Escape From Alcatraz
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Product Description

Frank morris and two brothers plan their 1962 escape from the rock-island prison. Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 04/11/2006 Starring: Clint Eastwood Bruce Fischer Run time: 112 minutes Rating: Pg Director: Don Siegel

One of Clint Eastwood's two most important filmmaking mentors was Don Siegel (the other was Sergio Leone), who directed Eastwood in Dirty Harry, Coogan's Bluff, Two Mules for Sister Sara, and this enigmatic, 1979 drama based on a true story about an escape from the island prison of Alcatraz. Eastwood plays a new convict who enters into a kind of mind game with the chilly warden (Patrick McGoohan) and organizes a break leading into the treacherous waters off San Francisco. As jailbird movies go, this isn't just a grotty, unpleasant experience but a character-driven work with some haunting twists. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews:

  • Factual account of life on Alcatraz
    Having visited Alcatraz on a tour recently I have a great sense of appreciation for this movie. The park ranger on Alcatraz (it is now a national park) stated that this movie is the most realistic movie ever made of life on the rock! Clint Eastwood portrays a very believable inmate who has a genius IQ. The locations are all authentic and the living conditions were right in line with accounts given by past inmates during interviews. I also would recommend The Shawshank Redemption, but would like to mention that the wardens in the two movies are different people. Patrick McGoohan is the warden in Escape From Alcatraz and Bob Gunton is the warden in The Shawshank Redemption. Overall Escape From Alcatraz is one of the best prison movies to date and well worth the time to sit down and enjoy!...more info
  • Escape from Alcatraz
    Based on a true story about the men whose 1962 escape from the San Francisco maximum-security penitentiary ushered in its demise, this thrilling prison-break tale by "Dirty Harry" director Siegel has all the elements of a great action film. And Eastwood, laconic as ever, is captivating as the brains behind the plan. His scenes with McGoohan, though brief, are thick with psychological tension. Though "Alcatraz" takes its time building to the climactic bust-out attempt by Morris's team, Siegel never lets your nerves rest....more info
  • This movie defines interesting!
    I wasn't alive when the real-life incident of some people escaping from the supposedly inescapable Alcatraz in 1962 took place, but after hearing about the incident, I knew I had to see this movie, which is based on the real-life incident. And oh yeah, it stars one of the greatest actors of all time, and his name is Clint Eastwood.

    "Escape From Alcatraz" seems to show realistic incidents of things that would take place in a prison, from having trouble getting along with certain inmates, to daydreaming about not being there. It's a known fact in this film that nobody has ever successfully escaped Alcatraz. There's been a few people who have died trying, but none have ever truly escaped. But Frank Morris (Clint Eastwood), who was sent to Alcatraz for getting caught trying to escape other prisons, has a plan in mind to try and do the unthinkable.

    Like in all of his movies, Clint Eastwood does a spectacular job, and I don't know about everybody else, but the idea of a movie where prisoners try to escape a maximum-security prison in which nobody thinks there could be a possible way of escaping, is VERY interesting. While you watch "Escape From Alcatraz" and see how Frank Morris and his friends struggle in prison and then try their best to make the first ever successful escape from the dreaded Alcatraz, you'll also find out that this movie is suspenseful, it has a good music score, and that it's hard to even blink while watching certain parts of it.

    If you like suspenseful dramas at all, then you've got to purchase "Escape From Alcatraz!" To say that it's worth owning would be an understatement....more info

  • Pretty Darn Good Prison Flick
    Prison movies have a tendency to dissolve into contrived stereotypes, so watching ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ is soothing relief. Outside of the typical sadistic warden (yet Patrick McGoohan makes a most interesting and believable villain), this film concentrates more on the logistics of breaking out of "The Rock"--the formidable federal prison Alcatraz, isolated on its own island in the icy waters of San Francisco Bay. Based on a true story, Clint Eastwood plays calm, level-headed Frank Morris, a prisoner on a mission to be the first to escape.

