IMDb > Act of Violence (1949)
Act of Violence
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Act of Violence (1949) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 16% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Robert L. Richards (screenplay)
Collier Young (story)
View company contact information for Act of Violence on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
February 1949 (USA) See more »
He's the only one that came out alive ... and now he wants my life ... to atone for the others' See more »
An embittered, vengeful POW stalks his former commanding officer who betrayed his men's planned escape attempt from a Nazi prison camp. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
(17 articles)
Five Days One Summer
 (From Trailers from Hell. 17 October 2016, 4:55 PM, PDT)

‘Newtown’ Trailer: How Does a Small Community Recover From a Despicable Act of Violence?
 (From Slash Film. 22 September 2016, 9:00 AM, PDT)

The Outfit
 (From Trailers from Hell. 5 June 2016, 9:24 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Appointment with Retribution See more (51 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Van Heflin ... Frank R. Enley

Robert Ryan ... Joe Parkson

Janet Leigh ... Edith Enley

Mary Astor ... Pat

Phyllis Thaxter ... Ann Sturges

Berry Kroeger ... Johnny

Taylor Holmes ... Gavery
Harry Antrim ... Fred Finney
Connie Gilchrist ... Martha Finney

Will Wright ... Pop
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Albright ... Bellboy (uncredited)
Rudolph Anders ... German (voice) (uncredited)
William Bailey ... Convention Party Drunk (uncredited)
Margaret Bert ... Bystander (uncredited)

Barbara Billingsley ... Voice (voice) (uncredited)
Douglas Carter ... Heavy Jowled Man (uncredited)
Bill Cartledge ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Fred Datig Jr. ... Bystander (uncredited)

Sayre Dearing ... Conventioneer (uncredited)
Rex Downing ... Teenage Boy (uncredited)
Jim Drum ... Policeman (uncredited)
Phil Dunham ... Convention Party Drunk (uncredited)

Dick Elliott ... Convention Party Drunk (uncredited)
Mary Jo Ellis ... Bystander (uncredited)
Everett Glass ... Hotel Night Clerk (uncredited)
A. Cameron Grant ... Man at Bar (uncredited)

Don Haggerty ... Policeman (uncredited)

Mahlon Hamilton ... Wino Pedestrian (uncredited)
Tom Hanlon ... Radio Commentator (voice) (uncredited)

Larry Holt ... Georgie Enley (uncredited)
Leslie Holt ... Georgie Enley (uncredited)
Wesley Hopper ... Policeman (uncredited)
Jimmy Kelly ... Bystander (uncredited)

Paul Kruger ... Policeman (uncredited)
Rocco Lanzo ... Teenage Boy (uncredited)
Ann Lawrence ... Bystander (uncredited)

Nolan Leary ... Voice (voice) (uncredited)
Wilbur Mack ... Convention Party Drunk (uncredited)

Mickey Martin ... Teenage Boy (uncredited)
Walter Merrill ... Man at Bar (uncredited)

Howard M. Mitchell ... Bartender (uncredited)
Ralph Montgomery ... Man at Bar (uncredited)
Roger Moore ... Wino Pedestrian (uncredited)
David Newell ... Bystander (uncredited)

George Ovey ... Bystander (uncredited)
Garry Owen ... Auto Rental Co. Attendant (uncredited)

Ralph Peters ... Tim - Bartender (uncredited)
William 'Bill' Phillips ... War Vet Speaker at Dedication (uncredited)
Florita Romero ... Girl (uncredited)
Fred Santley ... Convention Party Drunk (uncredited)
Frank J. Scannell ... Bell Captain (uncredited)

Hans Schumm ... German (voice) (uncredited)
Irene Seidner ... Old Woman (uncredited)

Dick Simmons ... Veteran (uncredited)
Robert Skelton ... Cabbie (uncredited)
Robert R. Stephenson ... Bartender in Dive (uncredited)
Brick Sullivan ... Conventioneer (uncredited)
Phil Tead ... Hotel Day Clerk (uncredited)

Harry Tenbrook ... Man (uncredited)
Candy Toxton ... Veteran's Wife (uncredited)

Roland Varno ... German (voice) (uncredited)
Eddie Waglin ... Bellboy (uncredited)

Directed by
Fred Zinnemann 
Writing credits
Robert L. Richards (screenplay)

Collier Young (story)

Produced by
William H. Wright .... producer
Original Music by
Bronislau Kaper 
Cinematography by
Robert Surtees (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Conrad A. Nervig 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Hans Peters 
Set Decoration by
Edwin B. Willis 
Costume Design by
Helen Rose (costumes: women)
Makeup Department
Jack Dawn .... makeup creator
Sydney Guilaroff .... hair styles designer
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Andrew Marton .... second unit director (uncredited)
Art Department
Henry Grace .... associate set decorator (as Henry W. Grace)
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Camera and Electrical Department
Harry Stradling Jr. .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Music Department
André Previn .... conductor
Robert Franklyn .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
82 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Australia:G | Finland:K-16 | Sweden:15 | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (certificate #13275)

Did You Know?

