City of Fear (1959)

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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 483 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 11 critic

A vicious killer escapes from San Quentin with a cannister of what he believes to be heroin but is actually a radioactive substance that threatens all Los Angeles.


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Complete credited cast:
Vince Ryker
Chief Jensen
John Archer ...
Lt. Mark Richards
Steven Ritch ...
Dr. John Wallace
June Marlowe
Kelly Thordsen ...
Detective Sgt. Hank Johnson
Joseph Mell ...
Eddie Crown
Sherwood Price ...
Pete Hallon
Jeanne (as Cathy Browne)


Vicious drug dealer Vince Ryker escapes from San Quentin with another prisoner after stabbing a guard to death and stealing what he believes to be a cannister filled with experimental heroin from the prison hospital. In reality the container is filled with cobalt-60, a highly radioactive substance which threatens the entire city if it is somehow opened. The ruthless Ryker dumps his dying cellmate and murders a bypassing motorist, burning his body beyond recognition. Assuming a new identity, Ryker heads for Los Angeles to become reunited with his beautiful girlfriend and Crown, a corrupt businessman and front man for Ryker's drug business. Fully aware of the potential dangers of the situation, the authorities are engaged in race against time to recover the cannister and avoid citywide panic. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A City in terror... Chills for millions... See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller





Release Date:

February 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I polis tou fovou  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shot in seven days. See more »


Cobalt-60 is easily shielded and would not have the adverse effects it does if kept in a lead container. See more »


Lt. Mark Richards: Did any of his friends contact you?
Eddie Crown: [Shakes his head] Just his girl once. The reason I remember is because once you've seen her, you've seen her.
[He gives a knowing smile]
See more »


Referenced in Little Nicky (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

quick moving suspense thriller
8 June 2003 | by (Cucamonga, CA) – See all my reviews

This is a gritty low-budget thriller that reminded me of Panic In The Streets but with a faster pace and a no-frills b-movie tone. I'd consider it a lost classic in that I saw it once on a local TV station about 30 years ago and have been looking for it on TV or video ever since to no avail. The basic premise of a deadly little canister of radiological waste deserves another look in this day of weapons of mass destruction (another case of science fiction predicting the future). The deterioration of the unwitting thief as the radiation poisoning consumes him is macabre and compelling.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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