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Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)

 -  Biography | Drama  -  3 July 1962 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 10,488 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 26 critic

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

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (book)
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Title: Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Bull Ransom
Betty Field ...
Stella Johnson
...
...
Tom Gaddis
...
Albert Comstock
...
Dr. Ellis
Crahan Denton ...
Kramer
James Westerfield ...
Jess Younger
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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 that commutes his sentence to life imprisonment. However, the warden Harvey Shoemaker decides to keep Stroud in the solitary for the rest of his life. One day, Stroud finds a sparrow that has fallen from the nest on the yard and he raises the bird until it is strong enough to fly. Stroud finds a motivation for his life raising and caring 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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 July 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Gefangene von Alcatraz  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real Alcatraz is seen only from exterior views from the boat, or is shown from the shore dockside. All the rest of the views of Alcatraz in the movie were produced on sets located in Los Angeles. See more »

Goofs

In the last scene at the dock, while Stroud is talking to the reporters, the Alcatraz launch is seen leaving the dock and heading back toward the island. When Stroud then talks with Tom Gaddis, the launch can be seen over Stroud's shoulder, back at the dock again, and is again in the process of casting off. 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 ...
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Connections

Referenced in Mister Ed: Wilbur Post, Honorary Horse (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good & Bad News About The "Birdman"
24 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

GOOD NEWS: This is a riveting film start-to-finish, which is hard to do considering it runs over two hours. Burt Lancaster, one of the better actors, perhaps, of all time, gives a tremendous and very memorable performance. It's a cliché but this IS one story you will not forget!

Director John Frrankenheimer also is one of the best ever. Check out his resume, if you question that last statement. He has some masterful camera shots in here. In addition to the talents of the director and main actor, you have Karl Malden,Thelma Ritter, Telly Savalas and Edmond O'Brien - no slouches they - in solid supporting roles. The DVD also helps highlight the wonderful black-and-white photography.

Most prison stories are bleak and depressing. This one is not. Oh, it has some melodrama and a few tough scenes which include prison violence, but generally it is a fascinating character study....and, even for those of you who are not bird lovers, full of interesting information about our feathered friends. How they trained the birds to do some things in here also is amazing.

BAD NEWS: What a disappointment to do some research about the real "birdman," Robert Stroud. It turns out, as other reviewers have noted, the man was a sleaze-bag. No sense going into details since some of them are simply revolting. For those who simply want to remember this as a great movie and a great performance by Lancaster, do yourself a favor and leave it at that. In this case, ignorance IS bliss!


57 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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