Picks and Pans Review: Women of San Quentin

updated 10/24/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/24/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (9-11 p.m. ET)

This TV film about female guards in an all-male prison sounds like a B movie and is being promoted as if it were The A-Team with sex. But it's actually an engrossing drama that has a chilling, documentary feel to it. Debbie (Fame) Allen, Amy (The Powers of Matthew Star) Steel and Stella (yes, she is Andrew's mother) Stevens are the women on the block; along with their male counterparts, they patrol the high-security California prison. Allen is excellent as a veteran who learns to separate her feelings from her job; Steel is appealing as a rookie who loses her innocence during a prison riot. Steel gets on-the-job training from Yaphet (For Love and Honor) Kotto, who gives a powerful performance as a guard with a background similar to many of his prisoners'. Filmed at the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in Canon City, Colo., the movie creates not a pretty but an involving picture.


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