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Birdman of Alcatraz

Birdman of Alcatraz(1962)

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  • response to previous review

    • kevin sellers
    • 2/1/17

    Mr. (or Ms.) Jitters: No, I'm not kidding. If you see prison as a place of rehabilitation then you must consider such factors as individuality and self worth. Otherwise prison will be what it so sadly is now, a revolving door. Of course, if you see prison, as Mr. or Ms. Jitters apparently does,, as a place of vengeance, retribution, and punishment, then I guess you'll be just fine with penal conditions as they are now, overcrowded and hopeless.

  • Say What??

    • J. D. Jitters
    • 2/1/17

    Mr. Sellers: Are you kidding? Individuality and dignity? When the Bob Stroud's of this world start by showing, individuality and dignity to their victims then I promise you it will be returned. Just ask the victims families who suffer all their lives about individuality and dignity. Your just the individual that Minky Philippe describes in his revue, now that victim is dead who cares, lets poor our hearts out for the poor murder! Say what???

  • response to minky phillipe's review

    • kevin sellers
    • 1/31/17

    Concerning the previous review by Minky Phillipe (and hopefully I won't have to wait seven years for a reply, like Pamela!) if this film had simply been an example of liberal Hollywood's glorification of a criminal then I would be in wholehearted agreement with Mr. Phillipe. However, I feel that "Birdman Of Alcatraz" is much more than that. Among other things it tackles the issue of what the true nature of incarceration is and how when a prisoner is locked up it is not just his or her freedom that is sacrificed but their individuality and dignity as well. Burt Lancaster 's lifer makes this abundantly clear to Karl Malden's warden in the key scene where the warden reads and is outraged over the lifer's thoughts on penology. Perhaps Mr. Phillipe feels that this is ok, that a prisoner has no business retaining a sense of self or a sense of worth as a human being once he or she is behind bars. If so, then let him say it and not hide behind false accusations like "the nasty left wing media" which, to put it kindly, is a charge that is at this stage more than a bit shopworn.

  • Pamela, Let Me Explain---

    • Minky Phillippe
    • 1/31/17

    Pamela: Let me explain, Al Gore wrote a book explaining that he felt trees (hug a tree) were more important than man and had (trees) a priority when it comes to life. It seems that Stroud had the same feelings as far as birds go. Actually, I didn't bring politics into this film, the script the writers did. Hollywood always love to bring there insane feelings (regressive liberalism) into films and there sympathy for evil over good is obvious. A murder is always one who's sympathy comes because "Mommy, didn't tuck junior into bed at night, thus he became a murder. One always wonders why junior didn't murder his mother rather then some stranger. But non-the less that's the excuse Hollywood gives. Well like it or lump it, that is the meaning of my last review.

  • bird man of alcatraz

    • kevin sellers
    • 1/4/15

    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

    • Meredith
    • 7/23/13

    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!

    • RedRain
    • 7/1/13

    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.

  • Great Lancaster

    • Adventure
    • 11/19/12

    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)

    • nshepard
    • 10/20/12

    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.

  • excellent film

    • Pamela
    • 10/20/12

    Minky Phillipe needs to quit drinking the Fox News Koolaid and leave politics out of reviews.

  • "Pure Fiction"

    • Minky Phillippe
    • 9/4/10

    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
    • 8/31/10

    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
    • 4/9/10

    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.

  • Deeply moving

    • Jarrod McDonald
    • 2/11/10

    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
    • 4/30/09

    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!

    • Jack
    • 4/29/09

    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.

    • Raj
    • 4/6/08

    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.

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