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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.

Director:

Don Siegel (as Donald Siegel)

Writers:

J. Campbell Bruce (book), Richard Tuggle (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Frank Morris
Patrick McGoohan ... Warden
Roberts Blossom ... Chester 'Doc' Dalton
Jack Thibeau ... Clarence Anglin
Fred Ward ... John Anglin
Paul Benjamin ... English
Larry Hankin ... Charley Butts
Bruce M. Fischer ... Wolf
Frank Ronzio ... Litmus
Fred Stuthman ... Johnson
David Cryer David Cryer ... Wagner
Madison Arnold ... Zimmerman
Blair Burrows Blair Burrows ... Fight Guard
Bob Balhatchet Bob Balhatchet ... Medical Technical Assistant
Matthew Locricchio Matthew Locricchio ... Exam Guard (as Matthew J. Locricchio)
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Storyline

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 (Clint Eastwood) masterminded this elaborately detailed, and, as far as anyone knows, ultimately successful, escape. In twenty-nine years, this seemingly impenetrable federal penitentiary, which housed Al Capone and "Birdman" Robert Stroud, was only broken once by three inmates who were never heard of again. Written by Niz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flucht von Alcatraz See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,306,354, 24 June 1979

Gross USA:

$43,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$43,004,381
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was released sixteen years after its source book of the same name by J. Campbell Bruce was published. In 1966, Don Siegel wrote a treatment called "The Rock", which was based on this book. See more »

Goofs

When at the warden's briefing with Morris, the warden drops his nail clipper into the dish with another nail clipper present. At this point they both are closed. At the next shot of the dish after Morris removed one nail clipper, the remaining clipper is now all of a sudden open. See more »

Quotes

English: Ten years ago, I was in this bar in Alabama when two dudes started hassling me. That was their first mistake. They pulled knives. That was their second mistake. They didn't know how to use them. That was the last mistake they ever made. I got two 99-year sentences, back to back.
Frank Morris: Seems like you could've pleaded self-defense.
English: The dudes were white, man. Just like you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Spoofed in Moonrise Kingdom (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

D Block Blues
by Gilbert Thomas Jr.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
true story of the great escape from Alcatraz
13 May 2016 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Escape from Alcatraz is a 1979 film starring Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGooghan, Roberts Blossom, and Paul Benjamin.

Eastwood is Frank Morris, who, with the two Anglin brothers (their names were changed for the film) contrived the most elaborate scheme ever to escape "The Rock." Their bodies were never found, and a photo surfaced some years later of the brothers in Brazil. The escape, plus Alcatraz's bad reputation, helped it close less than a year later.

The movie gives a good idea of the horrors of prison life, and particularly the horrors of Alcatraz. Frankly, I don't think the escapees cared if they died. I'm sure anything was better than being in Alcatraz.

Escape from Alcatraz is old-fashioned in that it has the art of the buildup, something lost in today's scripts. Today you must get to the point of your story in the first ten minutes. A film, for instance, like San Francisco where the earthquake happens toward the end would be a no-no.

So we see the preparations, and they're impressive - papier mache heads with hair stolen from the barber shop to fool the guards into thinking they were asleep, digging out a grill at the back of the cell and putting a false grill up to fool the guards; welding a digging tool together with silver from a dime; the making of a raft; playing music while digging to hide the noise (though this really isn't shown). It was painstaking.

Patrick McGoohan plays the warden, who, like all film prison wardens, is a horror show. When he sees a portrait of himself in a cell, he takes away the painting privileges of one of the inmates, Doc. When he finds out two inmates are talking cell to cell, he demands that they be separated.

Actually, at the time of the escape, the warden was Olin Blackwell, considered the most lenient warden Alcatraz had ever had. And by then, inmates were performing music (shown in the film), and had weekend movies (also shown).

Clint Eastwood, heavier than we've seen him in years, does an excellent job as Frank Morris, low-key but lethal. There isn't a tremendous amount of dialogue, but with his great presence and Frank's quiet leadership, we really don't need it.

Recommended for a gritty look at life on Alcatraz, and the fascinating escape.


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