IMDb > The Bad Seed (1956)
The Bad Seed
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The Bad Seed (1956) More at IMDbPro »

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The Bad Seed -- Young Patty McCormack received an Oscar nomination for her performance as a murderous child in this chilling drama classic.
The Bad Seed -- Trailer for this incredible story of an evil little girl


User Rating:
7.5/10   9,200 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
John Lee Mahin (screenplay)
Maxwell Anderson (play)
View company contact information for The Bad Seed on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 September 1956 (USA) See more »
A WOMAN'S SHAME...Out in the Open! See more »
A housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect 8-year-old daughter is a heartless killer. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
The devil wore dotted swiss. See more (168 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Nancy Kelly ... Christine Penmark

Patty McCormack ... Rhoda Penmark

Henry Jones ... Leroy Jessup

Eileen Heckart ... Hortense Daigle
Evelyn Varden ... Monica Breedlove

William Hopper ... Col. Kenneth Penmark

Paul Fix ... Richard Bravo
Jesse White ... Emory Wages
Gage Clarke ... Reginald 'Reggie' Tasker
Joan Croydon ... Claudia Fern (as Joan Croyden)

Frank Cady ... Henry Daigle
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Frances Bavier ... Woman in dinner party scene (uncredited)
Violet Cane ... Teacher (uncredited)
Vivian Clermont ... Mary Beth Musgrove (uncredited)

Shelley Fabares ... Margie (uncredited)

Kathy Garver ... Rhoda's Classmate (uncredited)
Don C. Harvey ... Guard in Hospital Corridor (uncredited)
Edna Holland ... Saleslady (uncredited)
Dayton Lummis ... The Doctor (uncredited)
Natalie Masters ... Nurse (uncredited)
Patricia Morrow ... Ginny (uncredited)
Adele Taylor ... Teacher (uncredited)
John Truax ... The Sergeant (uncredited)

Directed by
Mervyn LeRoy 
Writing credits
John Lee Mahin (screenplay)

Maxwell Anderson (play)

William March (novel)

Produced by
Mervyn LeRoy .... producer
Original Music by
Alex North 
Cinematography by
Harold Rosson  (as Hal Rosson)
Film Editing by
Warren Low 
Casting by
Hoyt Bowers (uncredited)
Art Direction by
John Beckman 
Set Decoration by
Ralph S. Hurst  (as Ralph Hurst)
Costume Design by
Moss Mabry 
Makeup Department
Ruby Felker .... hairdresser (uncredited)
George Lane .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mel Dellar .... assistant director
Rusty Meek .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Gene Delaney .... assistant props (uncredited)
Donald P. Desmond .... set construction (uncredited)
John Gilbert Kissel .... master props (uncredited)
Sol Litt .... laborer (uncredited)
David Marshall .... draper (uncredited)
Sound Department
Stanley Jones .... sound
Al Cavigga .... sound editor (uncredited)
Michael Colgan .... sound editor (uncredited)
Eugene Marks .... sound editor (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Warren E. Boes .... best boy (uncredited)
Howard Claire .... second grip (uncredited)
Pat Clark .... still photographer (uncredited)
Frank Evans .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Charles Harris .... head grip (uncredited)
Frank V. Phillips .... camera operator (uncredited)
Lee Wilson .... gaffer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Florence Albert .... wardrobe: women (uncredited)
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Leon Roberts .... costumer: men (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Russell McCord .... assistant cutter (uncredited)
Music Department
Maurice De Packh .... orchestrator (as Maurice de Packh)
Other crew
Barbara Dunton .... welfare teacher (uncredited)
Joe Halperin .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Doris Peoples .... secretary: Mervyn LeRoy (uncredited)
Meta Rebner .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
129 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Billy Wilder wanted to direct a film version based on the successful play, but couldn't get permission from the Production Code Administration. They objected because in his version her crimes went unpunished.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: When Christine Penmark and Monica Breedlove fetch the locket, Christine hands it to Monica. When Monica leaves the bedroom a crewman's hand holding a cloth is seen at the bottom left of the bedroom door.See more »
Christine Penmark:You hit him with the shoes, didn't you? You hit him with the shoes, that's how he got those half moon marks on his forehead and on his hands. Answer me, Rhoda. ANSWER ME!See more »
Movie Connections:
Au clair de la luneSee more »


Is "The Bad Seed" based on a book?
What is the book that Christine reads to Rhoda the night Claude Daigle is killed?
Any recommendations for other movies like "The Bad Seed"?
See more »
21 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
The devil wore dotted swiss., 27 April 2005
Author: pocca from Canada

Minor 1950's classic that holds up well fifty year later. The film does have its flaws. Occasionally it has the feel of a staged play--at times it seems Mrs. Penmark has to answer the door every five minutes so as to get the other major characters on screen. The Freudian psychobabble and the altered ending add an unnecessary half hour or so to the running time. And the acting can be very overwrought (although the scene in which Mrs. Penmark is screaming in the apartment as Leroy screams outside--both counterpointed by Rhoda's untalented but very loud rendition of "Au Clair de la Lune"--is a moment of high camp horror on par with anything in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?") Still the movie works, largely because of Rhoda, the eerily self controlled little murderess who despite her sweet smiles always looks at though her hair is braided a bit too tight. It helps that an actress was cast who was cute enough, but not too pretty--Patty McCormack looks like a miniature gargoyle when she drops the sunny mask and starts roaring. Leroy, the leering simple minded caretaker is almost as unsettling--the scenes in which he sadistically taunts Rhoda almost amount to a very twisted flirtation, as he is clearly more delighted than appalled by her capacity for evil (at least until he learns just how far this capacity goes).

I haven't seen the 1980's remake, but I can't see how it could top the original, if only because evil little girls in jeans and T-shirts just aren't as scary as evil little girls with hair bows and starched frocks.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Bad Seed (1956)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Was the spanking part of the curtain call in the Broadway production? mcbrbb
Missing scenes? *SPOILERS* littlemisschelseapug-59101
Nancy ran like a moron.... Donniesmith1975-868-620903
Nancy Kelly - 35 years old - good God! cadrega_82
Leroy was kinda stupid! barbbeck
What was the book that Christine was reading to Rhoda? calico8883
See more »


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