Knock on Any Door (1949)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,181 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 15 critic

Andrew Morton is an attorney who made it out of the slums. Nick Romano is his client, a young man with a long string of crimes behind him. After he lost his paycheck gambling, hoping to buy... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A soldier runs away rather than receive the Medal of Honor, so his buddy gets permission to investigate, and love and death soon follow.

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lizabeth Scott, Morris Carnovsky
Tokyo Joe (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An American returns to Tokyo try to pick up threads of his pre-WW2 life there, but finds himself squeezed between criminals and the authorities.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Alexander Knox, Florence Marly
Drama | Film-Noir | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Down-on-his-luck ex-sportswriter Eddie Willis is hired by shady fight promoter Nick Benko to promote his latest find, an unknown but easily exploitable phenom from Argentina.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Struggling artist Geoffrey Carroll meets Sally whilst on holiday in the country. A romance develops but he doesn't tell her he's already married. Suffering from mental illness, Geoffreyy ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Godfrey
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Alexis Smith
Conflict (1945)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An engineer trapped in an unhappy marriage murders his wife in the hope of marrying her younger sister.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Alexis Smith, Sydney Greenstreet
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A potentially violent screenwriter is a murder suspect until his lovely neighbor clears him. But she begins to have doubts...

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

With his newspaper about to be sold, crusading editor Ed Hutcheson tries to complete an exposé on gangster Rienzi.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore, Kim Hunter
Human Desire (1954)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Korean War vet returns to his job as a railroad engineer and becomes involved in a sordid affair with a co-worker's wife and murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Runyonesque Broadway gamblers turn patriotic when they stumble onto a cell of Nazi saboteurs.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt, Kaaren Verne
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Glen, Hal and Sam are three escaped convicts who move in on and terrorize a suburban household.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, Arthur Kennedy
The Enforcer (1951)
Drama | Crime | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crusading district attorney finally gets a chance to prosecute the organizer and boss of Murder Inc.

Directors: Bretaigne Windust, Raoul Walsh
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Zero Mostel, Ted de Corsia
The Lusty Men (1952)
Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When he sustains a rodeo injury, star rider Jeff McCloud returns to his hometown after many years of absence. He signs on as a hired hand with a local ranch, where he befriends fellow ranch... See full summary »

Directors: Nicholas Ray, Robert Parrish
Stars: Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, Arthur Kennedy


Complete credited cast:
Allene Roberts ...
Candy Toxton ...
Adele Morton (as Susan Perry)
Mickey Knox ...
Barry Kelley ...
Judge Drake


Andrew Morton is an attorney who made it out of the slums. Nick Romano is his client, a young man with a long string of crimes behind him. After he lost his paycheck gambling, hoping to buy his wife some jewelry, she announced she was pregnant, Later he finds her dead from suicide. When he turns again to robbery he's caught by a cop and Nick pumps all his bullets into him in frustration. Morton's appeal to the court emphasizes the evils of the slums. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 February 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vor verschlossenen Türen  »

Box Office


$900,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Humphrey Bogart offered Marlon Brando the role of Nick Romano, even visiting him backstage at a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire". Brando lost interest but loved Nick's coda: "Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse." See more »


When the killer stands over the police officer and shoots him, four shots are heard but there are only three gun flashes. See more »


Dist. Atty. Kerman: Was there a floor show that night at the bar?
Butch: There was a dame - a lady.
Dist. Atty. Kerman: Was the lady a blonde or brunette?
Butch: You think I was looking at her hair?
See more »

Crazy Credits

"And introducing John Derek as Nick Romano" See more »


Referenced in True Romance (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Better As a Romance Than a Crime Drama
1 July 2006 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

"Knock on Any Door" (Columbia 1949), a combination courtroom drama and delinquent youth social statement, was Nicholas Ray's directorial debut. Humphrey Bogart plays lawyer Andrew Morton, one time street tough turned idealistic lawyer. Bogart's independent production company made the film shortly after he broke away from Warner Brothers. Bogart's part was originally intended for Marlon Brando, but Brando withdrew after the death of producer Mark Hellinger.

On the verge of becoming a partner in his big-time law firm, Morton is yanked out of his ivory tower and into the past by the need to defend accused murderer Pretty Boy Romano (John Derek), who he attempted to help when Romano was a petty teenage criminal. This is told in flashbacks with Romano repeating his credo: "live fast, die young, and have a good looking corpse". Probably the first film use of what has become a very tired expression. Morton carries a lot of guilty baggage into the trial. He blames himself for the imprisonment of Romano's father, an event that plunged the family into poverty and led to Romano's life of crime. Through the years he had tried to help Romano who had married a nice girl and attempted to go straight. But setbacks at work returned Romano to crime. Then his pregnant wife's suicide unhinged him and he killed a cop.

The "Knock on Any Door" expression refers to Morton's plea for leniency during the trial, as he blames the conditions in the slums and the affects of poverty for Romano's actions. Stating that behind any door are young men whose lives will be wasted unless they receive guidance and are assisted in becoming productive citizens.

"Knock on Any Door" provides a nice example of the unpredictability inherit in the film making business. A look at screenplay and cast would lead you to expect the film's strengths to be the Bogart-Derek scenes and the courtroom drama, with the romantic background story (told in flashbacks) a glaring weakness.

But the trial scenes which take up a substantial part of the film suffer from the usual procedural inaccuracies and are not particularly effective dramatically. Bogart pretty much plays his Captain Queeg character ("The Caine Mutiny") and spends more time whining than defending. The Bogart-Derek scenes are nothing special and there is no chemistry between the two actors. The narrative actually contradicts the theme of outrage over social inequities. The simplistic conclusions about social justice ring hollow and any sympathetic feelings toward Romano seem misplaced.

The production design is great. When combined with the haunting the black & white photography it makes for one of the best looking examples of the film noir genre.

What ultimately saves the film and actually makes it rather special is the romance between Romano and Emma (Allene Roberts). This unlikely character pairing (imagine James Dean's "Rebel" having a serious relationship with Melanie from "Gone With the Wind") somehow works as Roberts and Derek have a real chemistry together. And she introduces intangibles that are missing from the rest of the production. In addition, the relationship itself introduces a nice irony as it is the pressure to make Emma proud of him and to tangibly demonstrate his love that ultimately leads Romano back to crime.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

13 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Bogart as lawyer? ahil
One of the best Bogart movies LittleRascalRicky
Been to any good BURLAP PARTIES lately? oceanchick
Hard done by.. really? rayincumbria
UK DVD coming in November! mr-dan-hunter
Discuss Knock on Any Door (1949) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: