Based on a true story, its style is simple, direct, forceful -- even after more than six decades.
Don Druker - Chicago Reader
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is a picture with guts. It grips with its stark realism and packs lots of punch.
Variety Staff - Variety
There's enough here to make I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang worthwhile, but its problems are deep enough to keep it a long way from sniffing greatness.
Gabe Leibowitz - Film and Felt
The film suggests the denial of the common worker, whose service to industry is only as worthy as his social status.
Matthew Sorrento - Bright Lights Film Journal
One of the stronget Depression era's social protest films, this expose shattered audiences in its harrowing depiction of guards' brutalities and other inhuman conditions of prison chain gangs.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Suprisingly no-holds-barred portrait of institutional bullying for such an early film.
Kim Newman - Empire Magazine
- Empire Magazine
Muni gives a brilliant performance as a regular guy wrongly convicted of murder and subjected to the hardships and beatings of a dehumanising chain gang regime.
- Time Out
Geoff Andrew - Time Out
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
The prison scenes are blatantly manipulative-and effective-but Fugitive really takes off during an intense escape sequence.
Jeremiah Kipp - Slant Magazine
a dark and thrilling story that's all the more gripping because it's based on a true story
Don Willmott - Filmcritic.com
Paul Muni gives a heart-wrenching performance.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Carol Cling - Las Vegas Review-Journal
A searing Oscar-nominated performance from Paul Muni as the desperate James Allen and powerful uncompromising direction ensure that this film is as harrowing and vital today as it ever was.
[A] difficult and heart-wrenching story of justice perverted.
Michael W. Phillips, Jr. - Goatdog's Movies
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
Matt Bailey - Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Powerful social commentary and brilliant filmmaking.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
One of the great social dramas of all time. The finale is a knock-out. One of Muni's best performances.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932) is a gritty, uncompromising, critical look at the treatment of criminals in a southern state's prison system
Tim Dirks - Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
One of the toughest movies ever made, an uncompromising and frightening film that lays bare the inhuman conditions of the penal system in post-WWI Georgia.
- TV Guide's Movie Guide