    While conditions inside the prison are stark, brutal, and harsh (yet name me one maximum security prison where they're not), this movie doesn't reach its stride until Morris makes up his mind to escape, comes up with an ingenious plan, then patiently implements it. Assisted primarily by two brothers (look for a young Fred Ward), the machinations as the prisoners chisel away at their air vents, smuggle tools into their cells, utilize plaster of paris (as well as making it in their tiny sinks), are fascinating viewing. There are setbacks to be sure, along with plenty of almost-getting-discovered suspense, but as ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ concludes you'll be cheering the escapees on.
    --D. Mikels, Author, The Reckoning...more info
  • BRILLANT
    A VERY SUSPENFUL FILM BY THE GREAT DON SIEGEL. THE MOVIE DOESN'T LOSE IT'S INTEREST AT ANY POINT. EASTWOOD'S PERFORMACE IS GREAT AS USUAL AND SIEGEL'S DIRECTION IS TOP-NOTCH. A WINNER!...more info
  • Awesome Clint Eastwood movie
    This movie is awesome. Clint Eastwood stars as Frank Morris, one of only three men ever to supposedly escape from Alcatraz prison in 1962. Eastwood plays the mastermind behind the escape. Patrick McGoohan plays the warden who becomes increasingly suspicious of Frank Morris as the movie progresses. The acting in this movie is top-notch. The night scenes throughout the movie are chilling and will keep you on the edge of your seat. This movie I'm guessing was probably relatively inexpensive to make, yet it is very effective at suspense and keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Watching this movie throughout the years made me want to visit Alcatraz, which I finally did in 2007. If you're a huge fan of the movie and find yourself in the Bay Area some time, definitely pay a visit to the island. There are things there that I didn't even know existed. Anyway, this movie not only is suspenseful, but also quite funny at times. The movie has that Clint Eastwood feel to it. This is a classic. Buy this DVD. You'll be glad you did. Welcome to Alcatraz......more info
  • Frank Morris against the Warden
    I won't elaborate on points so well covered by many reviewers here, but...did anyone else notice that The Warden is never named in this movie? The actual warden in charge at the time of the escape was Madigan, who wasn't deliberately cruel as depicted in this version. I doubt it was a coincidence that the warden remains unnamed...identifying him as a person would've begun to assign some vestige of humanity to the character ( from reading the actual book which this movie was based on, I believe the warden in the movie was a composite of wardens Blackwell, Johnston and Madigan ). Conversely, very little is shown regarding Morris's actual crime(s), beyond a very brief glimpse of his folder, with the word "larceny" visible. I suppose the intent was to build camaraderie and support throughout the movie ( might have been more difficult to garner sympathy for Morris had it been revealed that he was a sociopath, or chronic child abuser! )....more info
  • Second movie through Amazon.....
    This was the second movie I have bought on Amazon and I am VERY Pleased! The condition of both were new and they were in great condition and good movies! VT...more info
  • Eastwood gives his best screen acting to date...
    In the 29 years of Alcatraz's existence, and despite the strict measures, 39 captives tried to escape from America's premier maximum-security prison during its existence... Thirty six of whom failed... This script is about the other three, of whom nothing is known... They may have drowned in San Francisco Bay, or they may have got away...

    Morris (Clint Eastwood) was a loner, a rebel against society, the perfect hero that Siegel loves... Lee Marvin in 'The Killers', Steve McQueen in 'Hell is for Heroes', and Richard Widmark in 'Madigan' were all similar types in films which he had directed..

    In 'Escape From Alcatraz,' Eastwood gives his best screen acting to date... It is a charismatic performance that is so idiosyncratic, persuasive, and powerful... Eastwood, gave Morris the rough, intelligent aspect that is immediately palpable...

