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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  2 May 1946 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 13,150 users  
Reviews: 128 user | 59 critic

A married woman and a drifter fall in love, then plot to murder her husband... but even once the deed is done, they must live with the consequences of their actions.



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

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Complete credited cast:
Audrey Totter ...
Jeff York ...


Nick Smith, the middle-aged proprietor of a roadside restaurant, hires drifter Frank Chambers as a handyman. Frank eventually begins an affair with Nick's beautiful wife Cora, who talks Frank into helping her kill Nick, by "accident." But the best laid plans...... Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Their Love was a Flame that Destroyed! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 May 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El cartero llama dos veces  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System) (5.0) (L-R)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The strain of waiting for the fog to lift caused Tay Garnett, who had suffered from drinking problems in the past, to fall off the wagon. Garnett holed himself up in his hotel room, where nobody could get him to stop drinking. Concerned about rumours that he was going to be replaced, John Garfield and Lana Turner decided to visit him on their own. Garfield could get nowhere with him, but Turner managed to convince him to go back to Los Angeles for treatment. When he returned a week later, the fog lifted, and they all went back to work. See more »


Frank is twice positioned in the courtroom in the wheelchair. See more »


Cora Smith: That note I left Nick, if he gets back before we do and finds it...
Frank Chambers: Where'd you leave it?
Cora Smith: In the cash register!
Frank Chambers: That's terrific, that's the first place he'll look.
See more »


Referenced in Conan: The Postman Always Butt-Dials Twice (2013) See more »


There is a Tavern in the Town
(pub. 1883) (uncredited)
Sung a cappella by Cecil Kellaway and John Garfield
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Very oddly structured movie
23 January 2003 | by (Ma) – See all my reviews

I was not expecting a classic film noir along the lines of "Double Indemnity" or "Out of the Past" when I put this movie in, and for awhile, I thought I might have been wrong. Maybe the cover was too cheesy, I'm not sure, but I didn't have extra high hopes for this movie. Then my mood brightened when it actually started to become very entertaining. I wasn't being blown away, but I did start to enjoy the film noir 101 plot. The reviewer who noted MGM's dramatic lighting of Turner is right, it's ridiculous, but it does come with the territory I guess. Other than that, things seemed to be moving in place very smoothly.

Then an odd thing happened. The movie refused to end. It wasn't that the pace was slow, it moved speedily. Something was always happening, and there was plenty of suspense/overblown MGM music blaring out of the speakers at any given moment. But the plot was way too top-heavy. They get caught doing the murder. Okay, time for trial, some final irony, then the movie's over. But it's not! It just kept going. New subplots turned up, bribes, plot twists, double crosses, it just kept happening and happening. It was too much. I was literally standing up sweating by the final scene, wanting it to end so much. The problem was, nothing of any substance was given to the events that kept happening. It was like the screenwriters noted "okay, this happened in the book, but we have to trim it a bit, so we'll make a small 2 minute scene including it in the movie" and suddenly the movie is full of these large occurrences given very brief sketched out screen time. Garfield runs off for a weekend in Tijuana with some random women? What just happened? Things just grew too implausible. I realize that complaining the movie went on too long and claiming that not enough screen time was given to all the events in the second half is hypocritical, but there must have been ways to flesh things out. I haven't read the book, but I suspect it's much better than the movie, just based on other reviewer's comments.

During the final embarassing "what does God make of all this" speech to the priest (hey, I thought film noirs where supposed to be existential!), I happened to look at the video case and glance at the title. Realizing it hadn't been referenced in the movie yet I stared at the screen and muttered "out with it" and in return got some over-reaching ramblings concerning how "he always rings twice, always rings twice" ext. Yikes.

I have to say though, the movie had some very good irony and employed a load of classic film noir tricks (the final outcome must have influenced the Coen Brothers with "The Man Who Wasn't There"), but I can't help believing the book must have been a lot better. I'd chalk this one up for noir completists and Golden Age MGM enthusiasts only.

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