MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 698 this week

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 51,636 users   Metascore: 99/100
Reviews: 330 user | 155 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Directors:

, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »

Writers:

(from the novel by), (screen play), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available now. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 42 titles
created 03 Jan 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 04 Jul 2011
 
a list of 45 titles
created 17 Mar 2012
 
a list of 22 titles
created 21 Dec 2012
 
a list of 38 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Night of the Hunter (1955)

The Night of the Hunter (1955) on IMDb 8.1/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Night of the Hunter.

User Polls

Top 250 #217 | 1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Touch of Evil (1958)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh
The Killing (1956)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards
Diabolique (1955)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The wife of a cruel headmaster and his mistress conspire to kill him, but after the murder is committed, his body disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Stars: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse
The Big Sleep (1946)
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely
Stalag 17 (1953)
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When two escaping American World War II prisoners are killed, the German POW camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger
Notorious (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
High Noon (1952)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A marshall, personally compelled to face a returning deadly enemy, finds that his own town refuses to help him.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
La Strada (1954)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart
The Third Man (1949)
Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder...a theory that he plans to implement.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman
The Hustler (1961)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A bitter aging couple with the help of alcohol, use a young couple to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Evelyn Varden ...
...
...
Billy Chapin ...
Sally Jane Bruce ...
Gloria Castillo ...
Ruby (as Gloria Castilo)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Emmett Lynn ...
Birdie Steptoe (scenes deleted)
Edit

Storyline

It's the Great Depression. In the process of robbing a bank of $10,000, the robbery because he is unable to provide for his family, Ben Harper kills two people. Before he is captured, he is able to convince his adolescent son John and his infant daughter Pearl not to tell anyone, including their mother Willa, who Ben believes is too idealistic, of where he hid the money, namely in Pearl's favorite toy, a doll that she carries everywhere with her. Ben, who is captured, tried and convicted, is sentenced to death. But before he is executed, Ben is in the state penitentiary with a cell mate, a man by the name of Harry Powell, a self-professed man of the cloth, who is really a con man and murderer, he who swindles lonely women, primarily rich widows, of their money before he kills them. The authorities are unaware of these crimes, Harry who is incarcerated on a thirty day sentence for car theft. Harry does whatever he can, unsuccessfully, to find out the location of the $10,000 from Ben. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

widow | preacher | children | money | doll | See All (284) »

Taglines:

The wedding night, the anticipation, the kiss, the knife, BUT ABOVE ALL... THE SUSPENSE! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 November 1955 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

La noche del cazador  »

Box Office

Budget:

$795,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Paul Gregory and Charles Laughton presented key members of the crew, like cinematographer Stanley Cortez, each with a one percent interest in the film. This given to them on top of their salaries and is something that is never done. Gregory and Laughton said it was not done to encourage the artists, but reward them for their artistry. This was done over the objections of United Artists. See more »

Goofs

On the honeymoon night, when Willa approaches to the bed, Harry stands up and lights the lamp above in front of him. Between shots the lamp changes position. See more »

Quotes

Icey Spoon: What could have possessed that girl?
Rev. Harry Powell: Satan.
Icey Spoon: Ah.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 50 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Cresap's Landing Party
(uncredited)
Composers unknown
Played on guitar and sung by James Gleason
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Breathtaking Imagery
16 December 2007 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Extraordinary, unparalleled, breathtaking ... that's how I would appraise the film's visuals, from DP Stanley Cortez. The images are all in B&W, and many have a noir design straight out of German Expressionism. Sharp angles, high-contrast "hard" lighting, and deep shadows amplify form, or rather distort reality, and as such project human experience as an exaggeration of the emotional.

Some of the images in "The Night Of The Hunter" are so enthralling that they will live on in the collective mind as long as cinema exists. Who can forget that famous underwater scene wherein a dead woman's body sits upright in a car with her hair flowing along the current like seaweed, accompanied by background music that is so dreamlike? One of my favorite images is the one wherein Willa Harper (Shelley Winters) lies in blissful repose on a bed as Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) stands by a window in an unadorned room with angular walls that slope upward, as if in a church.

One of the most haunting, and famous, sequences has the two children, John and Pearl, in a rowboat, as they make a Homeric odyssey down a river, lorded over by giant spider webs, frogs, and rabbits. And then there's that electrifying scene with Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gish) in silhouette, sitting in a chair, holding a shotgun, as Harry Powell sings "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms". Cinematic brilliance extraordinaire!

Consistent with its expressionistic visuals, the story is presented from the POV of a child's nightmare. John and Pearl symbolize innocence, and the bogeyman comes in the form of an adult, a godlike man who cons the gullible townsfolk including the children's mom. Our good reverend Powell is less interested in saving souls than he is in finding all that loot stashed away somewhere. Thus, the film's underlying theme is at least as relevant now as it was fifty years ago; the film has not aged one bit.

Production design is sparse, true to the film's visual style and to the setting in Depression era West Virginia. The casting is perfect. Robert Mitchum has just the right look and voice for the part of Harry Powell. I like how he calls to John and Pearl ... "chill-drenn?" Lillian Gish is well-suited to represent ... reality.

And those two kids likewise are ideally cast. Love the way Pearl, with her round face and those rag-a-muffin curls refers to herself, in that Southern drawl, as "Pell". And the film's horror combines with humor in many scenes, one of which has "Pell" sitting on the ground with scissors in hand nonchalantly cutting up paper currency into paper dolls.

Acting is generally exaggerated, again consistent with what one would expect in a nightmare. Evelyn Varden, as Icey Spoon (love that name), hams it up in a gossipy, mother hen sort of way. And Shelley Winters effectively jitters her way through the film, ghostlike, her character lost in delusion.

The film's original score is haunting and mournful, and could hardly set a more appropriate tone: "Dream little one, dream; dream my little one, dream; oh the hunter in the night fills your childish heart with fright; fear is only a dream; so little one dream".

With its brilliant photography, its unpopular but deeply truthful theme, and its nightmarish story, Charles Laughton's "The Night Of The Hunter" is high up on my list of twenty best films of all time.


39 of 58 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Cinematography is before its time but the plot has a few too many holes alecfeklow
Who would be a good Harry Powell in a remake? Koolio06
It just fell apart ath-11
Not impressed Normal-Bates
8.2 Rating? Did I miss something? cann85
Anyone else notice that Pearl was useless.... appleseiter15
Discuss The Night of the Hunter (1955) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page