8.0/10
67,929
402 user 181 critic

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (based on the novel by)
Reviews
Popularity
4,762 ( 3,499)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
2 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Touch of Evil (1958)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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
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
The Killing (1956)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards
Notorious (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 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
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
The Third Man (1949)
Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 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
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara
Laura (1944)
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb
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
High Noon (1952)
Drama | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 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
Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Evelyn Varden ...
...
...
...
Sally Jane Bruce ...
...
Ruby (as Gloria Castilo)
Edit

Storyline

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 (324) »

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:

Die Nacht des Jägers  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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

The scene where the children get away in the rowboat leaving the frustrated, knife-wielding preacher chest deep in the water was actually filmed on a sound stage. Robert Mitchum was actually crouched down in the scene as the water level was fairly shallow. See more »

Goofs

(at around 29 mins) 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

Rev. Harry Powell: Not that you mind the killings! There's plenty of killings in your book, Lord...
See more »


Soundtracks

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
(1887) (uncredited)
Music by Anthony J. Showalter
Text by Elisha A. Hoffman
Sung a cappella by Robert Mitchum often
Also sung a cappella by Lillian Gish
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Possibly the most overrated movie I've ever seen
28 December 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Finally got down to seeing The Night of the Hunter last night. The acting and direction made it almost unwatchable. My two stars are for the cinematography alone. The rest of the movie is unbearably amateurish. Combining various classic elements of American cinema doesn't make a movie classic; it makes it a mishmash of story lines that make little sense together. There are gaping holes in the story and acting that are irrational--even ludicrous--at every turn. Critics sometimes look too deeply into an artistic work in a vain attempt to find something that's not there. There's almost nothing of merit in this work. There's a reason Laughton directed only one film: because he was completely inept at it. 1955 audiences laughed aloud at scenes Laughton meant to be terrifying; I found myself echoing those sentiments last night, including Mitchum's elongated Frankenstein-like chase of the children to the river's edge. Those who rate this movie highly do a great disservice to writers and directors who strive to create realism, consistency, character development and simple logic in their work, as well as to actors who strive to create memorable performances that future stage performers will seek to emulate. Mitchum's subsequent role in Cape Fear did not use his Night of the Hunter character as inspiration, rather, it showed what a great actor can do with a REAL director like J. Lee Thompson.


13 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page