Reviewed Jun 12, 2012
Steve Grzesiak’s review:
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of what may or may not have been the only successful escape from Alcatraz, an anniversary that was apparently marked with several relatives of the escaped men returning to the island just in case Frank Morris and friends made a return to mark the big day.
Of course, they didn't return and it's highly unlikely they are around to be able to do so in the first place. The escape still continues to fascinate to this day and though Don Siegel's impressive retelling of the events may not try and provide any answers as to what happened to Morris and friends, it still stands as a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable chronicling of the escape in its own right.
Clint Eastwood plays Morris, and although he doesn't exactly operate outside his comfort zone with his performance and the character he's given, occasionally fed some excellent one-liners as well ("It looks like it's been sticking in somebody's ass!"), he's about the most reliable hand for the role that you can think of. Patrick McGoohan is a surprise as the admittedly rather stereotypical sadistic warden and although the rest of the case is largely made up of unknowns, Fred Ward, as one of the Anglin brothers that escaped with Morris, is the most engaging of the support.
I think that over the years the film has become regarded as one of those reliable parts of TV schedules that you're quite happy to find on because you know that you will be well served, but Escape From Alcatraz is actually a much better film than that. As far as prison dramas are concerned, personally I think there is hardly anything separating this from the likes of The Shawshank Redemption in terms of quality. It really is still one of the very best of its kind.