Brute Force (1947)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  30 June 1947 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 5,992 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 60 critic

At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.



(screenplay), (story)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

New York City film noir about two detectives investigating the death of an attractive young woman. The apparent suicide turns out to be murder.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart
Criss Cross (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An armored truck driver and his lovely ex-wife conspire with a gang to have his own truck robbed on the route.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-time grifter and nightclub tout takes advantage of some fortuitous circumstances and tries to become a big-time player as a wrestling promoter.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers
The Killers (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien
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
Rififi (1955)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes...

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel
The Set-Up (1949)
Film-Noir | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Over-the-hill boxer Bill 'Stoker' Thompson insists he can still win, though his sexy wife Julie pleads with him to quit. But his manager Tiny is so confident he will lose, he takes money ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias
Crossfire (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A man is murdered, apparently by one of a group of soldiers just out of the army. But which one? And why?

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan
The Big Clock (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A career oriented magazine editor finds himself on the run when he discovers his boss is framing him for murder.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Laughton
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The rise and fall of Stanton Carlisle, a mentalist who's lies and deceit prove to be his downfall.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas


Cast overview, first billed only:
Gina Ferrara
Cora Lister
Anita Colby ...
Sam Levene ...
Louie Miller #7033
'Freshman' Stack
Jack Overman ...
Kid Coy
Roman Bohnen ...
Warden A.J. Barnes
Sir Lancelot ...
Vince Barnett ...


At overcrowded Westgate Penitentiary, where violence and fear are the norm and the warden has less power than guards and leading prisoners, the least contented prisoner is tough, single-minded Joe Collins. Most of all, Joe hates chief guard Captain Munsey, a petty dictator who glories in absolute power. After one infraction too many, Joe and his cell-mates are put on the dreaded drain pipe detail; prompting an escape scheme that has every chance of turning into a bloodbath. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Man hate! Woman love! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 June 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brutalidade  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When the Group Theater (1931-1940)--the first American acting company to attempt to put the Russian Konstantin Stanislavski's principles into action--disbanded, many of the actors who had participated in its revolutionary realistic productions on Broadway ("Awake and Sing" "Waiting for Lefty") made their way to Hollywood in search of work. Two of them--Roman Bohnen ("Warden") and Art Smith ("Dr. Walters")can be seen in this film. As several of the actors in The Group were members of the Communist Party or leftist organizations, they would soon be blacklisted during the "Red Scare" era of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's search for "subversives" in the entertainment industry, one of whom was the director of this film, Jules Dassin. A year before this film was released, Kazan--who had appeared before the McCarthyite House Unamerican Activities Committee and "named names", happened to be in Hollywood and saw a production of one of Tennessee Williams's early plays, "Portrait of a Madonna" directed by Hume Cronyn--who plays the sadistic Capt. Munsey in this film. Kazan was so impressed by the work of Cronyn's wife, Jessica Tandy, that he offered her the role of Blanche Dubois in his Broadway production of "A Streetcar Named Desire." See more »


When discussing the hill attack during the war, the positions of the convicts change between the shots from outside the cell to the ones inside. See more »


Ruth: If I weren't so sick, I could help you.
Joe Collins: There are all kinds of sick people, Ruth. Maybe we can help each other.
See more »


Referenced in L.A. Noire (2011) See more »


Tannhäuser Overture
Written by Richard Wagner
Heard when Munsey is interrogating the convict
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Brief review
9 November 1998 | by (Huntington, NY) – See all my reviews

Burt Lancaster and cellmates plot a daring breakout. Okay, sounds like a thousand other prison movies, but what makes this the top of the prison genre are the elements. Watching the characters in this gem is like staring down a cobra- they're so fascinating. There are the unique cellmates: meak accountant Whit Bissell driven over the edge, a learned, elder prisoner (Charles Bickford) the tough Burt Lancaster, etc. etc. Most memorable is Hume Cronyn (his greatest film performance) as the soft spoken, neat-nick psychotic Captain Munsey, a prison official who takes so much delight in beating prisoners, he plays his favorite music and strips to his t-shirt during beatings! Grand screenwriting by future director Richard Brooks. Cellmates have only one wall decoration, a picture of a glamour girl. She reminds each cellmate of a different woman who caused them to do time. The dialog crackles loudly: (Sample- Bickford to Lancaster about a cellmate plotting a break: "He said next Tuesday is the day of the break. He's been saying that about every Tuesday for the last twelve years. Twelve years from now, he'll be saying the same thing....") Hey Universal, put this wonderful classic on VHS!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The fight between Lancaster and Cronyn mozartmessiah
Edmond O'Brien in 'Brute Force' The Daz
Music artlewis3
Flossie segment + Tarantino brucedgo
Was 'Westgate' Prison a real prison' palmerplantagenet
Munsey and Tarantino's Col. Landa thenewbohemian
Discuss Brute Force (1947) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: