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The Killers (1964)

 -  Crime | Drama | Mystery  -  7 July 1964 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,921 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 38 critic

Surprised that their contract victim didn't try to run away from them, two professional hit men try to find out who hired them and why.

Director:

(as Donald Siegel)

Writers:

(story), (screenplay)
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Sheila Farr
...
Johnny North
...
Lee
...
Earl Sylvester
...
Mickey Farmer
...
Virginia Christine ...
Miss Watson
Don Haggerty ...
Mail Truck Driver
Robert Phillips ...
George Fleming
Kathleen O'Malley ...
Miss Leslie - the receptionist
Ted Jacques ...
Gym Assistant
Irvin Mosley Jr. ...
Mail Truck Guard (as Irvin Mosley)
Jimmy Joyce ...
Salesman
Davis Roberts ...
Maître D'
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Storyline

Supposedly based on the short story by Ernest Hemingway. In this film noir, two hitmen want to find out why their latest victim (a race car driver!) "just stood there and took it" when they came to shoot him. Ronald Reagan plays a rich, double-crossing bad guy. A young Angie Dickinson (looking just like Ellen Barkin) plays the femme fatale. Written by Mark Logan <marklo@west.sun.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There is more than one way to kill a man!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 July 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ernest Hemingway's The Killers  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The race car used by the character, Johnny North, was a 1963 Shelby AC Cobra. See more »

Goofs

Silencers don't work on most revolvers. See more »

Quotes

Jack Browning: I approve of larceny; homicide is against my principles.
See more »

Connections

Version of Buick-Electra Playhouse: The Killers (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Little Time
Music by Henry Mancini
Lyrics by Don Raye
Sung by Nancy Wilson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The only man who isn't afraid of dying is dead already.
20 November 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Killers is directed by Don Siegel and adapted to screenplay by Gene L. Coon from the short story written by Ernest Hemmingway. It stars Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Clu Gulager, John Cassavetes, Ronald Reagan and Claude Akins. Music is by John Williams and cinematography by Richard L. Rawlings.

Hit men Charlie (Marvin) and Lee (Gulager) enter a school for the blind and gun down motor mechanic teacher Johnny North (Cassavetes). He doesn't resist. Why? This question bothers Charlie and he sets about finding out...

It's difficult when reading the name The Killers to not think of the 1946 film made by Robert Siodmak, a film that is revered as one of the quintessential movies of film noir. But Don Siegel's film, a re-jigging of the plot, is well worthy of consideration as quintessential neo-noir.

Originally slated to be the first made for TV movie as part of a new era for movies on television, the film was pulled by NBC for being too violent. With the film also featuring a murder by sniper scene, the recent assassination of John F. Kennedy by sniper ensured The Killers was temporarily on unsafe ground. With Ronald Reagan making his last appearance on film before moving into politics, unusually playing a villain no less, the 64 version of The Killers has a bit of history.

It's a film about double-crossing, murder and fateful yearnings, featuring amoral characters in a wonderfully constructed story that is told in flashbacks! Photographed in bright, almost garish, colours, it's very much the polar opposite to Siodmak's version, well visually at least, but it is very effective and striking, almost enhancing the lurid nature of Coon's screenplay. It's an aggressive film where the violence packs a punch, and the ending has a considerable black heart.

The cast are mostly effective. Marvin and Gulager's hit-man pairing are deliberately off kilter in terms of personality, and it's these two that propel the movie forward (well backwards really). Cassavetes makes interesting work as live wire dupe Johnny, Akins does good as a pal watching on helplessly as Johnny loses his life footings and Dickinson sizzles as she fatalises the femme. Weak link is Reagan, who looks ill at ease playing a tough villain type. It's no surprise to learn later on down the line that he wasn't very fond of the role.

Good quality neo-noir crafted by a man who knew how to do the real deal back in the day. 7.5/10


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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