Burt Lancaster sits comfortably in his manly yet sensitive mode as Robert Stroud, and director John Frankenheimer gives him an easy road to absolution. The film manages to stay interesting despite being locked for the most part inside a jail cell. In what has to be his best movie role (outside of perhaps The Dirty Dozen), Telly Savalas brings a lot to the proceedings as a jail mate of Stroud's. Thelma Ritter, a consistently underrated character actress, is also notable as Stroud's mother. As Hollywood went through a significant transition in the mid-Sixties, Frankenheimer helped to reshape the action-thriller genre with a string of exciting, intelligent, and successful movies with a distinct political awareness: The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May, The Train, Seconds, and The Fixer were all made in a six-year period after The Birdman from Alcatraz.
by Brendon Hanley review