While Murder in the First is a terrifying look at inhumane prison
conditions, the movie departs from the real-life events of inmate Henri
Young's life. While the movie portrays Young as a petty criminal, the real
Young was a bank robber and murderer. Also, two lawyers, not one, defended
Young. Slater's character, James Stamphill, is an amalgamation of the two
The movie was actually shot on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. The
Rock, famous for its impenetrable walls, is a popular shooting location.
The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) and Escape from Alcatraz(1979)
are two other famous flicks that attempt to capture life on The Rock. To
prepare for the emotional part of Young, Bacon spent a night in Alacatraz.
Also, Bacon's wife, Kyra Sedgwick, is amusingly cast in a cameo. She plays
a hooker whom attorney Stamphill offers to Young.
Other notes from the production:
Murder in the First eventually grossed over $17 million in the