Nightmare Alley (1947)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir  |  28 October 1947 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,914 users  
Reviews: 92 user | 62 critic

The rise and fall of Stanton Carlisle, a mentalist who's lies and deceit prove to be his downfall.



(screenplay), (novel)
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Kiss of Death (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

With his law-breaking lifestyle in the past, an ex-con, along with his family, attempt to start a new life, knowing a betrayed someone from the past is bound to see otherwise.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray
The Big Clock (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A career oriented magazine editor finds himself on the run when he discovers his boss is framing him for murder.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Laughton
The Set-Up (1949)
Film-Noir | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Over-the-hill boxer Bill 'Stoker' Thompson insists he can still win, though his sexy wife Julie pleads with him to quit. But his manager Tiny is so confident he will lose, he takes money ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias
Gun Crazy (1950)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: John Dall, Peggy Cummins, Berry Kroeger
Criss Cross (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An armored truck driver and his lovely ex-wife conspire with a gang to have his own truck robbed on the route.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An ex-con trying to go straight is framed for a million dollar armored car robbery and must go to Mexico in order to unmask the real culprits.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: John Payne, Coleen Gray, Preston Foster
Detour (1945)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Stars: Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake
Raw Deal (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Joe Sullivan has taken the rap for Rick who double-crosses him with a flawed escape plan and other means intended to get rid of him.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
The Glass Key (1942)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

During the campaign for reelection, the crooked politician Paul Madvig decides to clean up his past, refusing the support of the gangster Nick Varna and associating to the respectable ... See full summary »

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A covert FBI agent infiltrates a ruthless gangster mob, but his life is at risk from a mysterious informant who funnels inside information to the hoodlums.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: Mark Stevens, Richard Widmark, Lloyd Nolan


Complete credited cast:
Zeena Krumbein
Lilith Ritter
Taylor Holmes ...
Ezra Grindle
Ian Keith ...
Pete Krumbein


The ambitious Stanton "Stan" Carlisle works in a sideshow as carny and assistant of the mentalist Zeena Krumbein, who is married with the alcoholic Pete. The couple had developed a secret code to pretend to read minds and was successful in the show business before Pete starts drinking. Stan stays with them expecting to learn their code and leave the carnival to be a successful mentalist. Stan also flirts with the gorgeous Molly that lives in the carnival with the strong Bruno. Zeena and The Savage, an alcoholic man that eats live chickens that the audiences believe that is a savage, are the greatest attractions of the sideshow. When Stan gives booze to Pete and he dies, Stan finds that Pete had drunk methyl alcohol and not his booze, but he feels guilty for the death of him. Zeena teaches the code to him and Molly helps Stan to learn them. After an incident, Stan is forced to marry Molly and he decides to move to Chicago with her to become a sensation in a night club. One day, he ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He was all things to all men ... but only one thing to all women!


Drama | Film-Noir


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 October 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Scharlatan  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie, as released, is cut. There were gruesome scenes of the geek, bloodied, and insanely ripping apart the chickens. One could only hope that these scenes would be restored, since the editing destroyed the continuity. See more »


During Powers's cab ride away from Walker's apartment, the Chicago Theater is visible in the rear-projection behind the car. After several more minutes of driving, the cab turns around in front of the same theater. See more »


Molly: Wait a minute mister, you're not talking to one of your chumps. You're talking to your wife! You're talking to somebody who knows you red, white and blue. And you can't fool me anymore.
See more »


Referenced in R.I.P., Rest in Pieces (1997) See more »


Sobre las olas (Over the Waves)
Music by Juventino Rosas
Played during the opening carnival scene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Film Holds Up Well
20 June 2000 | by (Cleveland, Ohio) – See all my reviews

Tryone Power gave one of his finest performances in "Nightmare Alley." His off-beat role highlighted a strange and intriguing tale, and was a role which he reportedly fought hard to get, upon his return to film work following military duty.

Power proved he was capable of much more demanding parts than those normally given him. On screen most of the time, he displayed a flair for sound characterization and nuance, being endowed with an unusually fine speaking voice and diction.

Lee Garmes' cinematography and Thomas Little's set decoration are notable here, and the entire cast works in fine ensemble fashion. Only some plot details may seem a little obvious and predictable. That's probably because "Nightmare Alley" details have been copied numerous times by other film makers and, as a result, we're much more savvy now than 1947 audiences.

It was a particular treat to have an opportunity to see this film last week on a film society series in a beautiful 35mm print. The showing also reminded viewers how beautiful and effective black and white productions are, and how much they're missed.

45 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Deleted scene. Why? Texian04
the geek movie fuhgeduhbawdit
Gresham's novel Nightmare Alley sticks114
The Ending directoralansmithee
Zeena and Lilith Dire_Straits
James Burke (sheriff) climber9
Discuss Nightmare Alley (1947) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: