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

Photos (See all 8 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
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   9,012 votes »
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Down 3% 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:
An Unusual & Effective Thriller See more (167 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?

Final theatrical film of Nancy Kelly. Despite earning an Oscar nomination for this film, she never made another theatrical movie, only focusing on TV projects.See more »
Continuity: When Leroy is telling Rhoda that blood can't be washed off of a stick, in the shot taken facing Rhoda she is leaning on the table with both hands, but as soon it switches to a shot from her right side, she's standing upright with her arms bent.See more »
Hortense Daigle:Miss Fern dyes her hair.See more »
Movie Connections:
Au clair de la luneSee more »


Is there anything after the credits?
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See more »
15 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
An Unusual & Effective Thriller, 27 July 2004
Author: Snow Leopard from Ohio

With some familiar elements of classic thrillers plus some creative turns, this is an unusual and effective thriller. Patty McCormack is memorable as young Rhoda, and the rest of the cast succeed in making their characters react believably to some nearly unbelievable situations. The story moves slowly enough to build suspense carefully, while still holding your interest the whole time.

For this kind of story to work, it has to keep the tension and uncertainty without becoming obviously implausible or annoyingly overplayed. In "The Bad Seed", we see the tension and fear that build in the characters as the story develops, but events also unfold within an atmosphere that otherwise would be peaceful and normal, making for an interesting contrast that helps to maintain a good balance.

Unlike the many banal movies made in recent years about serial killers and the like, "The Bad Seed" also contains some substance. The characters, especially the mother (played by Nancy Kelly), not only have to make difficult decisions, but also must fearfully attempt to understand the reasons for everything. It's a good example of how well a thriller can work when carefully made without a lot of extraneous elements, and it's a demonstration that a movie can have a tense, dark story without being shallow or superficial at the same time.

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See more (167 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Bad Seed (1956)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Missing scenes? *SPOILERS* littlemisschelseapug-59101
Eileen Heckart's performance middsgo-956-41818
Who do you think should play 'Rhoda' if they ever made a Remake? gitano_apo
Nancy Kelly - 35 years old - good God! cadrega_82
Monica was horrible eljaykay1219-310-146082
Leroy was kinda stupid! barbbeck
See more »


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