7.1/10
573
7 user 1 critic

The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains (1987)

The true story of Robert Elliot Burns, the prisoner who, after being sentenced to a Georgia chain gang, attempted two daring escapes.

Director:

Daniel Mann

Writers:

Robert E. Burns (book), Michael Campus
Reviews
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Val Kilmer ... Robert Elliot Burns / Elliot Roberts
Charles Durning ... Warden Hardy
Sônia Braga ... Emily Del Pino Pacheco (as Sonia Braga)
Kyra Sedgwick ... Lillian Salo
James Keach ... Father Vincent Godfrey Burns
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Pappy Glue
Clancy Brown ... Flagg
William Sanderson ... Trump
Taj Mahal ... Bones
Taylor Presnell Taylor Presnell ... George Seales
Paul Benjamin ... Big Sam
Bill Bolender ... Rayford
Esther Benson Esther Benson ... Mother Burns
Bert Conway Bert Conway ... Father Burns (as Burt Conway)
Charles Carroll ... Hobo #1
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Storyline

A veteran of World War I returns to the United States but cannot find his place in the society. For a small robbery he is condemned to ten years of prison... Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Unchained See more »

Filming Locations:

Jefferson, Texas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A TV movie for the HBO network. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Robert Eliot Burns: I fought for you!
See more »

Connections

Version of I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good, solid remake of the Paul Muni classic
4 November 2001 | by smokehill retrieversSee all my reviews

Nicely cast, well-directed film, and a fitting "last hurrah" for the magnificent character actor Elisha Cook Jr, who plays Kilmer's aging mentor on the chain gang. Cook, best remembered for his portrayal of "Wilmer" (the cheap little gunsel) in THE MALTESE FALCON, does his usual superb supporting work.

KIlmer does a fine job, not falling into the obvious trap of going "over the top" -- which might be an understandable portrayal if this were fiction, but Kilmer's (like Muni's) somewhat subdued performance is much more in keeping with the real-life character's personality. Both versions drive me a bit nuts because I keep wanting him to kill his wife, who turned him in out of pure vindictiveness.


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