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The Big Sleep (1946)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery  |  31 August 1946 (USA)
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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


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


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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?


Howard Hawks did not approve of the Bogart-Bacall relationship. He had discovered Lauren Bacall, still had her under a personal contract, and felt rather paternal toward her. In addition to lecturing her about staying away from her co-star, Hawks and his wife tried to fix her up with other men, including Clark Gable. See more »


The size of Vivian's glass and the amount of liquid in it doubles from when she walks to the bedroom window and sets the glass on the window sill. See more »


Taxi Driver: If you can use me again sometime, call this number.
Philip Marlowe: Day and night?
Taxi Driver: Uh, night's better. I work during the day.
See more »


Referenced in Bogart: The Untold Story (1996) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"Over Here, Canino"
5 November 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The second of the Bogey and Bacall pairings has Humphrey Bogart playing his second pulp fiction detective for the screen. Previously he had done Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon and now he's Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep. He's at the top of his game in both.

Bogey's been hired by Philip Waldron to get rid of a blackmailer that's got something on one of his daughters, the amoral and disturbed Martha Vickers. The older daughter Lauren Bacall intrigues Bogey a bit more when she tries to pry into exactly what Bogart is doing for her father. Seems as though a family chauffeur has gone missing a while back and the family is concerned on a number of levels.

The plot glides into the question of the missing chauffeur and Bogart meets all kinds of interesting characters before all the mysteries are solved.

The Big Sleep proved that the teaming on screen of Bogey and Bacall was no flash in the pan success that they had in Two Have and Have Not. They are surrounded with a great cast of players. Dorothy Malone got her first notice on film as a bookstore proprietor. Elisha Cook essays one of his typical roles as a luckless fall guy. John Ridgely is properly menacing as gambler Eddie Mars.

But my favorite in this film has always been Bob Steele as the vicious killer Canino who Ridgely has on retainer. Why Bob Steele wasted his time with two bit grade C westerns when he was doing work like this is beyond me. My favorite scene in The Big Sleep has always been when Bogey blasts Steele after Bacall has diverted his attention. When you hear Bogart utter those words, "over here, Canino" he was never more chilling or menacing on the screen before or after.

Set comfortably within it's time in the Forties, The Big Sleep still packs quite a wallop for today's audience. May you never have Humphrey Bogart looking to nail you for some misdeed.

38 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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