The Big House
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Not the first of the prison pictures, but the one that truly put the genre on the map. Playboy Kent (Robert Montgomery), driving drunk, kills a couple of pedestrians and is sentenced to a 10-year manslaughter term. His cellmate is forger Morgan (Chester Morris), a tough but essentially decent con; the cell-block leader is Butch (Wallace Beery), whose outer oafishness hides a cruel, calculating mind. Butch lives for the day that he can bust out and doesn't care who gets hurt along the way. Panicking, Kent "rats" on Butch and is murdered during the climactic breakout as a… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's an outsized, abstracted version of everyday life circa 1930."
‑ Noel Murray, The Dissolve
"Any niggling doubts about the film disappear in the last twenty minutes."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"A good early prison drama with a strong, Oscar-nominated performance of Wallace Beery as a tough murderer; Beery took over after Lon Chaney's sudden death."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Great early prison drama from the ever-inventive George Hill."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Despite its flaws, for those who love this genre it's a must see film."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
More reviews for The Big House on Rotten Tomatoes