Escape from Alcatraz (1979) — PICK

I Am David (2004) — PICK

New on Amazon Prime are a pair of prison-escape movies, one for almost the whole family and one for older audiences and up.

From family-friendly Walden Media, I Am David reunites The Passion of the Christ’s Jesus and Pilate, with Jim Caviezel as a kindhearted prisoner in a Bulgarian Stalinist labor camp and Hristo Shopov as the frightening camp commander.

Based on the novel by Anne Holm, the film follows a 12-year-old boy who escapes from the camp and embarks on a long journey to Denmark.

Scattered religious elements (e.g., a prayer to St. Elizabeth after receiving a holy card) enhance the theme that David must learn to trust that there is good in the world as well as bad.

Escape From Alcatraz stars Clint Eastwood in the archetypal prison escape movie, one that I think makes a fascinating counterpoint to the genre’s most popular examplar, The Shawshank Redemption.

Shawshank is as much about interior freedom as a prison break. Escape From Alcatraz is simply, purely about an impossible prison break, executed with maximal skill and style.


Caveat Spectator: Escape From Alcatraz: Violence and a gory image; cursing and racial epithets; brief rear nudity. Older teens and up. I Am David: Frightening situations; brief violence. Older kids and up.