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Great artwork for "Birdman of Alcatraz" This 1962 film starred Burt Lancaster and was directed by John Frankenheimer. It is a fictionalized version of the life of Robert Stroud, a federal prison inmate known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz" because of his life with birds. The film was adapted by Guy Trosper from the 1955 novel by Thomas E. Gaddis. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Burt Lancaster), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Telly Savalas), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Thelma Ritter) and Best Cinematography, Black-and-White.