MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 266 this week

Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

PG  |   |  Action, Biography, Crime  |  22 June 1979 (USA)
7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 80,152 users  
Reviews: 139 user | 50 critic

Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from the most infamous prisons in the world.

Director:

(as Donald Siegel)

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

10 Best Back-to-School TV Shows

Dust off your varsity jacket and get excited for fall with our list of the 10 best back-to-school TV shows.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 29 May 2013
 
a list of 31 titles
created 06 Sep 2013
 
a list of 35 titles
created 29 Sep 2013
 
a list of 26 titles
created 04 Apr 2014
 
a list of 40 titles
created 01 Jul 2014
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

Escape from Alcatraz (1979) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Escape from Alcatraz.

User Polls

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Dirty Harry (1971)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

When a mad man calling himself 'the Scorpio Killer' menaces the city, tough as nails San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan is assigned to track down and ferret out the crazed psychopath.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, Harry Guardino
Magnum Force (1973)
Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Dirty Harry is on the trail of vigilante cops who are not above going beyond the law to kill the city's undesirables.

Director: Ted Post
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Mitchell Ryan
The Enforcer (1976)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Dirty Harry must foil a terrorist organization made up of disgruntled Vietnam veterans. But this time, he's teamed with a rookie female partner that he's not too excited to be working with.

Director: James Fargo
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Tyne Daly, Harry Guardino
Certificate: M Adventure | Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Nun Sara is on the run in Mexico and is saved from cowboys by Hogan, who is preparing for a future mission to capture a French fort. The pair become good friends, but Sara never does tell him the true reason behind her being outlawed.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Shirley MacLaine, Manolo Fábregas
Hang 'Em High (1968)
Certificate: M Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When an innocent man barely survives a lynching, he returns as a lawman determined to bring the vigilantes to justice.

Director: Ted Post
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens, Pat Hingle
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A gunfighting stranger comes to the small settlement of Lago and is hired to bring the townsfolk together in an attempt to hold off three outlaws who are on their way.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill
Sudden Impact (1983)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A rape victim is exacting revenge on her agressors in a small town outside San Francisco. Dirty Harry, on suspension for angering his superiors (again), is assigned to the case.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

With the help of an irreverent young sidekick, a bank robber gets his old gang back together to organize a daring new heist.

Director: Michael Cimino
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, George Kennedy
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A Missouri farmer joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Chief Dan George
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn't save Kennedy, but he's determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo
Tightrope (1984)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Wes Block is a detective who's put on the case of a serial killer whose victims are young and pretty women, that he rapes and murders. The killings are getting personal when the killer ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Tuggle
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Geneviève Bujold, Dan Hedaya
Pale Rider (1985)
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A mysterious preacher protects a humble prospector village from a greedy mining company trying to encroach on their land.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Doc
Jack Thibeau ...
...
Paul Benjamin ...
...
Bruce M. Fischer ...
...
Fred Stuthman ...
David Cryer ...
Madison Arnold ...
Blair Burrows ...
Bob Balhatchet ...
Matthew Locricchio ...
Exam Guard (as Matthew J. Locricchio)
Edit

Storyline

The true story of three inmates who attempt a daring escape from the infamous prison, Alcatraz Island. Although no-one had managed to escape before, bank robber Frank Morris masterminded this elaborately detailed and, as far as anyone knows, ultimately successful, escape. In 29 years, this seemingly impenetrable federal penitentiary, which housed Al Capone and "Birdman" Robert Stroud, was only broken once by three inmates never heard of again. Written by Niz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No one has ever escaped from Alcatraz... And no one ever will!


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flucht von Alcatraz  »

Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$36,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Danny Glover, as one of the prison inmates. See more »

Goofs

In the wardens office, when Morris is being briefed by the warden, the camera pulls back to (accidentally) reveal the large hole in the office ceiling. At this point the boom is quite visible. See more »

Quotes

Warden: I want painting privileges taken away from Chester Dalton.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: JANUARY 18, 1960 SAN FRANCISCO See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood Science: Escapes (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

D Block Blues
by Gilbert Thomas Jr.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Eastwood gives his best screen acting to date...

