1947. A young man, Gaspard Claude (Marc Michel, is convicted for the attempted murder of his wife, although he is innocent of the crime. He is sent to the notorious Sante Prison in Paris and is placed in a cell with four hardened criminals. The latter have decided to escape from the prison by digging their way out of their cell. Reluctantly, they take Gaspard into their confidence and labour intensely to effect their escape. Then, just when escape appears certain, Gaspard is called away to see the prison governor... Comparable to Bresson's A Man Escaped in its depiction of an arduous and meticulously detailed attempt to escape from a prison, Becker's film is more grounded in grim reality and the need to be free of a soul destroying penal regime. Austere in style, the film's gritty verisimilitude is enhanced by the use of non-professional actors and a complete absence of music. Loosely based on the experiences of thriller writer Jose Giovanni, who was himself involved in an attempted break-out, this is an unforgettable work.