The Prisoner (1967–1968)

TV Series   |  TV-PG   |    |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi


Episode Guide
The Prisoner (1967) Poster

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.

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8.5/10
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Photos

  • Patrick McGoohan at an event for The Prisoner (1967)
  • Roy Beck in The Prisoner (1967)
  • The Prisoner (1967)
  • Patsy Smart in The Prisoner (1967)
  • The Prisoner (1967)
  • Annette Andre in The Prisoner (1967)

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Cast & Crew

Top Series Cast



Creator:

Patrick McGoohan

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


15 June 2004 | RNMorton
An all-time great
Geez I just did another Imdb review listing some of the top ten tv shows of all time (in my opinion) and I plum forgot this one. It qualifies. 18 hourly episodes about attempts to pry information from taciturn retired spy McGoohan, kidnapped and held in an isolated village peopled by, well, we're not sure who else. There's maybe one bad episode in the whole lot; many shows have you wondering who are the captors and who are the captives among the village's inhabitants. Not sure it's explicitly stated but McGoohan's character could be a carryover from his Secret Agent Man, an earlier series also starring him. McGoohan is exquisitely perfect in the role, a bit eccentric, sometimes almost precious, athletic when necessary, crisply precise and (understandably) paranoid. Occasionally things go over the top, particularly in the final two episodes, but you certainly can't accuse them of playing it safe. Unique, inspired, insightful, distinctive, unparalleled.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Supervisor/No 28 (Peter Swanwick), who appears more often than anyone apart from No 6 and the Butler and is mostly seen in the control room and (very occasionally) in the Green Dome and outside holding an umbrella


Quotes

Number 2: Why, why, why did you resign?


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 (1967) it is located in the vicinity of Lithuania and Poland, on the Baltic Sea; according to The Prisoner: Many Happy Returns (1967) it is on the coast of Morocco or southern Portugal, possibly an island; it is implied in The Prisoner: Fall Out (1968) that the village is in England near London, in Kent county.


Crazy Credits

The episode "Fall Out" begins with a special dedication to Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, acknowledging him and the Hotel Portmeirion on screen before the title "Fall Out" appears.


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.


Soundtracks

Main Title Theme
Written by
Ron Grainer
Performed by Ron Grainer Orchestra

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi

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