Escape From Alcatraz (1979) Movie Review – No Spoilers!

Escape From Alcatraz movie poster.

Based on a true story, Frank Morris (portrayed by Clint Eastwood), a seasoned convict notorious for his multiple prison escapes, finds himself incarcerated at Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz, a maximum security prison located in San Francisco, California, is infamous for its brutal living conditions and impenetrable security. As Morris navigates the dehumanizing environment and clashes with the sadistic warden Arthur Dollison (portrayed by Patrick McGoohan), he becomes determined to break free from the island’s confines. Teaming up with two fellow inmates, the Anglin brothers (portrayed by Fred Ward and Jack Thibeau), Morris meticulously orchestrates a daring plan to defy the odds and escape from Alcatraz once and for all.

Genres: Thriller, Biographical Drama, Adventure, Prison, Escape

Is “Esacpe From Alcatraz” Worth The Watch?

Click the ratings above to learn more about the movie on IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Letterboxd.

My Rating For The Average Movie Viewer

3/5 Up For Debate

My Rating for Someone Who Likes the Genre, Actor, Director, or Similar Movies

Must Watch Films Movie Rating Worth Meter, Worth It

4/5 Worth It

Who Is This Movie For? Who Will Enjoy It The Most?

Clint Eastwood fans, those who like prison or escape movies, and fans of biographical thrillers/dramas.

My Quick Spoiler-Free Thoughts

“Escape From Alcatraz” is a gripping biographical thriller that offers high entertainment value and solid execution. Although it may not capture your attention immediately, the tension and intrigue build steadily, leading to a compelling second and third act. Clint Eastwood excels as Frank Morris, delivering a standout performance alongside Patrick McGoohan’s menacing portrayal of Warden Arthur Dollison. The pacing is spot on, though the film’s ending feels a bit abrupt, leaving you wanting more. The visuals are impressive, and the music effectively supports the story without overpowering it. While the emotional beats and side character development could be stronger, fans of Clint Eastwood, prison escape movies, and true story dramas will find this film especially engaging. “Escape From Alcatraz” may not be for everyone, but it is certainly an enjoyable watch.

Cast & Crew

  • Director: Don Siegel (Also famous for directing “Dirty Harry”)
  • Writers: J. Campbell Bruce (book), Richard Tuggle (screenplay)
  • Main Actors: Clint Eastwood (Frank Morris), Patrick McGoohan (Warden Arthur Dollison), Roberts Blossom (Chester ‘Doc’ Dalton), Jack Thibeau (Clarence Anglin), Fred Ward (John Anglin), Paul Benjamin (English), Larry Hankin (Charley Butts), Bruce M. Fischer (Wolf), and Frank Ronzio (Litmus).
  • Music Director: Jerry Fielding
  • Cinematography/Director of Photography: Bruce Surtees
  • Editor: Ferris Webster
  • Casting Directors: Marion Dougherty, Wallis Nicita
  • Production Designer: Allen E. Smith
  • Set Decorator: Edward J. McDonald
  • Makeup Department: Joe McKinney

Similar Movies

Shawshank Redemption, The Great Escape, Escape from Pretoria, Papillon, Midnight Express, Escape From New York, and Von Ryan’s Express.

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