413 user 187 critic

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

1:41 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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.



(screenplay by), (based on the novel by)
4,975 ( 254)
2 wins. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A poor Russian girl's beauty leads her unscrupulous uncle to bring her to the United States. There he is going to sell her into a marriage with a rich old man she has never met. But her ... See full summary »

Director: Christy Cabanne
Stars: Lillian Gish, Frank Bennett, Walter Long
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The question is, would the young tramp really have fallen in love with the groceryman's daughter if he had not caught her in the heart struggle. Be that as it may, she could not find it in ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Lionel Barrymore
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: John B. O'Brien
Stars: Lillian Gish, Wilfred Lucas, Spottiswoode Aitken
The Sisters (1914)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Christy Cabanne
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Elmer Clifton
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

As part of a divorce settlement, Theodore Ainsley gets custody of his older daughter Millicent, and his wife Elinor gets younger sister Jean. The two girls, normally inseparable, can't bear... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Ingraham
Stars: Lillian Gish, Violet Wilkey, Keith Armour
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After a hard struggle the old man has just saved enough money to justify the marriage of his daughter and adopted son, when word comes from the oil fields nearby that his brother has lost ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: W. Chrystie Miller, Lillian Gish, Robert Harron
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Director: John B. O'Brien
Stars: Lillian Gish, Blanche Sweet, Josephine Crowell
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: Lillian Gish, Spottiswoode Aitken, Sam De Grasse
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A strait-laced amateur sociologist, Phillips Christy, from a wealthy family subscribes to the theory that people are shaped by their environment. When he falls in love with Diane, a ... See full summary »

Director: Christy Cabanne
Stars: Lillian Gish, Sam De Grasse, Howard Gaye
The Third Man (1949)
Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

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

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli
The Big Sleep (1946)
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 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


Complete credited cast:
Walt Spoon
Ruby (as Gloria Castilo)


It's the Great Depression. In the process of robbing a bank of $10,000, Ben Harper kills two people. Before he is captured, he is able to convince his adolescent son John and his daughter Pearl not to tell anyone, including their mother Willa, 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, swindling lonely women, primarily rich widows, of their money before he kills them. Harry does whatever he can, unsuccessfully, to find out the location of the $10,000 from Ben. After Ben's execution, Harry decides that Willa will be his next mark, figuring that someone in the family knows where the money is hidden. Despite vowing not to remarry, Willa ends up being easy prey for Harry's outward ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

widow | preacher | children | money | doll | See All (326) »


The scenes...the story...The stars BUT ABOVE ALL - THE SUSPENSE! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

24 November 1955 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht des Jägers  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$795,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The sequence with Powell riding a horse in the distance was actually a little person on a pony. It was filmed in false perspective. See more »


(at around 41 mins) Mr. Spoon opens the cabinet to get the peach brandy. In the next shot, the cabinet is closed and he opens it again to put the brandy away. See more »


Willa Harper: The boy's as stubborn and as mulish as a sheep.
See more »


References The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) See more »


Dream, Little One, Dream
Arranged by Walter Schumann
Sung by a chorus during the opening credits
Reprised offscreen by an unidentified female when the chldren are on the run
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

One of the most extraordinary movies ever made. Essential viewing for anybody interested in American movies!
20 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

'The Night Of The Hunter' is recognized by most critics and hard core film buffs as one of the most extraordinary movies ever made, but sadly it's still frequently overlooked by the many movie fans, probably because it's so difficult to categorize. Yes, it's a thriller but it's also a child's nightmare. A Noir but also a fable. Robert Mitchum gives one of his very best performances as Harry Powell, the charming but evil preacher with "love" tattooed on one hand, "hate" on the other. Powell is one of the most memorable screen villains of all time, and 'The Night Of The Hunter' is worth watching just for Mitchum, who is mesmerizing. Shelley Winters is surprisingly effective as the widow Powell woos, Peter Graves has a small role at the beginning as her first husband, and Lillian Gish plays the saintly Ms. Cooper, guardian of unwanted children. Because this movie isn't set in isn't the "real world" many viewers don't know exactly how to react to it. Charles Laughton's small town America is a stylized, dreamlike place, in some ways not unlike David Lynch's twisted world depicted in 'Blue Velvet' and 'Twin Peaks'. It also reminds me of Flannery O'Connor's Gothic South in her classic novels 'Wise Blood' and 'The Violent Bear It Away'. Some of the scenes involving Powell menacing Winters' children deliberately invoke James Whale's 'Frankenstein', and the sequence depicting the children's journey down the river is charming but blatantly artificial. While I'm a big fan of "outsider" film makers like Russ Meyer, Coffin Joe and Alejandro Jodorowsky, I also greatly admire those who work within the system but still manage to subvert Hollywood with doses of surrealism. I'm thinking of movies such as 'Kiss Me Deadly', 'Shock Corridor' and 'The Manchurian Candidate'. Each of these films are unique but they also remind me of each other and of 'The Night Of The Hunter'. I highly recommend them all and wish that there were a lot more movies like them today. 'The Night Of The Hunter' is essential viewing for anybody interested in American movies!

115 of 153 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 413 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Zach Braff on "Alex, Inc." and the Art of Directing

Zach Braff takes "The IMDb Show" behind the scenes of his new series "Alex, Inc." and reveals Morgan Freeman’s favorite on-set prank.

Watch now