IMDb > Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Bad Day at Black Rock
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Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 21 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Bad Day at Black Rock -- Spencer Tracy received his fifth Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a one-armed stranger who arrives at a small Southwestern town shortly after WWII in pursuit of a Japanese farmer.
Bad Day at Black Rock -- Trailer for this mystery

Overview

User Rating:
7.8/10   13,279 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Millard Kaufman (screen play)
Don McGuire (adaptation)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Bad Day at Black Rock on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 January 1955 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
Suddenly you realize murder is at your elbow! - and there's no way out! See more »
Plot:
A one handed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Tense moral fable See more (134 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Spencer Tracy ... John J. Macreedy

Robert Ryan ... Reno Smith

Anne Francis ... Liz Wirth

Dean Jagger ... Tim Horn

Walter Brennan ... Doc Velie
John Ericson ... Pete Wirth

Ernest Borgnine ... Coley Trimble

Lee Marvin ... Hector David
Russell Collins ... Mr. Hastings
Walter Sande ... 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)
Robert Griffin ... Second Train Conductor (uncredited)
Harry Harvey ... First Train Conductor (uncredited)
Bobby Johnson ... One of Two Porters (uncredited)
Francis McDonald ... Tall - White-haired Cafe Lounger (uncredited)

Directed by
John Sturges 
 
Writing credits
Millard Kaufman (screen play)

Don McGuire (adaptation)

Howard Breslin (based on a story by)

Produced by
Herman Hoffman .... associate producer
Dore Schary .... producer
 
Original Music by
André Previn 
 
Cinematography by
William C. Mellor (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Newell P. Kimlin 
 
Art Direction by
Malcolm Brown 
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Set Decoration by
Fred M. MacLean (set decorations) (as Fred MacLean)
Edwin B. Willis (set decorations)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joel Freeman .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Wesley C. Miller .... recording supervisor
Ed Haight .... sound editor (uncredited)
Kurt Hernfeld .... sound editor (uncredited)
Harold Humbrock .... sound editor (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Roger Creed .... stunt double: Spencer Tracy (uncredited)
Danny Sands .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Alvord Eiseman .... color consultant
 
Music Department
Leo Arnaud .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Alexander Courage .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Wally Heglin .... orchestrator (uncredited)
André Previn .... conductor (uncredited)
André Previn .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
John Indrisano .... judo instructor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production Companies
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) (controlled by Loew's Incorporated) (presents) (as M-G-M also) (A CinemaScope Production) (made in Hollywood, U.S.A. by)
DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
81 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Eastman Color)
Aspect Ratio:
2.55 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (35 mm optical prints) (Western Electric Sound System) | 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Finland:K-12 | New Zealand:PG | Norway:16 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) (passed with cuts) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1993) (1994) | USA:Approved (MPAA rating: certificate #17184) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | USA:Passed (The National Board of Review) | West Germany:12 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The script called for Macreedy to light matches one-handed. Spencer Tracy had difficulty with this and convinced director John Sturges to let him use a Zippo lighter, as every veteran he ever met had one.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: McCreedy rents the U.S. Army quarter-ton truck (jeep) and drives it around with his one arm. That model truck only had a standard transmission. Yet you can hear the gears shift but McCreedy never engages the clutch or works the shifter.See more »
Quotes:
Liz Wirth:Things change.
John J. Macreedy:Sure do. And Smith is the kid who changes 'em, isn't he?... What's wrong with this town of yours, Miss Wirth?
Liz Wirth:I don't want to get involved.
John J. Macreedy:Involved in what?
Liz Wirth:Whatever you're up to. Whatever happens, I've got to go on living in this town. These people are my neighbors, my friends.
John J. Macreedy:ALL of 'em?
Liz Wirth:This is my town, Mr. Macreedy, like it or not.
John J. Macreedy:Well, if you don't like it, why do you stick around?
Liz Wirth:My brother Pete, he'd never leave.
John J. Macreedy:Didn't it ever occur to you that you might leave without him? You look like a pretty independent young lady. Your brother seems to me...
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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50 out of 72 people found the following review useful.
Tense moral fable, 9 November 2002
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

For the first time in 4 years the train stops at the small desert town of Black Rock. An one armed war veteran gets off looking for a man whose name causes hostility among the residents of the town, led by Reno Smith. Macreedy digs deeper to find a town hiding a shameful secret that they were too apathetic to deal with. But will they stand up now?

Most people will tell you this film is famous because it was one of the first times an American film acknowledged that, after Pearl Harbour, oriental Americans were abused and treated badly. However to me this film is a damnation to those who stand back and refuse to take a stand against wrong doing. The whole plot is hinged on whether or not people ill stand up and do the right thing with Macreedy. The film plays well as a moral fable but also as a tense thriller and both are enjoyable.

The film is quite short, but builds well from hostile locals to eventual violence and confrontation in the desert. The moral of taking a stand is weaved into it well without taking away from the main drama and tension. It isn't perfect as it is a bit simplified but in the desert heat of the small town the tension is really well recreated.

The cast is surprisingly deep in hindsight. Tracy is manners himself as the man who gets more irate by the apathy around him as he gets to uncover more and more of the town. Ryan is cool but a little too inhuman for my tastes. Jagger and Brennan are suitably trapped in their performances and represent those happy to watch bad things happen if they get a quiet life. In retrospect Borgnine and Marvin add star power and do well with what could have been just thug/heavy roles.

Overall this film worked for me on several levels. The heat of the desert adds to the tension in the actual drama story itself. However it also works as a moral fable with a very clear message – stand up for what is right or watch what you believe slip away at an alarming rate.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (134 total) »

Message Boards

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Most 'Oscars' represented in one film / scene ? jtcbrt
If no one ever stops there... Soujurn
Criterion Release lesoran
Couple of questions zwrite2
Bela Bartok in the Soundtrack ecapital46
where was the location?? lbs1942
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