Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This moving prison drama tells the fascinating story of prison inmate Robert Stroud. Stroud's prison life is unrelenting, and he becomes increasingly withdrawn, until one day a sickly sparrow flies through the bars of his cell. Stroud, using homemade medicines, cures the bird. Fascinated, he begins studying ornithology.
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MGM Home Entertainment

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Burt Lancaster
as Robert Franklin Stroud
Karl Malden
as Harvey Shoemaker
Telly Savalas
as Feto Gomez
Thelma Ritter
as Elizabeth Stroud
Betty Field
as Stella Johnson
Neville Brand
as Bull Ransom
Edmond O'Brien
as Tom Gaddis
Hugh Marlowe
as Roy Comstock
Whit Bissell
as Dr. Ellis
Crahan Denton
as Kramer
Graham Denton
as Kramer
James Westerfield
as Jess Younger
Stella Johnson
as Betty Field
Leonard Penn
as Eddie Kassellis
Robert Burton
as Senator Lewis
Lewis Charles
as Chaplain Wentzel
Nick Dennis
as Crazed Prisoner
William Hansen
as Fred Daw
Harry Jackson
as Reporter
Len Lesser
as Burns
Adrienne Marden
as Mrs. Woodrow Wilson
George Mitchell
as Father Matthieu
Edward Mallory
as John Clary
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Critic Reviews for Birdman of Alcatraz

All Critics (17)

An exhaustive abstraction of the John Frankenheimer social outcast

Full Review… | May 6, 2011

Frankenheimer's compelling, if slightly fictionalized biopic of Robert Stroud is extremely wel acted by Burt Lancaster and the rest of the cast, including Thelma Ritter and Telly Savalas.

Full Review… | January 8, 2011

This preachy bio pic is a hokey take on the birdman with Lancaster being misused on every occasion.

July 15, 2007
Film Threat

Prison biopic that's more interested in its liberal message about prison reform working for redemption than in anything else.

Full Review… | February 11, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Even with its limping screenplay and general drift toward competence rather than excellence, Birdman does pull us well enough into its fistful of compelling characters.

Full Review… | August 9, 2006
Nick's Flick Picks

Absorbing biopic.

February 12, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Birdman of Alcatraz


Lancaster gives Robert Stroud far more character, class and compassion than he ever deserved. Taken as fiction, Birdman of Alcatraz is good cinema.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


it's pretty melodramatic but i'd forgotten how really touching it is too. i love lancaster and thelma ritter and r.i.p. karl malden. according to people who knew the real stroud, his character in the film is highly fictionalized.

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


A Hollywoodized dramatization of the Birdman story which didn't seem like Alcatraz at all.

Lafe Fredbjornson
Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

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