IMDb > Murder in the First (1995)
Murder in the First
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Murder in the First (1995) More at IMDbPro »

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Murder in the First -- A convict is on trial for murdering a fellow inmate and the young, inexperienced lawyer assigned to him bases his defense on the inhumane treatment at Alcatraz was responsible.
Murder in the First -- Open-ended Trailer from Warner Bros.


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7.3/10   20,765 votes »
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Down 16% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer (WGA):
Dan Gordon (written by)
View company contact information for Murder in the First on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 January 1995 (USA) See more »
One was condemned. The other was determined. Two men whose friendship gave them the will to take on the system. See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Terrific, Inspiring and Entertaining Movie. See more (109 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Christian Slater ... James Stamphill

Kevin Bacon ... Henri Young

Gary Oldman ... Milton Glenn

Embeth Davidtz ... Mary McCasslin

William H. Macy ... D.A. William McNeil

Stephen Tobolowsky ... Mr. Henkin

Brad Dourif ... Byron Stamphill

R. Lee Ermey ... Judge Clawson

Mia Kirshner ... Adult Rosetta Young
Ben Slack ... Jerry Hoolihan

Stefan Gierasch ... Warden James Humson

Kyra Sedgwick ... Blanche, Hooker
Alex Bookston ... Alcatraz Doc (as Alexander Bookston)
Richie Allan ... Jury Foreman
Herb Ritts ... Mike Kelly

Charles Boswell ... Derek Simpson, Former Alcatraz Guard
David Michael Sterling ... Inmate Rufus 'Ray' McCain (as David Sterling)
Michael Melvin ... Inmate Arthur 'Doc' Barker

George Maguire ... Inmate #1
Nick Scoggin ... Inmate #2

Douglas Bennett ... Inmate #3
Joseph Richards ... Inmate #4
Julius Varnado ... Inmate #5
Tony Barr ... Winthrop

Stuart Nisbet ... Harve

Gary Ballard ... Alcatraz Guard Swenson
Randy Pelish ... Alcatraz Guard Wimer
Neil Summers ... Alcatraz Guard Whitney

Sonny King ... Alcatraz Guard Wimer (as Sonny H. King)
Eddie Bowz ... Alcatraz Guard

Brian Leckner ... Alcatraz Guard

Time Winters ... Alcatraz Guard

James Keane ... Alcatraz Guard
Lance Brady ... Alcatraz Guard
Michael Merrins ... Alcatraz Guard
Ray Quartermus ... City Jail Guard
Lee Mathis ... City Jail Guard
Wayne Parks ... City Jail Guard
Warren Spottswood ... Cable Car Conductor
Thomas Fenske ... Newsreel Reporter

Robert Lee ... Newsreel Reporter
Sheldon Feldner ... Man on the Street
Fred Franklin ... Man on the Street
Danny Kovacs ... Man on the Street
Joseph Lucas ... Man on the Street
William Hall ... Man on the Street

Bill Barretta ... Man on the Street
Randall Dudley ... Man on the Street
Wally Rose ... Shopkeeper
Amanda Borden ... Rosetta Young, age 9

Eve Brenner ... Winthrop's Secretary
Joseph Cole ... Marshall Gates
Richard Kwong ... Chinese Monk
Gary Lee Davis ... Giant of a Man
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mel Allen ... Himself (archive sound) (uncredited)
Cabran E. Chamberlain ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Bundy Chanock ... Police Officer (uncredited)

Tory Christopher ... Public Defender (uncredited)

William Cleere ... Prisoner (uncredited)

James Anthony Cotton ... Alcatraz Guard (uncredited)

Charles Cyphers ... Bailif (uncredited)

Laird Macintosh ... Reporter (uncredited)

Mary Mackey ... Prison Guard's Wife (uncredited)

