A talk with video clips by Jim Van Buskirk

Shortly after Alcatraz opened as a federal prison in 1934, its career as a setting for movies began.

From Alcatraz Island (1937) through Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) Hollywood depicted life on the isolated island. After the prison closed in 1963, a new era began. Point Blank (1967) was the first to film there, followed by such memorable titles as The Enforcer (1974) Escape from Alcatraz (1979), The Rock (1996) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). Jim Van Buskirk, author of Celluloid San Francisco (and former SFPL librarian), offers a clip-filled program of how the Bay Area’s beloved prison/sightseeing destination has been portrayed on screen.

Jim is an accomplished public speaker, author, and historian who offers unique and entertaining perspectives on California gay and lesbian history, Jewish identity, and Bay Area-related movies. He is currently available for bookings with this presentation, as well as readings, workshops, and more. For availability, rates, and other information, please send him an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..