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The Whitsell Auditorium and the Northwest Film Center Equipment Room are closed to the public in an effort to further stem the spread of COVID-19. All classes canceled until further notice. Stay connected to art, film, and more by signing up for our newsletter.

Directed by Jules Dassin

United States 1947 98 mins. In English

“Soon-to-be-blacklisted director Jules Dassin’s excoriating and angry prison drama uses the ‘big cage’ as a metaphor for the lost innocence and spiritual malignancy of post-WWII America. One in a series of ’40s films haunted by talismanic portraits of women, BRUTE FORCE uses a dreamy calendar model as the inspiration for a series of flashbacks that reveal Lancaster and his fellow cellmates to be united by bad luck, bad timing, and impossible love. Lancaster’s mournful yearning turns to embittered rage when a carefully planned breakout pits him against the messianic and warped ego of the Napoleonic prison warden, made viciously real by the brilliant Hume Cronyn. During the film’s furious, fiery climax of man against machine, Lancaster’s expressive use of his body is harrowing and perhaps unsurpassed in his entire career.”—Harvard Film Archive.

Genres: Crime, Drama, Film Noir

Appears in: Forever Burt



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.