MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 2,263 this week

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

8.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 7,787 users  
Reviews: 281 user | 36 critic

Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.

Director:

Writers:

(by), (screen play), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 07 Jan 2011
 
a list of 47 titles
created 15 Apr 2012
 
a list of 48 titles
created 30 Jan 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 18 Mar 2013
 
a list of 43 titles
created 3 weeks ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) on IMDb 8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang.
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The public defender's secretary and an ex-convict get married and try to make a life together, but a series of disasters sends their lives spiraling out of control.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Henry Fonda, Barton MacLane
Scarface (1932)
Certificate: Passed Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An ambitious and near insanely violent gangster climbs the ladder of success in the mob, but his weaknesses prove to be his downfall.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson
Stars: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On one day in the 21st Precinct squad room, assorted characters form a backdrop for the troubles of hard-nosed Detective Jim McLeod.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Det. Sgt. Mark Dixon wants to be something his old man wasn't: a guy on the right side of the law. But Dixon's vicious nature will get the better of him.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill
Bordertown (1935)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Johnny Ramirez rises from bouncer to partner in Charlie Roark's border town casino. Charlie's wife Marie loves Johnny, but Johnny loves society woman Dale. Marie kills her husband, making ... See full summary »

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Margaret Lindsay
Born to Kill (1947)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A calculating divorcée risks her chances at wealth and security with a man she doesn't love by getting involved with the hotheaded murderer romancing her foster sister.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Claire Trevor, Lawrence Tierney, Walter Slezak
Force of Evil (1948)
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An unethical lawyer, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket.

Director: Abraham Polonsky
Stars: John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, Marie Windsor
Raw Deal (1948)
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Joe Sullivan is itching to get out of prison. He's taken the rap for Rick, who owes him $50 Grand. Rick sets up an escape for Joe, knowing that Joe will be caught escaping and be shot or ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt
The Enforcer (1951)
Drama | Crime | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crusading district attorney finally gets a chance to prosecute the organizer and boss of Murder Inc.

Directors: Bretaigne Windust, Raoul Walsh
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Zero Mostel, Ted de Corsia
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Glenda Farrell ...
Marie
Helen Vinson ...
Noel Francis ...
Preston Foster ...
...
Barney Sykes
Berton Churchill ...
The Judge
Edward Ellis ...
Bomber Wells
David Landau ...
The Warden
Hale Hamilton ...
Rev. Allen
Sally Blane ...
Alice
Louise Carter ...
Mother
Willard Robertson ...
Prison Board Chairman
Robert McWade ...
Attorney
Robert Warwick ...
Fuller
Edit

Storyline

Having returned from fighting in World War I, James Allen doesn't want to settle into a humdrum life and decides to set off to find his fortune. He travels the length and breadth of America, working as a skilled tradesman in the construction industry. When times get tough however, he finds himself living in a shelter where an acquaintance suggests they go out for a hamburger. What the friend really has in mind is to rob the diner and Allen soon finds himself working on a chain gang with a long jail sentence. Allen manages to escape however and heads to Chicago where over several years he slowly but surely works his way up the ladder to become one of the most respected construction engineers in the city. His past catches up with him and despite protestations from civic leaders and his many friends in Chicago, he finds himself again on the chain gang. Escaping for a second time, he accepts that to survive, he must lead a life of crime. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Six sticks of dynamite that blasted his way to freedom... and awoke America's conscience!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 November 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang  »

Box Office

Budget:

$195,845 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(original release)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was based on the true story of Robert E. Burns. It sticks basically to the facts except for two instances: Burns actually did steal the $5.29 in order to eat, and he finally succeeded in evading the Georgia legal system with the help of three New Jersey governors. Burns actually slipped into Hollywood and worked for a few weeks on the film, but ultimately the stress and risk were too much, and he fled back to the safety of New Jersey. The book and film helped bring about the collapse of the brutal chain gang system in Georgia. Warner Bros. took a big chance on the film, as social commentary was not normally done in Hollywood pictures. However, this film was a critical and financial success and helped establish Warners as the studio with a social conscience - it also helped save the financially ailing company. Even though Georgia was never specifically named in the film, numerous lawsuits were filed against the studio, the film was banned in Georgia, and the studio's head and the film's director were told that should they ever find themselves in Georgia they would be treated to a dose of the "social evil" they so roundly denounced. See more »

Goofs

After James Allen's second escape from the chain gang, the last newspaper article shown states that he escaped "A little more than a year ago...". In the (final) scene that follows, Helen says to him, "It's been almost a year since you escaped." See more »

Quotes

James Allen: Do you mind if we stay here awhile, or must you go home?
Helen: There are no musts in my life. I'm free, white and twenty-one.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Warner at War (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

The Darktown Strutters' Ball
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Shelton Brooks
Played when Jim meets up with Barney
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

More Facts For Fans Of This Film
7 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Since the movie ends somewhat abruptly, I was interested in what happened to this character in real life, so I did some research. For those interested, read on:

The man, whose real name was Burns, lived quite awhile in New Jersey, wrote the book with this same title, even smuggled himself into Los Angeles for two weeks to help with the movie, using an assumed name and acting very skittish. He then went back to New Jersey. The state of Georgia, home of these chain gangs, tried to extradite him but New Jersey wouldn't give him up.

Regarding the film........

"Powerful" was a word describing this movie when it came out over 70 years ago, and it still holds true today. It was based on a true story and if injustice bothers you, this film will be disturbing. It certainly was to me, at least the first time I saw it.

I've seen it several times and am always mesmerized by Paul Muni's performance. Just the expressions on his face alone are fascinating. The other members of the cast are so-so, but it's Muni's movie anyway.


30 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
One Of The Best Endings Ever PrimoEscobar
definately my #1 favorite movie massiveaction5
Just watched this...weak script. santiken
Criminally underrated classicmoviecomedy
Pre Stooge Larry Fine Sold him the suit and hat otis_thick2000
Georgia or Virginia? boazbenjamin
Discuss I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?