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Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 15 May 1955 (Japan)
A one-handed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Sam
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Walter Beaver ...
Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
Billy Dix ...
Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
Mickey Little ...
Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
K.L. Smith ...
Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
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Storyline

From the time John J. Macreedy steps off the train in Black Rock, he feels a chill from the local residents. The town is only a speck on the map and few if any strangers ever come to the place. Macreedy himself is tight-lipped about the purpose of his trip and he finds that the hotel refuses him a room, the local garage refuses to rent him a car and the sheriff is a useless drunkard. It's apparent that the locals have something to hide but when he finally tells them that he is there to speak to a Japanese-American farmer named Kamoko, he touches a nerve so sensitive that he will spend the next 24 hours fighting for his life. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They're going to kill you...with no hard feelings! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 May 1955 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Bad Day at Hondo  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,271,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm optical prints) (Western Electric Sound System)| (35 mm magnetic prints)

Color:

(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Five of the cast members had a total of eight Oscars. Spencer Tracy had two and Walter Brennan had three. Lee Marvin, Dean Jagger and Ernest Borgnine had one apiece. See more »

Goofs

The locomotive seen at the end of the film is a Southern Pacific F7, road number 6396. Even though the film is set shortly after World War II, the F7 did not enter production until 1949 and #6396 would have been produced even later (production ended in 1953, the year this movie was filmed.) Additionally, the F7 was produced as a freight hauler. Southern Pacific usually used the E-series diesel-electric locomotives for passenger trains. See more »

Quotes

Liz Wirth: [going to be shot by Smith] I did everything you said!
Reno Smith: You two started out in a car and that's the way you're gonna end up - over a cliff, burning! You can blame Macreedy for that, he said I had too many witnesses.
Liz Wirth: But why me? Why start with me?
Reno Smith: I gotta start with somebody.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A bad day, a superb film
15 May 2004 | by (Seattle, Washington, USA) – See all my reviews

John Sturges directed this quintessentially tight-constructed masterpiece. This is how it was done in the good old days: nothing falls by the wayside. Tight, clear characterizations, with minimalist dialog, costume, manner, and facial expression all reflecting the inner lives of people in their self-constructed hell. Check out how Hector (Lee Marvin) uses the word "boy" to suggest racial overtones well in advance of the slowly-revealed background plot; how Macreedy (Spencer Tracy) in his dark suit and no-nonsense manner contrasts with everyone else's casual dress and edginess, perfectly reflecting his role as avenging angel; how Coley (Ernest Borgnine), trying to run Macreedy off the road, resembles (probably unintentionally) Joe McCarthy, especially as caricatured by Walt Kelly; and of course how the arch-villain, Reno Smith (Robert Ryan), suggests limitless power with his inimitable smirk and almost languid movements: he controls the town without actually doing anything overt--until Macreedy forces his hand. Nicely turned performances by other major players, too: Dean Jagger (the drunkard Sheriff Tim), Anne Frances (nervous Liz), and Walter Brennan (loquacious, self-justifying Doc). The suggestion that one man can--literally single-handedly--make a moral difference is inspiring (and how that one hand utterly confounds Coley is a nifty, low-key precursor of Bruce Lee-inspired acrobatics). This is a keeper.


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