Watch Now: BREAKOUT
Even though Breakout’s narrative was advertised as a fictional one, the film was actually based on a real-life event, the 1971 prison break of one Joel David Kaplan from a Mexican jail. And just like his Breakout counterpart, Kaplan escaped from prison with the help of a helicopter, but without the distractions the movie’s protagonist had to deal with and with zero shots fired. Aside from embellishing the actual escape, the movie was not even filmed in Mexico. The Mexican government prohibited Breakout from being shot in their country, so director Tom Gries found the perfect location in France, with parts of the picture being made in Spain and California. Before Gries came along, Michael Ritchie was the one sitting in the director’s chair, but left the project after disagreeing with Charles Bronson about casting Jill Ireland as the female lead. Bronson threatened to leave if his wife was not given the role, but it was ultimately Ritchie who ended up abandoning the film, thereby making Breakout the eighth collaboration between the spouses.
The plot centers around Jay Wagner (Robert Duvall), who is framed for a murder he did not commit, and ends up in a Mexican jail. His wife (Jill Ireland) hires a bush pilot (Charles Bronson) to get her husband out of prison, with the help of his colleague (Randy Quaid). The movie is well remembered because it was the first time Bronson played a more laid-back character, which gave him enough space to showcase his comedic skills.