Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) - Rotten Tomatoes

Birdman of Alcatraz1962

Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Birdman of Alcatraz Photos

Movie Info

This moving prison drama tells the fascinating story of prison inmate Robert Stroud. Stroud's prison life is unrelenting, and he becomes increasingly withdrawn, until one day a sickly sparrow flies through the bars of his cell. Stroud, using homemade medicines, cures the bird. Fascinated, he begins studying ornithology.

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Burt Lancaster
as Robert Franklin Stroud
Karl Malden
as Harvey Shoemaker
Telly Savalas
as Feto Gomez
Thelma Ritter
as Elizabeth Stroud
Betty Field
as Stella Johnson
Neville Brand
as Bull Ransom
Edmond O'Brien
as Tom Gaddis
Whit Bissell
as Dr. Ellis
Hugh Marlowe
as Roy Comstock
James Westerfield
as Jess Younger
Stella Johnson
as Betty Field
Leonard Penn
as Eddie Kassellis
Chris Robinson
as Young Convict
Robert Burton
as Senator Lewis
Lewis Charles
as Chaplain Wentzel
Nick Dennis
as Crazed Prisoner
Harry Jackson
as Reporter
Adrienne Marden
as Mrs. Woodrow Wilson
George Mitchell
as Father Matthieu
Edward Mallory
as John Clary
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Critic Reviews for Birdman of Alcatraz

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (1)

Birdman of Alcatraz avoids the norm and has been fashioned with subtlety and care for characterization that is memorable and refreshing.

May 9, 2005 | Full Review…

Burt Lancaster plays the role with a newfound subtlety and restraint.

October 11, 2019 | Full Review…

The drama of his gradually converting his cell into a laboratory for the study of bird diseases is sure-fire material and Mr. Frankenheimer does justice to it;but it tails off at end into more prison melodrama.

July 31, 2019 | Full Review…

It's a wonderful biopic and a lesson in persistence and hope.

October 30, 2018 | Full Review…

Birdman of Alcatraz is a quiet, contemplative work by a great director just as he's starting to work at the top of his game. It features some of the era's best black and white cinematography and a career-best performance by a screen legend.

October 29, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

An exhaustive abstraction of the John Frankenheimer social outcast

May 7, 2011 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Birdman of Alcatraz


Lancaster gives Robert Stroud far more character, class and compassion than he ever deserved. Taken as fiction, Birdman of Alcatraz is good cinema.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


it's pretty melodramatic but i'd forgotten how really touching it is too. i love lancaster and thelma ritter and r.i.p. karl malden. according to people who knew the real stroud, his character in the film is highly fictionalized.

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


A Hollywoodized dramatization of the Birdman story which didn't seem like Alcatraz at all.

Lafe Fredbjornson
Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

Birdman of Alcatraz Quotes

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