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The Phenix City Story

Released Aug 14, 1955 1h 40m Drama List
100% Tomatometer 8 Reviews 74% Audience Score 250+ Ratings Based on a sensational news story, this film looks at the murder of Albert L. Patterson (John McIntire), who hopes to win the an attorney general's job in Alabama. Phenix City is a dangerous place to run for election without the backing of local gangsters, but urged on by his ex-military son, John (Richard Kiley), Albert promises to restore law and order to the crime-ridden city. Though he pays the ultimate price for his bravery, his candidacy inspires residents to stand up to the mobsters. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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Critics Reviews

View All (8) Critics Reviews
Nick Schager Slant Magazine Its borderline-obscene wallop is derived from its brusque brutality. May 15, 2006 Full Review George N. Fenin Film Culture The Phenix City Story, then should be commended for having attempted to dis- close to the wide public an undistorted image of one of the standing ills that afflict our society. Mar 29, 2022 Full Review Clyde Gilmour Maclean's Magazine A violent, absorbing true story about an Alabama town's efforts to throw off the shackles of organized crime. Recommended. Oct 28, 2019 Full Review Kelly Vance East Bay Express A nasty docudrama profile. Aug 26, 2011 Full Review Sean Axmaker Parallax View ... one of the most hard-hitting crime films of its era... inspired by real-life events and directed in a semi-documentary style with a tabloid punch. Aug 11, 2010 Full Review Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid Karlson's finest hour. Jul 16, 2010 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (31) audience reviews
mark g Although this movie is based on a true story, I question strongly how accurate this movie is to the actual events. So over the top and amateurish. The bad guys are really really bad. The good people are really really clueless and completely oblivious to the incredible threats to them, that are perpetrated every minute. Seriously, only a complete idiot would carry on the way they are with so much documented violence already perpetrated. Dumb. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 07/14/24 Full Review teresita r Chilling! A must see! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review William L Docudramas as a whole are kind of disingenuous by definition - trying to amp up credibility without being satisfied by a simple 'Based on a True Story" in the preface, but slathering on excess and often directly fabricating plenty of content to the point that they really can't call themselves factual. More entertaining for its initial newsreel segment that provides a period look at sensationalized journalism and a hilariously dated premise than its actual content, The Phenix City Story hails from a time where the greatest vice in the American popular consciousness was rigging a slot machine or knocking off cheap liquor. The fistfights are pretty terribly choreographed and practical effects are dodgy to say the least, but the film (perhaps unintentionally) demonstrates a surprising level of self-awareness in the brutality and callousness of the Southern good ol' boys' thinking on race, treating a murder-kidnapping of an innocent black girl as a warning rather than an actual crime (though the event did not actually take place and the film really doesn't touch on race outside of that moment, despite supposedly focusing on the greatest vices that society in Alabama had to offer in 1955; John Patterson, supposedly the hero of the film, asked for and received the support of the KKK in his successful later run for the governorship of Alabama, and during his tenure he was very much pro-segregation). The acting is pretty rough all around (particularly the supporting cast), with the notable exception of recognizable character actor Edward Andrews who gives just the right level of grease to antagonist Rhett Tanner. But all that the film outright condemns - the gambling, the drinking, the mob connections, and the underworld crime - was experiencing a Golden Age out west in Vegas that would be romanticized and immortalized for decades, so what differentiates the 'sexy' mob from the actual bad guys? This could have been an unorthodox crime story, but instead feels half-baked and disingenuous. (2.5/5) Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 05/22/21 Full Review Audience Member Excellent portrayal of corruption in our nation's past and the efforts to stop it. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review deke p saw late tv 5.25.19 1955 movie Oddly enough, 4 days later, on Wedn 5.29.19 Joe Mulay mentions Phenix City, which I had never heard of before, Joe very familiar with, having been stations at Fort Benning. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review s r A bit cheaply made, but unique nonetheless. 1001 movies to see before you die. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Phenix City Story

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Based on a sensational news story, this film looks at the murder of Albert L. Patterson (John McIntire), who hopes to win the an attorney general's job in Alabama. Phenix City is a dangerous place to run for election without the backing of local gangsters, but urged on by his ex-military son, John (Richard Kiley), Albert promises to restore law and order to the crime-ridden city. Though he pays the ultimate price for his bravery, his candidacy inspires residents to stand up to the mobsters.
Director
Phil Karlson
Producer
Samuel Bischoff, David Diamond
Screenwriter
Daniel Mainwaring, Crane Wilbur
Distributor
Allied Artists Pictures
Production Co
Allied Artists Pictures Corporation
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Aug 14, 1955, Wide
Release Date (Streaming)
Mar 10, 2017
Runtime
1h 40m
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