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Panic in the Streets (1950)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  12 June 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,685 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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Title: Panic in the Streets (1950)

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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


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Release Date:

12 June 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Outbreak  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Elia Kazan:  mortuary assistant. 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 »


Featured in A Letter to Elia (2010) See more »


The Old Master Painter
Lyrics by Haven Gillespie
Music by Beasley Smith
See more »

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User Reviews

excellent drama
2 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When plague breaks out in New Orleans, it's Richard Widmark to the rescue in "Panic in the Streets," one of the lesser-celebrated films of the great Elia Kazan. Kazan keeps the pace brisk, and there are lots of marvelous touches - the scenes between Widmark and Barbara Bel Geddes, who plays his wife and the scene in the police station show family life and work life and the relationships of average citizens, which is in sharp contrast to the lives and relationships of the low-lifes, portrayed by a menacing Jack Palance, his weak yes man, Zero Mostel, Tommy Cook, and Louis Charles. There are also some interesting visuals

  • Palance has a couple of scenes with actors who seem to come up to his

knees in height.

The acting is marvelous and the dialogue sharp if the story isn't quite up to the direction and performances. It has a few questionable aspects which will be spotted by the viewer quite easily. That aside, it's well worth viewing. Kazan was a masterful director.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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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