8.2/10
10,982
397 user 45 critic

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 19 November 1932 (USA)
Trailer
2:33 | Trailer
Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

Robert E. Burns (by), Howard J. Green (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Little Caesar (1931)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A small-time criminal moves to a big city to seek bigger fortune.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Glenda Farrell
Scarface (1932)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An ambitious and nearly insane violent gangster climbs the ladder of success in the mob, but his weaknesses prove to be his downfall.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson
Stars: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young hoodlum rises up through the ranks of the Chicago underworld, even as a gangster's accidental death threatens to spark a bloody mob war.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner. Romantic entanglements and jealousies confuse the scheme.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The biography of the pioneering French microbiologist who helped revolutionize agriculture and medicine.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Paul Muni, Josephine Hutchinson, Anita Louise
Fury (1936)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to fake his death and frame the mob for his supposed murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart
White Heat (1949)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien
High Sierra (1941)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After being released from prison, notorious thief Roy Earle is hired by his old boss to help a group of inexperienced criminals plan and carry out the robbery of a California resort.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Curtis
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A wealthy composer rescues unemployed Broadway performers with a new play.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Warren William, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The biopic of the famous French muckraking writer and his involvement in fighting the injustice of the Dreyfuss Affair.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Paul Muni, Gale Sondergaard, Joseph Schildkraut
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Muni ... James Allen
Glenda Farrell ... Marie Woods
Helen Vinson ... Helen
Noel Francis ... Linda
Preston Foster ... Pete
Allen Jenkins ... Barney Sykes
Berton Churchill ... The Judge
Edward Ellis ... Bomber Wells
David Landau ... The Warden
Hale Hamilton ... Rev. Robert Allen
Sally Blane ... Alice
Louise Carter ... James Allen's Mother
Willard Robertson ... Prison Board Chairman
Robert McWade ... F.E. Ramsey
Robert Warwick ... Fuller
Edit

Storyline

Having returned from fighting in World War I, James Allen doesn't want to settle into a humdrum life and decides to set off to find his fortune. He travels the length and breadth of America, working as a skilled tradesman in the construction industry. When times get tough however, he finds himself living in a shelter where an acquaintance suggests they go out for a hamburger. What the friend really has in mind is to rob the diner and Allen soon finds himself working on a chain gang with a long jail sentence. Allen manages to escape however and heads to Chicago where over several years he slowly but surely works his way up the ladder to become one of the most respected construction engineers in the city. His past catches up with him and despite protestations from civic leaders and his many friends in Chicago, he finds himself again on the chain gang. Escaping for a second time, he accepts that to survive, he must lead a life of crime. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hers was the Kiss of Judas...He was CRUCIFIED on the chain gang! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 November 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$195,845 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (original release)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was selected into the National Film Registry in 1991 for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". See more »

Goofs

When Mr. Parker is showing James Allen around the old office, one of the workers outside of the office momentarily breaks character and looks straight into the camera. See more »

Quotes

James Allen: Don't you see, Marie? If you get a divorce, I'll give you anything you want. I swear I will.
Marie Woods: What's the use of arguing, arguing, arguing? I told you I'm satisfied with the way things are!
James Allen: Can't you see that neither of us will be happy this way?
Marie Woods: I'm happy! I'm taking no chances of letting you go! Hey, listen! You're going to be a big shot someday with plenty of sugar and I'm going to ride right along. Get that? Huh, I'm no fool. I'd be a sucker to let you go now.
James Allen: But I'm in love with another ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in History's Mysteries: Chain Gangs (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Someone to Care For
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played during the scene in the car by the lake
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Masterpiece that keeps influencing as much as it enthrals.
4 March 2008 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Being a man who has a very unhealthy penchant for any film that deals with incarceration, it is with great elation that I can proudly proclaim this to be one of the greatest films of the genre. I had to finally give way and import the film on Region 1 to see what I was missing, boy was it joyous to see how this film has influenced some of my favourite film's of all time.

This is one tough movie, it pulls no punches and the only surprise is that it was made in 1932, that the film is a grizzled masterpiece is down to the astute direction of Mervyn LeRoy and a quite brilliant performance from Paul Muni in the lead role of James Allen. Based on the real life writings of Robert Elliot Burns, the film is a harsh kick in the guts about the brutal penal system that existed when most of us were mere glints in our Father's eyes. It is part of a Warner Brothers controversial classic's box set that is available on Region 1, and its place on any controversial classic list is worthy.

The film had major impact on reviews of the penal system, it caused uproar in Georgia (the film never mentions Georgia, but they knew it was about them), law suits followed and Robert Elliot Burns himself was constantly pursued by the authorities despite the state being privy to the actual facts of his case. I wont be boorish with the details as it is well documented across the net and those who haven't seen the film really need to address that issue. This picture strips it down to a primal story that begs a viewing from anyone interested in the genre - or actually for those interested in brilliant cinema from a golden era - period! 10/10


18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 397 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed