7.8/10
14,232
139 user 65 critic

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 7 January 1955 (USA)
Trailer
2:02 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

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 »
Reviews
Popularity
2,419 ( 4)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A bounty hunter trying to bring a murderer to justice is forced to accept the help of two less-than-trustworthy strangers.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan
The Killers (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Lawman Wyatt Earp and outlaw Doc Holliday form an unlikely alliance which culminates in their participation in the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming
Crossfire (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A man is murdered, apparently by one of a group of soldiers just out of the army. But which one? And why?

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The journey of a prized rifle from one ill-fated owner to another parallels a cowboy's search for a murderous fugitive.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea
Fury (1936)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to frame the mob for his murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A stranger defies the local cattle baron and his sadistic son by working for one of his oldest rivals.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A marshal tries to bring the son of an old friend, an autocratic cattle baron, to justice for the rape and murder of his wife.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When a posse catches up three men suspected of killing a local farmer, some of them become strongly divided on whether or not to lynch the men.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An oppressed Mexican peasant village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson
Red River (1948)
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
Stars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru
White Heat (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
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)
Edit

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:

M-G-M's SUSPENSE STORY OF THE YEAR! (original print ad - mostly caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 January 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bad Day at Hondo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,271,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ernest Borgnine always referred to Spencer Tracy as "Mr. Tracy," never by his first name. "I was in awe of him," he said. "To me, he was the world's greatest actor, and my God, here I am working with the man." See more »

Goofs

When Macreedy tries to escape town with Liz, he doesn't have his suitcase. See more »

Quotes

John J. Macreedy: Your friend's a very... argumentative fellow.
Reno Smith: Sort of unpredictable, too. Got a temper like a rattlesnake.
Coley Trimble: That's me all over. I'm half horse, half alligator - you mess with me and I'll kick a lung outta' ya! What d'ya think of that?
John J. Macreedy: No comment.
Coley Trimble: You know, talkin' to you is like pullin' teeth. You wear me out.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The A-Team: Black Day at Bad Rock (1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Hateful subject given a master class telling.
4 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Produced by Dore Schary out of MGM, Bad Day at Black Rock is directed by John Sturges and stars Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, John Ericson, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin.It's adapted by Don McGuire and Millard Kaufman from the story Bad Day at Hondo by Howard Breslin. It's shot on location in CinemaScope and Eastman Color at Lone Pine, Death Valley & Alabama Hills in California, with William C. Mellor on photography and André Previn scoring the music.

A classy production that combines elements of Westerns and film noir, Bad Day at Black Rock deals with racism and all the hate and bully tactics that come with such a vile subject. It tells the story of a mysterious one armed stranger, John J. Macreedy (Tracy), who arrives at a tiny isolated town in a desert of the Southwest United States in search of a Japanese-American man. From the moment he arrives he is met with hostility and mistrust. Over the course of the day Macreedy picks apart the town to uncover the secret the townsfolk had hoped had gone away.

From the opening sequence of a bright red train rushing towards us, it's evident that we are in the modern day West. It's just after World War II and the horse trails of the old West are now frequented by jeeps and cars. Yet the hallmarks of the old West exists and thrives because of the inhabitants of Black Rock. An ignorant group of people consisting of bullies, drunks and the head in the sand softy type. Yet even tho the film is set mostly in the blazing sun, in a barren one horse Western town that time forgot, the film exudes a film noir sensibility. Dark secrets from the past weigh heavy on the shoulders of the towns big players: And Tracy's High Noon like situation is moodily paced by the wily Sturges. In fact that a film with so little "gun play" action can be so tense is no mean feat, with him yet again directing an ensemble cast to great effect.

Tracy is at his best when he is as he is here, playing subdued. Here he is a thinking man's protagonist, calm and reflective in the face of constant hostility. That he is facing an impressive line up of heavies really brings home just how thoughtful a performance Tracy gives in the piece. Robert Ryan does yet another fine turn as a complicated villain whose rage is bubbling away under the surface. While Borgnine and Marvin are memorably vile as his right hand thugs. Dean Jagger as the drunken cowardly sheriff manages to pang the heart and Walter Brennan is his usual solid impacting self. Anne Francis adds the glamour but really it's a nondescript role that the film could easily have survived without.

Clocking in at just 81 minutes the film never outstays its welcome. It looks great on DVD, and for those interested in commentary tracks, this one comes with a very good one from Dana Polan. Anyone who has not seen this film should try and seek it out. It was considered controversial back on release but now can be viewed as a smart message movie about racial tolerance. Tight, taut and expertly directed and acted, Bad Day At Black Rock is an important film from the 50s that still rings bells even today. 8/10


9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Smith - rejected due to failed physical ....... paule-rooney
Not my favorite movie. . miso5000
Fight Scene nightpike11
goof in the plot? zelton-1
'concentration camp' mcconnel-1
where was the location?? lbs1942
Discuss Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?