7.7/10
4,859
63 user 29 critic

The Snake Pit (1948)

Approved | | Drama, Mystery | 13 November 1948 (USA)
Trailer
2:22 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

A detailed chronicle of a woman during her stay in a mental institution.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,498 ( 2,692)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Heiress (1949)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A young naive woman falls for a handsome young man who her emotionally abusive father suspects is a fortune hunter.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An unwed mother, forced to give up her child to avoid scandal, follows her son's life from afar even as she prospers in business.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, John Lund, Mary Anderson
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A man is found murdered, with witnesses convinced about the woman they saw leaving his apartment. However, it becomes apparent that the woman has a twin, and finding out which one is the killer seems impossible.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres, Thomas Mitchell
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Stopped in Mexico by U.S. Immigration, Georges Iscovescu hopes to get into the country by marrying a citizen.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, Paulette Goddard
Devotion (1946)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Genius authors Emily and Charlotte Bronte fall in love with their curate as they seek to get their work published.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Ida Lupino, Paul Henreid
Hard to Get (1938)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When spoiled young heiress Maggie Richards tries to charge some gasoline at an auto camp run by Bill Davis, he makes her work out her bill by making beds. Resolving to get even, she ... See full summary »

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Dick Powell, Olivia de Havilland, Charles Winninger
Mystery | Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young man plots revenge against the woman he believes murdered his cousin, but his plans are shaken when he comes face to face with the enigmatic beauty.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Richard Burton, Audrey Dalton
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An actor of the stage finds himself pursued by a lovestruck fan while trying to patch up a tempestuous relationship with his actress lover.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Quick tempered but likable Biff Grimes falls for beautiful Virginia Brush, but he is not the only young man in the neighborhood who is smitten with her.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The Great Garrick (Brian Aherne) is the most celebrated London theater actor of his day (eighteenth century) and is invited to Paris to star at the Comedie Francaise, the most important ... See full summary »

Director: James Whale
Stars: Brian Aherne, Olivia de Havilland, Edward Everett Horton
Dodge City (1939)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Texas cattle agent witnesses first hand, the brutal lawlessness of Dodge City and takes the job of sheriff to clean the town up.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Sheridan
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A Confederate veteran living in the Yankee North struggles with his son's shock induced muteness and the hate of the Northerners.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dr. Mark Kik
...
Grace
Glenn Langan ...
Dr. Terry
Helen Craig ...
Nurse Davis
...
Gordon
...
Mrs. Greer
Lee Patrick ...
Asylum Inmate
...
Dr. Curtis
...
Mrs. Stuart
Ruth Donnelly ...
Ruth
Katherine Locke ...
Margaret
Frank Conroy ...
Dr. Jonathan Gifford
Minna Gombell ...
Miss Hart
Edit

Storyline

Virginia Cunningham finds herself in a state insane asylum...and can't remember how she got there. In flashback, her husband Robert relates their courtship, marriage, and her developing symptoms. The asylum staff are not demonized, but fear, ignorance and regimentation keep Virginia in a state of misery, as pipesmoking Dr. Mark Kik struggles through wheels within wheels to find the root of her problem. Then a relapse plunges Virginia back into the harrowing 'Snake Pit'... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Married and in Love . . . with a Man She Didn't Know or Want!

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 November 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Schlangengrube  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Gene Tierney was the first choice to star but dropped out due to her pregnancy. See more »

Goofs

After the young Virginia smashes the head of the soldier doll (that reminds her of her father) into several pieces, she is later seen carrying the unbroken doll on the night of her father's death. The intact doll again appears in the apartment that she lives in as an adult. See more »

Quotes

Virginia Stuart Cunningham: [sighs] It's funny.
Doctor Mark Kik: What is it?
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: Everything you've said seems to make sense. I feel as though I know it,
[places hand on her heart]
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: here...
Doctor Mark Kik: But you don't quite understand it all, here?
[points, with his pipe, to his head]
Doctor Mark Kik: Don't worry, it doesn't matter. You may never know *why* everything happened, but now you do know *how* and *where* it started, and that *does* matter. Look, it's as though you were in a dark room, like this one...
[turns off light switch]
Doctor Mark Kik: ... now. And you wanted to turn on the ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Backstory: Gentleman's Agreement (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, 4th movement
(1876) (uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
Played at a concert
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An unusual movie for the times of 1948.
19 March 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Snake Pit" is based on a true story written by Mary Jane Ward in the hopes it would bring to the attention of the people, the horrors that a person faced in a mental institution at the time, pre-1948. The character, Virginia, was based on Miss Ward's own experience in a mental hospital. Even though the film was nominated for various Oscars, it only won for the musical score. I think that was probably because at the time mental illness was considered taboo. Olivia deHavilland acted the character of Virginia brilliantly as did everyone else in the film and Betsy Blair in her portrayal of Hester looked like she was completely and totally beyond help. Just look at her eyes. You will see what I mean. To this very day, I think it is the most haunting and most accurate of all films that have been released on the treatment of emotional disorders. I think all characters were portrayed as Mary Jane Ward wanted them to be portrayed, as I studied her book and watched the film while in high school in the early 1960's. Great book and a great film not afraid to show the abuse by certain medical personnel.


52 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Are there asylums still like this? sunznc
Whether the song fit or did not... Felonious-Punk
why was Olivia robbed? darlakarla
Kristen Wiig cojacobson
Soldier Doll - Goof Blondfashionisto
'Goin' Home'-Trivia glmather1
Discuss The Snake Pit (1948) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?