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Pressure Point (1962)

 -  Drama  -  11 July 1963 (Mexico)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 750 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 4 critic

A black prison psychiatrist is assigned the distasteful task of helping a paranoid American Nazi charged with sedition.


, (uncredited)


(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Pressure Point (1962)

Pressure Point (1962) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Young Psychiatrist
Carl Benton Reid ...
Chief Medical Officer
Mary Munday ...
Bar Hostess
Tavern Owner
Gilbert Green ...
Jewish Father
Boy Patient
Richard Bakalyan ...
Lynn Loring ...
Jewish Girl
Anne Barton ...


An African-American prison psychiatrist (Sidney Poitier) finds the boundaries of his professionalism sorely tested when he must counsel a disturbed inmate (Bobby Darin) with bigoted Nazi tendencies. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


FILMED IN BLACK, IN WHITE, IN RAGE!... a motion picture without a safety valve!




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 July 1963 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Pressure Point  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The hill where the scene with the imaginary friend was shot would later become the site of the universal theme park. See more »


Doctor: [to the young psychiatrist] In all those many months there's been times when I was uneasy, times when I was repelled, but that was the point at which I became frightened... and the really frightening thing was that I wasn't sure just what I was frightened of.
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Here Comes the Bride
("The Bridal Chorus") (uncredited)
Composed by Richard Wagner (1850)
Sung at bund meeting
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User Reviews

Relatively Overdone Melodrama Deals with the Paranoid Delusions of a Truly Hateful Convict
17 March 2008 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

Although the genesis of hate crimes is worthy of a film treatment, this heavy-handed 1962 melodrama is weighed down by too many theatrical flourishes to be as genuinely powerful as was once intended. Some critics at the time praised the bravery of such an undertaking, but one can see in hindsight how director Hubert Cornfield, who co-wrote the screenplay with Robert Lindner, doesn't seem to trust the basic material enough to provide a more straightforward telling of the case history of a psychopathic convict who hates non-Aryans with a virulent passion. To further depersonalize the plot, he doesn't even give the characters proper names. As a typically austere Stanley Kramer production, it has the earmarks of the high-minded social consciousness prevalent in the comparatively better films he made during this period

  • 1959's "On the Beach" about nuclear disarmament, 1961's "Judgment at
Nuremberg" about the Nazi atrocities and 1963's "A Child Is Waiting" about mental retardation.

As a framing device for the central story, a chief psychiatrist is confronted by a frustrated staff doctor threatening to resign due to the seeming hopelessness of getting through to an anti-white black patient. Hoping to convince the younger doctor not to give up, the psychiatrist - who happens to be black - flashes back to a similarly difficult case he handled during WWII when he was forced to treat a Nazi supporter who was in jail for sedition. The convict is a vicious racist and anti-Semitic, who is suffering from a sleep disorder and blackouts. The bulk of the movie is the dialogue between the two over the course of the convict's three-year sentence. What emerges is a portrait of a pathetic man who had a miserable childhood that led to random acts of sadism and ultimately his membership in the American Nazi (Bund) party.

Fantasy sequences and documentary footage are liberally used to emphasize the convict's malignant nature with melodramatic excess. The film's turning point is the decision to release the unrepentant convict, which pits the heretofore becalmed psychiatrist against the prison authorities convinced he should be paroled. As late as this comes in the movie, it's the only point where Sidney Poitier's performance as the psychiatrist comes alive. In fact, his fury is so characteristically electrifying that he replicated the scene on a more subtle level in the father-son showdown in Kramer's later "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner". As the convict, Bobby Darin gets the showier role, and while he is up to the challenge, he doesn't transcend it either. Peter Falk shows up briefly in the present-day scenes, while Carl Benton Reid adds some dimension to his small role as the chief medical officer. It all ends anti-climactically. The 2004 DVD offers no significant extras.

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This movie is great--and shocking!! melogee-1
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