    The first few minutes of the film consist of Morris being brought by boat to Alcatraz, inspected by a doctor and thrown into a cell... Throughout this, Eastwood does not speak... But already the audience feels it... They know the character... He has been through this before... He tries to control his mind... He builds a barrier between himself and his surroundings... He holds back his fear but he's not so foolish as to appear brave... Behind his impassivity, his mind is calculating... He is studying everyone... Everyone knows, prison guards and fellow prisoners alike, that this is not a man to be intimidated with easily...

    But Siegel wasn't making a film about penal cruelty or miscarriage of justice or anything like that... He was presenting a meditative study of the inflexibility of human spirit, with a star strong enough in himself to join one sequence to the next... Both Siegel and Eastwood are known for violence, but there's relatively little of it this time...

    This is not to say that Siegel has no interest in character... Stereotype characters, such as Doc and Litmus, make the film more entertaining... A further example is the inevitable homosexual Wolf (Bruce M. Fisher), who points out that Morris is a potential victim but realizes he has met his match when he approaches him in the showers one morning and gets three unexpected blows in the groin and a bar of soap in the mouth for his harassment... Another familiar type of character is English (Paul Benjamin), the leader of the Black mafia, who sits in the yard far away from the white inmates... English proves to be a nice guy..

    But the biggest stereotype of them all is the cold warden, although Patrick McGoohan tries as hard as he can to provide Morris with some individual personality... Apart from the flower-crushing and constant attention to his nails, he is permitted by the scriptwriter merely to recite phrases that might have come from the prison handbook: 'No one has ever escaped from Alcatraz alive. Alcatraz was built to keep all the rotten eggs in one basket. I was specially chosen to make sure the stink from that basket doesn't escape.'

    But two elements in the film are absolutely real: one is the central character, which will be considered in a moment, and the other is 'The Rock' itself...

    Siegel's overwhelming achievement is to send the audience to infamous prison for two hours... The claustrophobia, the implicit suppression of any joy, the barbarity of being caged in isolation cells, all these suffocating atrocities come across with such reality that one experiences a total sense of relief when the camera moves into the recreation yard for the clear bright light of every early morning... Siegel's technique in this respect is unique...

    Siegel's film style seems almost a cinematic interpretation of Eastwood screen persona: lean, clean, and harsh... Here is one example: When the incorrigible psychopath is out to finish Eastwood, his one chance is in the exercise yard... When he enters the yard, he is in need for a weapon... He has none! He slowly advances into the yard toward his victim... The camera goes down to the man's right hand as he walks... After a moment, another man puts a knife in that hand... The camera stays on the hand as he keeps moving... After another moment, another hand reaches in and grabs the con's arm.... The whole brief sequence is loaded with surprise and suspense... It is in two words: pure cinema...

    Siegel's movie follows the known facts of the escape constantly, permitting itself only one act of poetic license at the very end... Throughout the film, Siegel uses a yellow chrysanthemum as a symbol of 'heart', to indicate that although the brutal system may have removed everything from the inmates save the questionable privilege of remaining alive, in some men at least their spirit survives...

    'Doc', an elderly inmate who has spent twenty years there but who is permitted to paint and cultivate chrysanthemums, introduces the concept...

    ...more info
  • Film is good, but the books are better
    Apparently most of the reviewers have only seen the movie. If you're familiar with the books on the subject: "Escape from Alcatraz" by John Campbell Bruce, and "Breaking the Rock" by Jolene Babyak, who actually lived there, you'll find that the real story is way more intriguing than the film could ever be. So much of the film tries to unnecessarily sensationalize events or characters, like the the black inmate English, and his relationship to Morris never existed, nor could it have in 1960-62 prison life. One of the reasons these guys wound up in Alcatraz was because of their extreme racial animosity. The efforts of the (four) prisoners to get out was more intense, involved, time consuming, and dangerous than the film makes out.

