“Six sticks of dynamite that blasted his way to freedom…and awoke America’s conscience!”
World War I veteran, James Allen, plans of becoming a master architect evaporate in the cold light of economic realities. Flat broke, he is wrongly convicted of robbery and forced into a brutal penal system. Shocked by the inhuman conditions he finds, he determines to escape or die trying.
I Am A fugitive From A Chain Gang is one of the greatest and most famous of the social imperative films of Pre-Code Hollywood 1930’s. Based on a true story of brutal injustice, its unprecedented realism and uncompromising vision caused an uproar in its day. Both artistically and socially significant, few films ever can claim to be as influential. Driven by powerhouse performances by Paul Muni and cast, and taut direction by director Mervyn LeRoy, I Am A fugitive From A Chain Gang not only exposes the appalling conditions of the prison chain gangs but also faithfully chronicles the disillusionment and displacement of a generation of soldiers who returned from WWI. I Am A fugitive From A Chain Gang is the original film of its kind and laid the foundation for many such films to follow – it almost certainly served as inspiration for the Cohen Brothers, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, almost 70 years later.