Murder in the First (1995)

R   |    |  Drama, Thriller


Murder in the First (1995) Poster

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.


7.3/10
26,333


Videos


Photos

  • Kevin Bacon in Murder in the First (1995)
  • Gary Oldman in Murder in the First (1995)
  • Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater in Murder in the First (1995)
  • Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater in Murder in the First (1995)
  • Kevin Bacon and Gary Oldman in Murder in the First (1995)
  • R. Lee Ermey in Murder in the First (1995)

See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Director:

Marc Rocco

Writer:

Dan Gordon

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


16 March 2006 | WJArvay
8
| A Terrific, Inspiring and Entertaining Movie.
I had not heard of his movie before. I caught it in mid-broadcast on cable, while channel surfing, eleven years after its release, and after the first few moments, decided to watch it to the end. It is now one of my favorites, right up there with "To Kill a Mockingbird." This film succeeds both as star turns and as an ensemble piece. But more importantly it succeeds in portraying American society in the 1930s as a whole, and involving the audience emotionally in both the the greater social issues as well as the smaller, more tender, personal issues. Despite its sensitivity, it is far from a chick flick. Despite it's theme of violence, it is far from a macho action flick. It is a courtroom thriller based on real events, and it is worth watching more than once.

The script writing and direction are calculated to be moving, and they succeed. Every actor in the film, every detail of the art direction, every camera angle plays on your heart and sense of moral indignation. To do so successfully, as I think this movie does, is the definition and purpose of art.

Kevin Bacon shows the most range in his film that I have ever seen from him. His physical performance was very demanding, his character work even finer. His chemistry with each actor in every scene is both bold and subtle, raw and complex. He reminds me of DeNiro's performance in the "Cape Fear" remake.

Christian Slater's character provides the viewer's point of view in the film, and he plays with great emotion and passion, and yet with a touch of reserve and detachment. I am strongly reminded of Kevin Costner's performance in "The Untouchables." Needless to say, Gary Oldman is a master at his craft, and always amazing to watch. Every character Oldman plays is memorable, and the antithesis of type-casting. His portrayal of the warden in this film is a brilliant balance of a socially acceptable monster.

This movie has received a lot of criticism for portraying historical facts inaccurately, and for taking sides in a political debate. I would remind the open-minded viewer that "To Kill A Mockingbird" also took great liberties with the facts of the historic court case on which it was based (there were six accused rapists, not one; the person on whom Atticus Finch was based was in reality the judge and not the defense attorney, etc.) and emphatically took sides in the even more hotly contested political debate over racial discrimination in America. Both films were based on real life, but neither claimed to be a documentary. Whether you resent historical tampering and political statements for dramatic impact is something only you can decide for yourself. Personally, I support both "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Murder in the First" as films whose merits outweigh their flaws.

In short, this movie is worthy of your time, and will reward you, whether you want entertainment thrills, a good popcorn movie, a morally inspiring story or the appreciation of a well-crafted piece of work. It falls a little short of "The Shawshank Redemption," but not far. Despite what this or any other review says, start this movie without any preconceived notions, and just go along for the ride. I think you will be surprised, happy and satisfied.

Critic Reviews



Not-So-Scary Movies For Scaredy Cats

Looking for a slightly scary movie to watch this Halloween? Check out our picks for movies that (hopefully) won't keep you up at night. For even more, visit our Guide to Horror ... if you dare.

See the full list

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com