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   12,856 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 (131 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:
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 most difficult action sequences were shot first. The car chase between Macreedy and Trimble, inspired by John Sturges's memory of almost being run off the road by a drunk driver in college, took two days. The climactic night-time ambush took a day and a half. The scene, photographed at night with every available light, employed explosive caps to ignite Robert Ryan's stunt double after he's hit with a Molotov cocktail. The double was smeared with petroleum jelly and outfitted in a protective asbestos suit and gloves, but he made the mistake of inhaling and scorched his lungs. Screaming for help, he was rushed to the hospital but back on set the next day, in some pain but more frightened about the prospect of almost being suffocated.See more »
Goofs:
Miscellaneous: As the train approaches the town, the horn blows twice, which is the signal for starting up. The mandatory signal for a grade crossing (long, long, short, long) is never blown, although one clearly exists. When the train departs, the conductor makes a confused hand signal to the engineer resembling the horizontal motion that means "stop" rather than the vertical motion that means "go". The engineer never responds with the "long, long" starting signal.See more »
Quotes:
Sheriff Tim Horn:Let Smith find himself a new boy. I can't take it another day. Four years ago, if I'd of done my job, if I'd of checked up and found out what happened. But I didn't! It was just like Smith figured... I didn't even try to find out. Don't you understand? You know, when you wear this badge, you're the Law. And when somebody does something against the Law, then you're supposed to do something about it. Me - I did nothin'. That's what's eatin' me. What kind of prescription you got for that?
Doc Verlie:I don't know. I haven't found one for myself. But there's one thing, Tim: don't quit.
[...]
See more »
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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.

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Message Boards

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lee marvins hat solidgranite
Most 'Oscars' represented in one film / scene ? jtcbrt
Does people in 1955 know how to lie? poonhokong
Fight Scene nightpike11
If no one ever stops there... Soujurn
Smith - rejected due to failed physical ....... paule-rooney
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