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I Became a Criminal (1947)
"They Made Me a Fugitive" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  6 March 1948 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 838 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 24 critic

In this gritty film noir, cynical ex-RAF flyer Morgan, bored with civilian life, joins a break-in gang led by Narcy. On his first job, the getaway car crashes after killing a policeman. ... See full summary »


(as Cavalcanti)


(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sally Gray ...
Griffith Jones ...
René Ray ...
Cora (as Rene Ray)
Mary Merrall ...
Charles Farrell ...
Michael Brennan ...
Jack McNaughton ...
Cyril Smith ...
John Penrose ...
Eve Ashley ...
Phyllis Robins ...
Bill O'Connor ...
Maurice Denham ...
Mr. Fenshaw
Vida Hope ...
Mrs. Fenshaw


In this gritty film noir, cynical ex-RAF flyer Morgan, bored with civilian life, joins a break-in gang led by Narcy. On his first job, the getaway car crashes after killing a policeman. Morgan is framed as the driver and sent to jail. Seeking revenge, he escapes and heads for London. Along the way he's helped by a woman (Mrs. Fenshaw), who wants him to murder her husband. In London, Morgan is sheltered by Sally, who falls in love with him. He confronts Narcy and the gang in an abandoned warehouse. Brazilian Director Cavalcanti's crime drama should not be confused with the totally unrelated "They Made Me a Criminal" (1939). Written by Mike Rogers <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 March 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Became a Criminal  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Trevor Howard was cast at very short notice after the actor first cast dropped out. See more »


Caress Me
Performed on-stage by Phyllis Robins and others
See more »

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User Reviews

Noir Sleeper
9 September 2009 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

A British noir as good as the definitive ones being turned out in the States by such consensus masters as Mann, Dassin, and Lewis, to name three. And what about that great ending that still leaves me flabbergasted. Three cheers for a British cinema that apparently was able to operate without the albatross of a Production Code and still not wreck the nation's moral fiber. Needless to say, those final few minutes would never have been allowed Stateside where the scales of justice always triumphed, no matter how the world really works.

Then too, consider the household Howard stumbles into by accident, where the zoned out housewife is only too eager to perforate her boozy hubby. One look at that demented visage and she's a lot scarier than any of the professionals. No wonder Howard flees back to the safety of London's underworld. This may also be the cheapest electricity bill on record since the brightest sound-stage bulb checks in at about 60 watts—they don't call it "noir" for nothing. And keep an ear cocked for some of the snappiest dialogue this side of Dashiel Hammett, especially from that old crone Aggie, who, I shudder to think, might actually be somebody's grandmother.

Not that everything is roses. Some of the set-ups operate only at a stretch. For example, Howard's aim with a milk bottle should have him pitching for the Yankees. And he does it with such casual flair, you'd never guess his life is on the line. Nonetheless, the movie's a real sleeper and should have been exported to our shores a lot sooner. I expect, that daring finale would have inspired our own filmmakers to greater sneaky lengths in subverting the dead hand of Hollywood censorship.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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