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Touch of Evil (1958)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 21 May 1958 (USA)
2:09 | Trailer

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A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.



(screenplay), (based on the novel "Badge Of Evil" by)
1,924 ( 2,559)
Top Rated Movies #201 | 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcia Linnekar
Valentin de Vargas ...
Pancho (as Valentin De Vargas)
Victor Millan ...
Manelo Sanchez
Lalo Rios ...
Michael Sargent ...
Pretty Boy


Mexican Narcotics officer Ramon Miguel 'Mike' Vargas has to interrupt his honeymoon on the Mexican-US border when an American building contractor is killed after someone places a bomb in his car. He's killed on the US side of the border but it's clear that the bomb was planted on the Mexican side. As a result, Vargas delays his return to Mexico City where he has been mounting a case against the Grandi family crime and narcotics syndicate. Police Captain Hank Quinlan is in charge on the US side and he soon has a suspect, a Mexican named Manolo Sanchez. Vargas is soon onto Quinlan and his Sergeant, Pete Menzies, when he catches them planting evidence to convict Sanchez. With his new American wife, Susie, safely tucked away in a hotel on the US side of the border - or so he thinks - he starts to review Quinlan's earlier cases. While concentrating on the corrupt policeman however, the Grandis have their own plans for Vargas and they start with his wife Susie. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Strangest Vengeance Ever Planned! See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 May 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Badge of Evil  »

Box Office


$829,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$70,725 (USA) (11 September 1998)


$2,237,659 (USA) (1 January 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1998 alternate) | (1975 alternate) | (director's cut) | (DVD edition) | (restored)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Marlene Dietrich and Zsa Zsa Gabor share a title card ("Guest Starring Marlene Dietrich, Zsa Zsa Gabor"). Gabor has a bit part; she is onscreen for 20 seconds at most. Dietrich has a pivotal role and appears in four crucial scenes including the finale. See more »


The explosion in the opening scene shows the car squashing down on all four wheels. The following scenes show the car thrown on its right side. See more »


[first lines]
Border Cop: Uh, you folks American citizens?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the 111-minute restored version, there are no credits at all until the end of the film. See more »


Referenced in Havana 57 (2012) See more »


Son of Raunchy
Written by Henry Mancini
Performed by United International Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Best of the best
13 September 2000 | by (Niskayuna, New York) – See all my reviews

Touch of Evil has, perhaps, the BEST cinematography and lighting in ANY film ever made. Not just in the film noir genre, but in all categories. Orson Welles tended to use wide shots for all of his films, and Touch of Evil's use of wide shots took filmmaking to another level, especially with the amazing opening shot. The camera techniques and lighting are too spectacular to fathom, it is the grandmaster of all movies. Brilliant is an understatement. See this film, if not for the excellent acting and sheer brilliance in terms of the camera (this film had a GREAT D.P.!!), but for entertainment value. But if you are a film student or just want to see great camera work, Touch of Evil will astonish you.

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Recent Posts
Which version is the best? themysteryman97
So, did Quinlan strangle his own wife? j-e-miller
Opening scene timflower
Motel location johnny_clay
issues of rape and guilt appear to be ambiguous sbleboff-163-707319
This is camp comedy right? JPLogan54
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