Sometimes a location itself overshadows any of the films that shot there, as is the case with Alcatraz Island.  Located just over a mile offshore from San Francisco, the island is most well known for it’s decommissioned federal prison, which operated from 1934 until 1963. During it’s 29 years of activity, the prison was known for housing “the worst of the worst” criminals.  The list included Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the “Birdman of Alcatraz”), “Machine Gun” Kelly, James “Whitey” Bulger and Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, amongst others. The penitentiary famously claimed that no prisoner successfully escaped. Due to the high operational costs, as well as salt water erosion to the buildings, the prison was shut down in 1963. Today, the island is operated by the National Parks Services and public tours are available.

The prison island has been seen in many films, such as “The Rock,” “Murder in the First,” “Escape from Alcatraz,” “Birdman of Alcatraz” and many more.  Here we’ll take a closer look at the notorious island.

LOCATION: Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA 94133

The island view from San Francisco.


Island view from the opposite side, where visitors dock.


Utility house and power plant chimney.



A guard tower.


The water tower, which still has a message from a Native American occupation of the island, which lasted from 1969 to 1971.


The lighthouse tower.


Some of the prison cell blocks.




One of the typical prison cells.


A solitary confinement cell.


A cell where the most famous escape attempt was made, by widening a vent at the bottom of the cell.


The prison yard.


The gun gallery, where guards watched down over the prisoners. During one daring escape attempt, prisoners climbed up into this area and attacked the guards.


A view of San Francisco from Alcatraz.


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