Getting Off The Rock: 5 Alcatraz Movies Worth Watching
Alcatraz may be the most famous prison in the entire world, for a number of different reasons. For one, just looking out from the city of San Francisco you can see it on an island in the middle, always looming. It was also considered impossible to escape from, as it was on an island, guarded to the teeth and surrounded by cold water which was known for having Great White sharks swimming through it every so often. It is also the only prison in the world that has people visiting it every day, mainly due to the fact that it is closed and is now just a popular tourist attraction in the Bay area. This has also drawn Hollywood's attention and a number of different very good movies have been made about the island prison. Check out five Alcatraz movies actually worth watching, listed below.
"Birdman of Alcatraz."
Burt Lancaster starred as a convicted murderer known as The Birdman, due to the fact that he reformed from a violent street thug to one of the world's foremost ornithologists. This is due in large part to his relationship with the Warden of the prison played by Karl Malden, who helped him to reform. This film garnered four Academy Award nominations in 1962.
"Escape from Alcatraz."
This movie followed the storyline of the three prisoners who actually escaped from Alcatraz and were thought to have gotten away from the infamous island prison. Starring Clint Eastwood, this Don Siegel produced movie was a huge box office hit, as it told a true story about escaping one of the most famous prisons in the world. They had to lay fifteen miles of electrical cable to actually be able to light the film, as there was no electricity on Alcatraz when they shot.
One of the best-known Alcatraz movies that was a huge blockbuster smash, "The Rock" tells a more modern terrorism story about a team of rogue commandos who take over the famous prison and threaten to launch missiles at San Francisco unless they get what they want. Starring Nic Cage, Sean Connery and Ed Harris, the star-studded cast was also directed by Michael Bay, who helped to make himself one of the biggest directors in Hollywood after this movie made a huge profit.
A tough-to-find movie from RKO in the thirties, this Alcatraz film tells the story of a crazy doctor who is doing experiments on his patients on the island of Alcatraz, using volunteer convicts to try and cure blood diseases. This Alcatraz movie sounds ripe for a remake in this day and age in Hollywood, given the tendency toward remakes. But even if it's never made again, check out this old prison movie. You won't be disappointed.
"Murder in the First."
Kevin Bacon stars in this movie about a young thief who was sent to Alcatraz in 1938 and is placed in solitary confinement after trying to escape. A lawyer, who knows little to nothing about the court room, takes his case against the prison when he is finally let out of the hole after 3 years, forever scarred. Bacon gives an excellent performance, one that was overlooked by many people.