    Do yourself a favor and hit a library near you for the "real meat"....more info
  • Excellent movie
    This movie, I understand, waa a portayal of a true event. It is riveting and suspenseful. I would urge anyone to make this purchase witht heir eyes closed....more info
  • ALCATRAZ is TOP NOTCH EASTWOOD FILM
    I remember seeing this one on the big screen in 1980 and I will never forget the teaser trailer with the words "NO ONE HAS EVER ESCAPED FROM ALCATRAZ. AND NO ONE EVER WILL...". This film is top notch from start to finish. Filmed on location at Alcatraz with excellent supporting cast(Fred Ward, Jack Thibeau, Robert Blossom, Patrick McGoohan)and if you look really close you can spot Danny Glover as an inmate.By the way, the actor playing the warden(Patrick McGoohan) is not the same actor who played the warden in Shawshank Redemption. Bob Gunton played the warden in that one....more info
  • NOT MEANT TO BE FUN
    Having visited the man-made hell-hole on earth known as Alcatraz a few times, this movie gave me chills in its stark realism. This is not meant to be a fun romp in the joint. Frank Morris, et al were real people with criminal minds. Jerry Fielding's music score was fittingly earie. See it, You'll never want to be incarcerated.
    TONY HOROWITZ...more info
  • Great, Epic Thriller
    This movie is one of the best movies I have ever seen. There is so many very suspenseful scenes and good directing by Siegel. By far this movie has to go down in my books as one of the best movies ever and will be in my collection....more info
  • Clint on The Rock
    Clint Eastwood plays Frank Morris, who along with John and Clarence Anglin escaped from "The Rock" in 1962. Morris has a genius I.Q. and has escaped many a prison, but the warden (Patrick McGoohan) underestimates him. Since we're never told what Morris is in prison for, we can't really dislike him, so naturally we root for him to successfully escape. Cold reality of prison life is vivid throughout. Frequent Eastwood director Don Siegal turns in another top notch job. The fact that we know how this will end does little to diminish excitement....more info
  • Escape From Alcatraz
    Very good movie that is very accurate in relation to the true story. Anything with Eastwood in it will rule anyway.

    Only thing I would change on the DVD version would be that only the "Widescreen" version is available. I would much rather see the movie in the regular television format, and keep the option to view in in widescreen if I wanted to....more info

  • Engaging true story of men's struggle in a harsh world.
    As the movie opens, the man (Eastwood) is stripped of his clothes and dignity. The warden tells him no one has ever escaped from Alcatraz and never will. From the inmate's perspective, this statement lays down a challenge for him. With amazing resourcefulness, brilliance, patience, and team-work, he and two others escape from what the movie portrays as a tyrannical, cruel jail.

    Some people say you can judge the state of a society by its jails. If this is the case, according to this movie, society is inhospitable. A man showed a flower, which he painted a picture of himself holding, which to him symbolizes what freedom the jail can't take away. Painting is the only thing this man has to occupy his mind and the warden takes it away from him. The man goes crazy and chops off his fingers in the woodshop. It isn't known where he got the flower from but the escapees leave it on the shore the night they escape. The warden crushes it in his hand, vowing to find the drowned bodies in the water...

    I think the movie portrays the escape as a hard-earned act of justice; the unlikely triumph of men desperately trying to survive in a cruel place (or cruel world, as the viewer may see fit). This movie is comparable to "The Shawshank Redemption" which I also recommend. The same actor portrayed the warden in each movie. I think both movies downplay the criminality of the inmates and instead portray them as the victims and their captors as guilty of cruelty. Both involve successful jail escapes except that Escape from Alcatraz involves a much simpler plot and in the Redemption, there is a more powerful reversal after the escape....more info

