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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 4,684 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)

Panic in the Streets (1950) on IMDb 7.3/10

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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 »


Approved | See all certifications »




| |

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?


Richard Widmark on Jack Palance: "... the toughest guy I ever met. He was the only actor I've ever been physically afraid of. " See more »


As Dr. Reed walks toward the house to thin the paint, and is informed he is wanted on the phone, he removes his gloves and tosses them to the ground. In the next cut, viewed from the house, he again removes his gloves, and tosses them on the ground. 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 Elia Kazan: A Director's Journey (1995) See more »


Should I?
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
See more »

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User Reviews

Great script and dialog make this movie a good one to watch.
28 December 2005 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

"Panic in the Streets" is a fairly unknown little movie from director Elia Kazan and was made before his classic masterpieces such as "A Streetcar Named Desire", "On the Waterfront" and "East of Eden". Kazan already won an Oscar in 1947, before this movie, so he was not a completely unknown at the time. Still "Panic in the Streets" is mostly a movie that passed under the radar.

The great thing about this movie is the Oscar winning script. It has a very good concept and its excellent tense thriller material with a sniff of crime/film-noir elements. The dialog in this movie is also absolutely magnificent and gives the movie a feel of reality and credibility.

The cast is fairly unknown (especially at the time it was released) but it still features Zero Mostel and Jack Palance in one of their first movie roles. Especially Palance impresses as the tough gangster boss, with a very powerful looking face.

Still the movie drags a little at some points. The movie starts of very well but after the start the movie slows down and does not always makes the right decisions in terms of pace and the point of view the story is told from.

Yet, "Panic in the Streets" remains a perfectly watchable movie, mainly due to its solid script and powerful dialog that makes the movie a believable one to watch. For fans of the thriller genre this is a great movie to watch.


12 of 13 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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