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The Killers (1946)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 10,567 users  
Reviews: 93 user | 55 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 Screen's All-Time Classic Of Suspense! (1956 re-release) 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

Although Burt Lancaster's character name is pronounced "Anderson," it is properly spelled (as in Hemingway's original story) as "Andreson". See more »

Goofs

When Reardon goes to visit Lubinsky, it's clear that neither Lubinsky nor his wife have been informed of The Swede's death. By the end of their conversation, Lubinsky talks about having claimed The Swede's body and informs Reardon that the burial is later that day. See more »

Quotes

Jim Reardon: She took a powder. The dough went with her.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pi (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

With Plenty of Money and You
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on piano in Lou Tingle's cafe
See more »

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User Reviews

This is the one --well, one of the ones
12 September 2005 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Along with Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity," this is the one that established what film noir was all about.

Robert Siodmak's classic thriller, along with "Criss Cross" are two of his best pieces of work, proof positive that crime dramas could rise above the mundane and the clichéd.

Based on one of Hemingway's Nick Adams short stories, it tells the intriguing tale of two hit men who show up in a small town (the film moves it from the Midwest to New Jersey), where they take over a diner and tell its terrified occupants they intend to murder a nobody of a gas station attendant when he comes in for dinner. When he doesn't show, they hunt him down at the rooming house where he lives and do the job there. That's where the short story ends, but the script by Anthony Veiller picks it up from there, pursuing the fascinating story of what makes a man give up on life to the point where he passively waits for a pair of gunmen to show up and blow him to smithereens.

The protagonist,called the Swede, is a guy who isn't a criminal by nature, just a guy who fell upon hard times, but sees a way out by committing one more crime. And of course, as in any good film noir, his greed is fueled more by lust than anything else. There's a girl involved and in order to get her, he has to get the loot.

Burt Lancaster, in his first staring role, comes off very well here, as does Ava Gardner, also top billed for the first time. Strong supporting performances by the great Albert Dekker as the top hood and Sam Levine as a cop with a heart of gold. And we cannot forget Charles McGraw and William Conrad as two of the most frightening cold blooded killers in film history.

Siodmak does a great job in the director's chair in this Mark Hellinger (The Roaring Twenties) produced drama, but it is cinematographer Woody Bredell who steals the show. His use of lighting goes beyond spectacular. All of the clichés we think of in film noir lighting spring from this one film, where they were done right. And watch for one of the longest tracking shots in film history, as Nick Adams flees the diner and races to the Swede's rooming house to warn him. It's an amazing, unbroken shot that runs more than a minute.

Watch, too, for the brilliant shoot 'em up scene in a restaurant at the end of the movie when the two gunmen reappear. It is just a textbook blend of all the movies are supposed to be about, great acting, camera movement that means something, and brilliantly layered music by Miklos Rozsa. Film-making doesn't get any better than this.

A four star film and one of the godfathers of the genre. Don't miss this one.


64 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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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