. And now I'm hearing it from a man who I trust. And whose opinion I respect.
COL Winter: May I speak freely, sir?
BG Wheeler: Yes, you may.
COL Winter: With all due respect, General, I don't know what you may have been 'hearing'... but until you've spent some time in the yard with those animals, you have no idea what happens in there.
BG Wheeler: Point taken, Colonel. Nevertheless, if I hear one more story about a man dying under your command you are through here. Now, do you understand me?
COL Winter: Yes, sir.
BG Wheeler: All right. As far as Gene Irwin is concerned: it is my judgement he is as sane as you or I. I wish he wasn't; he is. Frankly I'd like nothing more than an excuse to get him out of here. But I see the only way that's gonna happen, is if you request it.
COL Winter: That is true, sir.
BG Wheeler: So- you just tell me you can't handle him. And he's gone.
COL Winter: [Smirking] Oh, I think I can handle him, sir.
BG Wheeler: [Coldly] You watch yourself, Colonel.

COL Winter: So what do you have for me?
Yates: Not much.
COL Winter: Not much. Then why are you here?
Yates: I thought there was something you might wanna know. When they do take over the prison they're gonna fly the flag upside down.
COL Winter: Upside down?
Yates: It's the international sign of distress, sir.
COL Winter: [Visibly annoyed] Yes, I know what it means. And where are they going to get a flag?
Yates: They already have it. Yours.
COL Winter: Mine. [Winter walks over to the triangular box where the prison's flag is stored; he finds it empty] Peretz, who was in here yesterday-
Yates: I took it, you murdering fuck!
[Winter pauses and looks at Yates, smiling coldly.]
COL Winter: I thought you were smarter than that.
Yates: Yeah, I know you did.
[In the next shot Yates is being thrown down a flight of stairs by two guards; Zamorro is standing above him.]
CPL Zamorro: You gonna tell us where that flag is? Come on, get up, Yates. Where's the flag?
Yates: [Gets up and spits on the ground] You know, you're a real fuckin' coward, Zamorro.
CPL Zamorro: And you're a big hero. Let's go!
[Zamorro grabs Yates and throws him down the next flight of stairs]

Tag lines[edit]

  • A castle can only have one king.
  • No castle can have two kings.

External links[edit]

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