8.0/10
68,536
406 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.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (based on the novel by)

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Cast

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

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


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

24 November 1955 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht des Jägers  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$795,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

(at around 15 mins) When Mitchum shadow appears in the room of the children. He is staying under the street lamp in the next frame with him shadow on the ground. See more »

Quotes

Rev. Harry Powell: She'll not be back. I reckon I'm safe in promising you that.
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Connections

Referenced in Les amants criminels (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Once Upon a Time There Was a Pretty Fly
(1955) (uncredited)
Music by Walter Schumann
Lyrics by Davis Grubb
Originally sung by Sally Jane Bruce but later dubbed by Betty Benson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent movie, and well ahead of its time.
13 September 2002 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland) – See all my reviews

This film is way ahead of its time, not only in subject matter but also in cinematic style. The subject is a psychopathic preacher who believes that God is telling him to murder women, usually widowers, and take their money.

From the opening two shots and the first few lines of the preacher, the characters history and intent is laid down. As quickly, the first few scenes with the children show the circumstances that will bring about the main premise. After that you are allowed to wallow in Robert Mitchums role as the over acting preacher. Laughton directs very well, with some visually rich scenes and wonderful shots. However, there are a couple of cheesy moments of dialogue, and a few, almost laughable, scenes. Despite this it's a very good movie with some stunning acting from Robert Mitchum.


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