Is Bosco Movie a True Story? What's Real vs. Fake

By Klein Felt Posted:
Bosco movie

Peacock's new movie Bosco has fans wondering what from this 'based on a true story" blockbuster is real vs. fake. 

NBCUniversal's latest streaming hit tells the real-life tale of Quawntay "Bosco" Adams, who escapes from prison thanks to a help wanted ad to see his daughter on the outside. 

Starring the likes of Fast and Furious' Tyrese Gibson and Cloak and Dagger actor Aubrey Joseph, Bosco has climbed the Peacock streaming charts and has been lauded by critics for its stellar performance and gripping 'true-to-life' narrative - despite speculation swirling about just what was and was not real. 

Bosco Didn't Just Escape County Jail Once

Bosco movie poster

In Peacock's Bosco blockbuster, the titular American is portrayed as escaping from St. Clair Jail just once; however, this was not a one-time affair for the real-life Bosco. 

Quawntay "Bosco" Adams attempted and successfully escaped from the Illinois-based penitentiary twice, being caught by authorities both times. 

According to Adams, "I was determined to escape prison" because he had "just had a newborn daughter" and "I never even got a chance to hold her" (via Los Angeles Wave):

"I was determined to escape prison because I had just had a newborn daughter. I never even got a chance to hold her in my arms. I never imagined that I would bring a child into the world and not be able to be a father to her. Just the mere idea of being a deadbeat daddy or loser was destroying me. I had to do something about it."

This differs from the events of the film, where Bosco only successfully escaped St. Clair one time before being picked up again. 

The reason for his escape remained the same both on-screen and in real life as Adams aimed to get out to see his newborn daughter. 

Was Bosco Mistreated by Prison Guards at Alton?

While the Bosco movie may have missed the mark in the number of times the titular inmate tried to escape from his iron-barred confines, it nailed his experience at St. Clair prison. 

One of the reasons - aside from seeing his daughter - that Bosco wanted to escape prison was because of the mistreatment the prisoner sees while incarcerated. 

On-screen, this is represented by beatings and various instances of abuse by the prison guards on duty at St. Clair Jail. 

Moments like Thomas Jane's Hunt senselessly battering the inmate, while shocking, actually happened to Bosco. 

After his two foiled escape attempts, the real-life Adams was banished to St. Clair's high-security wing where he was the victim of stringent guard scrutiny that included 24-hour surveillance in a cell that came equipped with a security video and an intercom. 

While speaking to the Los Angeles Wave, Adams looked back on that time, remarking the guards "saunter[ing] into [his] cell and [telling him] not to even think about escaping:"

“The guards would saunter into my cell and tell me not to even think about escaping. But I spent most of my days staring at the four walls thinking about different ways to escape.”

Did Bosco's Alton Prison Escape Actually Happen?

After being transferred from St. Clair to Alton City Jail, Bosco drafted his third prison break, which the Bosco movie remained fairly faithful to compared to what happened in the real world. 

This was seen as his last stand, using a pen pal (a Missouri woman looking for love) to send secret messages in a back-and-forth chain of letters. 

In the film, this relationship is seen through a character named Tammy (played by Nikki Blonsky). Just like in real life, Bosco uses messages written on the back of postage stamps to communicate his plans with Tammy and finds a way to make external calls from the prison phone to further talk with people on the outside. 

His actual escape attempt also mimics Bosco's real-life plan. 

The character is seen coming into the possession of a small hacksaw blade that he uses to cut a hole in the prison ceiling outside the view of any CCTV. He then climbs up into the facility's ventilation shaft and uses a makeshift rope made out of bedsheets and blankets. 

All of this actually happened, with only two major differences between the on-screen portrayal of the escape and what transpired in real life.

In the movie, the police find out how Quawntay "Bosco" Adams got the hacksaw blade that was key to his escape, something that never took place. And the name of the motel he escapes to outside Alton City Jail was changed in the film. 

Did Bosco Actually Turn Himself In?

No, Quawntay "Bosco" Adams did not turn himself in to the police in real life and in the movie. 

In the film, Bosco's pen pal Tammy is the one who reveals his whereabouts to the police.

After questioning, Tammy crumbles, turning her incarcerated 'lover' over to the police without the knowledge of Bosco. 

This aligns with what happened in real life, where Adams was also caught and taken back to prison. 

Speaking with MovieWeb, director Nicholas Manuel Pino revealed Bosco was involved in the making of the movie while he was "still in prison:"

"Even during our development process, he was involved, even while he was still in prison. Aubrey and I were talking to him 15 minutes at a time when he was able to call us... It's not a guy who's been dead for 100 years like Napoleon, you know? It's a guy who's right here."

Bosco is now streaming on Peacock.

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.