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The Wrong Man (1956)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir | 26 January 1957 (USA)
2:32 | Trailer

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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:
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


Hitchcock's Finest See more »


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:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Alfred Hitchcock filmed one of his usual cameos, standing in a restaurant as Manny sits, but decided on using a narrated prologue instead. See more »


After Manny is fingerprinted, he wipes his inked hands off on a paper towel but much of the ink stays on his fingers. He is shown looking at his hands in the jail cell a few shots afterwards and his fingers are completely clean even though he never washed them in between walking to the jail cell and while inside the cell. 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.
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Featured in The Master's Touch: Hitchcock's Signature Style (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Unusual Hitchcock gem
25 August 1999 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Based on the true story of a quiet family man falsely indicted for armed robbery, "The Wrong Man" may not be in Hitchcock's top echelon, but it contains many of the master's touches and deserves to be better known. What is so unusual for Hitchcock is that he filmed it in a somber documentary style (in keeping with the non-fictional source of the story). He even cut out his traditional cameo, and there is not a flicker of wit anywhere, either in dialogue or image. But the film effectively explores some of Hitchcock's favorite themes (like how easily our seemingly secure lives can be disrupted) and it is marked by some masterful visual touches. Note how effortlessly Hitchcock can film a scene inside a car, seeming to expand the space. I also liked the expressionistic camera movements to suggest Fonda's emotions in a jail cell. Most memorable of all is the dissolve that reveals the real culprit. Francois Truffaut held Hitchcock to task for tainting the pure documentary style of this movie with these more cinematic flourishes, but without them, I think it would have been way too grim to watch (it's pretty grim as it is). Henry Fonda gives a fittingly unshaded performance in the title role. And Bernard Herrmann's score is subtly effective, especially in the title sequence.

26 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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