Panic in the Streets (1950)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  12 June 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,746 users  
Reviews: 75 user | 56 critic

A doctor and a policeman in New Orleans have only 48 hours to locate a killer infected with pneumonic plague.



(screenplay), (adaptation), 4 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Blackie (as Walter Jack Palance)
Dan Riss ...
Neff - Newspaper Reporter
Tommy Cook ...
Vince Poldi - Younger Brother


When a body is found in the New Orleans docks, it's pretty obvious that he died from gun shot wounds. The police surgeon notices that the man is also displaying other symptoms and Lt. Commander Clint Reed, a doctor with the U.S. Public Health Service, diagnoses a highly contagious disease, pneumonic plague. He tries to convince local officials to find everyone who may have been in contact with the dead man. The Mayor supports his efforts but many, including the police, are doubtful. Reed wants to avoid publicity so as not to panic the public. They have little information to go on - they don't know the dead man's identity - and Reed estimates they have 48 hours before disease begins to spread. With police Capt. Tom Warren going through the motions, Reed sets out to find the killers. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


THE SCREEN'S GREATEST EXCITEMENT OF THE YEAR! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


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| |

Release Date:

12 June 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Outbreak  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Feature-film debut of Jack Palance. See more »


In an early scene when Dr. Reed (Richard Widmark) is shown painting with his son, he flicks excess paint off the brush, and then sits on the same spot where the paint would have landed, but when he gets up there's no paint on his pants. See more »


Lt. Cmdr. Clinton 'Clint' Reed M.D.: As far as I know, nobody's yet figured out a way to get money back from the U.S. Government... quickly, that is.
See more »


Referenced in The New People: Panic in the Sand (1969) See more »


For You
Written by Joseph A. Burke and Al Dubin
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User Reviews

Simple but Still Effective and With a Great Villain
30 December 2007 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In New Orleans, an illegal immigrant feels sick and leaves a poker game while winning the smalltime criminal Blackie (Walter Jack Palance). He is chased by Blackie and his men Raymond Fitch (Zero Mostel) and Poldi (Guy Thomajan), killed by Blackie and his body is dumped in the sea. During the autopsy, the family man Lieutenant Commander Dr. Clinton Reed (Richard Widmark) of the U.S. Public Health Service finds that the dead man had pneumonic plague caused by rats and he needs to find who had any type of contact with the man within forty-eight hours to avoid an epidemic. The City Mayor assigns the skeptical Captain Tom Warren (Paul Douglas) to help Dr. Clint to find the killers that are infected with the plague and inoculate them.

"Panic in the Streets" discloses a simple story, but it is still effective and with a great villain. The engaging plot has not become dated after fifty-seven years. Jack Palance performs a despicable scum in his debut, and the camera work while he tries to escape with Zero Mostel is still very impressive. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Pânico nas Ruas" ("Panic in the Streets")

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A great action noir!!!!! richsass
Did you like the non-professional actors? Dire_Straits
Poldi RoyalScam
What was the allegory? MaryLouStalin
A touch underdeveloped? ashleyallinson
So they had 48 hours before disaster struck... Gluck-3
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