MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 145 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 48,114 users   Metascore: 99/100
Reviews: 324 user | 152 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...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 29 Jul 2011
 
a list of 30 titles
created 07 Nov 2011
 
a list of 21 titles
created 26 Dec 2011
 
a list of 34 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 30 titles
created 2 months ago
 

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 #210 | 1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    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
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A writer meets a young socialite on board a train. The two fall in love and are married soon after, but her obsessive love for him threatens to be the undoing of both them and everyone else around them.

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain
Niagara (1953)
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

As two couples are visiting Niagara Falls, tensions between one wife and her husband reach the level of murder.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Whilst on the telephone, an invalid woman overhears what she thinks is a plot to murder her.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Ann Richards
Certificate: Passed Thriller | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An embittered, vengeful POW stalks his former commanding officer who betrayed his men's planned escape attempt from a Nazi prison camp..

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Glen, Hal and Sam are three escaped convicts who move in on and terrorize a suburban household.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, Arthur Kennedy
The Window (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

To avoid the heat of a sweltering summer night a 9 year old Manhattan boy decides to sleep on the fire escape and witnesses a murder, no one will believe him.

Director: Ted Tetzlaff
Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Barbara Hale, Arthur Kennedy
Possessed (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A dazed woman walks the streets of Los Angeles looking for a man named David. After collapsing in a diner, she's taken to the psychiatric ward of a nearby hospital. Flashbacks reveal her ... See full summary »

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey
Gilda (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The sinister boss of a South American casino finds that his right-hand man Johnny and his sensuous new wife Gilda already know each other.

Director: Charles Vidor
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison
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

Harry Powell marries and murders widows for their money, believing he is helping God do away with women who arouse men's carnal instincts. Arrested for auto theft, he shares a cell with condemned killer Ben Harper and tries to get him to reveal the whereabouts of the $10,000 he stole. Only Ben's nine-year-old son, John and four-year-old daughter, Pearl know the money is in Pearl's doll and they have sworn to their father to keep this secret. After Ben is executed, Preacher goes to Cresap's Landing to court Ben's widow, Willa. He overwhelms her with his Scripture quoting, sermons and hymns, and she agrees to marry him. On their wedding night he tells her they will never have sex because it is sinful. When the depressed, confused, guilty woman catches him trying to force Pearl to reveal the whereabouts of the money, she is resigned to her fate but the children manage to escape downriver, with Preacher following close behind. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

widow | money | children | preacher | doll | See more »

Taglines:

The Hands Of ROBERT MITCHUM in "The Night of the Hunter" See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 November 1955 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

The Night of the Hunter  »

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

Emmett Lynn was originally cast and filmed as Birdie Steptoe, but director Laughton replaced him with James Gleason and reshot all of Lynn's scenes. See more »

Goofs

When Icey Spoon negatively talks about being married to Walt for 40 years at the picnic, his reaction shot shows him set down the piece of chicken. But when Willa calls for John, we see Walt is holding chicken again. See more »

Quotes

Pearl Harper: [singing] Once upon a time there was a pretty fly, he had a pretty wife, this pretty fly. But one day she flew away, flew away. She had two pretty children, but one night these two pretty children flew away, flew away, into the sky, into the moon.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lilo & Stitch (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

The Lullabye
(accompanying the barn-scene)
"The Lullaby" (1955) (uncredited)
Music by Walter Schumann
Lyrics by Davis Grubb
Sung by Kitty White
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Very atmospheric thriller
17 November 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Just before John Harper's father is captured by police, he tells his son where he has hidden the money. While in prison for his crime, he sleep talks and betrays himself to the religiously unhinged Rev Harry Powell. Powell leaves jail with Harper dead in his cell and sets out to infiltrate the family and get the money. However, when he kills John's mother, he and his sister go on the run from him.

One of these `hindsight is 20/20' films that gains a reputation with time, this film deserves the praise in gets in many areas and deserve to be very fondly remembered, or at least a lot more fondly than it was received by critics and audiences of the time. The plot is basic but full of religious imagery that works very well, whether it's Powell's twisted preacher or the runs of scripture that many of the characters cling to. The film presents itself with a very strong tone of foreboding and darkness that makes the material (and characters) feel more dangerous.

Most of the credit for this belongs with Laughton as director, who uses shadow really well and frames the film with clever shots. Some that come to mind is the shadow of Powell on his horse on the horizon, or the woman in the car underwater and so on. It stills feels clever and inventive now so it must have been seen as very different in the fifties. How he didn't win an Oscar, I'm not sure – wonder what else was up in this year.

Mitchum is tremendous in the title role, his role is larger than life and was also slightly playing with fire in it's portrayal as a reverend as corrupt or evil. Chapin is really wonderful as young John and has a much better character than some of the others in the cast. Winters is good in her performance. The only downside of the film is the 10 minutes at the end which feel like they are a happy ending that has just been tacked on and doesn't fit with the tone of the film.

Other than that, this is a very strong film in terms of theme, plot, acting and cinematography. It deserves more than it got at the time and I'm glad that modern audiences are finding this film all the time.


102 of 159 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Question about the last 10 minutes or so. Countryford
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