I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang Overview:

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) was a Crime - Drama Film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Hal B. Wallis.

The film was based on the autobiography I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang written by Robert Elliott Burns at the & Serial Story, True Detective Mysteries Magazine Jan 1932 1932.

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1991.

Academy Awards 1932/33 --- Ceremony Number 6 (source: AMPAS)

Best ActorPaul MuniNominated
Best PictureWarner Bros.Nominated

BlogHub Articles:

I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang

By Amanda Garrett on Jul 10, 2016 From Old Hollywood Films

Today, I'm reviewing Warner Bros. classic prison movie, I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932), starring Paul Muni. This article is part of the blogathon Hot & Bothered: The Films of 1932 hosted by Once Upon a Screen and CineMaven's Essays From the Couch. I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Ga... Read full article

I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932) (2)

By Lindsey on Aug 11, 2013 From The Motion Pictures

“Don’t shoot, officers! I’m just here for the hamburgers!” (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP) James Allen (Paul Muni) has just returned home from fighting in the first World War. Not wanting to settle into a dull, monotonous life, he decides to travel, working odd jobs in co... Read full article

"I Steal!": The Unflinching "I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang"

By David on Jun 26, 2012 From The Man on the Flying Trapeze

Paul Muni begins 1932's "I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang" in an Army uniform and ends it in the uniform of the forgotten man of the depression -- unshaven, battered hat, threadbare coat, wrinkled trousers, probably the slight smell of sweat and cigarettes. He has a wild look in his eyes, as he sho... Read full article

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) (1)

By Angela on Nov 23, 2011 From Hollywood Revue

Like many men returning from World War I, James Allen (Paul Muni) finds himself a changed man. He has a factory job to come home to, but he can’t deal with the environment anymore and decides to leave home and get into the construction business.? He travels from city to city in search of work ... Read full article

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

By Alyson on Sep 4, 2010 From The Best Picture Project

After Jim Allen (Paul Muni) returns from serving in WWI doesn?t want to return to his old job at the factory. ?Instead he wants to become an engineer, ?a man?s job where he can do things.? ?He starts from the bottom up, travels as a skilled laborer wherever the job takes him but soon work becomes sc... Read full article

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Quotes from

Helen: How do you live?
James Allen: I steal.

James Allen: Do you mind if we stay here awhile, or must you go home?
Helen: There are no musts in my life. I'm free, white and twenty-one.

Pete: I'm hungry. What would you say to a hamburger?
James Allen: What would I say to a hamburger? Boy. I'd take Mr. Hamburger by the hand and say, "Pal, I haven't seen you for a long, long time."

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Facts about

Many cast members in studio records/casting call lists for this movie were not seen in the final print and some of their character names were played by other actors. These were (with their character names): Oscar Apfel (Chairman of Chamber of Commerce), Edward Arnold (Lawyer), Sam Baker (Sebastian T. Yale), Spencer Charters (C.K. Hobb), C. Henry Gordon (District Attorney), Harry Holman (Sheriff of Monroe), William Janney (Sheriff's Son), Roscoe Karns (Steve), Dewey Robinson (Blacksmith), Russell Simpson (Sheriff) and Morgan Wallace (Ramsey).
The film was based on the true story of Robert E. Burns. It sticks basically to the facts except for two instances: Burns actually did steal the $5.29 in order to eat, and he finally succeeded in evading the Georgia legal system with the help of three New Jersey governors. Burns actually slipped into Hollywood and worked for a few weeks on the film, but ultimately the stress and risk were too much, and he fled back to the safety of New Jersey. The book and film helped bring about the collapse of the brutal chain gang system in Georgia. Warner Bros. took a big chance on the film, as social commentary was not normally done in Hollywood pictures. However, this film was a critical and financial success and helped establish Warners as the studio with a social conscience - it also helped save the financially ailing company. Even though Georgia was never specifically named in the film, numerous lawsuits were filed against the studio, the film was banned in Georgia, and the studio's head and the film's director were told that should they ever find themselves in Georgia they would be treated to a dose of the "social evil" they so roundly denounced.
Atlanta, Georgia - Monday, October 10, 1939: Action bought by Vivian Stanley, a member of the Prison Commission of the State of Georgia, against Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., Vitagraph, Inc. and local exhibitors, Wilby and Holden, was won by the defendants when a verdict was rendered in the latter's favor in the Superior Court of Fulton County here. Plaintiff brought the suits trial of which commenced some three weeks ago, for $100,000 charging libel because of the content of the (1932)Warner feature, "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang."
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Best Picture Oscar 1932/33

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National Film Registry

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

Released 1932
Inducted 1991

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Also directed by Mervyn LeRoy

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Also produced by Hal B. Wallis

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Also released in 1932

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