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 856 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 <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>

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
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User Reviews

A little known,undervalued gem of British film-noir-THE British Gangster film.
21 September 1999 | by (Sheffield,England) – See all my reviews

Alberto Cavalcanti's THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE is, to my tastes, the great British Gangster movie and a contender for great Film-Noir as well. At the time of release it was probably overshadowed by BRIGHTON ROCK and THE THIRD MAN, both similar in look and attitude, but what sets FUGITIVE apart is its uncompromisingly bleak realism and pessimistic amorality.

Trevor Howard plays the part of a former R.A.F. pilot who is struggling to survive in the austere post-war era of rationing and comparative boredom of peacetime life.He offers his services to a Black Market racketeer, Narcy, a foppish but lethal character who deals in contraband under cover of his legitimate funeral business.

Narcy and his gang are characters who just didn't appear in British films until GET CARTER came along.They are portrayed as the typical film 'cockney sparrows' of the time but with a difference-they carry flick-knives,knuckle-dusters and even guns.They listen in to the police on a huge radio set. At one point they are seen to knock out a British bobby.-you'd have to be born and raised in Britain in the forties or fifties to realise how what a shock that would have caused at the time of the film's release.

Trevor Howard's character,though,is thoroughly bad in a different way.He is a hero gone wrong,a good chap who lets the side down.When he's in a fight to the death with Michael Brennan he resorts to dirty fighting (very un-British at the time) and even head-butts Brennan.As Howard is creeping into the funeral parlour for the final confrontation with Narcy and his thugs we see a sign with the words ITS LATER THAN YOU THINK,which I believe resurfaced in Herlihy's MIDNIGHT COWBOY.

In conclusion I would like to propose that THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE should be considered,along with Brighton Rock,Get Carter etc as a prime example of social realism in film.

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