IMDb > The Night of the Hunter (1955)
The Night of the Hunter
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The Night of the Hunter (1955) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 42 | slideshow) Videos (see all 3)
The Night of the Hunter -- Robert Mitchum stars in an unforgettable role as a psychopathic preacher in relentless pursuit of two children who have their dead father's stolen fortune hidden in a doll. Shelley Winters co-stars.
The Night of the Hunter -- Three Reasons Criterion trailer
The Night of the Hunter -- Criterion trailer


User Rating:
8.1/10   60,494 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 64% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Davis Grubb (from the novel by)
James Agee (screen play)
View company contact information for The Night of the Hunter on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 November 1955 (Argentina) See more »
The scenes...the story...The stars BUT ABOVE ALL - THE SUSPENSE! See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Suffer the little children See more (374 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Mitchum ... Harry Powell

Shelley Winters ... Willa Harper

Lillian Gish ... Rachel Cooper

James Gleason ... Birdie Steptoe
Evelyn Varden ... Icey Spoon

Peter Graves ... Ben Harper

Don Beddoe ... Walt Spoon

Billy Chapin ... John Harper
Sally Jane Bruce ... Pearl Harper
Gloria Castillo ... Ruby (as Gloria Castilo)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Emmett Lynn ... Birdie Steptoe (scenes deleted)

Corey Allen ... Young Man in Town (uncredited)
Paul Bryar ... Bart the Hangman (uncredited)
Cheryl Callaway ... Mary (uncredited)

Michael Chapin ... Ruby's Boyfriend (uncredited)
Mary Ellen Clemons ... Clary (uncredited)

Kathy Garver ... Child (uncredited)

James Griffith ... District Attorney (uncredited)

John Hamilton ... Townsman Who Greets Rachel (uncredited)
Kay Lavelle ... Miz Cunninghan (uncredited)

Gloria Pall ... Burlesque Dancer (uncredited)
George Wallace ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Charles Laughton 
Robert Mitchum (some Billy Chapin scenes) (uncredited)
Terry Sanders (uncredited)
Writing credits
Davis Grubb (from the novel by)

James Agee (screen play)

Charles Laughton  screenplay contributor (uncredited)

Produced by
Paul Gregory .... producer
Original Music by
Walter Schumann (music by)
Cinematography by
Stanley Cortez (photography by)
Film Editing by
Robert Golden (film editor)
Casting by
Millie Gusse (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Hilyard M. Brown  (as Hilyard Brown)
Set Decoration by
Alfred E. Spencer (set decoration) (as Al Spencer)
Makeup Department
Don L. Cash .... makeup (as Don Cash)
Kay Shea .... hair stylist
Production Management
Ruby Rosenberg .... production manager
Frank Parmenter .... production manager: second unit (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Milton Carter .... assistant director
Frank Parmenter .... second unit director (uncredited)
Terry Sanders .... second unit director (uncredited)
Jack Sonntag .... first assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Joe LaBella .... property man (as Joe La Bella)
Sound Department
Stanford Houghton .... sound (as Stanford Naughton)
Special Effects by
Louis DeWitt .... special photographic effects (as Louis De Witt)
Jack Rabin .... special photographic effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Seymour Hoffberg .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Harold E. Wellman .... camera: second unit (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jerry Bos .... wardrobe
Evelyn Carruth .... wardrobe assistant
Music Department
Arthur Morton .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Saul Bass .... publicist (uncredited)
Robert Mitchum .... director: children (uncredited)
Denis Sanders .... unspecified assistant (uncredited)
Terry Sanders .... unspecified assistant (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
92 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Australia:PG (TV rating) | Brazil:14 | Canada:14A (video rating) | Finland:K-16 (1959) (cut) | Finland:(Banned) (1955) (uncut) | France:U | Germany:12 (re-rating) (2001) | Italy:16+ | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | South Korea:15 (2003) | Spain:T | Sweden:11 (re-rating) (2004) | Sweden:15 (re-rating) (1958) | Sweden:(Banned) (original rating) (1955) | UK:12 | UK:X (original rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #17385) | USA:TV-PG (tv rating) | USA:Unrated (video release) | West Germany:16 (VHS re-rating) | West Germany:18 (original rating) (1956)

Did You Know?

