- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
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- Historical Importance
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bird man of alcatraz
- kevin sellers
Yes, it's a watered down version of the real Robert Stroud, and yes it's preachy in parts, and yes it's about forty five minutes too long, but there are several scenes of undeniable power. Maybe it's best to forget that it's a whitewash job on Stroud and just focus on the central conflict in the film between a lifer and a warden (both excellently played by Burt Lancaster and Karl Malden) with polar opposite views on penology. Seen in that light the film achieves a certain timelessness and universality that is obscured when you are forced to worry about whether it is glamorizing its central character. Give it a B.
Don't Believe Everything You See
RedRain's review basically sums up my own feelings toward this film. I watched this movie knowing nothing of Robert Stroud, so I absolutely sympathized with his character. Burt Lancaster was great in his role and I grew to like him more and more as the film progressed. Karl Malden was good as well because I couldn't stand his character but I like him as an actor. So after drying my eyes I decided to research the real Stroud - wow! what a complete 180! The real guy made my skin crawl. So now I'm left with an angry feeling. To think of all the people who wrote trying to get this guy's release because of his portrayal by this film. I feel emotionally duped. I don't think I'll ever be able to enjoy this movie again which is too bad because in a vacuum it really is quite good.
Great performance by Lancaster!
The real Robert Stroud was one of the most vicious and uncontrollable prisoners in the penal system and I deeply resented this film even being made. Stroud thought nothing of killing before he was sent to prison and while he was actually in prison, killing a guard and assaulting several others. Having said that, Burt Lancaster's performance is excellent but flawed in that he does not show the murderer for what he was. Stroud's expertise with birds over the 30 years he spent in Leavenworth Prison is undeniable and the papers and books he wrote about the birds were considered first-rate. Fed up with Stroud's actions and demands, the warden at Leavenworth had him transferred to Alcatraz where he could not keep pets or birds of any kind and he was in Alcatraz until the day he died 21 years later. The real question is why our penal system even allowed Stroud to keep birds over those 30 years, as they presented a true health problem within the prison. Stroud's birds were allowed to fly in his cell and his cell was always filthy. This certainly would not occur today! Again, while I applaud Lancaster's performance, I loathe this film for portraying Stroud as some sort of gentle, misguided soul when, in reality, he was a cold-blooded psychopath.
this is my favorite Burt Lancaster film and the star gives a great performance. Lancaster took chances and I respect his choices if not entirely his personal beliefs. Fine film
Frankenheimer Tribute To Evil(1962)
Another fictionalized account of a murderer Robert Stroud who excelled in killing people and in the study of birds and their diseases. While screenwriters love to create their own characters like Frankenstein, this real life Frankenstein was just another weirdo who likes to victimize people. Sorry, just not going to get my sympathy. While the acting is top notch Burt Lancaster in the lead role, along with Karl(Sekulovitch) Malden as the Warden this well told tale is pretty much just fiction. I'm sure the Aviary demographics would appreciate it. 2.5 stars out of 5.
Minky Phillipe needs to quit drinking the Fox News Koolaid and leave politics out of reviews.
- Minky Phillippe
Films should be required to state that: the following film is pure fiction. Robert Stroud, one might say, was ahead of his time, in that he had the Al Gore syndrome---he was crazy about birds but had real problems when it came to humans, so he eliminated them. If the film industry would leave there politics at home there would be a more accurate accounting of what is truthful and what is not.
Portrait of a Convicted-Turned-Bird Expert.
- Frank Harris Horn
Burt Lancaster gives one of the most bravura performances of his career as he stars in John Frankenheimer's dark, moody classic prison drama based on Tom Gaddis' best-selling novel. Lancaster portrays Robert Stroud (1890-1963), a convicted murderer sentenced to life imprisonment, during which time, he develops the knowledge and skills in the caring and feeding of birds. Karl Malden also stars as Harvey Schumacher, the cruel, ruthless prison warden, whose authority Stroud defies against during his incarceration. Edmond O'Brien, who serves as the narrator of the movie, later appears as the author Tom Gaddis in the final scene. The real-life Robert Stroud died on November 21, 1963, the day before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Also starring Thelma Ritter, Neville Brand, Betty Field, Telly Savalas, Whit Bissell, James Westerfield, Crahan Denton, Hugh Marlowe, Len Lesser, George Mitchell, Leo Penn, Lewis Charles, Robert Burton, Adrienne Marden & Harry Holcombe.
The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
- James Higgins
This is such a fascinating film, and Burt Lancaster's bravura performance makes the film. It is always interesting and the subject matter was handled with creativity and style. The screenplay is very strong, the supporting cast is quite good. Karl Malden, Neville Brand, Betty Field, Telly Savalas and Edmond O'Brien all give memorable performances. Thelma Ritter however rises above them all and is just amazing. John Frankenheimer's intense direction is remarkable.
- Jarrod McDonald
Burt Lancaster's reputation sometimes gets trashed because of his liberal nature and his willingness to take on very liberal roles and subjects for films. But I have to say that his work in this one is definitely Oscar worthy, and I think he's better here than in 'Elmer Gantry.' The film had a lot of truths in it, and it caused me to reflect in many ways. I like it when a film does that. The pacing of the story is very deliberate, very methodical. We are on a journey with Stroud in this production. I read as much background information about him as I could before sitting down to watch the movie. But nothing prepared me for Lancaster's portrayal and the thoughtful screenplay.
Very Intense And Emotional
- Bruce Reber
I have seen this film many times, and each time I never fail to be moved by Burt Lancaster's excellent performance (for which he should have won the Best Actor Oscar) as life prisoner Robert Stroud, who became a world renowned ornithologist. Stroud seemed to be a victim of his reaction to the oppression of prison and those responsible for putting him there. By chance he finds a sparrow, raises it and sets it free, but it returns to him and he comments that the bird couldn't live in the outside world and needed the security of prison.This became a metaphor for Stroud's own life, and he came to have a special affection for his birds because they were a symbol of the life of freedom he could never have. He doesn't participate in the riot at Alcatraz because he knows that any attempt at escape is futile and also because after his many years of imprisonment he is resigned to his fate.The rest of the cast, photography and direction of "Birdman" is very good. I would rank this as one of Lancaster's top 5 films.
Great film, just one thing missing!
This is a great film, with the exception that the truth is missing--Robert Stroud when asked what he would do if releasd, he stated, I'll kill again. Holly wood deception at it's finest!!!
One of the most inspiring movies I have ever seen.
I watched this movie in 2003 when I was in Phoenix. I was really fixed to the TV and inspired by this true story. Such movies really do a great service to the society by bringing out goodness in various forms and at the most unexpected of places.Highly recommend this movie to one and all.