Brute Force Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 18, 2010
Excellent prison escape flick with Burt Lancaster butting heads with sadistic guard Capt. Munsey (a young Hume Cronyn -- imagine a more vicious version of Percy from The Green Mile). Several inmates at Westgate prison have come up dead or injured, and there is some suspicion that Munsey's way of doing his job may be to blame. There are several pretty shocking scenes, and the scene where Munsey literally beats information out of one prisoner has an almost homoerotic S/M feel to it. The climactic battle between the guards and the inmates is as exciting as anything Hollywood has come up with in recent years, and the ending is satisfying. Highly recommended.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2009
What saves this movie from being a typical prison flick is its good ending although it would have been better without those crappy last lines said by the doctor
Super Reviewer
½ October 3, 2008
gritty drama about a prison break. burt lancaster is outstanding in only his second film after a great debut in the killers and hume cronyn plays against type as a sadistic guard. there's some sappy melodrama in the flashback scenes but overall pretty damn good
Super Reviewer
½ November 12, 2007
I love Dassin, but I just wasn't crazy about this one. Lancaster is great and the choice of angles is superb as well.
Super Reviewer
½ May 18, 2007
Brute Force is like a film noir version of Shawshank Redemption, except not quite as good despite its influence. The characters for the most part are pretty good (even if they're not entirely convincing) and under Dassin's direction it looks beautifully gritty. The character of Calypso was as annoying as Hume Cronyn was a weasely and rotten little shit while Burt Lancaster plays Collins almost effortlessly. The back stories involving "The Women On the Outside" seemed for the most part unnecessary, but the last ten minutes are brutal and so completely worth it.
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2011
With a realistic and brutally honest ending, the film comes to an end. However, during the movie we are pulling for the criminals to make a daring escape. Each character has their own stories and backgrounds that make you care about their fates. The film captures the feeling of despair and the bars and darkened prison cells are all on display and bring about the feeling of a cage. These cages are filled with people and no matter how much Captain Munsey thinks he is in a position to do as he pleases, he never realizes that they are still human beings. He will reap what he sows down the line. Highly Recommended!
Super Reviewer
April 2, 2010
Good prison movie staring Burt Lancaster. After one infraction too many, prison guard Cpt. Munsey assigns tough guy Collins (Lancaster) and his fellow prisoners to the dreaded drain pipe detail. With the support of his cellmates, Collins hatches an escape plan that could cost him his life. Brute Force is well acted with a strong story. Many films of this era had tendencies to add a lot of sappy melodrama, but not this time, Brute Force never went down that path, and is on par with anything Hollywood has produced since. Overall, well worth hunting down.
Super Reviewer
October 13, 2008
If you know you're in for real thick melodrama from the opening credits to the closing lines and you still go for it, then you're in for a perfectly constructed, gorgeously shot noir.
½ January 3, 2014
Uhhhh, 91% of critics and 90% of Flixster users liked this crap? I'm dumbfounded. I had to watch this over about five different settings because it kept putting me to sleep. I get that it's an old film, but the editing was terrible, making it almost nonsensical, the acting was horrendous and the fight scenes were laughable, even for the 40s. I'm only being generous with the 2.5 stars because of Burt Lancaster, and I guess I'm feeling nostalgic. Ya, wow, this was just not a good film. I don't get the ratings...
March 19, 2010
81/100. This is certainly one of the best prison movies ever made. All the performances are good. Burt Lancaster is terrific, and this is the film that catapulted him to stardom. Hume Cronyn gives one of his best performances. Charles Bickford, Howard Duff, Ella Raines, Jay C. Flippen, Jeff Corey and Whit Bissell are all very memorable.

The film moves along fast and without a dull moment. Great score, the cinematography, and particularly the lighting are exceptional The plot is fascinating, thanks to the powerful screenplay. Jules Dassin direction is very controlled and precise making the film very taut and exciting.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2007
Brutally campy post-war machismo fueled prison escape flick sprinkled with pulp romance suspension of disbelief just simply could not hold up to the force of this one.
June 10, 2008
Hume Cronyn as a ruthless prison guard? I thought so too until I popped this baby in and found out just how sinister he could be as an actor. Definately a prototypical performance for future prison break movies. Speaking of which Burt Lancaster had a flair for these types of roles. His character Joe Collins is like a powder keg of visceral rage. The ideas and mood of the inmates are all channeled through him. Great acting all around and how about the gritty realism of this picture? Each frame is like watching one of those old news reels that documented the inner workings of a maximum security prison during the mid twentieth century. Underrated noir film.
Super Reviewer
½ March 25, 2008
one of those films that you can tell was interfered with by the studio. cronyn & lancaster are fantastic. their performances and a great ending keep this from being a total disappointment.
June 5, 2007
Here's a nice prison film for you, with Burt Lancast as the tough con and Hume Cronyn as the tougher sadistic guard who watches over him, a war of wills encased in a prison!. . ..
March 27, 2007
In the "Prison film" sub-genre (?), I can't think of a better one than this noir in which prison is meant to mirror all of society. Absolutely hard-hitting without trying to shock (ala more recent fare like OZ) and bleak as all hell. BRILLIANT casting with Lancaster in the lead and with roles going to the gorgeous Yvonne DeCarlo and Ella Raines (in flashback); Howard Duff (radio's Sam Spade); Hume Cronyn (as sadistic facist prison captain); and always welcome character actors Whit Bissell and the (gravel-voiced favorite) Charles McGraw. Maybe Jules Dassin's finest hour (which is damn sure saying much). Soon to be re-released on Criterion DVD, it's one that's sure to be worth the $30!
½ March 15, 2014
A harsh noir tragedy filled with potent performances. The movie has an ax to grind - and once ground, puts it to use.
December 30, 2012
Terrific Burt Lancaster prison movie with many other recognisable actors.
December 4, 2012
Burt Lancaster, in his second movie, is the leader of the prisoners who try to escape. Hume Cronyn gives a memorable performance as the warden. One of the greats of the melodrama era, with Charles Bickford, Howard Duff, Whit Bissell, and Ray Teal.
May 14, 2012
Brute Force is an intense film. It is about a prisoner who plans to rebel against the chief guard. Burt Lancaster and Hume Cronyn give wonderful performances. The screenplay is well written. Jules Dassan did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama. Brute Force is a must see.
December 14, 2011
Extremely brutal for the time. A must see prison flick.
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