After adjusting for inflation, the $10,000 hidden away would be equivalent to almost $175,000 in 2014.See more »
Continuity: (at around 22 mins) When Harry and Willa are talking on the riverside, he has his arms crossed, with his left hand touching his right arm and his right hand holding the hat leaned on his left folded leg. Between shots he appears with his left hand leaning on his leg and his right hand free holding the hat.See more »
Willa Harper:[Willa and Harry's wedding night] Harry?
Rev. Harry Powell:I was praying.
Willa Harper:I'm sorry. I didn't know. I thought...
Rev. Harry Powell:You thought, Willa, that the moment you walked in that door, I'd start to paw at you in that abominable way that men are supposed to do on their wedding night. Ain't that right, now?
Willa Harper:No, no, no.
Rev. Harry Powell:I think it's time we made one thing perfectly clear, Willa. Marriage to me represents the blending of two spirits in the sight of Heaven. Get up, Willa.
Willa Harper:Harry, what...?
Rev. Harry Powell:Get up. Now go look at yourself yonder in that mirror. Do as I say. Look at yourself. What do you see, girl? You see the body of a woman, the temple of creation and motherhood. You see the flesh of Eve that man since Adam has profaned. That body was meant for begettin' children. It was not meant for the lust of men! Do you want more children, Willa?
Willa Harper:I... no.
Rev. Harry Powell:It's the business of this marriage to mind the two you have now. Not to beget more. Alright, you can get in bed now. Stop shivering.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Punch-Drunk Love (2002)See more »
Leaning on the Everlasting ArmsSee more »


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40 out of 62 people found the following review useful.
Suffer the little children, 24 September 2006
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

Charles Laughton had only one choice to pay the role of psycho-reverend- conman for his adaption of Night of the Hunter and it was Robert Mitchum. When he's on the screen Mitchum fills it with malevolence.

It's an unusual part for Mitchum. Usually he's terse and laconic in films, but as Harry Powell he's just full of words. Of course he doesn't mean anything he says, but he's just a fountain of speech in Night of the Hunter. Mitchum as he did later on in Thunder Road drew from his hobohemian background of the open road to get his characterization of the Reverend Harry Powell.

Powell who marries and murders women after robbing them blind has more than 25 to his credit in the backwoods of the Ohio river country in West Virginia and Kentucky during the Depression years. But he gets arrested for stealing a car and gets 30 days in jail. Mitchum gets thrown in the same cell as Peter Graves who robbed a bank and killed two people. Graves before he's caught gave the loot to his son Billy Chapin with a promise not even to tell their mother because she's not too swift. How right he's proved to be.

After Graves is hung, Mitchum finishes his sentence with the intention of wooing and marrying widow Shelley Winters. She falls for his line as does her little girl Sally Jane Bruce. But young Billy spots Mitchum for a phony from the gitgo.

The children are in for a lot of heartbreak and tragedy before the film concludes. One of the things I like best about Night is the Hunter is the way Laughton graphically demonstrates the life and poverty of rural America during the Depression. The film is all seen through the eyes of the children as they begin their Huck Finn like odyssey down the Ohio river, escaping from Mitchum.

According to Lee Server's biography of Mitchum, Laughton while great with the adults had no patience at all with the kids. After a while he let Mitchum actually direct Chapin and Bruce in their scenes.

Lillian Gish gives one of her great performances in the sound era of her career as the farm woman who eventually takes in the kids as she does for a few others. She's there to be a contrast to Mitchum. Her actions speak her faith a lot louder than Mitchum's phony ramblings.

Another role I like in this is that of Evelyn Varden. She and husband Don Beddoe employ Shelley Winters at their drug store and she's all full of concern in a showy pharisee like way for the kids. She's totally taken with Mitchum, but when he's unmasked as a phony her rage is something to see on screen.

Sad that Charles Laughton didn't do more behind the camera than this one film. He and Robert Mitchum formed a mutual admiration society that lasted until Laughton passed on inn 1962.

Still Night of the Hunter is a testament to that mutual admiration.

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
8.2 Rating? Did I miss something? cann85
The ending... SerFraser
Phony sound effect thundercloud47
Who would be a good Harry Powell in a remake? Koolio06
Ending was unecessary (Spoilers) faulknerfan123
Anyone else notice that Pearl was useless.... appleseiter15
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