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Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

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 one of the most infamous prisons in the world.


(as Donald Siegel)


(book), (screenplay)
3,582 ( 363)

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


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


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


Biography | Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flucht von Alcatraz  »

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)


$36,500,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Less than one year after the real life events that are depicted in the film, the prison was shut down. The escape occurred on June 11, 1962 and the prison closed on March 21, 1963. Because the penitentiary cost much more to operate than other prisons (nearly $10 per prisoner per day, as opposed to $3 per prisoner per day at Atlanta), and half a century of salt water saturation had severely eroded the buildings, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy ordered the penitentiary closed on March 21, 1963. See more »


The Mount Sutro Tower (breaking ground in 1971 and completed in 1972) is pictured in the movie's opening sequence while at the same time on-screen text indicates the plot year to be 1960. See more »


Warden: I want painting privileges taken away from Chester Dalton.
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Crazy Credits

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


D Block Blues
by Gilbert Thomas Jr.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Live Free Or Die!
10 July 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

I knew when it said directed by Don Siegel it would be good. Eastwood was a great actor but his best work was with other people directing. Like the above reviewers, I concur, the drama is what works. Everything is understated here, no explosions, kung fu, screaming, all the things that make todays movies so awful. By the way, check out Siegel's Noir The Lineup a real gem. Eastwood gives a quiet, downplayed, cerebral performance that befits Morris as he would have been. Fred Ward, always a good actor, plays one of the Anglin brothers. Braveheart's Edward LongShanks plays the warden with quiet, deadly malevolence. Often, he is cruel just because he enjoys it so much. Watch how, just because Doc dared to paint him, not unflatteringly by the way, he revokes his painting privileges even though that is all the man has. Siegel was always such a great director, like his great Charley Varrick, he always keeps things realistic. The buildup to the escape that should have been the most boring part of the movie is actually interesting. There are many close calls, as McGoohan is no fool and knows Morris is up to something. There always has to be at least one Dirty Harry moment, here after Doc chops his fingers off, Morris tells the warden he shouldn't paint because there will always be some A H who will take offense.

That is it, the only glimmer of the traditional Eastwood personality. The rest of the movie he is quiet, watchful and careful. There is the requisite convict in love scene which Morris deals with, yet it does not overcome the movie. You can see some parts of this that were lifted whole cloth into The Shawshank Redemption. This has a greater sense of realism; that is much more of an idealized fantasy. The actual escape is suspenseful; again, Siegel adds verisimilitude by having unexpected things go wrong. There are hidden surprises waiting; also, one of the group chickens out at the last minute. What makes it so exceptional is that in most escape movies, like the awful The Great Escape, the preparations consume the whole movie and bore the audience to death. Here, it is done with lots of suspense about detection. A real little gem from Don Siegel. Eastwood was right to dedicate Unforgiven to Sergio and Don; they made him the Legend he became. Good Movie

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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