IMDb > The Killing (1956)
The Killing
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The Killing (1956) More at IMDbPro »

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The Killing -- With fascinating detail, Stanley Kubrick lays bare the intricate inner-planning of a racetrack heist by a deadly mastermind (Sterling Hayden) and his crew.  Co-stars Coleen Gray.  The Killing is based on the novel Clean Break by Lionel White.
The Killing -- Trailer for The Killing


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8.1/10   57,917 votes »
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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Stanley Kubrick (screenplay)
Jim Thompson (dialogue)
View company contact information for The Killing on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
6 June 1956 (USA) See more »
These 5 Men Had a $2,000,000 Secret Until One of them told this Woman! See more »
Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. See more »
User Reviews:
Young Kubrick's triumph See more (353 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Sterling Hayden ... Johnny Clay

Coleen Gray ... Fay

Vince Edwards ... Val Cannon

Jay C. Flippen ... Marvin Unger

Ted de Corsia ... Policeman Randy Kennan (as Ted DeCorsia)

Marie Windsor ... Sherry Peatty

Elisha Cook Jr. ... George Peatty (as Elisha Cook)
Joe Sawyer ... Mike O'Reilly
James Edwards ... Track Parking Attendant

Timothy Carey ... Nikki Arcane
Kola Kwariani ... Maurice Oboukhoff
Jay Adler ... Leo the Loanshark
Tito Vuolo ... Joe Piano

Dorothy Adams ... Mrs. Ruthie O'Reilly
Herbert Ellis ... 2nd American Airlines Clerk

James Griffith ... Mr. Grimes - Airline Supervisor
Cecil Elliott ... Lady with Small Dog

Joe Turkel ... Tiny (as Joseph Turkel)
Steve Mitchell ... Brown - American Airlines Clerk
Mary Carroll ... Woman Asking Kennan for Help
William 'Billy' Benedict ... American Airlines Clerk (as William Benedict)
Charles Cane ... Plainclothesman at Airport (as Charles R. Cane)
Robert Williams ... Plainclothesman at Airport (as Robert B. Williams)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Coleman ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)

Rodney Dangerfield ... Onlooker (uncredited)

Franklyn Farnum ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
John George ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Art Gilmore ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Sol Gorss ... Track Guard Slugged by Johnny (uncredited)
Harry Hines ... Chess Player (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Carl M. Leviness ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Hal J. Moore ... Race Track P.A. Announcer (uncredited)
Harvey Parry ... Bartender (uncredited)
Richard Reeves ... Bill - Track Employee in Locker Room (uncredited)
Frank Richards ... Track Employee in Locker Room (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ... Racetrack Cashier (uncredited)

Directed by
Stanley Kubrick 
Writing credits
Stanley Kubrick (screenplay)

Jim Thompson (dialogue)

Lionel White (novel "Clean Break")

Produced by
James B. Harris .... producer
Alexander Singer .... associate producer
Original Music by
Gerald Fried 
Cinematography by
Lucien Ballard (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Betty Steinberg 
Art Direction by
Ruth Sobotka 
Set Decoration by
Harry Reif 
Makeup Department
Robert Littlefield .... makeup artist
Lillian Shore .... hairdresser
Production Management
Clarence Eurist .... production supervisor (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Milton Carter .... assistant director
Paul Feiner .... second assistant director
Howard Joslin .... second assistant director
Art Department
Karl Brainard .... assistant set decorator (as Carl Brainard)
Christopher Ebsen .... chief carpenter
Bud Pine .... construction supervisor
Robert L. Stephen .... chief painter
Ray Zambel .... property master
Sound Department
Rex Lipton .... sound effects editor
Earl Snyder .... sound
Special Effects by
Dave Koehler .... special effects
Visual Effects by
Louis DeWitt .... photographic effects
Jack Rabin .... photographic effects
Fred Gabourie .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Sol Gorss .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Gil Perkins .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Wally Rose .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Eddie Saenz .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Don Turner .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Bob Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
Harvey Parry .... stunts (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Camera and Electrical Department
Lou Cortese .... best boy
Paul Eagler .... process camera operator
Carl Gibson .... head grip
Robert Hosler .... second assistant camera
Bobby Jones .... gaffer
Richard Towers .... camera operator (as Dick Tower)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Beaumelle .... costumes: Miss Windsor
Rudy Harrington .... wardrobe: women
Jack Masters .... wardrobe
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Music Department
Gerald Fried .... conductor
Gilbert D. Marchant .... music editor (as Gilbert Marchant)
Transportation Department
Dave Lesser .... transportation
Other crew
Mary Gibsone .... script supervisor
Joyce Hartman .... assistant to director
Marguerite Olson .... production assistant
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
85 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Brazil:12 | Canada:PG (Manitoba/Ontario) | Canada:G (Quebec) | Canada:14A (video rating) | Finland:K-15 (2003) (uncut) | Finland:K-16 (1959) (cut) | Finland:(Banned) (1956) (uncut) | Iceland:L | Ireland:12 | Italy:16+ | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1956) | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | South Korea:15 | Spain:T | Sweden:15 | UK:PG | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #17836) (original rating) | West Germany:12 | West Germany:18 (nf) (original rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Once they had convinced Sterling Hayden to come on board, Stanley Kubrick and his producer James B. Harris were able to approach United Artists about securing the extra financing for the film.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: When Sherry is removing her makeup in their room, George is moving toward her. When he hits his mark, announcing that he is dropping out, the shadow of a crew member's head is clearly seen on his shirt and then fade on the right side.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...
See more »
Movie Connections:


How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Is "The Killing" based on a novel?
Any recommendations for other horse track heist films like "The Killing"?
See more »
58 out of 82 people found the following review useful.
Young Kubrick's triumph, 23 June 2001

Stanley Kunbrick was still in his twenties when he made this film, yet his confidence and self-assurance are all over it. It is a well-written story, co-written by Kubrick (based on a novel called "A Clean Break"), about a meticulously planned horetrack heist told from the point of view of the several people who were in on the plot. Most of these guys weren't professional criminals, but otherwise honest men who were down on their luck and needed a break. They turned to this audacious plan in desperation, thinking they could do some real good in their lives with their share of the money. I won't give away the ending of course, but keep in mind this is a Kubrick film. That's all I say about that.

Standouts include Sterling Hayden as the ringleader, Marie Windsor as a snide, manipulative woman, Elisha Cook as her milquetoasty husband, Timothy Carey, as creepy as ever, and Kola Kwariani, the thinking man's Tor Johnson, as a chess expert/hired thug.

Speaking of chess, this is the first movie I've ever seen with a scene taking place in a chess parlor. Being from a provincial New England town, and not being a chess afficionado, I never knew such places existed.

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See more (353 total) »

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
The big chess player who started the fight... fipper_1
Narration maksattax
Would this film be considered so great if another director made it? freakyfelix
SPOILER- Bullets and bodies- the apartment shoot-up scene bobvend
Somebody explain the ending for me? TheLamplightersSerenade
Would the charge be murder ? tallgiraffe876
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