MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 2,483 this week

The Bad Seed (1956)

7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 8,559 users  
Reviews: 163 user | 76 critic

A housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect 8-year-old daughter is a heartless killer.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (play), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: March

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in March.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 46 titles
created 10 Oct 2012
 
a list of 33 titles
created 18 May 2013
 
a list of 29 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 47 titles
created 1 month ago
 
a list of 21 titles
created 3 weeks ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Bad Seed" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Bad Seed (1956)

The Bad Seed (1956) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Bad Seed.

User Polls

Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Bad Seed (2000)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Preston Tylk is an ordinary guy living in Seattle. When he discovers that his wife, Emily, whom he adores, is having an affair, he is devastated. Storming out of the house, he returns later only to find her brutally murdered.

Director: Jon Bokenkamp
Stars: Luke Wilson, Norman Reedus, Dennis Farina
The Driver (1978)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

"The Driver" is a specialist in a rare business: he drives getaway cars in robberies. His exceptional talent prevented him from being caught yet. After another successful flight from the ... See full summary »

Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A former child star torments her crippled sister in a decaying Hollywood mansion.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono
Mommy (1995)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

An unofficial "sequel" to "The Bad Seed", Patty McCormack's "Mommy" is psychotically obsessed with her 12-year-old daughter Jessica Ann -- so much so that when she finds out Jessica didn't ... See full summary »

Director: Max Allan Collins
Stars: Patty McCormack, Rachel Lemieux, Jason Miller
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the English village of Midwich, the blond-haired, glowing-eyed children of uncertain paternity prove to have frightening powers.

Director: Wolf Rilla
Stars: George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Martin Stephens
The Innocents (1961)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Director: Jack Clayton
Stars: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A prostitute, sentenced to death for alleged murder, pleads her innocence.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent
Mommy's Day (1997)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
Director: Max Allan Collins
Stars: Patty McCormack, Rachel Lemieux, Paul Petersen
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

82 year old inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison is honored in 1929 and he reflects back on his sixty year career of scientific achievement.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson, Lynne Overman
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A millionaire offers ten thousand dollars to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with he and his wife.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long
The Bad Seed (1963)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Director: Nevzat Pesen
Stars: Alev Oraloglu, Lale Oraloglu, Öztürk Serengil
Skylark (1941)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

As her fifth wedding anniversary approaches, a woman realizes that she is fed up with always coming in second to her husband's advertising business. Just at the moment when she is trying to... See full summary »

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland, Brian Aherne
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Evelyn Varden ...
...
...
Jesse White ...
Gage Clarke ...
Joan Croydon ...
Claudia Fern (as Joan Croyden)
...
Henry Daigle
Edit

Storyline

Christine Penmark seems to have it all: a lovely home, a loving husband and the most "perfect" daughter in the world. But since childhood, Christine has suffered from the most terrible recurring nightmare. And her "perfect" daughter's accomplishments include lying, theft and possibly much, much worse. Only Christine knows the truth about her daughter and only Christine's father knows the truth about her nightmare. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

colonel | dream | truth | medal | lying | See All (83) »

Taglines:

What would you do if you were cursed with "The Bad Seed"? See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La mala semilla  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The piano piece that Rhoda plays and sings and is heard as a theme throughout the film is the traditional French children's song "Au Clair de la Lune". See more »

Goofs

Shortly before Richard Bravo enters, Mrs. Penmark fixes Mr. Tasker a gin and tonic. Tasker takes the drink with his right hand, but when the shot changes slightly, he's suddenly holding the drink with his left hand and leaning on the cart with his right. See more »

Quotes

Hortense Daigle: I always considered Christine a general name. Hortense sounds fat. That's me, Hortense. Hortense. My girl Hortense, they used to sing to me, hasn't got much sense, let's write her name on the dirty fence... children can be nasty sometimes.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"You have just seen a motion picture whose theme dares to be startlingly different. May we ask that you do not divulge the unusual climax of the story. Thank you." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Quills (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Au clair de la lune
(uncredited)
Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Lully
Played on the piano by Patty McCormack and whistled by Henry Jones
Played often in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Assured portrayals of real characters in an amazingly chilling film!
5 May 2006 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

What we have here is a fantastic classic horror film, which benefits from great performances from all concerned and a plot not typical of serial killer films. The film doesn't adhere to convention and builds its story around an idea that was frightening for the time - and still is to this day. The murderer in this film is as evil as any other; the only difference being that here the killings are committed by a decidedly amoral child. The film presents a good portrait of its star, as it presents its ideas very much from a child's point of view. The young girl doesn't see what she's doing as wrong as she is always given a reason to pass on the blame for wrongdoings, and this always comes across in a plausible way. The plot surrounding the atrocities is even more interesting than the central idea, as we follow the torment inflicted on the girl's mother. The situation that Christine Penmark finds herself in is the stuff of nightmares; just what can you do if you find that your eight year old child has committed murder? The Bad Seed makes excellent use of this dilemma, and the fact that it's incredibly easy to buy into the plot ensures that The Bad Seed prevails as an potently chilling film.

The film is based on a stage play by Maxwell Anderson, and this comes across often as the film takes place in just a few settings and the whole thing is very stagy. This is, however, to its benefit; as the locations make the whole piece more claustrophobic, and the fact that we don't see the murders themselves benefits the film immensely as it allows the audience to spend more time considering the implications; which are what the film is actually about. The main reason why this film works so well is down to a great performance by talented child actor Patricia McCormack. McCormack presents a portrayal that finds exactly the right pitch between the sweet and innocent youngster that she appears; and the dark persona that lies just beneath her exterior. Nancy Kelly similarly gives a defining performance as her tortured mother, and excellently puts across a torrent of emotion. The acting is typically melodramatic, but all the cast somehow manage to keep their acting down to earth. Every scene in the movie is perfectly pitched and nothing is wasted as we are continually taught more about the characters and their situations. The climax to the film is fabulously poetic, despite being implemented on the producer's orders and overall, I really don't see much wrong with this film. Highly recommended!


40 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Does Anyone Empathize with Rhoda? andersensister
Leroy was kinda stupid! barbbeck
Eileen Heckart's performance middsgo-956-41818
Nancy Kelly - 35 years old - good God! cadrega_82
Who do you think should play 'Rhoda' if they ever made a Remake? gitano_apo
How do we know that the mother survived? waldenpond88
Discuss The Bad Seed (1956) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?