Down 29,679 this week

A Life in the Balance (1955)

Approved  |   |  Thriller  |  1 July 1955 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.4/10 from 96 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

Antonio Gomez, a nearly down-and-out musician, is a widower with a young boy, Paco. Fighting to support his boy in the face of unemployment and neighbors who want custody of his son (... See full summary »


(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 54 titles
created 29 Oct 2012
a list of 62 titles
created 09 Dec 2012
a list of 47 titles
created 29 Jul 2013
list image
a list of 1738 titles
created 30 Mar 2014
a list of 2240 titles
created 02 Apr 2014

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: A Life in the Balance (1955)

A Life in the Balance (1955) on IMDb 6.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of A Life in the Balance.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

At a carnival called the Garden of Evil, a man is murdered, apparently by a gorilla...or someone in a gorilla suit.

Director: Harmon Jones
Stars: Cameron Mitchell, Anne Bancroft, Lee J. Cobb
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A top syndicate crime boss and his corrupt politicians, make multi-million deals and order murders , until the vicious pattern finally catches up to him.

Director: Russell Rouse
Stars: Broderick Crawford, Richard Conte, Anne Bancroft
History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Crude and uncivilized backwoods trapper Jed Cooper and his two partners sign up as scouts in a remote Oregon army fort, manned chiefly by untrained rookie soldiers. Jed, flirting with the ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Victor Mature, Guy Madison, Robert Preston
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A mobster (Quinn) springs a condemmed murderer (Grainger) because he got his sister (Bancroft) pregnant.

Director: Maxwell Shane
Stars: Farley Granger, Anthony Quinn, Anne Bancroft
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A former spy moves to Arizona to join a gold robbery, but when he gets there decides that it's not for him and tries to change his life.

Director: André De Toth
Stars: Randolph Scott, Claire Trevor, Joan Weldon
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A party girl is murdered, and everyone at a Utah motel is a suspect.

Director: Howard W. Koch
Stars: Lex Barker, Anne Bancroft, Mamie Van Doren
Biography | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Indian Agent sent to try new approach to peace with Apaches based on respect for automomy rather than submission to Army. Wins over reservation chiefs and the Indian widow (Bancroft) given ... See full summary »

Director: Jesse Hibbs
Stars: Audie Murphy, Anne Bancroft, Pat Crowley
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A Confederate Major and his troops are falsely lead to believe the Civil War is not over, and become wanted men when they attack a Union Army wagon train.

Director: Roy Huggins
Stars: Randolph Scott, Donna Reed, Claude Jarman Jr.
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

It was Kansas City, not New Orleans.

Director: Jack Webb
Stars: Jack Webb, Janet Leigh, Edmond O'Brien
The Raid (1954)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A group of Confederate prisoners escape to Canada and plan to rob the banks and set fire to the small town of Saint Albans in Vermont. To get the lie of the land, their leader spends a few ... See full summary »

Director: Hugo Fregonese
Stars: Van Heflin, Anne Bancroft, Richard Boone
Nightfall (1957)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Through a series of bizarre coincidences artist finds himself falsely accused of bank robbery and murder and is pursued by the authorities and the real killers.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft, Brian Keith
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

At an isolated, seaside greasy-spoon cafe live George, the sarcastic owner; Slob, the potentially violent cook; and Kotty, the sexy waitress all the men lust after. Plus an occasional ... See full summary »

Director: Edward Dein
Stars: Terry Moore, Frank Lovejoy, Keenan Wynn


Complete credited cast:
Antonio Gómez
María Ibinia
The Killer
José Pérez ...
Paco Gómez (as Jose Perez)
Rodolfo Acosta ...
Lt. Fernando
Carlos Múzquiz ...
Capt. Saldana (as Carlos Muzquiz)
Jorge Treviño ...
Sergeant (as Jorge Trevino)
José Torvay ...
Andrés Martínez (as Jose Torvay)
Eva Calvo ...
Carla Arlota
Fanny Schiller ...
Carmen Martínez
Tamara Garina ...
Doña Lucrecia
Pascual García Peña ...
Porter (as Pascual G. Pena)
Tony Carbajal ...
Pedro (as Antonio Carbajal)


Antonio Gomez, a nearly down-and-out musician, is a widower with a young boy, Paco. Fighting to support his boy in the face of unemployment and neighbors who want custody of his son (something that here in Mexico City they might just obtain), Gomez argues with an ex-girlfriend over money she owes him. After he leaves, the girlfriend is murdered by the religious-fanatic serial killer terrorizing the city. When neighbors report the argument Gomez had with the dead girl, the police presume they are finally on the hot trail of the serial killer, and Gomez is their target. Gomez goes out to a pawnshop to buy his son a long-dreamed-of guitar and there meets a young woman with whom he goes looking for his son. What Gomez does not realize is that a police dragnet is closing in on him and that his boy Paco actually witnessed this most recent murder and has been trailing the killer. It's not long, though, before the killer is trailing the boy. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mexico city | mexico | murder | See All (3) »


A killer with the cunning of a maniac. A little boy with the courage of a lion. See more »




Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

1 July 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Noite Conspira com a Morte  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Montalban in an athletic tee...and a nice little noir
5 July 2009 | by (Proctorville, Ohio) – See all my reviews

A Life in the Balance: even the name bespeaks noir. So, not surprisingly, destiny has a nasty shock in store for out-of-work widower Montalban, who is struggling to make a secure home for his motherless little boy. Neighbors are threatening a custody action, and a smitten ex-lover is resisting repayment of a large loan. And then father and son fall beneath the sinister shadow of maniacal psychopath Lee Marvin. Unware of the terrible turn of events, Montalban bounds fatefully into the Mexico City night. In a pawn shop, he meets Anne Bancroft, a prim, down-on-her-luck lady who is bereft of either street smarts or employment. As the two sally forth into the lights and activity of a holiday festival, his son is in the midst of a far different and dangerous pursuit on dark, deserted streets. Montalban looks sensational, but he is, after all, playing an everyman and conducts his characterization accordingly. Bancroft, though attractive, is unglamorously so and is most appealing in her emotional and intellectual reactions to Montalban. Their relationship, though expeditiously developed, seems deeper and more credible than many seen in classic movies. The plot spins out smoothly, and the settings are well suited to the story. As well as obscure avenues and alleyways, crowded tenement, and typical hock shop, a police station and cavernous cathedral enhance the somber mood. It all makes for a somewhat soft-soaped, somewhat predictable, but nonetheless interesting bit of noir.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss A Life in the Balance (1955) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: