Brute Force


Brute Force

Critics Consensus

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Reviews Counted: 11

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,632


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.9/5

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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.

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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
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Critic Reviews for Brute Force

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4)

  • 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

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.

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

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

Arash Xak
Arash Xak

Super Reviewer


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

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


I love Dassin, but I just wasn't crazy about this one. Lancaster is great and the choice of angles is superb as well.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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