IMDb > Ministry of Fear (1944)
Ministry of Fear
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Ministry of Fear (1944) More at IMDbPro »

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Ministry of Fear -- Stephen Neale is released into WWII England after two years in an asylum, but it doesn't seem so sane outside either. On his way back to London to rejoin civilization, he stumbles across a murderous spy ring and doesn't quite know who to turn to.
Ministry of Fear -- Stephen Neale is released into WWII England after two years in an asylum, but it doesn't seem so sane outside either. On his way back to London to rejoin civilization, he stumbles across a murderous spy ring and doesn't quite know who to turn to.


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7.2/10   4,430 votes »
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Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Seton I. Miller (screenplay)
Graham Greene (novel)
View company contact information for Ministry of Fear on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 October 1944 (USA) See more »
Stephen Neale has just been released from an asylum during World War 2 in England when he stumbles on a deadly Nazi spy plot by accident, and tries to stop it. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Beware when a psychic advices you to guess the weight of a cake See more (52 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ray Milland ... Stephen Neale
Marjorie Reynolds ... Carla Hilfe
Carl Esmond ... Willi Hilfe
Hillary Brooke ... Mrs. Bellane #2
Percy Waram ... Inspector Prentice

Dan Duryea ... Cost / Travers the Tailor

Alan Napier ... Dr. JM Forrester
Erskine Sanford ... George Rennit
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harry Allen ... Tailor's Delivery Man (uncredited)
Frank Baker ... Scotland Yard Man (uncredited)
Vangie Beilby ... Old Lady at Charity Bazaar (uncredited)
Wilson Benge ... Air Raid Warden (uncredited)
Evelyn Beresford ... Fat Lady at Charity Bazaar (uncredited)
Arthur Blake ... Man (uncredited)
Matthew Boulton ... Official, Ministry of Home Security (uncredited)
George Broughton ... Man in Tailor's Shop (uncredited)
Leonard Carey ... Porter (uncredited)
Bruce Carruthers ... Police Clerk (uncredited)
David Clyde ... English Bobby (uncredited)
Anne Curson ... Lady with Children (uncredited)
Frank Dawson ... Vicar (uncredited)
Cyril Delevanti ... Railroad Agent (uncredited)
Aminta Dyne ... Mrs. Bellane #1 - Fortune Teller (uncredited)
Mary Field ... Martha Penteel (uncredited)
Edward Fielding ... Ministry Executive (uncredited)
Byron Foulger ... Mr. Newby (uncredited)
Karen X. Gaylord ... Young Woman (uncredited)
Helena Grant ... Mrs. Merrick - Hilfe's Secretary (uncredited)
Grayce Hampton ... Lady with Floppy Hat (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten ... Tailor's Shop Clerk (uncredited)
Boyd Irwin ... Scotland Yard Man Finding Cake Box (uncredited)
Colin Kenny ... Scotland Yard Man (uncredited)
Frank Leigh ... Man (uncredited)
Connie Leon ... Lady Purchaser of Cake (uncredited)
Thomas Louden ... Mr. Newland - Bookseller (uncredited)
Lester Matthews ... Dr. Norton at Lembridge Asylum (uncredited)
Clive Morgan ... Man in Tailor's Shop (uncredited)
Ottola Nesmith ... Woman at Admission Gate (uncredited)
Jessica Newcombe ... Cake Booth Lady (uncredited)
Albert Petit ... Guest at Seance (uncredited)
Hilda Plowright ... Maid for Mrs. Bellane #2 (uncredited)
Edmond Russell ... Unspecified Role (uncredited)
Francis Sayles ... Man Answering Rennit's Knock (uncredited)
Eric Wilton ... Scotland Yard Man (uncredited)
Eustace Wyatt ... Blind Man (uncredited)

Directed by
Fritz Lang 
Writing credits
Seton I. Miller (screenplay)

Graham Greene (novel)

Produced by
Seton I. Miller .... associate producer
Buddy G. DeSylva .... executive producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Victor Young 
Cinematography by
Henry Sharp (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Archie Marshek 
Art Direction by
Hans Dreier 
Hal Pereira 
Set Decoration by
Bertram C. Granger  (as Bertram Granger)
Costume Design by
Edith Head 
Makeup Department
Wally Westmore .... makeup artist
Leonora Sabine .... hair stylist supervisor (uncredited)
Production Management
Don Robb .... unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
George Templeton .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Don Johnson .... sound recordist
W.C. Smith .... sound recordist
Music Department
George Parrish .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Miklós Rózsa .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Leo Shuken .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Eugene Zador .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Lester Sharpe .... coach: Austrian accent (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
86 min (copyright length)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | France:U | Germany:12 | Netherlands:14 (original rating) (1949) | New Zealand:PG | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) (passed with cuts) | UK:PG (video rating) (2007) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #9511) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

The "winning" cake weight at the Lembridge fête is 4lb 15.5oz.See more »
Willi Hilfe:We thought you'd been killed.
Stephen Neale:Not quite.
See more »
Movie Connections:


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31 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
Beware when a psychic advices you to guess the weight of a cake, 1 January 2006
Author: krorie from Van Buren, Arkansas

What a team! Graham Greene and Fritz Lang. What an actor! Ray Milland. What a movie! This one will stay with you for awhile. Though Greene did better work, i.e his masterpiece the screenplay for "The Third Man," and Lang did better work, "Metropolis, "M," "Fury." Together they make "Ministry of Fear" sizzle.

Today just about any movie from the 40's and 50's shot in black and white with darkness, rain, or shadows is labeled film noir. I don't really know if "Ministry of Fear" is a film noir as such but I do know it's great film making, somewhat along the lines of Hitchcock's "39 Steps." Ray Milland as Stephen Neale is mistaken for a go between espionage agent, called Cost or Travers depending on the circumstances, played to perfection by Dan Duryea. Neale guesses the weight of a cake as foretold by a fortune teller. Obviously the cake is valuable because immediately upon realizing their mistake the spy ring sets out to frame and kill Neale to retrieve the tasty morsel. Not to be missed is an exciting sequence aboard a train involving an alleged blind man. The rest of the movie filled with suspense, mystery, and intrigue involves Neal teaming with Carla Hilfe (Marjorie Reynolds--later of television's "Life of Riley" fame) and her brother to catch the culprits and discover what it's all about. Gradually Neal comes to suspect even Carla herself though by this time he's fallen madly in love with her. The feeling seems to be mutual. The denouement is a showdown between Neal and the spy ring which is exciting and a logical way to wrap up the movie.

Ray Milland walks off with the show even though the rest of the cast gives him able support. It's easy to see that Ray Milland was well on his way to winning the Oscar the very next year for his standout performance in Billy Wilder's "Lost Weekend." It was just a matter of time before his acting talent would be formally recognized. It's a good thing "Lost Weekend" came around for Milland for he never again played a role that so suited his abilities as an actor, though he still had many years ahead of him to be on the big screen.

The script is a witty one with many good lines. Though Lang's direction is good there are a few boring parts following the frame-up. A few more blind man type scenes would have helped tremendously. Still a very good espionage thriller of the old school with a title that reaches out and grabs you to make you want to see what the "Ministry of Fear" is all about.

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Why it's not film noir, and what is dmayo-911-597432
Disappointing newcastleboy-1
Methinks Mr. Maxwell attributes too much to Lang Johnsmith78
How We Won the War essex9999
**Spoiler** Great Shot! bravehome
A charity fete - at night? In wartime? lucyrfisher
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