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   57,737 votes »
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Up 16% 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:
Really fantastic film noir 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?

The location where John Clay (Sterling Hayden) proposes the deal to Maurice Oboukhoff (Kola Kwariani) is a mock-up of the 42nd Street Chess and Checker Parlor in New York City. Director Stanley Kubrick was a regular chess player there, as was Kola.See more »
Continuity: 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...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Trapped Ashes (2006)See more »


Is "The Killing" based on a novel?
Any recommendations for other horse track heist films like "The Killing"?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
See more »
64 out of 100 people found the following review useful.
Really fantastic film noir, 14 July 2004
Author: M-G-M from PURE MGM ZONE

Nowadays, every dang films from studios are being beef up to epic size length. To be honest, I find this very dull and pointless and too many filler scenes, which aren't necessary at all. The Killing is great example of keep it short and sweet with no fat on it. It's just straight to the point and no complicated plot twists over plot twists over plot twists like modern hesist film. Kubrick's direction is very brilliant in this film.

It's very straightfoward, even if it's in nonlinear sequences, which is very unique for its time. Nowadays, too many films are use nonlinear sequences to add gimmicky appeal to the audiences, which is waste of time. Sterling Hayden is wonderful as Johnny Clay, who is the mastermind of the hesist plan. He should have get nomination for Academy Awards because no one can play that character like Hayden. It is seldom to watch nice and taut film that is clocked approximately 90 minutes.

This film have all basic elements of film noir, which is one of my favorite genre. You can see Kubrick's signatures began to show in this film, i.e. 3 ways enemies. Kubrick is the star of The Killing, that's for sure. The directors who want to make a hesist film should learn from The Killing because it's outstanding film. One of the best hesist film of all time.


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