8.2/10
10,997
397 user 45 critic

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 19 November 1932 (USA)
Trailer
2:33 | Trailer
Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

Robert E. Burns (by), Howard J. Green (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Little Caesar (1931)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A small-time criminal moves to a big city to seek bigger fortune.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Glenda Farrell
Scarface (1932)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An ambitious and nearly insane violent gangster climbs the ladder of success in the mob, but his weaknesses prove to be his downfall.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson
Stars: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young hoodlum rises up through the ranks of the Chicago underworld, even as a gangster's accidental death threatens to spark a bloody mob war.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner. Romantic entanglements and jealousies confuse the scheme.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall
Fury (1936)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to fake his death and frame the mob for his supposed murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The biography of the pioneering French microbiologist who helped revolutionize agriculture and medicine.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Paul Muni, Josephine Hutchinson, Anita Louise
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The City Editor of a sleazy tabloid goes against his own journalistic ethics to resurrect a twenty year old murder case... with tragic results.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Marian Marsh, H.B. Warner
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A wealthy composer rescues unemployed Broadway performers with a new play.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Warren William, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon
White Heat (1949)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A scatterbrained socialite hires a vagrant as a family butler - but there's more to Godfrey than meets the eye.

Director: Gregory La Cava
Stars: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Muni ... James Allen
Glenda Farrell ... Marie Woods
Helen Vinson ... Helen
Noel Francis ... Linda
Preston Foster ... Pete
Allen Jenkins ... Barney Sykes
Berton Churchill ... The Judge
Edward Ellis ... Bomber Wells
David Landau ... The Warden
Hale Hamilton ... Rev. Robert Allen
Sally Blane ... Alice
Louise Carter ... James Allen's Mother
Willard Robertson ... Prison Board Chairman
Robert McWade ... F.E. Ramsey
Robert Warwick ... Fuller
Edit

Storyline

Having returned from fighting in World War I, James Allen doesn't want to settle into a humdrum life and decides to set off to find his fortune. He travels the length and breadth of America, working as a skilled tradesman in the construction industry. When times get tough however, he finds himself living in a shelter where an acquaintance suggests they go out for a hamburger. What the friend really has in mind is to rob the diner and Allen soon finds himself working on a chain gang with a long jail sentence. Allen manages to escape however and heads to Chicago where over several years he slowly but surely works his way up the ladder to become one of the most respected construction engineers in the city. His past catches up with him and despite protestations from civic leaders and his many friends in Chicago, he finds himself again on the chain gang. Escaping for a second time, he accepts that to survive, he must lead a life of crime. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hers was the Kiss of Judas...He was CRUCIFIED on the chain gang! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 November 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$195,845 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (original release)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Mervyn LeRoy cast Paul Muni after seeing him in a stage production of "Counsellor-at-Law". After Muni's performance, LeRoy wired the studio executives: "This is our man!" See more »

Goofs

When Mr. Parker is showing James Allen around the old office, one of the workers outside of the office momentarily breaks character and looks straight into the camera. See more »

Quotes

Bill - Barber: [gets paid for shave] Thanks. Come in again.
[puts money in the cash register]
Bill - Barber: How was it? Close enough?
James Allen: [nods, while avoiding eye contact with policeman] Plenty.
[actually referring to his 'close shave' with the police officer]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sanford and Son: Rated X (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

St. Louis Blues
(1914) (uncredited)
Music by W.C. Handy
Played as background music at Barney's place
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

one of Warners' best problem pictures
8 May 2004 | by didi-5See all my reviews

Mervyn LeRoy's chain gang movie from 1932 starring Paul Muni ruffled feathers on its initial appearance, and still packs a considerable punch when viewed today.

James Allen is implicated in a robbery and is sentenced to hard labour - seeking justice and the ability to clear his name he escapes from the brutality of the prison regime and sets up a new life (as Allen James, not that much of a name change really). The new Allen is a man of influence and importance, who does good for his community. The State still wants revenge though and when he is betrayed, his life really goes pear-shaped.

A sharp and perceptive script is the greatest strength of this drama, plus Paul Muni's exceptional performance in the lead during the different situations faced by his character. Glenda Farrell also makes an impression, but it is probably the last sequence you'll remember the longest, as a desperate Muni fades into the shadows and a lifetime on the edge of society. A heavy verdict indeed on American justice of the 1930s.


16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 397 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed