- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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I so regret not watching this whole film. I started watching it, felt it was too violent, and went on to do other things. Then, as the story unfolded, I got involved, and totally loved what I saw of the film. When Ben said the story was based on the author's own life, I deeply regretted giving up on the film too soon. Please, TCM, will you show this film again? I would so love to watch it. I will even "suffer through" the brutally violent scenes. Thank you, TCM. You guys get better and better! Thank you so much.
I saw this for the first time by accident - I missed the very ending, so I'll be looking for it again on TCM. What I did see of the film was brilliant, though. A very riveting storyline.
This was the first classic I ever saw.
- Julius Clark
I was 9 when I saw this movie for the first time. I was totally engrossed with the film then, and at age 53 I still am. Some stories are timeless, and this is one of them.
I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
- Dashiell Barnes
A powerful, raw film based upon Robert E. Burns' memoir. Muni gives a searing, Oscar-nominated performance as a WWI vet who becomes the victim of the inhumane conditions in the Deep South. So mighty is this film that after it's release, led to reformations in the penal system. It is somewhat dated, but is still an engaging, haunting, social-protest made by Warner Bros. I give it a 4.5/5.
I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
- Mark Sutch
They never slouched off on the chain gang
If you ever wondered what it was like to be in a chain gang this is the movie for you. Here a guy tagging along with a crook gets pinned for the crime and goes off on a chain gang. He eventually escapes and lives away, but returns to serve out his time. Then has to try and escape again. The ending is great, it shows what chain gangs did to those lived through it. Based on a true story.
I am a Fugitive from the chain gang
- Karl roussell
Just because a flim is very old does not mean it does not have a kick in it. This one still kicks and more. Back then they had the guts to make a damming flim of the prison system and not get put down for it. This movie does speaks for it's time which was right in the depression. It follows the story of a returning veteran unable to find work and gets himself into a real jam. Chain gang that is. The scenes there are hard, real and very brutal which shows how the sometimes very worst of human kind is on the side of the good guys. I don't think there has been a flim with such impact and striking realism about living like this. With not using any music which wasn't needed and properly would have made the flim lose its real impact. This flim punches and kicks us telling life on the chain was no night in the county jail. Paul Muni one of Hollywood's great forgotten actors give a magnificent performance as James Allen a guy who just can't get a break no matter how he tries to do the right thing. One of the true great classics that speaks for its period and the unfortunates that lived it.
- tom morganti
And he made more than a few. Legend has it that the final scene was an accident in the lighting rack that Jack Warner decided to leave in. Do you know if there's any truth to this?
great but seldom seen film
I remember seeing this film for the first time many years ago on local network television. It really impressed me with its realistic portrayal of chain-gang life in the early 1920s. The scene where james allen (the fugitive)sits down to a prison meal of grease, fried dough, pigfat and sorghum, is one of my favorites. Great performances by paul muni as allen and glenda farrell (as the vindictive rooming house owner)
Gritty & Realistic Prison Drama
- Bruce Reber
I have seen this film several times and saw it again on TCM Essentials 5/2/09. I watched the intro by Robert Osborne & Alec Baldwin and learned that this story is based on a real-life convict played in the film so powerfully by Paul Muni, and that he served as technical advisor, but that Warner Bros. had to hide him so that officials in Georgia would not extradite him for escaping a chain gang there. "Fugitive" has to be one of the most realistic and shocking prison dramas of the 30's or any decade for its depiction of the inhuman conditions that existed in most prisons at that time. It also shows how an innocent man is destroyed by the brutality and suffering that is forced on him working on a chain gang, and also how he is victimized by an unjust and corrupt prison system.
Paul Muni Magnificent
- David Atkins
Paul Muni, possibly the greatest star at the great Warner Bros company of players in the 1930's and 1940's a company that included Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, is magnificent, and that is the apt word, for his stunning portrayal in this classic film. Paul Muni creates an indelible portrait of a man undergoing the horrors of the prison chain gangs and his performance and this film was instrumental in the horrid practice being discontinued. A landmark performance in a great film. SImply amazing Direction and camera work in this film. Muni went on to star at Warners in "The Story of Louis Pasteur" "The Life oF Emile Zola" -which won Muni his solo Oscar-, Juarez, and on loan out to MGM "The Good Earth"....an amazing body of work in a short period of time. Alas, after leaving Warners his star faded and he did not get a great role until the late 1950's at Columbia for "The Last Angry Man". Soon thereafter the parts dried up and he did a few TV bits... Paul Muni deserves to be remembered and recognized for his intense, brave performances, for taking great chances in the roles he played and for the legacy he left in American dramatic film.
Excellent, powerful film.
This should be seen by all - not to be missed. This film is a powerful, touching story of the brutality and inhumanity of life in prison in the first half of of the twentieth century. It clearly shows the need to give prisoners some level of mercy and hope rather than simply unending punishment and despair.