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Ace in the Hole (1951)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir  |  29 June 1951 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 17,627 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 146 user | 128 critic | 6 from

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.


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Title: Ace in the Hole (1951)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Herbie Cook (as Bob Arthur)
Porter Hall ...
Al Federber
Richard Benedict ...
Leo Minosa
Lewis Martin ...
John Berkes ...
Papa Minosa
Frances Dominguez ...
Mama Minosa
Gene Evans ...
Deputy Sheriff
Frank Jaquet ...
Sam Smollett
Harry Harvey ...
Dr. Hilton
Bob Bumpas ...
Radio Announcer
Geraldine Hall ...
Nellie Federber


Charles Tatum, a down-on-his-luck reporter, takes a job with a small New Mexico newspaper. The job is pretty boring until he finds a man trapped in an old Indian dwelling. He jumps at the chance to make a name for himself by taking over and prolonging the rescue effort, and feeding stories to major newspapers. He creates a national media sensation and milks it for all it is worth - until things go terribly wrong. Written by John Oswalt <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Rough, tough Chuck Tatum, who battered his way to the top ... trampling everything in his path - men, women and morals !


Drama | Film-Noir


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

29 June 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Carnival  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,821,052 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In a 1950 memo to Billy Wilder, Kirk Douglas objected to several aspects of Chuck Tatum's monologue about missing New York City: "No pastrami! No garlic pickles! No Madison Square Garden! No Yogi Berra!", among other things. Douglas asked, "... what the hell is a Yogi Berra?". Douglas' secretary, who was amused her boss didn't know who the New York Yankee star was, told him he was a catcher. See more »


When Tatum and Boot are talking in the Minosa's back room, the amount of alcohol Tatum pours in his glass changes. See more »


[first lines]
Charles Tatum: Hey. Pull up at the corner.
See more »


Referenced in Billy Wilder Speaks (2006) See more »


The Hut-Sut Song
Written by Leo Killion, Ted McMichael and Jack Owens
Sung by Richard Benedict and Kirk Douglas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Billy Wilder Movie
26 August 2007 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

The excitement to finally see the only movie of Billy Wilder's greatest period I hadn't seen, verged on childishness. I love Wilder and I felt frustrated not to be able to find anywhere "Ace In The Hole" Well, all that's over now. I've seen it, in its crispy DVD release. The theme is Wilderesque, bitter sweet. Some of the lines belong, unquestionably, to the best Wilder sharp, unsentimental wit but, and unfortunately there is a big couple of buts here. Walter Newman and Lesser Samuels (his co-writers) are not Diamond or Brackett and Kirk Douglas is relentless in his on your face, loud son of a bitch. His "redemption" is literary but not cinematic. His performance starts way up high and stays there. I was longing for the laconic delivery of a Fred McMurray in "Double Indemnity" Here, one could see through his character way to easy and far too fast. Jan Sterling is lovely as the woman on the verge. Tough cookie. Delivering a couple of the best lines in the film. All in all, maybe my expectations were too high and the film deserves to be seen again. I will.

22 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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