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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 839 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?


Feature-film debut of Michael Brennan. See more »


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

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User Reviews

Gritty British noir
8 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Cavalcanti directed this excellent British film noir, "They Made Me a Fugitive," with the then new star, Trevor Howard, as well as Sally Gray, Griffith Jones, and Mary Merrall. Howard plays Clem Morgan, a war hero who joins a black market ring, headed by Narcy (Jones) that does business out of Narcy's funeral business, the contraband entering in coffins. Clem, however, draws the line when he sees them dealing in drugs. He winds up being framed for a killing of a bobby, deserted while he's unconscious in a car. The ex-girlfriend (Gray) of Narcy, the chief criminal, comes to see him in prison, sure he's not guilty. Clem escapes and goes on the run, and reconnects with Gray. She tries to find the witness who can clear him.

Very ahead of its time in its graphic violence, which includes violence toward women. Also, the lead is not a hero, having turned to crime. The ending is also unexpected. My only complaint would be the hitting the audience over the head with the RIP letters on the roof, and also the phrase "It's later than you think," which was possibly the inspiration for its appearance in "Midnight Cowboy." The performances are very good, with Howard, Gray, and Griffith all in top form, and Merrall creates an interesting character. The camera-work is very good also, quite stunning.

Highly recommended - it's nothing like you'd expect.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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