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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 4,001 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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Title: The Killers (1964)

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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'
Edit

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

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during filming, which caused a delay in the production. See more »

Goofs

When North drives his Cobra into pit row prior to the race that Sylvester recalls, in flashback, a Ford badge is clearly visible on the side. In addition, there are several other Cobras in the race, presumably with Ford badges. Later in the film, Strom states that the heist was four years ago (from 1964), and so the race depicted was even earlier than that. Carroll Shelby did not drop the first Ford V-8 and transmission into an AC Cobra until February of 1962, and Ford did not start selling them until later that year. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Strom: [referring to Mickey Farmer] He knows me. I had to lean on him once.
Lee: You know 'em all, don't ya?
Charlie Strom: You never know them all.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) 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

Ahead of it's time, uncompromising b-grade thriller.
20 November 2001 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

Don Siegel's 'The Killers' is a diamond in the rough! Initially filmed for television, its technical limitations are easily overlooked as they are more than compensated for by the drive of the no-nonsense narrative, and the high standards of the acting. Caught somewhere between Kubrick's 'The Killing' and Boorman's 'Point Blank', it may not be as flamboyantly impressive as either, but it is just as memorable in its own low key way.

Quentin Tarantino has admitted that the structure of 'The Killing' has influenced him, but after watching 'The Killers', one must question whether this movie is also high on his list. Especially as the cooler-than-thou hit-men played by Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager almost anticipate Travolta and Jackson's similarly quirky ones in 'Pulp Fiction' thirty years later. Just like Vincent and Jules, Charlie and Lee are eccentric and likable when "off duty" and brutal sociopaths when on. Lee Marvin is one of Hollywood's legendary screen tough guys, and his performance here is as good as any he ever did, but the real stand out for me is Clu Gulager's health nut contract killer. He just about steals every scene he is in. Up to this point he was mainly known as a Western TV star. Why this role didn't launch him into a Bruce Dern/Harry Dean Stanton/Dick Miller style career baffles me. Instead he was mainly consigned to the "made for TV" wasteland, and never got the breaks his talent deserved.

Marvin and Gulager's star turns are backed up by strong supporting performances from John Cassavetes, as their enigmatic "job", Angie Dickinson, a double-crossing femme fatale, and Ronald Reagan in a surprising turn as a nasty gangster. Also keep an eye out for a dialogue-free cameo by a very young looking Seymour Cassel!

'The Killers' looks better and better as the years go by. Not without flaws, sure, and calling it a masterpiece would be overkill, but it's a movie that was ahead of it's time in many ways, and it can't help but impress discerning fans of 50s/60s b-grade crime movies, film noir, or Sam Fuller.


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