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In Cold Blood (1967)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, History  |  7 March 1968 (Argentina)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 18,129 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 126 user | 70 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

After a botched robbery results in the brutal murder of a rural family, two drifters elude police, in the end coming to terms with their own mortality and the repercussions of their vile atrocity.



(based on the book by), (written for the screen by)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ...
John Gallaudet ...
James Flavin ...
John McLiam ...
Ruth Storey ...
Brenda Currin ...
Nancy Clutter (as Brenda C. Currin)
Paul Hough ...
Good Samaritan


In meeting in Kansas, ex-cons Perry Smith and Dick Hickock are breaking several conditions of their respective paroles. The meeting, initiated by Dick, is to plan and eventually carry out a robbery based on information he had received from a fellow inmate about $10,000 cash being locked in a hidden safe in the home of the farming Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas. After the robbery, they plan on going to Mexico permanently to elude capture by the police. Each brings a necessary personality to the partnership to carry out the plan, Dick who is the brash manipulator, Perry the outwardly more sensitive but unrealistic dreamer with a violent streak under the surface. Perry literally carries all his dreams in a large box he takes with him wherever he goes. The robbery does not go according to plan in any respect, the pair who ultimately hogtie and execute all four members of the Clutter family, only coming away from the home with $43 in cash. As Perry and Dick go on the run, a murder ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | History


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 March 1968 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Truman Capote's In Cold Blood  »

Box Office


$3,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (5.0) (L-R)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert Blake and Scott Wilson were not the first choices to play the cold-blooded murderers. Studio heads at Columbia Pictures originally wanted Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in the lead roles. Newman chose instead to star in Cool Hand Luke (1967) and Hombre (1967) that year; McQueen worked on The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) and Bullitt (1968). See more »


When Alvin Dewey comes into a room full of reporters, Jensen is leaning against a doorway. He pulls a pack of cigarettes pack out of his jacket, takes a cigarette out of the pack and puts it to his lips and lights it. After taking a puff, he puts his lighter and cigarette pack back in his jacket pocket. Then he turns to listen to Dewey. In the next scene Jensen is turned 90 degrees to where he was in the previous scene with the pack of cigarettes in his left hand lighting his cigarette again. See more »


[first lines]
Little girl on bus: 'Scuse me.
See more »


Referenced in The Fisher King (1991) See more »


Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Performed a cappella by Robert Blake and Ted Eccles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Haunting True Crime Tale
4 June 2006 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

In the year 2006, "In Cold Blood"-a riveting thriller from 1967-has two new interesting contexts that it did not previous have. First, and most chillingly, is the fact that it's star, Robert Blake, was recently on trial for murdering his wife. Second, the recent Oscar winning biopic, "Capote" showed the muddled back story of this haunting true crime tale's author, Truman Capote. These two new twists make the film timely for a modern audience.

As a stand alone film from it's era, "In Cold Blood" is top notch in every way. Most notable is the stunning black and white cinematography from Conrad Hall (later of "American Beauty" and "Road to Perdition" fame). Many of the stills from this film of the Kansas farm house at night or the tree-lined back country roads could be sold as fine art photography. Combined with the cracker-jack direction from Brooks and superb editing in the early scenes (where we see the mundane daily life of the innocent family about to be senselessly slaughtered beautifully intertwined with the plotting of the two hapless killers), a rich brooding atmosphere is created that sets the stage for riveting suspense (even when everyone knows how this is all going to end due to the fact its all based on real life events). It's also great to see in this day and age how brilliantly staged a harrowing murder scene can be depicted where the graphic nature of the act is transmitted to the viewer subliminally with nary a drop of blood shown on screen.

The film is also anchored nicely by Robert Blake's eerie performance as the more sympathetic yet senselessly brutal side of the killing duo. The flashback scenes to his horrible childhood are extremely well done. Then there is the scene towards the end of the film where he is speaking to the reverend before being sent to the gallows and he makes his last "confession" so to speak. It's one of those classic movie moments that is a perfect marriage of gritty acting, superb writing, flawless direction, and haunting photography. I dare you to erase from your mind the stark image of the rain's reflection from the window flowing down Robert Blake's pallid face in lieu of actual tears.

The only thing hampering "In Cold Blood" is the slow moving middle act where the killers are on the lam and the forced nature of the social commentary at the end. The tacked-on political message about the death penalty is secondary to its compelling depiction of the mad killers and their prey.

24 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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