Daniel Mandehr ... Alcatraz Guard (uncredited)
Theo Mayes ... Prison Barber (uncredited)
Dennis Pappalardo ... Inmate (uncredited)
Douglas W. Randall ... Prison Guard (uncredited)
Bob Shuttleworth ... Court Reporter (uncredited)
Rafael Siegel ... Newspaper Reporter (uncredited)

Joseph Quinn Simpkins ... Reporter (uncredited)

James A. Swan ... Alcatraz Guard (uncredited)

Nicole Vigil ... Restaurant Patron (uncredited)

Erick Vinther ... Gaurd #1 (uncredited)
Ryken Zane ... Reporter (uncredited)

Directed by
Marc Rocco 
Writing credits
Dan Gordon (written by)

Produced by
Marc Frydman .... producer
Deborah Lee .... co-producer
Philip McKeon .... associate producer
Marc Rocco .... executive producer
David L. Wolper .... executive producer
Mark Wolper .... producer
Original Music by
Christopher Young 
Cinematography by
Fred Murphy (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Russell Livingstone 
Casting by
Mary Jo Slater 
Production Design by
Kirk M. Petruccelli 
Art Direction by
Michael Rizzo 
Set Decoration by
Greg J. Grande  (as Greg Grande)
Costume Design by
Sylvia Vega-Vasquez  (as Sylvia Vega Vasquez)
Makeup Department
Claudia Avila .... assistant hair stylist
Janice Berridge .... assistant hair stylist
John Criswell .... makeup lab technician
Jill Crosby .... assistant hair stylist
Duke Cullen .... lab technician
Kristal Hruby .... assistant hair stylist
Barry R. Koper .... additional makeup artist (as Barry Koper)
Lisa Lopez .... assistant makeup artist
Tania Mamann .... assistant makeup artist
Theo Mayes .... key hair stylist
Maria Palos .... assistant hair stylist
Brian Penikas .... makeup lab technician
Lisa Rocco .... key makeup artist
Lisa Rocco .... makeup designer
Production Management
Bruce Devan .... production supervisor: San Francisco
Deborah Lee .... unit production manager
Michael Tinger .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Scott Javine .... first assistant director
David McWhirter .... second second assistant director
Kenneth J. Silverstein .... second assistant director (as Kenneth Silverstein)
Shannon Wilson .... second second assistant director: San Francisco
Art Department
Kristin Argue .... drapery
Jill Bedford .... property assistant
Kris Boxell .... property assistant: San Francisco
Gregg Bruza .... set dresser
Scott E. Bruza .... lead man (as Scott Bruza)
Catherine Burns .... on-set painter
Jon J. Bush .... set dresser (as Jon Bush)
Conrad Chitwood .... construction coordinator
Jennifer Clinard .... scenic painter: San Francisco
Alan Feffer .... propmaker
Robert Hale .... painter
Chris Marneus .... general foreman
James McCrae .... on-set painter
Doni McMillan .... on-set dresser
Mark Meloccaro .... art department coordinator
Jonathan Mikita .... set dresser
Michael Mikita .... laborer foreman
Edward Nua .... set dresser (as Ed Nua)
Christine Pernin .... property assistant
Jim Poynter .... lead man: San Francisco (as James Poynter)
Douglas W. Randall .... property master (as Douglas Randall)
Jani Randall .... property assistant (as Jani Monroe-Randall)
Mike Reiber .... painter
Maya Shimoguchi .... assistant art director
Tom Sindicich .... construction foreman: San Francisco (as Thomas Sindicich)
Cole Taylor .... set construction foreman
I.J. Van Perre .... construction coordinator: San Francisco (as Ivan Van Perre Jr.)
Kenton Walters .... art department coordinator
Gregory P. Alcus .... on-set dresser (uncredited)
J. Ben Sykes .... property assistant (uncredited)
Sound Department
Andrew Adams .... cable person
Andre Bacha .... sound editor
Dickran Bezirgenian .... assistant sound editor (as Dickran H. Bezirgenian)
Barney Cabral .... supervising adr editor
Barney Cabral .... supervising sound editor
Patrick Cabral .... foley artist (as Patrick David Cabral)
Patrick Cyccone Jr. .... sound re-recording mixer (as Patrick Cyccone)
Thom 'Coach' Ehle .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby (as Thomas 'Coach' Ehle)
