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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forceful and emotionally moving picture.
Terrific true story about the trial that brought down Alcatraz. It tells the tale of Henry Young (Kevin Bacon), whose parents had died leaving him alone to look after his younger sister, then later wrongly imprisoned for murder and sent to alcatraz. Where he is tortured by the prison warden Mr.Glenn (Gary Oldman).
When his escape plan fails, he isthrown down a...
Published on 2 Jan 2004 by jesuslovesyou47

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DVD in bad condition
So looked forward to seeing this again, but the DVD skipped and stuck over the last 15 minutes or so. Spoilt our enjoyment!
Published 21 months ago by MRS VERONICA NEILSON


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forceful and emotionally moving picture., 2 Jan 2004
Terrific true story about the trial that brought down Alcatraz. It tells the tale of Henry Young (Kevin Bacon), whose parents had died leaving him alone to look after his younger sister, then later wrongly imprisoned for murder and sent to alcatraz. Where he is tortured by the prison warden Mr.Glenn (Gary Oldman).
When his escape plan fails, he isthrown down a steel flight of stairs, beaten, his ankles were slashed condemning him to walk with a hobbnle for the rest of his life and then placed in solitary confinement for three years. Then when he is taken out of solitary confinement he kills the man who grassed on him and his life is put on trial. Taking his case to court is Christian Slater's young attorney, who turns the trial into an indictment of a repellent institution.
There are some memorable performances with Kevin bacon stealing the show. He gives a convincing performance as the young convict and made me realise what a fine and under-rated actor he is. Gary Oldman was great as always and did his sinister bad guy routine very well. But I felt Christian Slater's performance was a bit wooden and he only just scraped by.
This film was moving made me really feel for Henry Young. The only possible flaws being Christian Slater and at times it was ever so slightly cheesy. But overall I would say this was a great film by Marc Rocco. Forcefull stuff
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Bacon's Best Efforts, 23 Dec 2007
Kevin Bacon(wild things) puts up an Oscar worthy performance as an abused occupant of The Alcatraz Prison. Christian Slater(true romance) also does well but is shadowed by Bacon and co star Gary Oldman(the scarlet letter).

The story is chilling and dark and Bacon portrays his character to perfection. Brad Dourif(urban legend, child's play) also stars as another shady character trying to put a stop to the Slater/Bacon appeal.

If there was one thing that the writers could have done to improve the story to appeal to a larger audience was, they could have made the story faster and smoother, to get rid of the inconsistency's. 'Murder In' is however, a great film with worthy performances by the whole cast.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder In The First, 29 Jan 2006
By 
Rich Milligan (Thatcham, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
“Murder in the First” is one of those films that is based on a true story but the film makers cleverly don’t really reveal as to how factual their film is and I always end up questioning how much of the on-screen action is faithful to the reality and how much is dressed up for effect.
Henri Young is a young prisoner incarcerated on the infamous island prison of Alcatraz. Convicted of only stealing five dollars Henri makes an attempt to escape from the prison and is caught in the process. His escapee comrade squeals to the authorities whilst Henri remains stoic, needless to say it doesn’t take the brains of an Archbishop to work out which one is put back on the wing and which one is put in solitary confinement.
For Henri solitary confinement would be enough of a punishment but instead of the maximum 19 days that any inmate should remain there he is forced to endure over three years of being cooped up in an airless, lightless cramped cell. Add to that the beatings and torture his endures at the hands of the warden Milton Glenn, it’s perhaps understandable that when Henri is finally released back into the mainstream prison his mental state is less than stable. At the first opportunity he has he takes revenge on the rat who squealed on his escape and ends up murdering him in the mess hall by stabbing his victim with a spoon.
James Stamphill is the young public defendant attorney who is given the unenviable task of defending Henri, a task that is made doubly hard by the fact the Henri is nearly 100% catatonic and won’t speak to people. With the authorities closing ranks on any wrongdoings in the penal system and a client who won’t take, how will Stamphill put together a legitimate case to defend Henri?
The film is really made via two very well executed factors. Firstly the settings are extremely effective, being both moving and disturbing. Alcatraz is portrayed as the bleak foreboding rock that it is and the solitary cells are scarily depicted in all their frightening glory. The contrast with the urbane and civilised courtroom could be stronger and yet the goings on in this place of justice are staked against Henri and the cruel regime that has made him the killer he is.
Secondly the performances of the leads are quite excellent. Christian Slater is on the surface perhaps too young to play Stamphill and give the lawyer the authority he needs and yet is over eager exuberance and assurity of his position lets him get away with it. Gary Oldman is quite subdued for him and yet this cold and calculating Warden Glenn is a chillingly bad character and very effective. Finally the main plaudits must go to Kevin Bacon who’s portrayal of the pathetic Henri is superb in the sorry state of this broken man and yet is strangely uplifting.
There’s one final scene when Henri re-entered Alcatraz seemingly only for the purpose to hurl one final insult at Warden Glenn whilst the other inmates applaud the bravery of their fellow prisoner which is probably unnecessary and diminishes the final gravitas of the ending but the rest of the film is well worth the watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Performance of the First Degree, 12 April 2009
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Other reviewers have described the plot so no need for me to do so.

This is a powerful film that should be seen if for no other reason than to see the brilliant performance of Kevin Bacon, an actor who, for this viewer, never fails to deliver exceptional performances and yet never seems to gain the acclaim he deserves. Murder In The First should have won him an Oscar.