This film received its USA television premiere in Philadelphia Sunday 14 October 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6), followed in Los Angeles Tuesday 23 October 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11) and in New York City Tuesday 4 December 1956 on WCBS (Channel 2); in San Francisco it was first seen 11 January 1958 on KGO (Channel 7).See more »
Continuity: As Parkson (Ryan) gets into the rowboat, there is a stiff breeze, the water is choppy, and a cloudy sky is 'threatening'; a second later, after the tender pushes the boat away from the dock, the lake is calm and breeze-free, and the sky is clear.See more »
Frank R. Enley:You don't know what made him the way he is - I do!See more »
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25 out of 31 people found the following review useful.
Appointment with Retribution, 21 July 2006
Author: krorie from Van Buren, Arkansas

"Act of Violence" is the penultimate noir film, containing many key elements that made the genre so formidable. Coming a year before Carol Reed's classic "The Third Man," the imagery of the tunnel as a symbol for the search for redemption is presented already full blown by Fred Zinnemann. The effective utilization of urban nocturnal sounds in place of music punctuate the mood of desperation and hopelessness like a sharp knife slashing the soul asunder. What can be more lonely than a distant train whistle in the middle of a dark night? Or wind whistling through the eves of houses occupied by deserted, lost individuals? No place is as desolate as the empty streets of a large city in the wee hours of morning just before dawn. Zinnemann and his superb cameraman, Robert Surtees, provide these chilling images plus so much more.

Who can forget Frank R. Enley (Van Heflin at his best) escaping from his demons, not just limping Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan) or bad boy Johnny (Berry Kroeger), through a vacant tunnel screaming at the top of his lungs, "Don't do it, Joe...Don't...." Or the scenes of Joe running down oppressive stairways to get away from the specters that haunt him. His actions are not enough to justify recompense. Recompense comes only at the end of the film, not a closing that most would want or expect in a Hollywood film of the day, but the required one for the theme of the story.

The entire cast of "Act of Violence" is first rate, giving performances worthy of recognition, but veteran actress Mary Astor as the lost soul, Pat, who takes an ambivalent attitude toward Frank, runs away with the show. She portrays despair and desperation writ large. Pat's human side wants to help Frank, to free him of the hell hounds nipping at his heels. But the survival part of Pat wants to throw him to the wolves for a pittance. A telling scene occurs when Johnny nonchalantly dashes a drink into her face for attempting to aid Frank. She reacts in an impassive manner, as if this were a daily occurrence. Pat is perennially at the mercy of men who treat her like trash. She views life the same way she views men.

One other performance of note comes from Taylor Holmes as Gavery, the aged shyster lawyer. Holmes makes his small part shine, becoming the epitome of an intelligent, educated professional, corrupted by greed and ego. His surroundings suggest Gavery is debarred, now living on funds extorted or purloined from illegal activities. Johnny, played to perfection by Berry Kroeger, is a crude, immoral mental dwarf ruled by emotion and violence, a counterpart to Holmes who uses punks such as Johnny to do the dirty work and be the patsy if caught. Johnny is also a foil for Joe who seeks to kill Frank for moral, altruism reasons.

The script by Robert Richards from a story by Collier Young is not much and would have withered on the vine in the hands of a journeyman director. Fred Zinnemann and cinematographer Robert Surtees breathe life into the routine story to make it one of the best noir thrillers of them all, innovative and entertaining. A leading citizen of a small town, Frank Enley, is being stalked by a former army buddy, Joe Parkson, because of an incident that took place in a German POW camp that led to the death of several fellow soldiers. Joe was left for dead but miraculously survived to hunt down the informer, Frank, and kill him. Frank attempts to escape by hiding out in a seedy section of Los Angeles. He meets a fellow creature of the night, Pat, who introduces him to a hit-man, Johnny. While drunk and out of his mind, Frank makes a deal with the devil. Realizing too late what he has done, Frank rushes to stop the inevitable.

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