8.0/10
66,956
396 user 180 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)

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
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
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
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
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
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 | 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
Laura (1944)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    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
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
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 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
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
Diabolique (1955)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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
Edit

Cast

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

Die Nacht des Jägers  »

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

Reports that screenwriter James Agee wrote an incoherent screenplay have been proved false by the 2004 discovery of his first draft. That document, although 293 pages in length, and manifestly overwritten (as is common with first drafts), is, scene-for-scene, the film that Charles Laughton directed. Likewise false are the reports that Agee was fired, related most infamously in Robert Mitchum's autobiography. Laughton, however much he gnashed his teeth at having such a behemoth of a text in his hands with only five weeks to go before the start of principal photography, calmly renewed Agee's contract and directed him to cut it in half; after much persuasion, he did. In Laughton's stage work ("Galileo", "Caine Mutiny Court Martial", etc), the great actor demonstrated he was a script editor of genius--he could induce the most stubborn and prideful writer to cut, cut, cut, and so he did in Agee's case. Later, apparently at Mitchum's request, Agee visited the set to settle a dispute between the star and Laughton. Letters and documents located in the archive of Agee's agent Paul Kohner bear this out--they were brought to light by Laughton biographer Simon Callow, whose BFI book about "Night of the Hunter" diligently sets this part of the record straight. The Agee first draft may eventually be published, but it has been read by scholars--most notably, Prof. Jeffrey Couchman of Columbia University, who published his findings in an essay, "Credit Where Credit Is Due". To assert Agee's moral right to his screen credit in no way disputes Laughton's greatness as a director--clearly, he was as expert with writers as he was with actors--but Agee has been belittled, and even slandered, over the years (especially in Mitchum's autobiography), when his contribution to "Night of the Hunter" was of primary and enduring importance. See more »

Goofs

(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 »

Quotes

Rachel Cooper: Women is fools. All.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Julien Donkey-Boy (1999) 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

 
A must-see for lovers of art cinema and suspense. Exquisite!
29 December 1998 | by (Tokyo, Japan) – See all my reviews

One of the best suspense films ever made. Exquisite art direction: moody, scary, sometimes lyrically beautiful. Yet there are comical and even idyllic moments. Mitchum is EXCELLENT, especially in the cellar scene. Subtle, different; not just the same old ax-after-ax tear-'em-up blood-and-gore formula, but REAL suspense built from the personalities of the characters and the artful editing, music, art direction, and Charles Laughton's directing. Yet warm and lovely in parts. The cast's characterizations are excellent, even in minor roles, such as the "typical townspeople". You'll remember this one for a long time. Maybe not for kids under 12, as the frightening parts are too much like real life (compared to run-of-the-mill horrendous movies) and might leave unsettling memories.


112 of 172 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page