The Sniper (1952)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  9 May 1952 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,562 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 24 critic

A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.



(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
0Check in
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Lineup (1958)
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In San Francisco, a psychopathic gangster and his mentor retrieve heroin packages carried by unsuspecting travelers.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Eli Wallach, Robert Keith, Richard Jaeckel
The Burglar (1957)
Film-Noir | Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Dan Duryea and his cronies rob a fake spiritualist and then take it on the lam to Atlantic City.

Director: Paul Wendkos
Stars: Dan Duryea, Jayne Mansfield, Martha Vickers
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Peter, a WW II 'displaced person' about to be deported jumps ship in New York harbor in an effort to find an ex-G.I named Tom whom he helped during the war and can prove Peter's right to ... See full summary »

Director: Maxwell Shane
Stars: Vittorio Gassman, Gloria Grahame, Ann Robinson
Human Desire (1954)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Korean War vet returns to his job as a railroad engineer and becomes involved in a sordid affair with a co-worker's wife and murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford
T-Men (1947)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two US Treasury agents hunt a successful counterfeiting ring.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Wallace Ford, Alfred Ryder
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

This film-noir piece, told in semi-documentary style, follows police on the hunt for a resourceful criminal who shoots and kills a cop.

Directors: Alfred L. Werker, Anthony Mann
Stars: Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Claude is a ruthless and efficient contract killer - until he finds his next target is a woman.

Director: Irving Lerner
Stars: Vince Edwards, Phillip Pine, Herschel Bernardi
Pushover (1954)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A larcenous undercover cop falls for the beautiful moll of a bank robber on the run and together they double-cross the hood nd the cops.

Director: Richard Quine
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Kim Novak, Philip Carey
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Four vets attending college on the GI Bill and a cabaret singer try to rob a Rno Casino and pull off the perfect crime.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: Guy Madison, Kim Novak, Brian Keith
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A retired mob accountant is drawn back in when his brothers, who have recently made a hit for the organization, decide to go to the authorities.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: Richard Conte, Dianne Foster, Kathryn Grant
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young doctor falls in love with a disturbed young woman, becomes involved in the death of her husband, and has to flee with her to the Mexican border.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Claude Rains, Faith Domergue
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crime-busting lawyer and his initially reluctant attorney father take on the forces that run gambling and prostitution in their small Southern town.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: John McIntire, Richard Kiley, Kathryn Grant


Cast overview:
Police Lt. Frank Kafka
Arthur Franz ...
Eddie Miller
Police Sgt. Joe Ferris
Jean Darr
Police Insp. Anderson
Dr. James G. Kent
Mabel Paige ...
Marlo Dwyer ...
May Nelson
Geraldine Carr ...


Apparently rejected by women all his life, a loner with a high-power rifle starts on a trail of murder. The police are baffled by the apparently random killings until their psychologist comes up with some ideas. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

police | rifle | killing | sniper | murder | See All (190) »


They were all brunettes... all under 30... and they all crossed the path of "THE SNIPER" See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 May 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El Francotirador  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This movie marked director Edward Dmytryk's return to directing after being blacklisted and serving time in prison for contempt of court, when he refused to name names of his Communist associates to the House Un-American Activities Committee. As "punishment" for his earlier association with Communist groups, Dmytryk was assigned to direct Adolphe Menjou, who had been one of the most fervent supporters of HUAC in Hollywood. Despite their history of political differences, the two got along fairly well during filming. See more »


When the policeman (Robert Foulk) is running to catch the young kid with the rifle on the roof of a building he jumps off the same roof twice onto a lower roof. See more »


Police Sgt. Joe Ferris: No word from the boyfriend yet?
Police Lt. Frank Kafka: He'll probably turn up as soon as he reads the papers. From what I know about musicians, they're not so neat when they want to get rid of their dames.
See more »


Referenced in America's Sweethearts (2001) See more »


Pennies from Heaven
Music by Arthur Johnston
Words by Johnny Burke (1936)
Played by Marie Windsor in piano bar
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Undeservedly obscure noir
11 January 2003 | by (US of A) – See all my reviews

Interesting noir from veteran director Dmytryk. Arthur Franz gives a good twitchy, sweaty performance as a sex criminal released from prison for assaulting women, only to be compelled to kill them with a stolen military rifle once free, and silent star Adolphe Menjou is the police officer in charge of stopping Franz's crime spree. As lurid as the subject matter is, the film's approach to it is admirably serious and even-handed, especially when contrasted to that taken by other films about serial killers. For example, Fritz Lang's noir "While the City Sleeps", made around the same time, features a character similar to Franz's as its villian (a disturbed young killer with a mother fixation, who leaves messages for the police urging them to catch him), but its portrayal of the murderer is comically overwrought in comparison. Some of the psychological shorthand used to illustrate Franz's fractured psyche may appear naive to contemporary audiences (stroking his phallic rifle in anticipation to his murders, wincing in pain when he passes a mother slapping her child on the street), but he's a much more realistic and credible criminal than the overheated creations that populate recent films about the same subject (Seven, Hannibal Lecter trilogy, etc). The film's sober and non-sensational tone can be attributed partly to producer Stanley Kramer; the redeeming social message that is commonly found in his films creeps into this one through the character of a police psychologist, who gives a speech about the need to change the laws that deal with sex criminals (not a lot has changed since the time this movie was released - so much for the redeeming social message). Dmytryk's direction is typically stylish (why did it become so turgid later on?), and he makes excellent use of San Francisco locations. The finale, where the police finally close in on the sniper is particularly well done, with one sequence standing out as especially memorable and effective: a construction worker gives the sniper away as he's about to claim another victim, and discovers too late that its a bad idea to cross a psychopath with a long distance rifle, especially when in the not very convenient position of dangling from a smokestack. The cast is strong, and includes a welcome appearance by B-movie fave Marie Windsor, as a bar pianist who ends up as the sniper's first victim. Nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay, "The Sniper" is fairly obscure compared to other noirs and is unavailable on video - it's really worth catching during one of its occaisonal appearances on cable TV.

44 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Where is a DVD for this... Wailmer1990
how does it end? kilmoonie-1
'prevention of sexually offensive criminology'? mooncaine-1
Ahead of its time richsass
THe Horrible Irony photoe
Discuss The Sniper (1952) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: