MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 668 this week

The Big Sleep (1946)

8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 53,662 users  
Reviews: 222 user | 119 critic

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available now. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 38 titles
created 17 Jul 2011
 
a list of 29 titles
created 08 Dec 2011
 
a list of 45 titles
created 19 Sep 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Big Sleep" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Big Sleep (1946)

The Big Sleep (1946) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Big Sleep.

User Polls

Top 250 #229 | 1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Key Largo (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A man visits his old friend's hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall
Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

During WWII, American expatriate Harry Morgan helps transport a Free French Resistance leader and his beautiful wife to Martinique while romancing a sexy lounge singer.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George
Dark Passage (1947)
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A man convicted of murdering his wife escapes from prison and works with a woman to try and prove his innocence.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An insurance rep lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
Notorious (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Touch of Evil (1958)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Directors: Charles Laughton, Robert Mitchum, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt
The Third Man (1949)
Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder...a theory that he plans to implement.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman
Stalag 17 (1953)
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When two escaping American World War II prisoners are killed, the German POW camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
John Ridgely ...
...
...
Peggy Knudsen ...
...
Charles Waldron ...
Charles D. Brown ...
...
...
Louis Jean Heydt ...
Edit

Storyline

Summoned by the dying General Sternwood, Philip Marlowe is asked to deal with several problems that are troubling his family. Marlowe finds that each problem centers about the disappearance of Sternwood's favoured employee who has left with a mobster's wife. Each of the problems becomes a cover for something else as Marlowe probes. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The picture they were born for! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 August 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le grand sommeil  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (pre-release)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Eager to repeat the success of To Have and Have Not (1944), Warner Bros. studio chief Jack L. Warner gave Howard Hawks $50,000 to purchase the rights for "The Big Sleep." Hawks bought the rights for $5,000 and pocketed the rest. See more »

Goofs

When Marlowe goes to Geiger's house, in the foreground is the house's mailbox with "AG Geiger 460" visible on it. When Marlowe later calls his pal Bernie at the D.A.'s office, he gives the address as "7244 Laverne Terrace". See more »

Quotes

Carmen Sternwood: Is he as cute as you are?
Philip Marlowe: Nobody is.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Humphrey Bogart: Behind the Legend (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

You Go to My Head
Written by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots
[Played when Marlowe and Vivian Regan are having drinks.]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Classic Noir
3 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Read all of my reviews at www.midnitcafe.blogspot.com This classic film noir has very few of techniques generally associated with noir. It contains no skewed camera angles; and though it is darkly lit, it is not overcome with murky, obscuring shadows. The hero is not down-and-out, poor, or desperate. There is no retrospective narration, or flashbacks. Yet, the Big Sleep is widely considered to be one of the very best of this genre. It is a cynical, perverse, murderous world filled with loads of confusing action and unknown motives. It is, in fact, one of the great films of one of the screens greatest actors (for my personal top 10 actors list, click here), and most talented directors.

It was directed by Howard Hawks fresh off of the successful pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Becall in To Have and Have Not. The two star here again and it is easy to see why they made another two films together. Based on a Raymond Chandler novel of the same name, many people complain that this film is incomprehensible. Somewhat famously it is reported that Bogart and Hawks, after arguing over who killed one of the characters, called up Chandler to get the correct answer. Chandler didn't have the slightest idea, for the novel is rather vague on this point. It's true that both the novel and film leave many plot points as to who did what to whom more than unclear, but there is so much style in both that it's hard to make a convincing argument against them.

A good deal of the confusion within the film comes from the production codes in effect at the time it was produced. Chandler's novel deals with murder, homosexuality, heterosexuality, and pornography. At the time, these things were deemed unfit to show on a movie screen and so Hawks had to hint at them using various subtle methods. For instance, when Carmen Sternwood (Martha Vickers) is found by detective Phillip Marlow (Bogart) in the novel she is completely nude and sitting posed for a hidden camera. Since pornography is explicitly against code, in the movie she is dressed in a silky, Japanese gown. There is still a hidden camera, and its missing film becomes a catalyst for much of the action in the film. We must infer from the exotic nature of the gown that there was more than just pictures of a woman in a gown going on. There are many similar instances in the film like this. For an audience member who has not read the book, they must pay close attention to the subtext, or the film will seem baffling.

Personally, I am very much a fan of the book, and all of Chandler's work. While I appreciate that some of the finer plot points are a bit vague in this film, I also understand that the film succeeds not in the details of the story, but in a sinister sense of style. The film oozes with a dark, disquieting atmosphere. Nearly everyone Marlowe meets is hiding something, and is of less than upstanding moral character. Hawks does a great job of keeping nearly every scene in the dark or in the rain, or both. There are so many characters coming in and out of the shadows and with their own shady character that it is difficult to keep up.

Bogart, of course, does a marvelous job as Marlowe. He seems to understand a lot more information than the audience is ever given. Chandler wrote Marlowe as a detective who sticks by his own set up morals, remaining somewhat of a noble creature trying to stay afloat amongst the muck and sewers of the city. Lauren Bacall does a very good job portraying Vivian Sternwood Rutledge, in a role that is much different than the one in the book. Like many films from this era, they create a romance that wasn't really in the source material. I don't mind though, because Bogart and Bacall really sizzle.

What can I say that hasn't been said before? This is really classic noir at its best. It's got Bogart and Bacall. It was directed by Howard Hawks, written by William Faulkner from a novel by Raymond Chandler. What more could a lover of classic cinema want? More reviews at www.midnitcafe.blogspot.com


41 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I Haven't The Slightest Idea What Happened Or Why In This Film Raxivace
I just don't get it walterandelaine
Humphrey Bogart doesn't look 38 Skylab23
Acme bookstore scene... fouetteforever
Big sleep v Maltese Falcon frank316
The Women in this movie... bossf51
Discuss The Big Sleep (1946) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page