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Dial M for Murder (1954)

PG  |   |  Crime, Thriller  |  29 May 1954 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 96,780 users  
Reviews: 252 user | 120 critic

An ex-tennis pro carries out a plot to murder his wife. When things go wrong, he improvises a brilliant plan B.



(screen play), (adapted from his play)
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Top Rated Movies #157 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: John Forsythe, Shirley MacLaine, Edmund Gwenn


Complete credited cast:
Leo Britt ...
Patrick Allen ...
George Leigh ...
George Alderson ...
First Detective
Robin Hughes ...


In London, wealthy Margot Mary Wendice had a brief love affair with the American writer Mark Halliday while her husband and professional tennis player Tony Wendice was on a tennis tour. Tony quits playing to dedicate to his wife and finds a regular job. She decides to give him a second chance for their marriage. When Mark arrives from America to visit the couple, Margot tells him that she had destroyed all his letters but one that was stolen. Subsequently she was blackmailed, but she had never retrieved the stolen letter. Tony arrives home, claims that he needs to work and asks Margot to go with Mark to the theater. Meanwhile Tony calls Captain Lesgate (aka Charles Alexander Swann who studied with him at college) and blackmails him to murder his wife, so that he can inherit her fortune. But there is no perfect crime, and things do not work as planned. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If a woman answers...hang on for dear life! See more »


Crime | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 May 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder  »

Box Office


$1,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,562 (USA) (9 April 1999)


$12,562 (USA) (9 April 1999)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Williams won the 1953 Tony Award (Broadway) for Best Featured Actor in a Play for "Dial M for Murder" as Inspector Hubbard; he recreated the role in the movie version. See more »


After Tony removes the reunion photograph from the wall to show it to Swann, he re-hangs it tilted relative to the other pictures next to it. In the next shot Tony is returning to his chair and the picture has been straightened. See more »


[first lines]
Margot Mary Wendice: let me get you another drink. Mark, before Tony comes I ought to explain something.
Mark Halliday: Yes, I've been waiting for that.
Margot Mary Wendice: I haven't told him anything about us.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title is shown on a background of a British telephone dial; its MN/6 marking is replaced by a single large M which forms the single M of the title. See more »


Referenced in Happy Town: Questions and Antlers (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Tense and exciting.
15 October 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Tony Wendice (Ray Milland), an ex-tennis player, unhappily married to Margot (Grace Kelly), correctly guesses that she has been cheating, with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). Mark writes crime stories. Unbeknown to Margot and Mark, Tony knows about the affair, and wants to teach Margot a little lesson, by taking away the thing that is her life. But, being too guileful to do it himself, Wendice blackmails one of his old school friends into murdering her, and the essential thing to doing it is his latchkey.

Dial M for Murder succeeds on many levels, and it is largely thanks to some superb dialogue, written from a tricksy-yet-capable script that never gets too deep. The cast are a treat. Ray Milland is an absolute gem, extremely sly and dispassionate, yet a character so full of self-assurance that one almost sides with him. Grace Kelly completes her great year (she gave an Oscar-winning performance in The Country Girl and also starred in Rear Window) by emanating the poised, beautiful being, that is vulnerable, yet oddly unassailable. And it's weird in that even though she's cheating on her husband, you care for her a lot more than him (although that could do with the fact that he's trying to kill her...) And John Williams, as the police detective, is quite wonderful.

Alfred Hitchcock manipulates and enthrals his audience here like the master that he is. Each scene has a sense of direction, great pacing, and is staged realistically. Stunning full colour photography and a haunting, atmospheric score from Dimitri Tiomkin complete this great package. The ending, when it comes, feels a little too nice to be truly realistic, but that is my only major quibble with an otherwise highly entertaining, thrilling movie.

88 of 113 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Catastrophic plot hole please explain.spollers. milesgiles1-198-356339
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