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The Killers (1946)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 10,805 users  
Reviews: 94 user | 57 critic

Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

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Title: The Killers (1946)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Sam Levene ...
Vince Barnett ...
Virginia Christine ...
Lilly Harmon Lubinsky
Jack Lambert ...
Charles D. Brown ...
Packy Robinson - Ole's Manager
Donald MacBride ...
...
Al
...
Max
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Storyline

Two professional killers invade a small town and kill a gas station attendant, "the Swede," who's expecting them. Insurance investigator Reardon pursues the case against the orders of his boss, who considers it trivial. Weaving together threads of the Swede's life, Reardon uncovers a complex tale of treachery and crime, all linked with gorgeous, mysterious Kitty Collins. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE MOST SUSPENSEFUL PICTURE OF ALL TIME! (re-release print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 December 1946 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Ernest Hemingway's The Killers  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The boxing match in the third flashback was filmed in a boxing arena for an audience of 2000 spectators. Burt Lancaster trained for two months with a boxing champion and played the part of the Swede with realism, against a real boxer, until his 2nd KD and TKO. See more »

Goofs

In the jail house scene, Charleston (Vince Barnett) tells The Swede (Burt Lancaster) of his love for the stars. As he looks out the window, he says that he says he sees Orion and a prominent star, Betelgeuse. He says that Orion is the "Great Bear" and that Betelgeuse is the "brightest star in the sky." Orion is actually The Hunter. Ursa Major (containing the Big Dipper) is the Great Bear. Betelgeuse, while quite bright, is actually the 9th brightest star. See more »

Quotes

Al: You got anything to drink?
George: I can give you soda, beer, ginger ale...
Al: I said, 'You got anything to drink?'
George: [intimidated] No.
Al: This is a hot town. Whatta ya call it?
George: Brentwood.
Al: Did you ever hear of Brentwood?
Max: [Max shakes his head, no]
Al: Whatta ya do here nights?
Max: [sarcastically] They eat the dinner. They all come here and eat the big dinner.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pi (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

The More I Know of Love
(1946)
Music by Miklós Rózsa (as Miklos Rozsa)
Lyrics Jack Brooks
Performed by Ava Gardner (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fantasia On a Theme By Ernest Hemingway
6 October 2002 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

This is a beautifully made improvisation on a Hemingway story that screenwriters Tony Veiller, John Huston and Richard Brooks, along with director Robert Siodmak, have somehow turned into baroque film noir. The movie starts out with a couple of hired gunmen looking for a character named Swede in a small New Jersey town. They tie up some people they encounter in a diner where they expect the Swede to be, then go and look for him, as he has not turned up at his usual time. A young man they tied up breaks loose and goes and warns the Swede, who thanks him but does nothing, remaining in bed, smoking a cigarette, waiting for the killers to show, which in time they do. The rest of the movie is an exploration, conducted by an insurance investigator, into the murky issue of why the Swede allowed himself to be murdered, and who ordered the killing in the first place.

I can't say the movie's exploration of the Swede's character runs deep, or even that it's satisfactory in its psychology. It works so well because it's excellently written, photographed (by Woody Bredell), and acted (by Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien and Albert Dekker, among many others), and consists of flashbacks, and in some cases flashbacks within flashbacks, as its labyrinthine plot, full of double crosses and unexpected turns, drives the film with a relentless urgency that in the end has less to do with psychology than the workings of fate. There is an overwhelming feeling in this film that people behave the way they do because they are driven by forces they cannot understand. In this sense the story in itself is, as presented, shallow and depressing, and yet the movie is so well-crafted, with the action at times seeming to be choreographed, that the end result is akin to an existential roller-coaster ride, if not much to think about.




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Use of the ''''n'''' word!!!! richsass
why did the Swede just wait to be killed? ilkerimin
The Hitmen!!! richsass
Mistakes? foggybottom3
William Conrad looks like.... borodinrodin
Fantastic ajiterady
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