The Wrong Man (1956)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  26 January 1957 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 17,462 users  
Reviews: 123 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


Somewhere...somewhere there must be the right man! 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?


According to the book "It's Only a Movie", Alfred Hitchcock asked John Michael Hayes to work on the treatment and screenplay of this film for no salary but for a percentage of the profits. Hayes declined, and their four-picture relationship ended. See more »


When Manny enters prison, a prisoner shouts "What'd they get you for, Henry?", using the actor's name, Henry Fonda. 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 »


Referenced in Serenity (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Unexpected jewel from the Master
19 March 1999 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

This is a terrific, dark, taut thriller from Hitchcock, based on a true story. Not his usual ostentatious style, but it plays on the theme of a wrong man caught up in extraordinary events beyond his control (REAR WINDOW, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, PSYCHO).

It may be Hitchcock's most cynical film. Henry Fonda plays a man falsely accused of armed robbery. He is a quiet man, whose life gets turned upside down as a result.

Hitchcock spares us nothing of the horror of the predicament of Fonda's situation. He shows many of the details of how Fonda is accused, arrested, and tried in real time, so we are as fully worn down as the protagonist.

The plot was quite unbelievable by 1950s standards that Hitch needed all the realism he could muster. For example, Hitchcock himself introduces the film in a prologue, to verify that it is indeed based on a true story. Also, don't look for his trademark cameo - he did shoot a scene where he was a customer in a store, but that scene ended up getting cut. Hitchcock personally interviewed all of the participants in the real live drama. And the doctor at the sanitarium is played not by an actor, but by a real doctor.

55 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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