Synopsis by Sally Barber
Alcatraz: America's Toughest Prison unfolds the fascinating history of this legendary federal prison established to house the nation's most notorious criminals. Situated on an island surrounded by the shark-infested waters of the San Francisco Bay, the facility incarcerated 1,545 men from 1934 to its closing in 1963. This documentary looks at some of the celebrity criminals who were housed at Alcatraz, including gang leader Al Capone. Capone spent more than four years in Alcatraz cells. Another famous resident, Machine Gun Kelly, remained at Alcatraz for 17 years. Inmate Robert Franklin Stroud, known as "The Birdman" of Alcatraz, developed an international reputation while imprisoned. The violent Stroud received his nickname for his devotion to his hobby, the study of birds. The film also features interviews with ex-cons and actual footage of the 1960s takeover of Alcatraz by Native Americans.
prison, archival-footage, criminal, island, notoriety, retrospective