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The Big Sleep
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The Big Sleep (1946) More at IMDbPro »

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The Big Sleep -- L.A. private eye Phillip Marlowe takes on a blackmail case...and a trail peopled with murderers, pornographers, nightclub rogues, the spoiled rich and more.
The Big Sleep -- 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.
The Big Sleep -- 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.


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Up 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
William Faulkner (screen play) &
Leigh Brackett (screen play) ...
View company contact information for The Big Sleep on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
31 August 1946 (USA) See more »
The type of man she hated . . . was the type she wanted ! See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
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(244 articles)
Black Coal, Thin Ice | Blu-ray Review
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Murder, My Sweet
 (From Trailers from Hell. 1 September 2015, 10:57 AM, PDT)

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 (From Alt Film Guide. 30 August 2015, 4:06 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
My head's still spinning See more (239 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Humphrey Bogart ... Philip Marlowe

Lauren Bacall ... Vivian Rutledge
John Ridgely ... Eddie Mars

Martha Vickers ... Carmen Sternwood

Dorothy Malone ... Acme Book Shop Proprietress
Peggy Knudsen ... Mona Mars

Regis Toomey ... Chief Inspector Bernie Ohls
Charles Waldron ... Gen. Sternwood
Charles D. Brown ... Norris - the Butler

Bob Steele ... Lash Canino

Elisha Cook Jr. ... Harry Jones
Louis Jean Heydt ... Joe Brody
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Trevor Bardette ... Art Huck (uncredited)

Joy Barlow ... Taxi Driver (uncredited)
Max Barwyn ... Max - Head Waiter (uncredited)
Deannie Best ... Waitress (uncredited)
Tanis Chandler ... Waitress (uncredited)
Jack Chefe ... Croupier (uncredited)
Joseph Crehan ... Medical Examiner (uncredited)
Oliver Cross ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Sonia Darrin ... Agnes Lowzier (uncredited)
Carole Douglas ... Librarian (uncredited)
Jay Eaton ... Man in Casino (uncredited)
Tom Fadden ... Sidney (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Woman with Bumped Man (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Pete Kooy ... Motorcycle Cop (uncredited)

Lorraine Miller ... Hatcheck Girl (uncredited)
Forbes Murray ... Furtive Man (uncredited)
Shelby Payne ... Cigarette Girl (uncredited)
Jack Perry ... Silent Thug Beating Marlowe (uncredited)
Tommy Rafferty ... Carol Lundgren (uncredited)
Waclaw Rekwart ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Ed - Deputy Sheriff (uncredited)
Theodore von Eltz ... Arthur Gwynn Geiger (uncredited)
Wally Walker ... Mars' Thug (uncredited)
Dan Wallace ... Owen Taylor (uncredited)
Paul Weber ... Mars' Thug (uncredited)

Ben Welden ... Pete (uncredited)

Directed by
Howard Hawks 
Writing credits
William Faulkner (screen play) &
Leigh Brackett (screen play) &
Jules Furthman (screen play)

Raymond Chandler (from the novel by)

Produced by
Jack L. Warner .... executive producer
Howard Hawks .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
Cinematography by
Sidney Hickox (director of photography) (as Sid Hickox)
Film Editing by
Christian Nyby (film editor)
Art Direction by
Carl Jules Weyl 
Max Parker (supervising art director) (uncredited)
Set Decoration by
Fred M. MacLean (set decorations)
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
Production Management
Eric Stacey .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Chuck Hansen .... assistant director (uncredited)
Robert Vreeland .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Robert B. Lee .... sound
Gerald W. Alexander .... sound effects mixer (uncredited)
Gerald W. Alexander .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Robert G. Wayne .... sound effects mixer (uncredited)
Robert G. Wayne .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Roy Davidson .... special effects director (as E. Roy Davidson)
Warren Lynch .... special effects (as Warren E. Lynch)
Robert Burks .... special effects (uncredited)
William C. McGann .... special effects (uncredited)
Willard Van Enger .... special effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Paul Detlefsen .... matte paintings (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Mike Joyce .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Leah Rhodes .... wardrobe
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Simon Bucharoff .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Charles David Forrest .... music mixer (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (presents) (as Warner Bros.-First National Pictures)
DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
114 min | 116 min (pre-release version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Argentina:16 | Australia:PG | Canada:14A (video rating) | Finland:K-16 (1949) | Finland:(Banned) (1947) | France:U | Iceland:12 | Malaysia:(Banned) (original rating) | New Zealand:PG | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | Sweden:(Banned) (original rating) | Sweden:15 (re-rating) (1961) | UK:PG | UK:A (original rating) | USA:Approved (PCA #10625) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

