Escape From Alcatraz (1979)


Don Siegel directs Clint Eastwood, Fred Ward and Patrick McGoohan in this docudrama depicting three men’s methodical prison break from the impossible to escape jail. 

A taut and engrossing procedural that serves concurrently as an appropriate vehicle for Clint. The world of Alcatraz is illustrated with sparse elan, the effort and cunning put into the escape presented with little fan fare. There’s only one playful moment of embellished trickery and Siegel’s masterfully patient framing becomes a little more frazzled the closer to hard fought for freedom we get. Did the real escapees make it out? I’ve still no idea, despite a recent letter and photo suggesting so. Is this as compelling as the similar gruelling grind presented in Le Trou? No, but it’s a solid stab at the same emotions.



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