Brute Force


Brute Force

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 11


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,636
User image

Watch it now

Brute Force Photos

Movie Info

Hard-hitting and gritty, this prison film chronicles the cruelty of a sadistic, egomaniacal prison guard who vents his considerable hatred upon the inmates of Cell R17. One inmate in particular tires of the abuse and begins plotting a daring escape after spending time in solitary confinement.


Burt Lancaster
as Joe Collins
Hume Cronyn
as Capt. Munsey
Howard Duff
as Robert `Soldier' Becker
Anita Colby
as Flossie
Art Smith
as Dr. Walters
Roman Bohnen
as Warden Barnes
John Hoyt
as Spencer
Frank Puglia
as Ferrara
Jeff Corey
as Freshman
James Bell
as Crenshaw
Jack Overman
as Kid Coy
Whit Bissell
as Tom Lister
Sir Lancelot
as Calypso
Ray Teal
as Jackson
Crane Whitley
as Armed Guard in Drain Pipe
John Harmon
as Roberts
Gene Roth
as Hoffman
Carl Rhodes
as Strella
Guy Beach
as Convict Foreman
Edmund Cobb
as Bradley
Tom Steele
as Machine Gunner
Alex Frazer
as Chaplain
Will Lee
as Kincaid
Ruth Sanderson
as Miss Lawrence
Jack S. Lee
as Sergeant
Billy Wayne
as Prisoner
Rex Dale
as Prisoner
Frank Marlowe
as Prisoner
William Cozzo
as Prisoner
Glenn Strange
as Tompkins
Al Hill
as Plonski
Rex Lease
as Hearse Driver
Blanche Obronska
as Young Girl
Hal Malone
as Young Inmate
Samir Rizkallah
as Convict's Son
Kippee Valez
as Visitor
View All

Critic Reviews for Brute Force

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (1)

  • The escape sequence has the spatial intricacy of the heist in Dassin's Rififi, but the tone is tougher, bleaker, and more suspenseful.

    Apr 8, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Bristling, biting dialog by Richard Brooks paints broad cameos as each character takes shape under existing prison life.

    Apr 8, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • This is one of Dassin's best films.

    Jun 24, 2006

    Tom Milne

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Producer Joan Harrison, who seems to have profited from a long association with Alfred Hitchcock, and Director Irving Pichel have created mounting suspense which comes to a distinctly surprising and explosive climax as the jury brings its verdict.

    Mar 25, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Starring Burt Lancaster and cast against type Hume Cronyn, Dassin's first foray into noir is one of the bleakest and most powerful crime prison melodramas ever made, an existential chronicle that also serves as an allegory of American society at large

    Mar 31, 2009 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • First rate all the way.

    Apr 8, 2008 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Brute Force

  • Jan 11, 2019
    Great cinematography and the closing action scene is excellently staged by director Jules Dassin. But some of Richard Brooks' script is brutishly corny and forced. (Yeah, I know.) Nonetheless, despite its flaws, worthy of all prison noir film fans.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Jan 10, 2017
    This early Burt Lancaster piece is an underrated classic. I don't understand the G rating but the strong performances make it a fantastic tour de force.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 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!
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 02, 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.
    Jonny C Super Reviewer

Brute Force Quotes

News & Features