I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is a 1932 American pre-Code crime-drama film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Paul Muni as a wrongfully convicted convict on a chain gang who escapes to Chicago. It was released on November 10, 1932. The film received positive reviews and three Academy Award nominations.


Sergeant James Allen (Muni) returns to civilian life after World War I, but his war experience makes him restless. His family feels he should be grateful for a tedious job as an office clerk, and when he announces that he wants to become an engineer, his brother reacts with outrage but his mother accepts it, though regretfully. He leaves home to find work on any sort of project, but unskilled labor is plentiful and it is hard for him to find a job. Wandering and sinking into poverty, he visits a cafe with a new acquaintance who forces him at gunpoint to participate in a robbery. The police arrive immediately and Allen foolishly runs and is caught (the film offers no explanation why the witness doesn't testify in defense of Allen being forced to participate in the crime).