  • OK, good Clint, but slow
    Slow-moving prison film with Eastwood as Frank Morris, a convict transferred to the hellish Alcatraz from an Atlanta prison. Morris, after standing up to the local prison rapist-to-be, starts to look for a way out. No one had ever escaped alive from Alcatraz, but he and several cohorts try to foil the warden and authorities. The movie is by-the-numbers and plods along, but the authentic locations and Eastwood's force of a personality lift it a little bit....more info
  • One of the greatest movies ever!!!!!!!!
    Clint Eastwood one of America's favorite actors and one of mine as well stars in Escape from Alcatraz. This movie is one of my favorite movies. Clint portrays Frank Morris the masterminder of Alcatraz who made a brillant escape plan to escape from the infamous prison. This film is based on a true story of the three men who escaped in june on 1962. Well to Frank Morris, and the Anglins i hope u made it....more info
  • Great GREAT and even more Great
    This move was the most suspenceful movie I have ever seen. It kept me awake all night long. It was an awsome flick. Clint plays an awsome role that noone elese could play if they tried. He was awsome. You should see it quick....more info
  • escape from Alcatraz
    I want to know how the flower got on the rocks at the end of the movie when they all three went into the water. The warden found a flower and I want to know where it came from. I know the artist who chopped off his fingers grew them. I am puzzled. Help...more info
  • WAITING.....
    I have this DVD and I am waiting and hoping PARAMOUNT will make a Special Edition of this movie with a new Anamorphic (16x9) widescreen presentation and interview and commentary with Clint Eastwood before it's too late....more info
  • Excellent
    This is a gripping, suspenseful tale, well-scripted and skillfully directed. Clint Eastwood is at his best, and the supporting cast is also superb. One of the best!...more info
  • FUN
    This movie keeps you interested with the distinct characters. Love learning the cleverness of these desperate felons to prevail escape....more info
  • The real Prison Break!
    The famous island prison of Alcatraz has been the basis for more than just one film that was based on actual events that happened there. Perhaps the most famous of all is "Escape From Alcatraz" starring Clint Eastwood. Eastwood plays the part of Frank Morris, who along with several other inmates was famous for being the only ones to effectively escape from the prison. Although the results of that 1962 feat resulted in nothing more than tattered lifejackets washed up in far away places and the F.B.I. deeming them dead in the water, the mystery surrounding their whereabouts and the ingenuity used in making an impossible escape possible, still makes for a fascinating drama.

    Director Don Siegel can be applauded here for bringing to the forefront a wide variety of cons who all have a story, personality and ultimately become a part, in one way or another, of the portrayal of Frank Morris and his days on the rock. The period setting is good and shows some hard luck cons as well as downright evildoers like the one known as "Wolf", who is an antagonist of Frank's throughout the film. The lines of racial tension are shown very believable scenes while still providing a building friendship between Frank and the con known as English. Frank Ward plays John Anglin and does a great job of being a somewhat happy go lucky fella whose brother is also at the rock with him. Together, the brothers soon realize they share the same goal as Frank Morris...to break out of the rock.

    Although the disc lacks in special features (no bio or interviews, no behind the scenes) it is still a classic Clint Eastwood movie and one that has to rate in the top five prison films of all time. Good to also note is Larry Hankin, who plays the part of one of the planners known as Charley Butts. Butts has a cell next to Morris and is an integral part of the films sequences of Morris executing his plan of escape. In the actual escape, this man was known as Allen West, and Hankin's facial features when shown next to West are uncannily similar, for the two could almost pass as twin brothers.

    You'll meet Doc the painter, whose own sanity is challenged greatly by the smarmy Warden (Patrick McGoohan) who is not so much of a hard case as someone who systematically does anything he can to mess with the minds of the prisoners, taking away anything that might possibly make them happy. The film has many tense moments while the chance; timing and sometimes pure luck scenarios are played out. The teamwork and trust between these men are perhaps what makes it so unreal, and yet so thrilling at the same time.

