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Murder in the First (1995)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  20 January 1995 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 18,821 users  
Reviews: 106 user | 40 critic

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.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Mary McCasslin
...
D.A. William McNeil
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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
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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:

"I accuse Alcatraz of crimes against humanity." - The lawyer "I was a weapon, but I ain't no killer." - The accused "I am not on trial here." - The warden 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:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 January 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alcatraz - kohtaloni  »

Box Office

Gross:

£804,934 (UK) (15 December 1995)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real life, Henri Young's defense was handled by two prominent San Francisco attorneys, Sol A. Abrams and James Martin MacInnes. They offered the temporary insanity defense, saying that Young's brutal treatment on Alcatraz had led him to murder his fellow inmate, Rufus McCain. The jury bought the argument, and returned a verdict of Involuntary Manslaughter, largely because the Alcatraz officials who testified at Young's trial refused to provide any actual details of prisoner treatment at the prison to contradict Young's defense. (Alcatraz officials and guards lived under strict rules not to talk about prison procedures when off the island, for fear these details would make it into the newspapers and be used by criminals in breakout attempts.) See more »

Goofs

Henry Young didn't go to Alcatraz for "stealing 5 dollars." In real life, he was both a bank robber and a murderer, and had already been in at least two state prisons before landing at Alcatraz. 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 The Very Very Big Company (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon--(Maybe even 7 or 8)
6 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

As Wayne would have it---"DENIED!!"

how this film escaped the attention of Oscar and Globe voters is one of the great Hollywood mysteries of our time...if Bacon ain't Oscar meat here, i don't know what is...an absolutely brilliant performance in the kind of role the voters usually jump all over at ballot time...ya really gotta wonder...

conspiracy theories aside, this is one helluva flick...besides our pal Kevin, there's outstanding work from Christian Slater, Gary Oldman, and everybody's favorite drill sergeant, Lee Ermey...Moe Greene's kid, Marc Rocco, gets a great period feeling economically...solid work by the wardrobe and make-up units...this film deserved a much better fate at the box office and at awards season in '96...if you haven't seen this one yet, you're missing a real gem...


52 of 62 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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