Murder in the First
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This shocking prison drama was inspired by a true story. In 1938, Henri Young (Kevin Bacon), sentenced to Alcatraz for stealing $5, attempted to escape from prison with three other prisoners. One of the escapees was captured, and to curry favor with Warden Glenn (Gary Oldman), he informed on the others. Young was soon brought back to custody, and was to be punished by spending 19 days in solitary confinement. Nineteen days stretched into three years, in which Young was kept in a pit with no light, no toilet, no furniture, and nothing to read. Young emerged from solitary a vengeful madman, and… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The figures are right, the investment looks good, but the emotional pay-off is minimal."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"Regardless of how this version raises the hackles of Alcatraz aficionados, Marc Rocco's movie is a solid and affecting example of film making."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"Moving story of justice but too intense for kids."
‑ Sarah Wenk, Common Sense Media
"Average thriller."
‑ Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum
"Standard courtroom thriller with two fantastic performances."
‑ Scott Weinberg,
"More than likely you will forgive the compromises -- the story of Henri Young needed to be told."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Slater, who in certain shots looks curiously like Kevin Costner, is an actor with talent, but he is too young for this role, and not confident enough to dial down a little."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A must see for Kevin Bacon's performance, especially in the early scenes."
‑ Brandon Judell, PopcornQ
"O roteiro maniqueísta e a direção pesada, nada sutil, de Rocco comprometem irremediavelmente o filme - que ainda conta com a atuação nada convincente de Slater."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"It's a sorry excuse for a serious movie."
‑ Scott Rosenberg, San Francisco Examiner
"Woefully over-manipulative and over-the-top."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"An example of what happens when a picture has everything going for it except good writing and good direction."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"It is Bacon's absolutely powerhouse performance that helps make 'Murder' one of the classic prison pictures of all time. (published 1-27-95)"
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"An arbitrary by-the-numbers courtroom/crime yarn that sometimes shifts between being too preachy and pretentious."
‑ Frank Ochieng, Movie Eye
"As a thriller, Murder in the First has all the elements but is so flamboyant and overblown that it becomes off-putting quite quickly."
‑ Chris Hicks, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
More reviews for Murder in the First on Rotten Tomatoes

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