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The Big Sleep (1946)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery  |  31 August 1946 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 60,754 users  
Reviews: 237 user | 126 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.



(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
John Ridgely ...
Peggy Knudsen ...
Charles Waldron ...
Charles D. Brown ...
Louis Jean Heydt ...


Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by old General Sternwood to stop a blackmail attempt concerning his youngest daughter Carmen. Marlowe tails the blackmailer Geiger to his house at Laverne Terrace. Suddenly he hears a shot and sees some men rushing out to their cars. He breaks into the house, and finds Carmel drugged in a chair, with Geiger's dead body at her feet. An empty camera proves that a photo has been taken of her and the corpse, probably intended for further blackmailing. A series of clues lead Marlowe to various persons involved in gambling. Wherever he finds them, he also finds Sternwood's oldest daughter, Vivian Rutledge, a divorced beauty. She and Marlowe fall in love with each other, although she continues double-crossing him. When Marlowe's investigations lead him to the casino owner Eddie Mars, the situation starts becoming very dangerous. Everyone, including the district attorney, advises Marlowe to stop the investigation, but he is stubborn. Eddie Mars has a ... Written by Maths Jesperson {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The type of man she hated . . . was the type she wanted ! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 August 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tote schlafen fest  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (pre-release)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In re-cutting the film, Howard Hawks removed the scene in which Marlowe explains the crimes. The film's success supported his growing conviction that audiences didn't care if a plot made sense as long as they had a good time. See more »


The guns hidden in Marlowe's car: first he chooses the one on the left and later when he shoots Canino he picks the same gun, but the other is missing. See more »


Vivian: What will your first step be?
Philip Marlowe: The usual one.
Vivian: I didn't know there was a usual one.
Philip Marlowe: Well sure there is, it comes complete with diagrams on page 47 of how to be a detective in 10 easy lessons correspondent school textbook and uh, your father offered me a drink.
Vivian: You must've read another one on how to be a comedian.
See more »


Featured in A Love Story: The Story of 'To Have and Have Not' (2003) See more »


And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine
Music by Stan Kenton and Charles Lawrence
Lyrics by Joe Greene
Played by a band at the casino and sung by Lauren Bacall and patrons
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Classic Film-Noir. Murder and mayhem; and a private dick that doesn't quit.
15 January 2002 | by (Muskogee OK) – See all my reviews

Howard Hawks directs Raymond Chandler's novel on the silver screen. None other than William Faulkner is primary screenplay writer. Bogart and Bacall star in this grand black and white thriller. Private eye Philip Marlowe(Bogart)is hired by a very wealthy family to protect a young woman from her own indiscretions and along the way there is murder, blackmail, car chases and gun play to deal with. Right smack in the middle of this complex case Marlowe finds time to fall in love with his client's eldest daughter(Bacall). Murder galore does not phase our cool detective with the cigarette hanging from his thin lips.

Flawless acting from Bogart and Bacall. There is a very talented supporting cast that includes Regis Toomey, Martha Vickers, Elisha Cook Jr., Bob Steele and John Ridgely. Then there is the charming Dorothy Malone that sizzles in her short time on screen. Very witty dialogue and colorful characters make this a classic among classics.

25 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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