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The Wrong Man (1956)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  26 January 1957 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 17,177 users  
Reviews: 122 user | 55 critic

True story of an innocent man mistaken for a criminal.



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Cooper ...
John Heldabrand ...
Esther Minciotti ...
Doreen Lang ...
Laurinda Barrett ...
Norma Connolly ...
Betty Todd
Lola D'Annunzio ...
Kippy Campbell ...
Robert Balestrero
Robert Essen ...
Gregory Balestrero
Richard Robbins ...
Daniel - the Guilty Man


Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero - Manny to his friends - is a string bassist, a devoted husband and father, and a practicing Catholic. His $85 a week gig playing in the jazz combo at the Stork Club is barely enough to make ends meet. The Balestreros' lives will become a little more difficult with the major dental bills his wife Rose will be incurring. As such, Manny decides to see if he can borrow off of Rose's life insurance policy. But when he enters the insurance office, he is identified by some of the clerks as the man that held up the office twice a few months earlier. Manny cooperates with the police as he has nothing to hide. Manny learns that he is a suspect in not only those hold ups, but a series of other hold ups in the same Jackson Heights neighborhood in New York City where they live. The more that Manny cooperates, the more guilty he appears to the police. With the help of Frank O'Connor, the attorney that they hire, they try to prove Manny's innocence. Regardless of if ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Suspense Mounts Step By Step See more »


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Not Rated | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

26 January 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der falsche Mann  »

Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although based on a true story, Alfred Hitchcock deliberately left out some of the information that pointed to Manny's innocence to heighten the tension. See more »


Christopher Balestrero is called "Chris" by the police until they get him to the precinct and start parading him around the town to be identified. When they get back to the precinct, they begin calling him "Manny". I don't think that there is any time when the police are advised of his preference to be called Manny. See more »


[first lines]
Prologue narrator: This is Alfred Hitchcock speaking. In the past, I have given you many kinds of suspense pictures. But this time, I would like you to see a different one. The difference lies in the fact that this is a true story, every word of it. And yet it contains elements that are stranger than all the fiction that has gone into many of the thrillers that I've made before.
See more »


Spoofed in Foul Play (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

Hitchcock is the right man for suspense!
11 June 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

This is a very underrated Hitchcock film that features amazing performances from it's two stars, Henry Fonda and (especially) Vera Miles. It is a sad, cynical offering from the Master Of Suspense that has a familiar theme (the title says it all), yet it also is perhaps one of Hitch's most unusual works.

The films runs more like a documentary in it's approach, and it feels inherently 'real'. The casting of 'everyman' Fonda in the role of Manny Balestero, a man accused of crimes he did not commit, works very well as we can feel empathy for Fonda and place ourselves in his position. Ditto with Miles. She is so convincing in her role as the mentally fragile wife Rose that her scenes are almost uncomfortable to witness. Portraying a person self-destructing is one of the hardest tasks an actor can face, but Miles does it subtly and movingly. It is a brilliant performance that ranks alongside Bergman's role in 'Notorious' and Wright's 'Charlie' in 'Shadow Of A Doubt' for best female acting honors in a Hitchcock film.

'The Wrong Man' has a sentimental, tender yet dark atmosphere. The sentimentality is perhaps due to the fact that the central action revolves around a family grouping in this film.There are no elaborate scenes of courtship and romance as in 'Vertigo' or sexy double entendres seen in 'Notorious'- Instead, we get the feeling that this is a real, normal family we are watching unravel at the seams due to the crimes of another.

Appropriately slow-moving to keep in check with Hitch's low-key approach for this one. New York in the 1950's was possibly never photographed so darkly real as it is here. Boasting great performances from the two leads, this is a must-see Hitchcock.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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