Watch Birdman of Alcatraz
- 2 hr 23 min
Birdman of Alcatraz is a compelling biographical drama that tells the story of Robert Stroud, played by Burt Lancaster, a convicted murderer who spends 54 years of his life in prison, most of which is at the notorious Alcatraz facility. The movie is named after the nickname given to Stroud, who was known for his interest in birds and became an expert on them while serving his sentence. The film is set in the early 20th century, where Stroud is first introduced as a wild and violent young man who shoots and kills a bar patron while defending a woman's honor. He is sentenced to death, but after his mother's plea, his sentence is commuted to life imprisonment. He is sent to Leavenworth prison, where he starts a relationship with a canary that was injured and found in his cell. This event marks the beginning of Stroud's lifelong love affair with birds, which ultimately becomes his saving grace. Despite being transferred to Alcatraz, one of the most high-security prisons in the world, Stroud manages to smuggle in bird eggs and supplies to keep his feathered friends in the cell. His knowledge and expertise on caring for birds begin to attract the attention of prison staff and researchers, who start to seek his guidance. Stroud uses his extensive knowledge of birds and their habits to conduct research and develop a cure for a deadly bird disease, which makes him famous outside of prison walls. Throughout the movie, we see Lancaster's superb acting skills at their finest as he convincingly portrays the complex character of Robert Stroud. He delivers a convincing portrayal of a man who starts as an unrepentant rogue but gradually transforms into a sensitive, introspective, and intellectual person that cares for others, both human and animal alike. Karl Malden plays the Warden of Alcatraz and gives a great performance as a stern and uncompromising leader determined to keep his prison under strict control. Thelma Ritter also stars in the film as Stroud's mother and shows her acting prowess in her portrayal of a doting mother who stands by her son through thick and thin. In addition to the powerful performances, Birdman of Alcatraz features excellent cinematography, which helps immerse the viewer into the gritty, claustrophobic world of the prison cells. The camera angles effectively convey the hopelessness and despair that permeate Stroud's life, both inside the prison and outside. The film's score is also stunning, with its broad orchestral strings used to emphasize the emotional peaks and troughs of Stroud's journey. In conclusion, Birdman of Alcatraz is a compelling and inspiring movie that teaches us that even in the darkest hour of one's life, hope and redemption are always possible. It is a testimony to the power of the human spirit to rise above the harshest of circumstances to not only survive but also thrive. With excellent performances, cinematography, and score, it is no wonder that the film won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and received several nominations.