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The Ladykillers
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The Ladykillers (1955) More at IMDbPro »

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The Ladykillers -- A gang finds itself living with a little old lady, who thinks they are musicians. When the gang sets out to kill Mrs. Wilberforce, they run into one problem after another, and they get what they deserve.


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7.8/10   19,907 votes »
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Up 8% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
24 February 1956 (Belgium) See more »
Meet "The Unholy Five"...The Most Befuddled Set of Assorted Thugs That Ever Fouled Up a Million Dollar Bank Robbery!! See more »
Five diverse oddball criminal types planning a bank robbery rent rooms on a cul-de-sac from an octogenarian widow under the pretext that they are classical musicians. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A classic crime comedy that evidently can't be updated. See more (125 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Alec Guinness ... Professor Marcus
Cecil Parker ... Claude (a.k.a. 'Major Courtney')

Herbert Lom ... Louis (a.k.a. 'Mr. Harvey')

Peter Sellers ... Harry (a.k.a. 'Mr. Robinson')
Danny Green ... One-Round (a.k.a. 'Mr. Lawson')
Jack Warner ... The Superintendent

Katie Johnson ... Mrs. Wilberforce (The Old Lady)
Philip Stainton ... The Sergeant
Frankie Howerd ... The Barrow Boy
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Madge Brindley ... Large Lady (uncredited)
Hélène Burls ... Hypatia (uncredited)

Kenneth Connor ... Cab Driver (uncredited)
Michael Corcoran ... Burglar (uncredited)
Harold Goodwin ... Parcels Clerk (uncredited)
Fred Griffiths ... Junk Man (uncredited)
Lucy Griffiths ... Miss Pringle (uncredited)
George Hilsdon ... Security Van Driver (uncredited)
Phoebe Hodgson ... Constance (uncredited)
Vincent Holman ... Station Master (uncredited)
Anthony John ... Child (uncredited)
Stratford Johns ... Security Guard (uncredited)
Evelyn Kerry ... Amelia (uncredited)
Sam Kydd ... Second Cab Driver (uncredited)
Aileen Lewis ... Lady Leaving Kings Cross Station (uncredited)
Edie Martin ... Lettice (uncredited)
Jack Melford ... Detective (uncredited)
Robert Moore ... Constable (uncredited)
Arthur Mullard ... (uncredited)
Ewan Roberts ... Constable (uncredited)
George Roderick ... Radio Car Policeman (uncredited)
John Rudling ... Nervous Man (uncredited)
Leonard Sharp ... Pavement Artist (uncredited)
Peter Williams ... Detective at Parcels Office (uncredited)
Neil Wilson ... Policeman (uncredited)

Directed by
Alexander Mackendrick 
Writing credits
William Rose (story and screenplay)

Jimmy O'Connor  uncredited

Produced by
Michael Balcon .... producer
Seth Holt .... associate producer
Original Music by
Tristram Cary 
Cinematography by
Otto Heller (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Jack Harris 
Art Direction by
Jim Morahan 
Costume Design by
Anthony Mendleson 
Makeup Department
Alex Garfath .... makeup artist
Daphne Martin .... hair styles
Production Management
Hal Mason .... production supervisor
David Peers .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tom Pevsner .... assistant director
Michael Birkett .... third assistant director (uncredited)
John Meadows .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
W. Simpson Robinson .... scenic artist
Bert Davey .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Norman Dorme .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Tony Rimmington .... junior draughtsman (uncredited)
Jack Shampan .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Sound Department
Stephen Dalby .... sound supervisor (as Steven Dalby)
Gordon Stone .... sound editor
Leo Wilkins .... recordist
E. Belcher .... assistant boom operator (uncredited)
Harry Fairbairn .... sound assistant (uncredited)
Ray Palmer .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
W. Robson .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
Bill Rowe .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
Eric Stockl .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
Don Wortham .... boom operator (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Sydney Pearson .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Chic Waterson .... camera operator (as Chick Waterson)
Alan Bryce .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Harold Hanscomb .... still photographer (uncredited)
Ray Parslow .... focus puller (uncredited)
Herbert Smith .... focus puller (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Harry Aldous .... assistant editor
Jim Clark .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Robin Clarke .... third assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Dock Mathieson .... conductor
Other crew
Joan Bridge .... Technicolor colour consultant
Felicia Manheim .... continuity
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
91 min
Color (colour) (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Australia:G | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:12 | Netherlands:14 | Norway:15 | Sweden:15 (original rating) | Sweden:11 (re-release) (1975) | UK:U | UK:U (video rating) (1989) (2002) (2006)

Did You Know?

