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A Face in the Crowd (1957)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  June 1957 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 9,197 users  
Reviews: 134 user | 45 critic

An Arkansas hobo becomes an overnight media sensation. But as he becomes drunk with fame and power, will he ever be exposed as the fraud he has become?



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Complete credited cast:
Percy Waram ...
Gen. Haynesworth
Paul McGrath ...
Rod Brasfield ...
Marshall Neilan ...
Sen. Worthington Fuller
Alexander Kirkland ...
Jim Collier
Charles Irving ...
Mr. Luffler
Howard Smith ...
J.B. Jeffries
Kay Medford ...
Big Jeff Bess ...
Sheriff Big Jeff Bess
Henry Sharp ...
Abe Steiner


"A Face in the Crowd" charts the rise of a raucous hayseed named Lonesome Rhodes from itinerant Ozark guitar picker to local media rabble-rouser to TV superstar and political king-maker. Marcia Jeffries is the innocent Sarah Lawrence girl who discovers the great man in a back-country jail and is the first to fall under his spell. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


POWER! He loved it! He took it raw in big gulpfuls...he liked the taste, the way it mixed with the bourbon and the sin in his blood!




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

June 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Budd Schulberg's A Face in the Crowd  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Elia Kazan recalled about location filming - "We became acquainted with a community of strangers - it was not like a work experience, it was a life experience, a thing that affects you very deeply. We became a part of that Arkansas community settling down in new homes there. It was a terrific experience, right from the beginning, the people we met, the insights we got, the privilege we had of being inside a society that otherwise we would never have touched. We met the Governor of Arkansas, we met the mayor of this town, we everybody in this town. Everywhere I walked in Piggott, people were following me. It was like we had the whole town under the reverse of martial law! As though we had liberated the whole town." See more »


When the Sheriff escorts Marcia into the jail holding cell, he welcomes her to the "Tomahawk County Jail". However, in the exterior shot just prior the cornerstone of the building plainly reads "Clay Co." That's because the exterior was shot at the Clay County Courthouse in Piggott, Arkansas. There is no Tomahawk County in Arkansas. See more »


Mel Miller: [of TV] You gotta be a saint to stand all the power that little box can give you.
See more »


Featured in Facing the Past (2005) See more »


Old Fashioned Marriage
(1957) (uncredited)
Music by Tom Glazer
Lyrics by Budd Schulberg
Sung by Andy Griffith
See more »

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User Reviews

Demagogue in Denim
7 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Andy Griffith made this film when he was still an actor and not the aw-shucks sheriff of Mayberry. Lonesome Rhodes (Griffith) is more than a TV personality: he is a media demagogue who understands the manipulative power of language and images. You might think a film made in 1957 would be hopeless dated but not this one. It is almost prophetic in its portrayal of modern media. When Marshall McLuhan-I know, who?-wrote The Medium is the Message, he must have had this film partially in mind.

Griffith is perfect: he is a mixture of cornpone and Satan. Patricia Neal is the woman-frequently abandoned and abused--who discovered the man and loves him for what she thought he was. Walter Matthau is the Princeton man who becomes one of the many faceless writers behind the façade of the county wit-Rhodes: the man admired for his `extempore and natural' humor.

Watch early on in the film for a scene taking place in the local jail. In one quick and brief flash of expression, Griffith reveals the true face of Lonesome Rhodes the rest of the film tries to mask. What brilliant acting by Griffith; what brilliant screen writing by Budd Schulberg; what brilliant directing by Kazan.

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