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Train to Alcatraz (1948)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 28 June 1948 (USA)
A group of prisoners being transported by train to Alcatraz prison plot an escape.


Philip Ford


Gerald Geraghty (original screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Don 'Red' Barry ... Doug Forbes (as Donald Barry)
Janet Martin ... Beatrice
William Phipps ... Tommy Callahan
Roy Barcroft ... Guard Grady
June Storey ... Virginia Marley
Jane Darwell ... Aunt Ella
Milburn Stone ... Bart Kanin
Chester Clute ... Train Conductor Yelvington
Ralph Dunn ... U.S. Marshal Mark Stevens
Richard Irving Richard Irving ... Andy Anders
John Alvin ... Nick
Michael Carr ... Marty Mason
Marc Krah ... Slip Mahaffey
Denver Pyle ... Hutch Hutchins
Iron Eyes Cody ... Geronimo


The last car of a transcontinental train streaking through desolate desert country is filled with convicts headed for Alcatraz. Each is filled but with one thought---escape! Mobster Bart Kanin has an escape angle that "can't miss"---providing there's a fall guy. Having framed young Tommy Callahan on a murder rap, Kanin plans on killing two birds with one stone by making him the victim. Kanin refuses to string along, knowing that Kanin and his moll, Virginia, pinned the murder charge on him while the real killer, Marty Mason, went free. He turns to tough-guy Doug Forbes, Kanin's rival, for protection. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

28 June 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alcatraz Prison Train See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

When a "B" Picture Gets Everything Right
25 July 2016 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Train to Alcatraz (1948)

*** (out of 4)

Highly entertaining "B" picture about a train full of criminals headed to Alcatraz. One of the men, Tommy (William Phippps) was a former criminal gone good but he was wrongly convicted. Everyone else on the train knows that if they reach Alcatraz that their lives will be over so they hatch a plan to escape.

TRAIN TO ALCATRAZ is one of many movies that have been forgotten over the years and that's really a shame because this one here deserves to be better known. Just because you're a "B" movie doesn't mean you're going to be poorly made, campy or just pure trash. It basically just means a lot of money wasn't spend but that doesn't mean with a great idea you can't do wonders with it.

Director Philip Ford does a very good job at building up the tension. At just sixty minutes there's really not a single frame to where you're not glued into what's going on. Several of the characters are fully developed or at least enough to where you feel as if you know them and draw an interest in them. This includes not only the Tommy character but also the supporting criminals as well as the cops guarding them.

The film doesn't feature any former "A" star but it does have nice work by Donald Barry, Janet Martin, Phipps, Roy Carcoft and Ralph Dunn as the Marshall. The film also works perfectly as a crime picture as well as a noir with its seductive female luring our hero into the crime. TRAIN TO ALCATRAZ is a nice little picture where the story, the cast and the direction really come together to make a gem.

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