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Kansas City Confidential (1952)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  11 November 1952 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,509 users  
Reviews: 77 user | 41 critic

An ex-con trying to go straight is framed for a million dollar armored car robbery and must go to Mexico in order to unmask the real culprits.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Joe Rolfe
Tim Foster
Boyd Kane
Tony Romano
Pete Harris
Mario Siletti ...
Howard Negley ...
Scott Andrews
Don Orlando ...
Ted Ryan ...


A down-on-his-luck ex-GI finds himself framed for an armored car robbery. When he's finally released for lack of evidence--after having been beaten up and tortured by the police--he sets out to discover who set him up, and why. The trail leads him into Mexico and a web of hired killers and corrupt cops. Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Every city wears a mask! This is the picture that goes behind that mask to bare the bullet-scarred face of a brutal underworld!..... See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

11 November 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kansas City 117  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


At the beginning of the heist, just after the fake florist delivery van appears, a reflection on this van show a few crew members and a folding chair set up in the middle of the road. See more »


Joe Rolfe: Listen, Eddie. I gotta know who set me into this little deal.
Eddie: You're leading with your chin, Joe.
See more »


Referenced in M*A*S*H: The Gun (1975) See more »


La Cucaracha
Sung by Tomaso as he delivers the mail
See more »

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User Reviews

"All right, so I'm flying blind, but I've got you as a bird dog."
30 September 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Kansas City Confidential is one of my favorite noir films and films of John Payne. It's one you can watch over and over again and still be entertained.

John Payne is a ex-con who drives a florist truck and one of his usual stops is a delivery next door to a bank. Three masked robbers use the same kind of truck to pull off an armored car heist and Payne is suspected of complicity. It don't help he's an ex-con.

This robbery has been organized a fourth man and the beauty of his scheme is that the robbers all wear masks with him and with each other so that no one can rat anyone out. They're supposed to meet in a small Mexican fishing village for the split.

Payne is freed, but the Kansas City cops are still suspicious. He gets a lead on a possible participant and tracks him down to Mexico. And that's where the fun really starts.

The suspense in Kansas City Confidential is not about who did it. The three robbers are Neville Brand, Jack Elam, and Lee Van Cleef, three of the nastiest dudes in film history. The suspense lies whether Payne can put it all together. As he says to one of them, he's flying blind in this one. After all the men don't even know each other or Mr. Big. The viewer knows all, but I won't say more.

John Payne gives a riveting performance of a desperate man and one you don't leave holding the bag without consequences. This is one of the best noir films ever done, not to be missed.

41 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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