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Two wealthy law-school students go on trial for murder in this version of the Leopold-Loeb case.

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(screenplay), (based on the novel by)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Ruth Evans
...
...
Arthur A. Straus
...
District Attorney Harold Horn
...
Sid Brooks
...
Max Steiner
Robert F. Simon ...
Police Lt. Johnson (as Robert Simon)
...
Tom Daly
Robert Burton ...
Charles Straus
Wilton Graff ...
Mr. Steiner
Louise Lorimer ...
Mrs. Straus aka 'Mumsy'
...
Padua - Horn's Assistant
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Storyline

In 1924 Chicago, Artie Strauss and Judd Steiner are friends and fellow law students who both come from wealthy backgrounds. They have few true friends as they believe all their contemporaries are intellectually inferior. Within their relationship, Artie is the dominant and Judd the submissive who says he will do whatever Artie tells him. Although Judd acts intellectually arrogant to others, he also shows signs of weakness and reticence most evident to Artie. Part of their goal in life is to experience how it feels to do everything. As such, they plot to commit what they consider the perfect crime - a kidnapping and murder - not only so that they can experience the sense of killing for killing's sake, but also taunt the law with the knowledge of it and their superiority after the fact. They believe their crime is above the law. Their murder of young Paulie Kessler is not so perfect, with evidence at the scene uncovered by one of their law school colleagues, Sid Brooks, who also works ... Written by Huggo

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Taglines:

You know why we did it? Because we damn well felt like doing it! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 May 1959 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Der Zwang zum Bösen  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (35 mm optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During his closing arguments speech Jonathan Wilk (Orson Welles) mentions that he has practiced law for 45-46 years. Welles, however, was only 43 years old when the movie was made. See more »

Goofs

When D.A. Horn is interviewing Straus, Horn sits down in a chair that was meant for Straus and moves a floor lampshade back down that had been directing its light at that chair. Straus moves to stand beside the floor lamp. The light is then variably on and off as shots between the two change. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Judd Steiner: To the perfect crime!
Arthur Straus: Crime. Oh, my wealthy fraternity brothers. 67 dollars, and a second-hand typewriter.
See more »

Connections

Version of Swoon (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Magic Of Dean Stockwell

If "Compulsion" is still such a powerful film is, totally, Dean Stockwell's merit. What a sensational actor! I'm writing this the day after the announcement of Dennis Hopper's death and while I was looking for a Dennis Hopper movie to watch a came across "Compulsion" Not Hopper but Stockwell and I settled for that anyway. I was riveted by Stockwell's performance because everyone else (with the natural exception of Orson Wells and E G Marshall) seems so dated and acted that Dean's every moment is sheer magic. He doesn't shy away from the awfulness but makes his young monster totally human, provoking in us that element that Orson Welles's closing argument tries to bring to the forefront. If you love great acting, you can't afford to miss Dean Stockwell in "Compulsion"


13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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