7.3/10
22,744
112 user 42 critic

Murder in the First (1995)

An eager and idealistic young attorney defends an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate. The extenuating circumstances: his client had just spent over three years in solitary confinement.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Mary McCasslin
...
D.A. William McNeil
...
Mr. Henkin
...
Byron Stamphill
...
...
Adult Rosetta Young
Ben Slack ...
Jerry Hoolihan
...
Warden James Humson
...
Blanche, Hooker
Alex Bookston ...
Alcatraz Doc (as Alexander Bookston)
Richie Allan ...
Jury Foreman
Herb Ritts ...
Mike Kelly
Edit

Storyline

Henri Young stole five dollars from a post office and ended up going to prison - to the most famous, or infamous, prison of them all: Alcatraz. He tried to escape, failed, and spent three years and two months in solitary confinement - in a dungeon, with no light, no heat and no toilet. Milton Glenn, the assistant warden, who was given free reign by his duty-shirking superior, was responsible for Young's treatment. Glenn even took a straight razor and hobbled Young for life. After three years and two months, Young was taken out of solitary confinement and put with the rest of the prisoners. Almost immediately, Young took a spoon and stabbed a fellow prisoner in the neck, killing him. Now, Young is on trial for murder, and if he's convicted he'll go to the gas chamber. An eager and idealistic young attorney, James Stamphill, is given this impossible case, and argues before a shocked courtroom that Young had a co-conspirator. The true murderer, he says, was Alcatraz. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The trial that brought down Alcatraz See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong images of prison brutalities, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 January 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alcatraz - kohtaloni  »

Box Office

Gross:

$17,382,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In an extract for Murder in the First (1995), from a CINEFILE in the 2006 fourteenth edition of Time Out, critic and film historian Geoffrey Macnab wrote: "The film is loosely based on a true story, but director Marc Rocco has taken huge liberties with the subject matter. Young was not the innocent country boy portrayed here. Nor were the warders quite as barbaric as Rocco suggests. (In one shocking scene, we see Warden Glenn slash Young's Achilles tendon with a razor to ensure that he'll never again try to escape.) The claims that Young's case precipitated the closure of Alcatraz don't add up either. The teenager was tried in 1941, 20 years before the prison was shut down. As a protest film, Murder in the First is over 30 years too late. None the less, this is a riveting courtroom drama, buoyed by intensely committed performances from former Bratpack stars, Slater and Bacon". Kevin Bacon played Henri Young imprisoned in Alcatraz, Gary Oldman played the brutally sadistic warden Milton Glenn and Christian Slater played Young's lawyer James Stamphill. See more »

Goofs

During the first meeting between Young and Stamphill in the open holding cell, the guard in the background disappears and reappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prison Barber: They're coming! Run!
See more »

Crazy Credits

This Film is Inspired by a True Story See more »

Connections

Referenced in Clueless (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!
(uncredited)
Traditional English Christmas, earliest known publication 1833
Sung by Alcatraz wives and children
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Impactful!
21 October 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Having caught up again with this film on t.v., I can only support all other commentators who have observed how utterly ridiculous is the American Academy Award system for not having even nominated the utterly brilliant performance by Kevin Bacon in this film for the best actor award, let alone in not giving him the damned thing! I am always impressed by whatever Kevin Bacon does, and am constantly surprised that he is one of those stars who always seems to creep under the public's radar of appreciation and awareness. As to the comments about the film not exactly being the "true" story of Henri Young, there again it always come down to the precise meaning and interpretation of a film's initial caveat of "inspired by a true story". Certainly, the film will have me searching the internet for more of the "true" facts of this harrowing story. And whether exactly the film was totally "true" or not, as any visitor to Alcatraz (as I have been myself) can tell you, just imagine yourself in any part of that prison in its heyday and say whether any filmic representation needs to be totally 100% accurate to convey the horrendous nature of what it must have been like there. Returning to the antics of the members of the U.S. Academy Award, their failures over this Kevin Bacon performance remind me of the time they robbed Cate Blanchett for her out of this world outstanding performance in "Elizabeth" in favour of that whimpering blonde piece of fluffy air Gwyneth Paltrow for the paltry "Shakespeare in Love".


11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?