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The Killing (1956)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller  |  6 June 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 58,826 users  
Reviews: 354 user | 134 critic

Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.



(screenplay), (dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Top Rated Movies #247 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Policeman Randy Kennan (as Ted DeCorsia)
George Peatty (as Elisha Cook)
Joe Sawyer ...
Mike O'Reilly
James Edwards ...
Track Parking Attendant
Nikki Arcane
Kola Kwariani ...
Jay Adler ...
Leo the Loanshark
Tito Vuolo ...
Joe Piano
Mrs. Ruthie O'Reilly
Herbert Ellis ...
2nd American Airlines Clerk


After getting out of prison, Johnny Clay masterminds a complex race-track heist, but his scheme is complicated by the intervention of the wife of a teller (George Peatty) in on the scheme, the boyfriend of the wife, airport regulations, and a small dog. Written by Andrew Hyatt <dres@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


...In All Its Fury and Violence See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

6 June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bed of Fear  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$320,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Stanley Kubrick:  [Maniacal staring face]  George Peatty, when he confronts his wife after her lover assaulted the rendezvous point. See more »


When Mike leaves for the bus station, for the flower box, the street outside his apartment is wet. When he arrives a few minutes later at the bus station, the street in front of it is dry. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: At exactly 3:45 on that Saturday afternoon in the last week of September, Marvin Unger was, perhaps, the only one among the hundred thousand people at the track who felt no thrill at the running of the fifth race. He was totally disinterested in horse racing and held a lifelong contempt for gambling. Nevertheless, he had a $5 win bet on every horse in the fifth race. He knew, of course, that this rather unique system of betting would more than likely result in a loss, but he didn't...
See more »


Referenced in At the Movies: Episode #10.25 (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Kubrick-Noir: recommended
16 July 2004 | by (Miami, FL) – See all my reviews

Everything about this movie fascinates me. Even the unexpected ending has a compelling and unique flavor to it. Sure, it looks like many crime dramas of the 50's. But we are talking about of a movie with a director of the prodigious talents of Stanley Kubrick.

Sometimes you wonder which genre Kubrick could not have handled brilliantly. He seems to know exactly what to do in such a wide variety of movies...Crime, Drama, War, Surreal, Historical Epic, Science Fiction and Black Comedy. My only wish would have been if Kubrick could have made MORE movies. When he died, that left only Woody Allen as the only major director who is working as a pure artist in the film medium.

THE KILLING is filled with crime-noir touches that form an absorbing whole that is hard to beat. The acting is top-notch, the scenes are set in gold taking from every crime movie and creating a whole that could not have been done so well by just any director - perhaps only Hitchcock could have pulled this off. Then there's the jazzy score that underlines the action which punch and atmosphere that just curdles off the screen.

Even if you're not a Kubrick fan (which might surprise many people when they find out he was the director) you will enjoy this movie.

Right to the end...which I won't reveal...but has an inevitability written with classical balance and a submission to fate that leaves a wry smile on your face.

Sterling Hayden is great in this role and he populates this character with just the right sort of mystery to keep you guessing until the end.

Recommended without reservation.

41 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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