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


User Rating:
7.8/10   13,530 votes »
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Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Millard Kaufman (screen play)
Don McGuire (adaptation)
View company contact information for Bad Day at Black Rock on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 January 1955 (USA) See more »
Suddenly you realize murder is at your elbow! - and there's no way out! See more »
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:
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations See more »
(75 articles)
In Cold Blood
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Broken Lance
 (From Trailers from Hell. 14 November 2015, 6:13 AM, PST)

Wright and Goldwyn Have an Ugly Parting of the Ways; Brando (More or Less) Comes to the Rescue
 (From Alt Film Guide. 11 March 2015, 2:07 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Fine modern Western in which the events crackle with intrigue and suspense See more (135 total) »


  (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)
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:
81 min
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)
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?

It was decided that the film would have no music score, only ambient sounds--clock chimes, prairie winds, etc.--a method that had been employed on MGM's Executive Suite (1954). Dore Schary described the vision in his autobiography: "First the quiet speck of a station in the heart of desolation. A wind blowing, a yowl of coyote, the far-off-horn of a diesel engine, then the roar of the train. The music department hated me."See more »
Continuity: Clouds appear and disappear from shot to shot. For example, during the discussion scene on the railroad tracks about 27 minutes into the film, the clouds above the mountains at the tracks' vanishing point appear in wide shots and disappear in tight shots.See more »
Sam, Cafe Proprietor:Maybe he's a cop or somethin'.
Doc T.R. Velie Jr.:Ever see a cop with a stiff arm?
Sam, Cafe Proprietor:Maybe his arm's all right. Maybe he's just hangin' onto something tight in his pocket.
Doc T.R. Velie Jr.:Like what? A pistol? A stick of TNT so he can blow up the whole mangy, miserable town?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Sanctimony (2000)See more »


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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
Fine modern Western in which the events crackle with intrigue and suspense, 29 June 2011
Author: ma-cortes

Southern Pacific train express stops in Black Rock . One-armed John J. Macreedy (Spencer Tracy) alights at Black Rock from train express in order to give a medal to the last known relative, Komoko who died five years ago , of a deceased Japanese-American army officer named Joe. His attempts to do so will confront him against the entire little town including the Sheriff (Dean Jagger) himself , a hotel receptionist (John Ericson) , a doctor (Walter Brennan) , the powerful Smith (Robert Ryan)and two thugs ( Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine) , among them . Macreedy attempts to investigate the killing a Japanese farmer that happened shortly after the attack on the Pearl Harbor, the unconditional surrender of Japan, and the resultant hatred towards Japanese-Americans , including the events from Bataan and Corregidor .John suffers a strong hostility and hatred by the inhabitants and neighbours. McReedy uncovering up a terrible secret and being threatened ; attempts will be made to run him off the road while driving ; he will be chased , and the telephone operator will deny to connect him to the Police Station ; the Railway Station's employee will not dispatch a telegram ; meantime the local Mortician will warn him that he should aware for his death by nightfall. While, McReedy tries to go Adobe Flat to find the Kamako corpse and finally is helped by some villagers.

This interesting movie contains marvelous performances from all concerned , suspense , thrills , exciting situations and some action . Based on the novel by Howard Breslin and well adapted by Millard Kauffman who takes a fine material , this is a suspenseful film in which Spencer Tracy plays magnificently as an easy Italian war veteran coming to a township called Black Rock that seems to be hiding a guilty secret . However , too much conversation and too little action bogs down this modern Western , although the argument and intrigue is nice . There are excellent acting from some Hollywood's best players , including prestigious secondaries as Lee Marvin , Ernest Borgnine , Dean Jagger , among others . Thrilling and exciting musical score by Andre Previn who subsequently married Mia Farrow . Colorful cinematography utilizing the new Cinemascope technique by William C Mellor . This ¨Sui Generis¨modern Western is originally directed by John Sturges . He was an expert on Western genre as proved in ¨ Escape from Fort Bravo , The law and Jake Wade , The last train of Gun Hill, The Magnificent seven, Hour of gun , Joe Kidd , The Hallelujah trail ¨ and many others . Rating : Better than average . Worthwhile watching .

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