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Murder in the First (1995)

An eager and idealistic young attorney defends an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate. The extenuating circumstances: his client had just spent over three years in solitary confinement.

Director:

Marc Rocco

Writer:

Dan Gordon
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Slater ... James Stamphill
Kevin Bacon ... Henri Young
Gary Oldman ... Associate Milton Glenn
Embeth Davidtz ... Mary McCasslin
William H. Macy ... William McNeil (as Bill Macy)
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Mr. Henkin
Brad Dourif ... Byron Stamphill
R. Lee Ermey ... Judge Clawson
Mia Kirshner ... Adult Rosetta Young
Ben Slack Ben Slack ... Jerry Hoolihan
Stefan Gierasch ... Warden James Humson
Kyra Sedgwick ... Blanche
Alex Bookston Alex Bookston ... Alcatraz Doc (as Alexander Bookston)
Richie Allan ... Jury Foreman
Herb Ritts Herb Ritts ... Mike Kelly
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Storyline

Henri Young stole five dollars from a post office and ended up going to prison - to the most famous, or infamous, prison of them all: Alcatraz. He tried to escape, failed, and spent three years and two months in solitary confinement - in a dungeon, with no light, no heat and no toilet. Milton Glenn, the assistant warden, who was given free reign by his duty-shirking superior, was responsible for Young's treatment. Glenn even took a straight razor and hobbled Young for life. After three years and two months, Young was taken out of solitary confinement and put with the rest of the prisoners. Almost immediately, Young took a spoon and stabbed a fellow prisoner in the neck, killing him. Now, Young is on trial for murder, and if he's convicted he'll go to the gas chamber. An eager and idealistic young attorney, James Stamphill, is given this impossible case, and argues before a shocked courtroom that Young had a co-conspirator. The true murderer, he says, was Alcatraz. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The trial that brought down Alcatraz See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong images of prison brutalities, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 January 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder in the First See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,719,188, 22 January 1995

Gross USA:

$17,381,942

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,381,942
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Dolby SR

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Second film produced by the U.S. arm of French movie studio Le Studio Canal. The first was Boiling Point (1993). See more »

Goofs

Along with the warden's barracks, exterior shots of the island also show the rubble on the south end of the island when the apartments where many of guards' families should be seen, given the time period. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prison Barber: They're coming! Run!
See more »

Crazy Credits

This Film is Inspired by a True Story See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Kevin Bacon Performances (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!
(uncredited)
Traditional English Christmas, earliest known publication 1833
Sung by Alcatraz wives and children
See more »

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User Reviews

 
How This Movie Didn't Win an Oscar is Unfathomable
23 October 2011 | by tolerford-1See all my reviews

Kevin Bacon was incredible. See he won for his performance. But so should Christian Slater have. So should the cinematographer. Unique, inventive and incredibly creative camera perspectives. Wonderful historic background interspersed, too. Superlative effort all around. every facet of it. Scenes I glanced away from, but that's just my distaste for depiction of violence. Thought it was tenderly beautiful that Kyra Sedgewick was cast in that cameo, since Bacon is her real life husband. Slater cannot act poorly. He's incapable of it.

Everything about it, to say nothing of the theme itself. The lighting, the cryptic cutting every time the point was made without fail, the lingering closeups when humanity was the point.


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