7.8/10
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79 user 45 critic

Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)

Not Rated | | Biography, Crime, Drama | 15 September 1962 (Italy)
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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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Bull Ransom
...
Stella Johnson
...
...
Tom Gaddis
...
Albert Comstock
...
Dr. Ellis
...
Kramer
...
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 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:

Inside the rock called Alcatraz they tried to chain a volcano they called "The Bird Man"! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 September 1962 (Italy)  »

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite Robert Stroud's history of violent and vicious crimes, Burt Lancaster came to admire his accomplishments as a bird expert so much that he felt Stroud should have been pardoned and released from prison. Lancaster even allegedly campaigned for Stoud's release, to no avail. See more »

Goofs

In several cell scenes the sparrow shown on the window sill has almost no tail feathers, but an instant later the sparrow in Stroud's hand has long tail feathers. Also, the "sparrow" has a beak and shape more like a finch than sparrow. Pointed out by a retired National Park Service naturalist. 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 Tiny Toon Adventures: How Sweetie It Is (1991) 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!


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