WAYS TO
WATCH:

See all
A surly convicted murderer held in permanent isolation redeems himself when he becomes a renowned bird expert.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (book)
Reviews
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Elmer Gantry (1960)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A fast-talking traveling salesman with a charming, loquacious manner convinces a sincere evangelist that he can be an effective preacher for her cause.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March
The Train (1964)
Thriller | War | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Arthur Penn
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A district attorney investigates the racially charged case of three teenagers accused of the murder of a blind Puerto Rican boy. He begins to discover that the facts in the case aren't ... See full summary »

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Dina Merrill, Edward Andrews
Trapeze (1956)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A crippled circus acrobat is torn emotionally between two ambitious young trapeze artists, one a talented young American and a less-gifted but beautiful Italian.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Gina Lollobrigida
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A former Korean War POW is brainwashed by Communists into becoming a political assassin. But another former prisoner may know how to save him.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Lawman Wyatt Earp and outlaw Doc Holliday form an unlikely alliance which culminates in their participation in the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In 1941 Hawaii, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second in command are falling in love.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr
Brute Force (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford
Atlantic City (1980)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In a corrupt city, a small-time gangster and the estranged wife of a pot dealer finds themselves thrown together in an escapade of love, money, drugs, and danger.

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison
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
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Bull Ransom
Betty Field ...
Stella Johnson
...
...
Tom Gaddis
...
Albert Comstock
...
Dr. Ellis
Crahan Denton ...
Kramer
James Westerfield ...
Jess Younger
Edit

Storyline

In 1912, the notorious and violent prisoner Robert Franklin Stroud is transferred to the Leavenworth Prison convicted for murdering a man. When a guard cancels the visit of his mother, Elizabeth Stroud, due to a violation of the internal rules, he stabs and kills the guard and goes to trial three times. He is sentenced to be executed by the gallows, but his mother appeals to President Woodrow Wilson who commutes his sentence to life imprisonment. However, the warden, Harvey Shoemaker, decides to keep Stroud in solitary for the rest of his life. One day, Stroud finds a sparrow that has fallen from the nest in the yard and he raises the bird until it is strong enough to fly. Stroud finds a motivation for his life raising and caring for birds and becomes an expert in birds. He marries Stella Johnson and together they run a business, providing medicine developed by Stroud. But a few years after, Stroud is transferred to Alcatraz and has to leave his birds behind. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

now the world will know the story of the most defiant man alive! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 July 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Gefangene von Alcatraz  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,650,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Cinematographer John Alton was fired two weeks into production and replaced by Burnett Guffey. See more »

Goofs

When Harvey is in Stroud's cell talking about the history book, it is with Harvey, but then is seen in Stroud's hands without him picking it up. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tour guide: ...during which you will see all of the man-made and natural beauties, the most spectacular bay in the world. You'll pass beneath the famous Golden Gate Bridge, considered by most authorities to be one of the most striking structures ever erected by man. From the bay, you will thrill to the magnificent San Francisco skyline. Your cruise ship, the Harbor King, will circle Alcatraz, a maximum security prison containing the most dangerous criminals in America. It has been the home of ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The New Adventures of Batman: He Who Laughs Last (1977) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Lancaster's Fine Performance Makes Up For The Weaknesses
16 December 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Burt Lancaster's fine performance as "Birdman" Robert Stroud makes up for the movie's weaknesses elsewhere. Thanks to Lancaster, it is an interesting and at times very human story, with a number of memorable scenes. The story itself does has some slow spots, and it probably goes on a bit too long. More than that, while it takes some of its basic facts from reality, its portrayal of the lead character is idealized at best, and is probably quite distorted in his favor.

None of the flaws can be blamed on Lancaster, who successfully portrays all sides of his character. Sometimes brutal, sometimes sensitive; sometimes brilliant, sometimes foolish; he makes Stroud a three-dimensional and memorable character. Few of the other characters have much depth, but most of them are played well by the supporting cast.

For all that Lancaster's portrayal of Stroud is so believable in itself, the movie's depiction of the "Birdman" seems to be very much at odds with his real character. It's too bad that Hollywood film-makers are rarely satisfied to portray a complex historical character as he or she really was, without idealizing or demonizing someone to force a story into a simple mold. It's even more of a problem now than it was in the 1960s. If the actual facts don't make for a good movie, you can always use the basic idea to write a completely fictional story that is not passed off as factual.

Yet as a movie, this is still well worth seeing. If taken just as a story, it makes for interesting viewing, and it contains some worthwhile ideas. Some of the later scenes seem a bit anti-climactic, yet they do round out the story, and they also allow Lancaster the opportunity to develop his character even further.


18 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Remake 'The Birdman' urbisoler-1
"Murderous homosexual"? Lupercali
the ending -- help! biskinikill
What happened to the birds? Pamactress
great film carlin4737
His Other Book instantvintage-1
Discuss Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?