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The Big Night (1951)

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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 308 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 13 critic

A teenager comes of age while seeking revenge on the man who beat up his father.



(novel), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Big Night (1951)

The Big Night (1951) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Complete credited cast:
George La Main (as John Barrymore Jr.)
Preston Foster ...
Andy La Main
Joan Lorring ...
Marion Rostina
Howard St. John ...
Al Judge
Julie Rostina
Philip Bourneuf ...
Dr. Lloyd Cooper
Howland Chamberlain ...
Flanagan (as Howland Chamberlin)
Myron Healey ...
Emile Meyer ...
Peckinpaugh (as Emil Meyer)
Mauri Lynn ...
Terry Angelus


George La Main, just turned 17, suffers growing pains and is anxious to prove his manhood. That night, George's adored father Andy is savagely beaten by sportswriter Al Judge. Traumatized and unable to learn why it happened, George goes gunning for Judge. His mission becomes an odyssey through the town's seamy side, and his coming of age is more of a trial by fire than he bargained for. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

13 November 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Night  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to interviews that director Joseph Losey gave, in the mid-seventies, to Michel Ciment, he revealed that FBI wanted to spy on him in Europe where he had to go to work after being black-listed in Hollywood. So they paid John Drew Barrymore (who was a good friend with him after this movie) to furnish informations about Losey's possible anti-American activities in London. See more »


George blows out all but one of his birthday candles. When the view changes from over George's shoulder to a position over his father's shoulder, all the candles are out, but when it changes back, the one candle is again lit. See more »


Peckinpaugh: Next time you see somebody drop money, don't think about it so long before you decide to give it back.
See more »


Am I Too Young
Music by Lyn Murray
Lyrics by Sid Kuller
Sung by Mauri Lynn
See more »

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User Reviews

Wrong Woman
30 June 2001 | by (fredericksburg va) – See all my reviews

A teenager on the verge of becoming a man watches his father get beaten to a pulp by a gangster. This leads to the teen going on a short odyssey for vengeance, where he discovers some ugly things about himself and his father.

This is a short b-movie without much story, concentrating on the passionate lives of hard folks living in a 1950s cityscape. The teen is enraged, but he's also idealistic; in a night club he hears a woman belting out a torch song and is entranced; later when he gets to meet her, the teen tells her how beautiful he thinks she is, even if she is, you know, a black woman. The look of pain on the singer's face rips the heart out of the white teen, who for all his idealism still can't get over the fact that the singer is Negro, and he was transported by her.

This film has one of the great film noir lines ever. The father, a broken man who lost his wife when she ran out on him with another man, and who had chances to marry again but remained in love with that betrayer, tells his son, "Some men are like that. Sometimes a man loves one woman in the whole world. If she turns out to be the wrong one...well, it's just tough." That's the sense of this film: haunting loss that comes back and smacks you down, day after day. Strong stuff.

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