MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 953 this week

The Big Sleep (1946)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery  |  31 August 1946 (USA)
8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 58,834 users  
Reviews: 233 user | 122 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:

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

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 05 Oct 2010
 
a list of 30 titles
created 14 May 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 21 Jun 2011
 
a list of 40 titles
created 17 Aug 2011
 
a list of 25 titles
created 23 Aug 2011
 

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 #241 | 1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    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
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
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
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 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
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
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An insurance representative 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
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
The Third Man (1949)
Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 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
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
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    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
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
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Three WWII veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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 {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

TEEMING WITH STAR-TEAM EXCITEMENT! (re-release print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | 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

The second of four films made by real life couple and later husband and wife Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. This film follows Bacall's debut in To Have and Have Not (1944), during which their romance was first kindled on set. Following this film, the couple teamed up twice more, for Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948). See more »

Goofs

When Marlowe enters the Sternwood home, bringing Carmen Sternwood home from Geiger's house, he is not wearing his trench coat. But, as he leaves, he is given the coat by Norris, the butler, and puts it on. See more »

Quotes

Philip Marlowe: You made a mistake. Mrs. Rutledge didn't want to see me.
Norris: I'm sorry, sir. I make many mistakes.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Long Goodbye (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Schwartz
Played when Vivian Rutledge pays off Marlowe over drinks
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Complex plot, but well written and well scripted with tough dialogue and great characters
2 May 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Philip Marlowe is a private detective who is hired by General Sternwood to investigate a case of blackmail involving his youngest daughters' gambling debts. The General has lost his right hand man, Shaun Regan, and needs a man able to do the job. Marlowe investigates the blackmailer, Geiger and tails him to a house. When he hears shots he rushes in to find Geiger dead and Carmen strung out of her head. With Geiger dead, Marlowe follows the trail to Joe Brody, who also gets rubbed out, and then to Eddie Mars, who's wife is rumoured to have run off with Regan. As he digs deeper Marlowe finds only corruption and deceit but also starts to fall for the General's eldest daughter, Vivian Rutledge.

Despite the fact that this film is overly complicated at times, it still stands out as a classic bit of noir, even if aspects other than the plot are what really makes it as good as it is. The plot starts simply but quickly becomes a much more complex beast that moves beyond the issue of blackmail and into murder and lies. For many viewers, this will be a challenge - so many characters come and go in a short period that it is hard to keep track of how they all relate to each other, and the fact that we're not always supposed to know the connections just makes it more difficult at times. However, if you manage to make it past the midpoint of the film without having totally lost track of people then it becomes clearer towards the end. It may sound silly, but this time I watched the film with a pen and paper to help me keep track of who's who - it really helped; but it is worth noting that, even with help, bits of the plot will make little sense at times.

The focus of the film is not the plot - the focus of the film I think is the relationship dynamic between Marlowe and Vivian. In this regard the film really works well. The relationship between is tough but trusting no matter what; at times it is a little hard to see the affection between the two being real or realistic but it is the dialogue between the two that makes it work despite this. The writing is fantastic, the scenes between them do fizzle but the dialogue across the whole film is perfect: it is tough, memorable and basically it is the way I'm sure we all wish we could talk at some point in our lives! The material is also quite daring for the period - murder and tough talk was not unusual but the issues of drugs and nymphomania are hardly common subjects for such a mainstream film at the time.

The performances are fantastic and perfectly fit the material. Although this is not my favourite Bogart performance (I love him in Maltese Falcon) he is still brilliant here, he is cool, tough and intelligent - at times his power over women threatens to be unrealistic but his presence makes it work. His character is not as complex as in Maltese Falcon but Bogart does harried and world-weary better than anyone else. Bacall is great even if I don't personally find her that attractive; she has a great chemistry with Bogart and delivers the goods. Vickers is also good but in a less subtle role. The support cast includes tough turns from Cook, Heydt and Ridgely all of whom convince as tough guys but not to the point where they threaten to eclipse the shining star of Bogart.

Overall this is a classic film despite the fact that the plot is too difficult at times and doesn't always hang together. The flaws here are covered by a tough script that delivers the goods in terms of both dialogue and characters. The plot is a complex web but the basic energy and relationship dynamics keep the film moving really well through scenes that continue to show their influence in films today. Not a perfect film but a great bit of noir that is likely to be loved by the vast majority of viewers

  • just keep that pen and paper to hand though!



81 of 107 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
What is the Big Sleep? richsass
Humphrey Bogart doesn't look 38 Skylab23
Sexy Dialog richsass
Acme bookstore scene... fouetteforever
Discuss The Big Sleep (1946) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page