The film grips hard and never lets go, even long after it ends. Hats off to its director and the entire cast. Gary Oldman delivers what one always expects from Oldman: rare and awesome excellence. And though Christian Slater does at times seem like a pup in the company of giants, his performance is not to be dismissed.

But make no mistake about it, this is Bacon's film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The definition of rehabilitate: To restore to a state of physical, mental, and moral health through treatment and training., 12 July 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Murder in the First is directed by Marc Rocco and written by Dan Gordon. It stars Kevin Bacon, Christian Slater, Gary Oldman, Embeth Davidtz, William H. Macy and R. Lee Ermey. Music is scored by Christopher Young and cinematography by Fred Murphy.

Slater stars as James Stamphill, an idealistic young attorney who is tasked with defending Alcatraz prisoner Henri Young (Bacon) who clearly murdered a fellow inmate. But what transpires is that Henri had just spent over three years in solitary confinement for attempting to escape the prison. It's evident, also, that Henri has been the subject of systematic violence perpetrated by sadistic Warden Milton Glenn (Oldman). Stamphill risks his career, and Henri's life, to put Alcatraz and the people in charge on trial.

Inspired by a true story, viewers should note that this is mostly a fictitious film. The truths are readily available on line so I will not waste space divulging the facts here. Suffice to say that Murder in the First is to be judged solely as a work of fiction. But what a film we get, a heart yanking, emotionally upsetting picture showcasing the evil that men do, filling out the narrative with alienation, cruelty, corruption and revenge driven murder. The dehumanising effects of prison abuse has never been so touchingly portrayed as it is here by Bacon, it's a haunting and vivid portrayal of a man pushed to the limits of sanity, a guy living in the dark recess of hell, struggling with every breath to come out into the light. An astonishing performance that once again in Bacon's career was ignored by his Academy peers.

Whilst high on emotional wallop, and some scenes really are tough to watch, the film falls shy of brilliance on account of standard fare for the courtroom sequences. Nothing bad but there's a dramatic thrust missing, and it's not Slater's fault, who is good at being sincere and humanist, the script doesn't provide enough thunder in the trial, in fact often it's too low key for its own good. We get a great snippet of what we are missing as Oldman (another great turn as a angry bastard) loses his cool, but more stomping, shouting and legal soul picking was needed.

Tech credits are very good. Rocco has a good sense of claustrophobic atmosphere, the scenes in the bowels of the prison perfectly portray Young's disorientation, the dank, dark and wet surroundings in keeping with the prisoner's state of mind. The director also favours an impressive roving camera technique that serves the story well. He also slots in a couple of noirish reflection scenes, one sees Glenn lose his cool while shaving and smash the mirror, the result is a distorted reflection, a showing of a fractured psyche. The other sees a prison visit between Stamphill and Young separated by a piece of glass, their respective reflections at first coming off as grotesque, but then slowly blending into one, a sign that maybe lawyer and prisoner will eventually sing from the same song sheet? It's a film that has found its way on to some neo-noir lists, visually and thematically as regards Bacon's character, that is fair enough.

Elsewhere. Murphy's photography is a key component to the tonal flow of the story, while Young's score is a real treat, criminally forgotten it relies on strings and choir for emotive means and succeeds exceptionally well. In support Macy and Davidtz do well with thinly written parts, but Ermey is a joy as the blunderbuss judge presiding over the trial. Nice to see Brad Dourif in the mix as well, even if we ultimately hanker for more of this great character actor. In a year that saw high end emotional drama released with Dead Man Walking and Leaving Las Vegas, Murder in the First sadly had some of its thunder stolen. Which coupled with the fact many refused to accept it fictionalising the Henri Young/Alcatraz story, saw it slip away until the World went internet crazy and it got rediscovered. It deserves to be found still some more so seek it out film fans. 8/10
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It captures the horror and fear and turns it into brilliance, 28 May 2001
This review is from: Murder In The First [VHS] [1995] (VHS Tape)
The stars are brilliant, the script is touching, the speeches are truely inspiring. This film is pure class. Anybody with a heart cannot refuse this movie as it is unique, well told meaningfull,everything that a typical movie lacks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If I could give it 6 I would., 1 Aug 2014
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Based on a true story that shut down the dungeons of Alcatraz, this in my opinion is the best Film both Slater and Bacon ever made. Bacon plays Henri Young who was sentence to the rock for stealing $5. he is confined to the dungeons for an unprecedented 3 years and comes out a shattered man both physically and mentally, he quickly slays the stoolie who ratted on him. Slater plays the attorney who defends him in what is an open and shut case. This is gripping movie and Bacon & Slater as stated before are quite simply magnificent. special mention should also go to Gary Oldman who plays sadistic deputy warden Milton Glenn a man you might just want to smash in the face.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 July 2014
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4.0 out of 5 stars What a great film, 8 April 2014
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An incredible film with Kevin Bacon at his very best. If you think Shawshank was a great movie you'll love this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fab film would use this seller again, 27 Feb 2014
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Excellent film this and very expensive to get hold of new, this is a used dvd which was in excellent used condition at a really reasonble price.
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Murder In The First [VHS] [1995]
Murder In The First [VHS] [1995] by Marc Rocco (VHS Tape - 1997)
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