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Escape from Alcatraz

Year: 1979
Director: Don Siegel
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Danny Glover
Like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the films of James Bond, the cinema release of Escape from Acatraz was a bit before my time (or out of my demographic), but I still have fond memories of watching it on the Friday night movie many times as a kid.

It depicts the famed Only Man Ever to escape from Alcatraz (even though there's probably been a dozen of them by now in films). The difference is that Frank Morris (Eastwood) actually did it, and this is the true story based on the events.

It's really a long procession of prison movie clichés; the cruel warden, the prison yard dramas, alliances and violence, and all the while Morris scratches his way through a wall ion his cell over the course of many years and becomes the now-legendary escapee.

I remember individual scenes more than the plot - in particular the grizzled old timer who has his painting privileges taken away and chops his fingers off in protest, which Eastwood (as cool as the Man With No Name) collects into a box and shoves at a guard, sneering 'put that in your report'.

Interesting that we end up cheering for a convicted criminal when he breaks out of jail and goes into hiding among us again. The power of the movies, maybe?

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