    The ending will leave some wondering...did Frank Morris make it out? Eastwood can be commended here for an excellent job, and alongside Frank Ward and Jack Thibeau (who played Clarence Anglin) the three help bring the biggest prison break in American History to the big screen.
    ...more info
  • Great Clint Flick
    Clint plays it cool in this movie and having been to Alcatraz a few times, it really hits home as to how these guys could have escaped the Rock....more info
  • The greatest prison escape movie of all time!
    This film set the standard for all " escapism " movies to come. Clint is the man, as usual. The direction is top-notch. If the first hour didn't kill you with suspense, the second hour sure as hell will. Great performance by Patrick McGoohan is also a plus. For Clint fans, and fans of high quality movie making....more info
  • Must have
    Have loved the film for as long as it's been out. Recently, visited Alcatraz and can't tell you enough ,how amazing and eerie place it is to visit.You gain more of an appreciation for the film ,after going to Alcatraz.If you haven't been there,make it a necessity.It just makes the movie,so so much better....more info
  • THE BEST MOVIE EVER
    This movie is the best movie you will ever see. Its based on a true story with Clint Eastwood.(which is a very good actor). The movie is very exciting and is very clever. I think this is the best movie ever and I recomend it to anybody who likes to watch good movies....more info
  • COCKROACH STORY
    Since MADIGAN and ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ, two movies directed by Donald Siegel, have been presented these last months in the DVD standard, it would be a good occasion to rediscover this director who gave us such masterpieces as INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and THE KILLERS.

    The plot of ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ isn't the most original story on the subject but contains a certain number of interesting ideas. Firstly, Richard Tuggle, the screenwriter, and Donald Siegel have chosen to compare Alcatraz to a zoo and the prisoners to animals trying to escape from their cages. The leader of the coloured prisoners compares himself to the king of the apes and the only newspapers permitted in Alcatraz are of the wildlife documentary kind.

    So you will be amazed by the number of animals a prison like Alcatraz can hide in his walls : mouses, cockroaches, rats and birds. They're all here, in front of Siegel's camera, to make us understand the condition of the prisoners. OK, it's a little bit heavy, symbolically speaking, but unusual in this kind of movie.

    Since the prisoners are constantly observed, the only way to escape from this prison is to be present and away in the same time. How ? by imitating the reality with walls in paper patiently built during the night or by putting mannequins under their blankets. Another way to escape from Alcatraz is to become mad . Believe me or not, It's not Clint's choice.

    As bonus features, you will only have a scene access (thank you, thank you, thank you). Sound, surprisingly, is not as good as images.

    A DVD for the beast in you....more info

  • love Love LOVE THIS MOVIE
    Forget Clint Eastwood - this movie is based on a true story and I LOVE IT. That was a personal comment and I meant it as such. I just happen to be drawn to any movie involving jail threats, and a movie (not only) ALL ABOUT escaping from one is heaven already, but a movie about the successful escape of the most 'impossible' of all jails, in which the main character is a guy who escapes from ALL jails he's ever been in is just Heaven with frosting. Add in Clint Eastwood and that's just even more frosting. In fact, this movie turned me into a clint eastwood 'fan' of some sort, as when I saw it i had no idea who the star was nor could care less. Awesome movie - just ... awesome in every way. 10 out of 10. 100 out of 100....more info
  • THE BEST MOVIE EVER
    This movie is the best movie you will ever see. Its based on a true story with Clint Eastwood.(which is a very good actor). The movie is very exciting and is very clever. I think this is the best movie ever and I recomend it to anybody who likes to watch good movies....more info
  • great suspence
    EASTWOOD PORTRAYS FRANK MORRIS AND HIS WITTY SLY WAYS OF THE GREAT "ESCAPE" FROM THE MOST FAMOUS PRISON SITE IN AMERICA ALCATRAZ. I ENJOY THE PLOT AND THE SUSPENCE WAY OVER TO MY TOP TEN LIST, THE DIRECTER HAS MADE SOMETHING VERY WELL CRAFETED IN THE MEMORY OF THE GREAT ESCAPE OF ALCATRAZ....more info