Pete Elia .... adr recordist
Pete Elia .... sound mixer
Robert Fernandez .... score mixer
Robert W. Glass Jr. .... sound re-recording mixer
Tommy Goodwin .... adr mixer
Tommy Goodwin .... foley mixer
Bruce Graham .... foley artist
John Hegedes .... sound editor
Mark Hollingsworth .... sound editor
Brian D. Lucas .... sound recordist
Kenneth C. Mantlo .... boom operator (as Kenneth Mantlo)
Howard Neiman .... sound editor
Murray Rachbach .... assistant sound editor
Dennis Sager .... sound engineer
Ed White .... sound mixer
Vince Williams .... foley mixer
Asher Yates .... sound editor (as Ascher Yates)
Dario Biscaldi .... foley artist (uncredited)
Peter Siciliano .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Geoff Martin .... special effects assistant
Geoffrey C. Martin .... special effects foreman
Kevin McCarthy .... special effects coordinator
Mike Scanlan .... animatronic designer
Peter Stolz .... special effects coordinator: San Francisco
Visual Effects by
Mark Dornfeld .... optical effects supervisor: Buena Vista Imaging
Daniel W. Barringer .... stunts
Tom Boice .... stunts
Doug Coleman .... stunt coordinator
Eddie Matthews .... stunts
Wally Rose .... stunts
James Turner .... stunts
Jim Wilkey .... stunts
Larry Laverty .... precision driver (uncredited)
Eddie Matthews .... stunt double: Christian Slater (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Kenneth C. Barrows .... first assistant camera (as Kenneth Barrows)
Davie Carothers .... Steadicam assistant
Tim Collins .... dolly grip (as Timothy Collins)
Thomas Crawford .... best boy grip
Ric Delgado .... assistant chief lighting technician (as Richard K. Delgado)
Brian Dzyak .... camera loader
Mark Figueroa .... second assistant camera
Tony Friedkin .... still photographer (as Anthony Friedkin)
Emil Hampton .... Steadicam assistant
Richard Mall .... key grip
Stan McClain .... helicopter photographer (as Stanton McClain)
Vern Nobles .... first assistant camera
David Norris .... camera technician: Wescam camera
Dino Parks .... chief lighting technician
Frank Perl .... camera operator
Ron Wisnesky .... rigging gaffer
Anthony Wolberg .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Robert Cheung .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Thomas M. Dangcil .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Robert Daniel .... grip and lighting equipment rental liaison (uncredited)
Jack M. Guberman .... rigging electrician (uncredited)
William K. Koski .... lighting technician (uncredited)
David McMillan .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Steve Brooksbank .... casting associate
Nancy Hayes .... extras casting
Nancy Hayes .... local casting
Nina Henninger .... assistant local casting
Stephanie Holbrook .... assistant local casting
Sandra Johnson .... extras casting/on-set wrangler (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Carol Ewing .... costumer
Murray Lantz .... key costumer
Henry Lopez Jr. .... costumer (as Henry Lopez)
Joseph Roveto .... assistant costume designer
Joseph Roveto .... costumer: San Francisco
Robert Stewart .... wardrobe supervisor
Monica Vasquez .... costumer
Editorial Department
James Carter .... color timer (as Jimmy Carter)
Terry Doering .... second assistant editor
Paula Greatbatch .... additional assistant editor
David Rennie .... assistant editor
Music Department
Pete Anthony .... orchestrator
Leslie Blackburn-Harlow .... musician: viola solo
Chris Boardman .... conductor
Ellen Bridger .... musician: cello solo
David Cates .... music editor
Steven Corn .... assistant music editor (as Steve Corn)
Robert Fernandez .... scoring mixer
Dominique Forma .... music supervisor
David May .... music supervisor
David Reynolds .... music editor (as Dave Reynolds)
Christopher Young .... orchestrator
Transportation Department
David Menapace .... transportation captain
Michael Menapace .... transportation coordinator
