I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
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I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
Warner Bros.' hard-hitting chain-gang movie was a faithful adaptation of the similarly titled autobiography of Robert Elliot Burns. Paul Muni plays World War I veteran James Allen, whose plans of becoming a master architect evaporate in the cold light of economic realities. Flat broke, Allen is forced to pawn his war medals, which have become a glut on the market. When Allen is innocently involved in a restaurant holdup, the police don't buy his story that the robber (Preston S. Foster) had forced him to clean out the cash register, and Allen is sentenced to ten years on a chain gang.… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Based on a true story, its style is simple, direct, forceful -- even after more than six decades."
‑ Don Druker, Chicago Reader
"A moody, nasty-minded crime movie full of rage and anchored by some deep, moody visuals."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"One of the stronget Depression era's social protest films, this expose shattered audiences in its harrowing depiction of guards' brutalities and other inhuman conditions of prison chain gangs."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"a dark and thrilling story that's all the more gripping because it's based on a true story"
‑ Don Willmott, Filmcritic.com
"[A] difficult and heart-wrenching story of justice perverted."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is a picture with guts. It grips with its stark realism and packs lots of punch."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"There's enough here to make I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang worthwhile, but its problems are deep enough to keep it a long way from sniffing greatness."
‑ Gabe Leibowitz, Film and Felt
"Suprisingly no-holds-barred portrait of institutional bullying for such an early film."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
"Paul Muni gives a heart-wrenching performance."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Powerful social commentary and brilliant filmmaking."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Muni gives a brilliant performance as a regular guy wrongly convicted of murder and subjected to the hardships and beatings of a dehumanising chain gang regime."
‑ , Time Out
"The film suggests the denial of the common worker, whose service to industry is only as worthy as his social status."
‑ Matthew Sorrento, Bright Lights Film Journal
"The prison scenes are blatantly manipulative-and effective-but Fugitive really takes off during an intense escape sequence."
‑ Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine
"A searing Oscar-nominated performance from Paul Muni as the desperate James Allen and powerful uncompromising direction ensure that this film is as harrowing and vital today as it ever was."
‑ , Film4
"One of the great social dramas of all time. The finale is a knock-out. One of Muni's best performances."
‑ Bob Bloom, Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
More reviews for I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang on Rotten Tomatoes