This was the film that began the long relationship between Howard Hawks and writer Leigh Brackett until his death in 1977. (Initially he assumed she was a man.) Hawks hired her after reading a story that she wrote entitled "No Good for a Corpse". However, when she was hired, she only finished half of another story that she wrote titled "Lorelei of the Red Mist". Her friend Ray Bradbury finished the last half.See more »
Continuity: 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 »
Vivian:Speaking of horses, I like to play them myself. But I like to see them workout a little first, see if they're front runners or comefrom behind, find out what their hole card is, what makes them run.
Marlowe:Find out mine?
Vivian:I think so.
Marlowe:Go ahead.
Vivian:I'd say you don't like to be rated. You like to get out in front, open up a little lead, take a little breather in the backstretch, and then come home free.
Marlowe:You don't like to be rated yourself.
Vivian:I haven't met anyone yet that can do it. Any suggestions?
Marlowe:Well, I can't tell till I've seen you over a distance of ground. You've got a touch of class, but I don't know how, how far you can go.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Jeopardy!: Episode #22.206" (2006)See more »
And Her Tears Flowed Like WineSee more »


I'm hopelessly confused. Who killed whom and why?
What actually happened to Sean Regan?
What is 'The Big Sleep' about?
See more »
111 out of 132 people found the following review useful.
My head's still spinning, 3 September 1999
Author: Daniel R. Baker from United States

THE BIG SLEEP is one of the more entertaining private eye movies I have seen. A dying old man has two beautiful, uncontrollable daughters: Vivien (Lauren Bacall), and Carmen (Martha Vickers). Carmen is being blackmailed, and her father hires P.I. Christopher Marlowe (the beloved Humphrey Bogart) to get the blackmailer off her back. But Marlowe finds that somebody else has done this job for him: the blackmailer is murdered almost under his nose. And as he puts it, "That didn't stop things. That just starts 'em."

I have not read Raymond Chandler's novel, on which this movie was based, but those who have say the title refers to death. That is never explained in the movie. Howard Hawks packs so much plot into 114 minutes of footage that the movie feels like it's bursting at the seams. The story is not incomprehensible as some would have it; while there are many improbable coincidences, there is no element I can point to and say "That couldn't have happened." (Although I'm still not quite sure how Carmen got into Marlowe's apartment). True, the plot really is very hard to follow, and Marlowe's periodic explanations of events, without which the movie would indeed be nonsensical, smack more of inspired guesswork than logical deduction. But the furious pace at which the plot unfolds lends more excitement to the movie than nine out of ten of today's lazily plotted would-be thrillers.

THE BIG SLEEP's greatest strength is its delightfully droll dialogue. When Chandler writes the novel and then Faulkner helps adapt it, you expect some verbal fireworks, and you sure do get them. "How do you like your brandy?" "In a glass." - "You're not very tall, are you?" "I try to be." - "I'm getting cuter every minute." - "Such a lot of guns around town, and so few brains." - "Is it any of your business?" "I could make it my business." "I could make your business mine." "You wouldn't like it. The pay's too small." - "She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up." Bogie and Bacall get two of the best exchanges; they have a horse-racing discussion where racy double-entendres are dripping like savory sauce off of every word, and they also get a truly hilarious telephone conversation where Marlowe convinces Vivien not to call the police.

But THE BIG SLEEP has a harder side that is also effective. It is shockingly violent for a movie produced under the stern eyes of the Hayes code censors. The movie is too unpredictable to generate much suspense (you can't dread something you don't know is going to happen), but the ending is one of the most intense, nailbiting scenes you'll ever see.

The 1940s were not a great era for film music, which makes Max Steiner's brooding score all the more impressive. The print I saw was very low-quality, so I can't judge the cinematography.

The acting is wonderful. Bogart gets to show his chops at one point by switching off the hard-boiled personality he developed for THE MALTESE FALCON and impersonating an antiquarian bookworm. Bacall radiates class whether she's at ease smoking in a cafe or outwitting a man holding her at gunpoint. Martha Vickers' Carmen strikes the perfect balance of appealing seductiveness and outright nastiness.

One final note: this movie is almost Bond-like in terms of the number of appallingly beautiful women Marlowe accidentally encounters, all of whom seem to have a burning desire for him. Even his taxi driver wants him. Dorothy Malone, whose character name we never learn, plays the sexiest book seller you will ever meet (and yes, she wears glasses; eat your heart out, Dorothy Parker!). Minus fifty points for credibility, plus a hundred points for entertainment. Regrettably, I cannot promise similar thrills for the female audience; it just kind of depends on how you like Men In Suits.

Rating: ***1/2 out of ****.

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I Haven't The Slightest Idea What Happened Or Why In This Film Raxivace
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