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The Maltese Falcon
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The Maltese Falcon (1941) More at IMDbPro »

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The Maltese Falcon -- Cinematic masterpiece stars screen-legend Humphrey Bogart as private detective Sam Spade, a no-nonsense loner whose partner is killed while pursuing a case.
The Maltese Falcon -- Sam Spade, a private detective, gets involved in a murderous hunt for a valuable statuette.


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8.2/10   103,624 votes »
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Down 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
John Huston (screenplay)
Dashiell Hammett (based upon the novel by)
View company contact information for The Maltese Falcon on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 October 1941 (USA) See more »
It's thrilling . . . it's chilling . . . it's the most baffling mystery story in years ! See more »
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins See more »
(357 articles)
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User Reviews:
Noir at its best See more (330 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
John Huston 
Writing credits
John Huston (screenplay)

Dashiell Hammett (based upon the novel by)

Produced by
Henry Blanke .... associate producer
Hal B. Wallis .... executive producer
Original Music by
Adolph Deutsch 
Cinematography by
Arthur Edeson (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Thomas Richards (film editor)
Art Direction by
Robert M. Haas  (as Robert Haas)
Costume Design by
Orry-Kelly (gowns)
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
Frank McCoy .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Jean Udko .... hair (uncredited)
Production Management
Al Alleborn .... unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Claude Archer .... assistant director (uncredited)
John Prettyman .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Jack Sullivan .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
John Gilbert Kissel .... props (uncredited)
Keefe Maley .... assistant props (uncredited)
William McConnell .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Sound Department
Oliver S. Garretson .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
William Conger .... gaffer (uncredited)
E.F. Dexter .... grip (uncredited)
Mack Elliott .... still photographer (uncredited)
Mike Joyce .... camera operator (uncredited)
Wally Meinardus .... assistant camera (uncredited)
William Steudeman .... best boy (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Burrell Kring .... wardrobe man (uncredited)
Cora Lobb .... wardrobe woman (uncredited)
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Louis Kaufman .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Arthur Lange .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Robert Foulk .... dialogue director
Meta Carpenter .... script clerk (uncredited)
Natacha Nahon .... french adaptation: original version with subtitles (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
100 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Australia:G (TV rating) | Brazil:12 | Canada:PG (Manitoba/Ontario) | Canada:G (Nova Scotia/Quebec) | Finland:K-12 (1987) | Finland:K-16 (1946) | Germany:12 (re-rating) (2000s) | Iceland:L | Netherlands:AL | New Zealand:PG | Norway:16 (1945) | South Korea:12 (2003) | Spain:T | Sweden:15 (re-rating) (1943) | Sweden:(Banned) (1942) | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) | USA:Not Rated | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #7457) | West Germany:16 (nf) (original rating)

Did You Know?

For decades this film could not be legally shown on US television stations because of its underlying suggestions of "illicit" sexual activity among the characters (i.e., O'Shaughnessy's promiscuity, indications that Joel Cairo was a homosexual).See more »
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: Spade refers to the gun as an automatic, yet he is shown a revolver. The gun shown is a Webley-Fosbery automatic. This was a revolver that used the recoil of the shot to turn the cylinder and re-cock the weapon. It was very well made, but susceptible to dirt and fouling and so, as Spade said, "They don't make 'em anymore". However, it was made in two versions, a six-shot .455 and an eight-shot .38 ACP, so it can't actually be an eight-shot .45 as Spade says it is.See more »
[first lines]
Sam Spade:Yes, sweetheart?
Effie Perine:There's a girl wants to see you. Her name's Wonderly.
Sam Spade:A customer?
Effie Perine:I guess so. You'll want to see her anyway. She's a knockout.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Replay (2003)See more »


How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
What is a "gunsel"?
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115 out of 147 people found the following review useful.
Noir at its best, 30 April 2003
Author: ( from Delaware Ohio

Humphrey Bogart died nearly fifty years ago, but polls still put him at the top of all-time Hollywood stars. What turns a man into a legend? The man himself wasn't much: a slight build, not too tall, no Stallone muscles to swell his suit. What he had in classic films like `The Maltese Falcon' was a voice that cut through a script like a knife. `The Maltese Falcon,' directed by John Huston in 1941, reprised Dashiell Hammett's thriller. (It had been filmed before.) Hammett practically invented the tough guy so deep in cynicism nobody could hope to put anything past him. The novel, thick with plot, wasn't easy for director John Huston to untangle. Few people who cherish this film can summarize its story in a sentence or two. I'll try. San Francisco private eye Sam Spade (Bogart) is pulled into the search for a fabulously valuable statue by a woman who seeks his help. First, his partner is killed, then Spade pushes through her lies to uncover connections to an effete foreigner (Peter Lorre) and a mysterious kingpin (Sydney Greenstreet). The story unfolds like a crumpled paper. But the whodunit becomes less important than how we respond to the strong screen presence of Bogart and his co-stars. That's what makes `The Maltese Falcon' a classic. We see more and appreciate more each time we watch it. The art of Huston and Bogart doesn't come across until a second or third viewing. Huston invented what the French called film noir, in honor of Hollywood films (often `B' movies, cheap to make, second movies in double features) that took no-name stars into city streets to pit tough guys, often with a vulnerable streak, against dangerous dames. Audiences knew that when the tough guy said, `I'm wise to you, babe,' he'd be dead within a reel or two. Bogart was luckier than most noir heroes, but it cost. Struggling to maintain his own independence – against the claims of love or his own penchant towards dishonesty – the Bogart hero can do little better than surrender, with a rueful shrug, to the irony his survival depends on. The climax of `The Maltese Falcon' ranks with the last scene of `Casablanca,' another Bogart vehicle, in showing how the tough guy has to put himself back together after his emotions almost get the better of him. That assertion of strength, bowed but not broken, defines the enduring quality of Bogart on screen. For Huston, telling this story posed a different problem. Telling it straight wasn't possible – too many twists. Huston chose to focus on characters. One way to appreciate Huston's choices is to LISTEN to the movie. Hear the voices. Notice how in long sequences narrating back story, Huston relies on the exotic accents of his characters to keep us interested. Could we endure the scene in which Greenstreet explains the history of the Maltese falcon unless his clipped, somewhat prissy English accent held our attention? Also, we watch Bogart slip into drug-induced sleep while Greenstreet drones on. Has any director thought of a better way to keep us interested during a long narrative interlude? And is there a bit of wit in our watching Bogart nod off during a scene which, if told straight, would make US doze? All of this leads to the ending, minutes of screen time in which more goes on, gesture by gesture, than a million words could summarize. He loves her, maybe, but he won't be a sucker. The cops come in, and the emotional color shifts to gray, the color of film noir heroes like Bogart. Bars on the elevator door as Brigid descends in police custody foreshadow her fate in the last image of Huston's film. But after the film, we're left with Spade, whom we like and loathe, a man whose sense of justice squares, just this once, with our own, maybe. Black and white morality prevails in a black and white movie, but Sam Spade remains gray – and so does our response to this film classic.

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