James Whitehead .... transportation captain: San Francisco
Other crew
Thomas D. Adelman .... production manager (credit only)
Mitch Alden .... assistant: Christian Slater
Charlotte A. Baker .... key set production assistant: San Francisco
Susan Bradley .... title designer: Buena Vista Imaging
Bundy Chanock .... on-set production aide: San Francisco
Raquel Chung .... assistant: Marc Frydman
Susan Adele Colletta .... on-set production aide: San Francisco (as Susan Colletta)
Cynthia Connolly .... location assistant: San Francisco
Stephanie Cramer .... office production aide: San Francisco
John Crimmins .... office intern
Christopher Desmond .... medic: San Francisco
Mary Duann .... production coordinator: San Francisco (as Mary Duann-Kelly)
Randall Dudley .... production aide (as Randy Dudley)
Kimberly Edwards .... production accountant
Brad Epstein .... project consultant
J.J. Geary .... craft service (as John James Geary)
Gregg Gellman .... paramedic
Debra A. Girard .... assistant production coordinator: San Francisco (as Debra Girard)
Lesley Grant .... assistant: Christian Slater
Frank Heaney .... technical consultant
Winfried Heun .... spacecam technician
Sasha Hewitt .... key office assistant (as Sacha Hewitt)
Brian Hofstetter .... production aide
Samantha Holler .... office intern
Jerry Holway .... operator: Skyman
Shannon Kenny .... on-set production aide: San Francisco
Kristi Lake .... production accountant
Lucienne Lane .... assistant: Gary Oldman
Robert Lee .... production aide
Ellen Lent .... location manager: San Francisco (as Ellen Winchell)
Cynthia Lowe .... assistant production coordinator
Jennifer Lung .... location assistant: San Francisco
Kathy L. MacMillan .... production aide (as Kathy MacMillan)
Peter McAlevey .... project consultant
Joseph McCube .... office production aide: San Francisco
Donald C. McKeon .... project consultant (as Don McKeon)
Peter McKernan .... helicopter pilot
Paul Mendez .... assistant: Kevin Bacon
Michael Morris Jr. .... animal trainer
Jeanmarie Murphy-Burke .... unit publicist (as Jeanmarie Murphy Burke)
Chris Nieto .... office intern
Stacie O'Beirne .... production insurance services
Greg Orselli .... key production aide (as Gregory Orselli)
Frances Patterson .... assistant: Kevin Bacon
Jim Quillen .... technical consultant
Bruce Roberts .... production assistant
Bruce Roberts .... on-set production aide: San Francisco
Jennifer Rocco .... project consultant
Lisa Rocco .... lens technician
Lucien Rocco .... production aide
Renée Rosenfeld .... script supervisor (as Renee Rosenfeld)
Richard Rush .... project consultant
Jacqueline Sanders .... animal trainer (as Jacqueline D. Sanders)
Auriel Sanderson .... assistant: David Wolper
Brett Schlaman .... production aide
Jessica Scott .... office intern
Doree Sitterly .... animal trainer
Pamela Smith .... production accountant
Jeff Sparks .... production aide
James Spies .... production associate
Jules Sylvester .... animal trainer (as Julian Sylvester)
Chris Tallon .... on-set production aide: San Francisco
Hay Tanning .... assistant: Mark Wolper
Ken Twohy .... production assistant
Wally Uchida .... location manager (as Wallace Uchida)
Nicolas Vannier .... production aide
Kristin Viens .... office intern
Paula Wagner .... project consultant
Kenton Walters .... newsreel researcher
Moses Weinstein .... technical consultant (as Judge Moses Weinstein)
Garrard Whatley .... production assistant
James J. Wilhelm .... craft service: San Francisco (as James Wilhelm)
Michael Wimer .... project consultant
Cynthia Wise .... production accountant
Tim Ballou .... script clearance analyst (uncredited)
Mitchell Nyberg .... set coordinator (uncredited)
Francesca Prada .... location assistant (uncredited)
Robert 'Bobby Z' Zajonc .... aerial coordinator (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for strong images of prison brutalities, sexuality and language
122 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

