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The Prisoner 

After resigning, a secret agent is abducted and taken to what looks like an idyllic village, but is really a bizarre prison. His warders demand information. He gives them nothing, but only tries to escape.

Creator:

Patrick McGoohan
Reviews
Popularity
2,124 ( 69)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
1968   1967  
Top Rated TV #187 | 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Patrick McGoohan ...  Number Six / ... 17 episodes, 1967-1968
Angelo Muscat Angelo Muscat ...  The Butler 14 episodes, 1967-1968
Peter Swanwick Peter Swanwick ...  Supervisor / ... 8 episodes, 1967-1968
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Storyline

"The Prisoner" is a unique piece of television. It addresses issues such as personal identity and freedom, democracy, education, scientific progress, art and technology, while still remaining an entertaining drama series. Over seventeen episodes we witness a war of attrition between the faceless forces behind 'The Village' (a Kafkaesque community somewhere between Butlins and Alcatraz) and its most strong willed inmate, No. 6. who struggles ceaselessly to assert his individuality while plotting to escape from his captors. Written by Stuart Berwick <berws@essex.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No Man Is Just A Number.

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Russian | German | Romany | Spanish | French | Polish

Release Date:

29 September 1967 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El prisionero See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(17 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Village produces several publications, the best known being "The Tally Ho" newspaper. Sometimes "the Tally Ho" can be bought in a shop/stall, and sometimes it comes straight off a small mangle like press. Magazines (rarely seen, except for covers in background) include the Village Mercury and Village Weekly, which appear more aimed at women. See more »

Goofs

There is inconsistency about the location of the village, and whether it is on an island or not, perhaps deliberately: according to The Prisoner: The Chimes of Big Ben it is located in the vicinity of Lithuania and Poland, on the Baltic Sea; according to The Prisoner: Many Happy Returns it is on the coast of Morocco or southern Portugal, possibly an island; it is implied in The Prisoner: Fall Out that the village is in England near London, in Kent county. See more »

Quotes

Woman: [Tearfully] How can you doubt me?
Number 6: It's easy, and I'm waterproof; a little drizzle won't wash away my doubt.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits of all but one episode end with footage of "Rover" (the big white balloon) emerging from the sea. The final episode, "Fall Out," omits this footage. The credits of the "alternate" version of "Chimes of Big Ben" don't use this footage either; instead, they end with a crudely animated earth exploding as the word POP fills the screen. See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS Television Network in the United States refused to carry the episode "Living in Harmony", supposedly due to its anti-war message (the hero refuses to carry a gun). At the time CBS claimed their rejection was due to the use of hallucinogenic drugs in the plot. While many prefer the anti-Vietnam scenario over the drug theory, several facts support CBS' version. First, they had already broadcast two episodes of entertainment series that were clearly against U.S. involvement in southeast Asia ("Route 66", March 22, 1963; "Twilight Zone", Sept. 27, 1963). Secondly, the drugs in "Harmony" are quite different from those used in other "Prisoner" episodes. On most occasions, they have no more in common with recreational "junk" than truth serum as seen in more realistic spy dramas, while the plan here was to take our hero and "fill him with hallucinotory drugs....dis-orient him" according to the episode's dialogue. There is actually a third theory that is more likely than either of those. "Living In Harmony" is not identified as a segment of "The Prisoner" until the end, unless you recognize star Patrick McGoohan, the parallels to "Arrival", and the typeface used in what credits there are (the episode title appears to be the series title). When the program was first broadcast in the U.K., in some regions (it wasn't shown simultaneously across the country as in the U.S.) superimposed the words "The Prisoner" over the image at the beginning. Star/Executive Producer/Creative driving force Patrick McGoohan reportedly didn't like this at all, but it would have forewarned him to contractually prohibit CBS from doing the same thing. According to this theory, CBS declined to air the episode rather than gamble on the intelligence of their audience. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Watchmen (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Main Title Theme
Written by Ron Grainer
Performed by Ron Grainer Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

TV that made you think
10 May 2005 | by lbliss314See all my reviews

When it premiered in the US as a CBS summer series, no less than Isaac Asimov wrote an article in TV Guide praising it. So I was primed. "Arrival" was every bit at interesting as I expected, from the jazzy music and rapid-edited credit sequence all the way to that strange bicycle that assembled itself in the closing credits. The Village was beautiful and charming and hellish, with doors that open for you and mandatory classical music on the radio. McGoohan was perfect--he kept his cool but never wavered from his determination to find out who ran the show.

However, the idiots who ran my local CBS affiliate must have gotten calls from perplexed viewers. Next week, I was all set for episode two... and instead saw some crappy conventional syndicated spy show. Grrr. Since this was before cable, I never saw the rest of the series till PBS ran it.

It's hard to believe that any television network would agree to air something this wild. To this day, I can hear "I am not a number! I am a free man!" followed by maniacal laughter....

I loved the humor, too. One time Number Six had a double. His name--Number Twelve, of course. The whole concept of being labelled "unmutual" was worthy of Douglas Adams's "Share and Enjoy".


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