In the 29 years of Alcatraz's existence, and despite the strict measures, 39 captives tried to escape from America's premier maximum-security prison during its existence... Thirty six of whom failed... This script is about the other three, of whom nothing is known... They may have drowned in San Francisco Bay, or they may have got away...

Morris (Clint Eastwood) was a loner, a rebel against society, the perfect hero that Siegel loves... Lee Marvin in 'The Killers', Steve McQueen in 'Hell is for Heroes', and Richard Widmark in 'Madigan' were all similar types in films which he had directed..

In 'Escape From Alcatraz,' Eastwood gives his best screen acting to date... It is a charismatic performance that is so idiosyncratic, persuasive, and powerful... Eastwood, gave Morris the rough, intelligent aspect that is immediately palpable...

The first few minutes of the film consist of Morris being brought by boat to Alcatraz, inspected by a doctor and thrown into a cell... Throughout this, Eastwood does not speak... But already the audience feels it... They know the character... He has been through this before... He tries to control his mind... He builds a barrier between himself and his surroundings... He holds back his fear but he's not so foolish as to appear brave... Behind his impassivity, his mind is calculating... He is studying everyone... Everyone knows, prison guards and fellow prisoners alike, that this is not a man to be intimidated with easily...

But Siegel wasn't making a film about penal cruelty or miscarriage of justice or anything like that... He was presenting a meditative study of the inflexibility of human spirit, with a star strong enough in himself to join one sequence to the next... Both Siegel and Eastwood are known for violence, but there's relatively little of it this time...

This is not to say that Siegel has no interest in character... Stereotype characters, such as Doc and Litmus, make the film more entertaining... A further example is the inevitable homosexual Wolf (Bruce M. Fisher), who points out that Morris is a potential victim but realizes he has met his match when he approaches him in the showers one morning and gets three unexpected blows in the groin and a bar of soap in the mouth for his harassment... Another familiar type of character is English (Paul Benjamin), the leader of the Black mafia, who sits in the yard far away from the white inmates... English proves to be a nice guy..

But the biggest stereotype of them all is the cold warden, although Patrick McGoohan tries as hard as he can to provide Morris with some individual personality... Apart from the flower-crushing and constant attention to his nails, he is permitted by the scriptwriter merely to recite phrases that might have come from the prison handbook: 'No one has ever escaped from Alcatraz alive. Alcatraz was built to keep all the rotten eggs in one basket. I was specially chosen to make sure the stink from that basket doesn't escape.'

But two elements in the film are absolutely real: one is the central character, which will be considered in a moment, and the other is 'The Rock' itself...

Siegel's overwhelming achievement is to send the audience to infamous prison for two hours... The claustrophobia, the implicit suppression of any joy, the barbarity of being caged in isolation cells, all these suffocating atrocities come across with such reality that one experiences a total sense of relief when the camera moves into the recreation yard for the clear bright light of every early morning... Siegel's technique in this respect is unique...

Siegel's film style seems almost a cinematic interpretation of Eastwood screen persona: lean, clean, and harsh... Here is one example: When the incorrigible psychopath is out to finish Eastwood, his one chance is in the exercise yard... When he enters the yard, he is in need for a weapon... He has none! He slowly advances into the yard toward his victim... The camera goes down to the man's right hand as he walks... After a moment, another man puts a knife in that hand... The camera stays on the hand as he keeps moving... After another moment, another hand reaches in and grabs the con's arm.... The whole brief sequence is loaded with surprise and suspense... It is in two words: pure cinema...

Siegel's movie follows the known facts of the escape constantly, permitting itself only one act of poetic license at the very end... Throughout the film, Siegel uses a yellow chrysanthemum as a symbol of 'heart', to indicate that although the brutal system may have removed everything from the inmates save the questionable privilege of remaining alive, in some men at least their spirit survives...

'Doc', an elderly inmate who has spent twenty years there but who is permitted to paint and cultivate chrysanthemums, introduces the concept...


106 of 119 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What happened to Wolf in the end? Gonsaro
What Happened to the Mouse? dpeddicord2
Quiest and Peaceful Prison bing-10
Danny Glover LetsPoddy
If they had a remake.... NCBoy1089
What was Doc in for ? theperfectten
Discuss Escape from Alcatraz (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page