When Henry Young tried to escape Alcatraz in real life, one of his accomplices was named Dale Stamphill, the same surname as Christian Slater's characterSee more »
Anachronisms: In the scene when Christian Slater's character is running down the hill after the Trolley in San Fransisco, you see many cars that are appropriate for the period lining the streets. If you look closely, however, you'll see Red-Zones. There weren't Red Zones in San Fransisco during this time.See more »
[first lines]
Prison Barber:They're coming! Run!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Clueless (1995)See more »
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
18 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
A Terrific, Inspiring and Entertaining Movie., 16 March 2006
Author: William Arvay ( from United States

I had not heard of his movie before. I caught it in mid-broadcast on cable, while channel surfing, eleven years after its release, and after the first few moments, decided to watch it to the end. It is now one of my favorites, right up there with "To Kill a Mockingbird." This film succeeds both as star turns and as an ensemble piece. But more importantly it succeeds in portraying American society in the 1930s as a whole, and involving the audience emotionally in both the the greater social issues as well as the smaller, more tender, personal issues. Despite its sensitivity, it is far from a chick flick. Despite it's theme of violence, it is far from a macho action flick. It is a courtroom thriller based on real events, and it is worth watching more than once.

The script writing and direction are calculated to be moving, and they succeed. Every actor in the film, every detail of the art direction, every camera angle plays on your heart and sense of moral indignation. To do so successfully, as I think this movie does, is the definition and purpose of art.

Kevin Bacon shows the most range in his film that I have ever seen from him. His physical performance was very demanding, his character work even finer. His chemistry with each actor in every scene is both bold and subtle, raw and complex. He reminds me of DeNiro's performance in the "Cape Fear" remake.

Christian Slater's character provides the viewer's point of view in the film, and he plays with great emotion and passion, and yet with a touch of reserve and detachment. I am strongly reminded of Kevin Costner's performance in "The Untouchables." Needless to say, Gary Oldman is a master at his craft, and always amazing to watch. Every character Oldman plays is memorable, and the antithesis of type-casting. His portrayal of the warden in this film is a brilliant balance of a socially acceptable monster.

This movie has received a lot of criticism for portraying historical facts inaccurately, and for taking sides in a political debate. I would remind the open-minded viewer that "To Kill A Mockingbird" also took great liberties with the facts of the historic court case on which it was based (there were six accused rapists, not one; the person on whom Atticus Finch was based was in reality the judge and not the defense attorney, etc.) and emphatically took sides in the even more hotly contested political debate over racial discrimination in America. Both films were based on real life, but neither claimed to be a documentary. Whether you resent historical tampering and political statements for dramatic impact is something only you can decide for yourself. Personally, I support both "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Murder in the First" as films whose merits outweigh their flaws.

In short, this movie is worthy of your time, and will reward you, whether you want entertainment thrills, a good popcorn movie, a morally inspiring story or the appreciation of a well-crafted piece of work. It falls a little short of "The Shawshank Redemption," but not far. Despite what this or any other review says, start this movie without any preconceived notions, and just go along for the ride. I think you will be surprised, happy and satisfied.

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Great performances, especially Bacon's sunnygirl10901
A Lie from Beginning to End jreeb
American flags and patriotism misterpurple
So Underrated!!! yotaxi
Gary Oldman jeroenmoons
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