Professor Marcus and Mrs. Wilberforce talk about the proverb "The eyes are the windows on the soul" and wonder who first said it. In fact, several people have expressed this thought over the centuries, including Cicero and Shakespeare and it can be found in the Bible (Matthew, chapter 6, verses 22 to 23).See more »
Continuity: When the Professor and Louis are fighting on wasteland towards the end of the film, a 'white-shirted' man can be seen watching the action from a warehouse window in the distance. Moment's later when shot from a different angle, the man is gone.See more »
One-Round:[looking blankly at his cello] Are we supposed to make noises with these things? What kind o' noises?
Louis:Who is she?
Professor Marcus:Not "noises," One-Round, *music*!
Louis:I said what does she mean, you...
[Professor Marcus shushes him and turns on the record, dancing a bit to the music]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in 50 Films to See Before You Die (2006) (TV)See more »
Minuet in E majorSee more »


Who got the money in the end?
How many ladies die?
Is this based on a book?
See more »
58 out of 64 people found the following review useful.
A classic crime comedy that evidently can't be updated., 15 February 2005
Author: Michael DeZubiria ( from Luoyang, China

The humor in this movie is not only British, which is notoriously misunderstood by American audiences (and vice versa), which is odd because both the writer and director were American, but it is also now five decades old. Only the best American comedies have lasted anywhere near that long (consider, for example, the sad fate of many of the movies that people thought were really funny in the 80s – Police Academy, anyone?). The reason The Ladykillers has not only survived but has now been remade is because the comedy in it is not only effective, but it is intelligent, and it is very difficult not to be impressed by a comedy with a brain.

Alec Guinness is in top form as the leader of the gang, whose members reflects criminals of all walks of life. The ingenious plan is to rent out a room from a sweet old lady while they pull off a heist. The comedy, for me, lies in the difference between what is planned and what is played out, particularly in the difficulties that the gang of criminals have in outsmarting a sweet old lady who acts like a grandmother supervising a group of unruly grandchildren.

The problem that the movie has is that the pace is very slow and much of the comedy has faded over the years, but structurally and intellectually it remains a respectable film, even more now in comparison to its disastrous remake. What went wrong in the remake is that they did not maintain who the character of Mrs. Wilberforce was, because it was the juxtaposition of her as a frail old woman surrounded by toughened criminals that made it funny when things kept going wrong in their plan. In the remake she is replaced by Mrs. Munson, a tough-talking woman who was to be feared from the outset. There is no irony in being overpowered by someone more powerful than yourself from the outset, which I imagine is why the remake also featured Marlon Wayans and a case of irritable bowel syndrome, which I have never seen used in an even remotely amusing way.

While the original film may be a bit too slow for modern audiences, it is indeed charming the way 87-year-old Mrs. Wilberforce continually foils their carefully thought out plans, many times inadvertently. Alec Guinness is wonderful as the band's leader, wearing outrageous false teeth, nearly rivaling Lon Chaney as the man of a thousand faces, and Peter Sellers is one of the criminals as well. I'm no expert about British comedies or Alec Guinness' early works, but I can certainly tell enough from watching this movie that the Coen Brothers' remake did nothing to impress the British about Hollywood's respect for the classics.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Ladykillers (1955)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
The Ladykillers - Done in 60 Seconds Schnorbitz
Explosion Scene MrDude_o_o
Herbert Lom is so hot in this movie! darkcollins
Rolling in the aisles btm1
A snip in the film? jimboville
What's the Music?? Not Boccherini Op11/no5 but............???? gentlemedusa1
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