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The Big Heat (1953)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller  |  14 October 1953 (USA)
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Reviews: 132 user | 84 critic

Tough cop Dave Bannion takes on a politically powerful crime syndicate.



(screenplay), (Saturday Evening Post serial)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alexander Scourby ...
Peter Whitney ...
Robert Burton ...
Howard Wendell ...
George Rose
Michael Granger ...
Dorothy Green ...


Dave Bannion is an upright cop on the trail of a vicious gang he suspects holds power over the police force. Bannion is tipped off after a colleague's suicide and his fellow officers' suspicious silence lead him to believe that they are on the gangsters' payroll. When a bomb meant for him kills his wife instead, Bannion becomes a furious force of vengeance and justice, aided along the way by the gangster's spurned girlfriend Debbie. As Bannion and Debbie fall further and further into the Gangland's insidious and brutal trap, they must use any means necessary (including murder) to get to the truth. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A hard cop and a soft dame! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 October 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heißes Eisen  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Lee Marvin first sees Glenn Ford face to face, the music in the background is "Put the Blame on Mame," a reference to Ford's performance in Gilda (1946). See more »


Near the end of the film, Dave Bannion has an altercation with his brother-in-law's old army buddy in the stairwell. When he enters the apartment a second later, the sleeves of his suit are suddenly rolled up. See more »


Mike Lagana: [to Bannion] This is my home and I don't like dirt checkd into it.
See more »


Referenced in The Godfather (1972) See more »


Put the Blame on Mame
by Doris Fisher and Allan Roberts
Heard instrumentally during one of the scenes at The Retreat
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

nice attention to detail
24 March 2005 | by (Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico) – See all my reviews

A violent story about a detective working in a corrupt department who investigates the apparent suicide of a fellow officer. Worth seeing for Glenn Ford's prototypical performance and Gloria Grahme's show stealing portrayal of a boozing moll with a conscience. With facial disfigurement and cigarette burns it took violence up a notch from the standard gun play of the past, making it grimmer and more realistic, and giving the story more punch. Grahme's tough and tender role stands out and gives the film a tragic element, while certain of its portrayals of greed and corruption (namely the dead officer's wife) stand out for their attention to detail. In the end, it IS the details that give this formulaic story its clout, and we can thank director Fritz Lang for that.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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