• This documentary is a mixed documentary,
this is because there was a use of; interviews,
narrations, reconstructions and archive
footage. The documentary itself tells the story
of the three men who escaped from Alcatraz
prison in 1962 and uses archive
footage/images to show evidence of their
escape. The documentary also features some
CGI animation as a reconstruction of the
escape route the three men took.
• The documentaries main focus is the three
men who escaped the prison. The
documentary explores how the men were able
to do it and sheds some light on the convicts
background and how they ended up in the
prison. The documentary also explores the
conspiracies surrounding their escape and
where the convicts may be now.
• The beginning of the documentary introduces the criminals and the
conspiracies. The audience learns about the four mean and how
only three successfully escaped. We learn about the men's
backgrounds and the fates of those who tried to escape but failed.
• The middle of the documentary goes into full detail of the escape,
we see CGI animation of the route they took out of the prison and
tools they used in their escape. We also learn how they were able
to do it as the men studied the prison before attempting the
• The end of the documentary goes through the different ideas that
people believe happened to the men once they escaped. Some
believe they made it to land, others believe they drowned. The
documentary then goes into detail about ‘sightings’ of the men and
suspicious communications the convicts may have had with their
• There were a range of camera angles used in this documentary;
• Ariel shot – This shot was used to show the layout of the prison, it
also showed the audience that the prison was on it’s own island
which backed up the idea that the escape was ‘impossible’.
• Close ups – This shot was used the most when the convicts were
escaping, it showed them digging the hole, the tools they used and
close ups were also used to show what was written in their criminal
• Mid shots – These shots were used during interviews, the
background during the interview was always relevant.
• High angle shot – This shot was used when the prisoners were
moving through the prison during reconstructions, this made it look
like actual footage and was presented like CCTV footage.
shot – looks
Ariel view of
prison, shows the
Mise En Scene
• The documentary itself had a lot of dark/plain colours
(blacks and greys) this may have been used to indicate
prison life, as it is represented as dull and bleak.
• The backgrounds to interviews were always relevant to
who the person was that was being interviewed. A lady
who’s father worked in the prison had a prison cell as
her background, this is because she lived on the island
with the prison so was very familiar with the prison
itself. An old police chief had an American Flag as his
background, firstly the escape took place in America
but the flag also represents justice and bravery which
the police chief would try to honour.
Prison cell background of
woman's interview (stays
relevant to documentary)
• Both digetic and non digetic sound was used.
• The digetic sound was narrations and interviews.
The narrations were used when reconstructions
were being played, the narrations allowed the
audience to understand what was going on.
• The non digetic sound was music being played
throughout the documentary. The non digetic
music was played mainly over the documentaries
reconstructions, this added tension and suspense
to the documentary which gripped the audience.
• There was only some archive footage used as
most of it was reconstructions. There was black
and white footage from inside the prison, it
showed the security system the prison used
which showed the audience how hard it would
have been to escape. There was also archive
footage of criminals who had tried to escape and
had failed. There was also some archive footage
taken of the sea surrounding the prison, which
backed up the idea that the sea was too
dangerous to swim in or have a raft in when
attempting to escape.
Archive footage of
• There was a small range of editing used in this
documentary as the majority of it was
reconstructions. There were fast cuts between
the reconstructions and interviews which
indicated the speed and the desperation of the
escape. There was also CGI animation used, this
allowed the layout of the prison to be presented.
It also gave the creators a chance to recreate the
escape the convicts took and allowed the
audience to see the route the convicts took to
successfully escape the prison.
CGI Animation used
to show route
• The documentary opened with a title card in bold
white writing which read ‘Escape! Breakout from
Alcatraz’ this immediately tells the audience what
the documentary is based on.
• There were also graphics of the names of the
people being interviewed in the bottom right of
the screen, their names were written in white
which could indicate their ‘purity’ as they were
the people at the prison who kept the criminals