Escape From Alcatraz (1979)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

No one can escape from Alcatraz, right? Try telling that to lifer Frank Morris (Clint Eastwood). This Donald Siegel-directed nailbiter is a reenactment of Frank Morris' 1962 attempt to bust himself and two other cons out of The Rock. Eastwood, as Morris, tilts with nasty warden Patrick McGoohan for a while, befriends several fellow prisoners, and picks the guys with whom he'll make his escape. Among his break-out buddies are the Anglin Brothers (Fred Ward and Jack Thibeau), with whom he'd served … More

Rating: PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: J. Campbell Bruce, Richard Tuggle
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 9, 1999
Paramount Home Video


as Frank Morris

as Clarence Anglin

as John Anglin

as English

as Charley Butts

as Zimmerman

as Fight Guard

as Medical Assistant

as Cellblock Captain

as Cranston

as Stone

as Exam Guard

as Guard

as Associate Warden

as Visitors' Guard

as Guard

as Doctor
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Escape From Alcatraz

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (4)

Escape from Alcatraz is relentless in establishing a mood and pace of unrelieved tension.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

It's an austere depiction of the tedious routines of prison life, and of the courage and strength of spirit needed in coping with unpleasant warders, tough fellow-inmates, and a life sentence.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's one of those very difficult exercises in which large emotions, like the compulsion to be free, are reflected in minute actions, like the chipping away at stone with a pocket nail clipper.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

What Mr. Siegel has made is fiction, a first-rate action movie that is about the need and the decision to take action, as well as the action itself.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Quiet, tense prison break drama has violence, profanity.

Full Review… | April 15, 2015
Common Sense Media

One of the better prison break films.

Full Review… | September 1, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Escape From Alcatraz

Maybe for its time, it was considered a great masterpiece but with little character development and no real emotions it's hard to like this slow paced uneventful long movie!

Film Crazy

Super Reviewer


An efficient prison break movie that manages to be tense and gripping, even though there is nothing really memorable about the plot and it does not make any attempt to conceal the artificial and clearly manipulative efforts to create suspense in many key scenes.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

Warden: Some men are destined never to leave Alcatraz... alive.†

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

Escape From Alcatraz has always been a movie of great interest to me. I've seen it probably a dozen times by now and I still am engrossed by every minute of it. I first watched this movie when I was nine years old, shortly after visiting Alcatraz. The prison is an eerie place and the movie brings that out through the characterization of the inmates and especially of the warden. The film has obviously been worn down over the years, but I still hold it up as one of the best prison movies out there. Especially, prison escape movies.

Frank Morris arrives at Alcatraz and is told by the warden that it is inescapable. Morris had broken out of prisons before and that's why he was sent to Alcatraz. He starts nosing around trying to find a way out, when two old prison buddies show up. They too were sent to Alcatraz for breaking out of prison. Through prison jobs †they get the necessary equipment they need to try to break out of there cells and hopefully the prison altogether. The ending isn't much of a secret, unless you know absolutely nothing about the history of Alcatraz, but it is a suspenseful film nonetheless.†

Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood are again collaborating on this one, and it, to me, is their best collaboration. Eastwood is playing a prototypical Eastwood character, while a nice supporting cast brings presence to the characters around him. There's intrigue in the friendships, anger at the warden, and a hope that Frank can really make it out. The movie succeeds because it is able to make us care if a criminal is able to make it out.†

The film isn't a masterpiece by any stretch, but what it is, is a cool and intriguing film about one of the most famous jailbreaks in history. Actually, THE most famous jailbreak in history. I wouldn't call it a must watch, but if you are a fan of Eastwood or at all interested in Alcatraz, it is a very worthwhile film. The pacing is just right and we all know Siegel knows how to create suspense from just about anything. There's not a lot of action in the movie, mostly plotting the escape and what not, but the suspense level couldn't be higher throughout the whole film.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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