MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 873 this week

The Boston Strangler (1968)

 -  Crime | Drama | Mystery  -  16 October 1968 (USA)
7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 5,345 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 56 critic

A series of brutal murders in Boston sparks a seemingly endless and increasingly complex manhunt.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (book)
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Sundance 2015

Watch our IMDb & AIV Sundance Studio Interviews with Keith Simanton

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 24 titles
created 06 Jan 2011
 
a list of 40 titles
created 23 Aug 2011
 
a list of 41 titles
created 07 Jan 2012
 
a list of 28 titles
created 01 Feb 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 27 Oct 2013
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Boston Strangler (1968)

The Boston Strangler (1968) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Boston Strangler.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Boston Strangler (Video 2006)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

Boston, Mass. 1962: Thirteen innocent women were brutally slaughtered by a faceless monster. Now, through the eyes of the killer himself, we are taken on a sadistic journey from the jail ... See full summary »

Director: Keith Walley
Stars: Mauro Lannini, Jason David, Camille Lannan
Certificate: GP Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

London, 1949. John Christie is an unassuming, middle aged man who, along with his wife Ethel, manages the apartment building at 10 Rillington Place. His unassuming demeanor masks the fact ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Richard Attenborough, Judy Geeson, John Hurt
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

Boston Strangler: The Untold Story is an intense true-crime thriller about Albert De Salvo, a wise cracking, small time criminal with an unrelenting sex drive, who ultimately falsely ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Feifer
Stars: David Faustino, Andrew Divoff, Kostas Sommer
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Three performers for six roles: this is the game of the film. A melodrama about two love triangles. In the first, Hagalin is killed by his mistress and her lover. In the second, attorney ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Orson Welles, Juliette Gréco, Bradford Dillman
The Strangler (1964)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An overweight lab technician with low self esteem, brought on by his dominant mother, becomes a serial killer of female nurses.

Director: Burt Topper
Stars: Victor Buono, David McLean, Diane Sayer
Compulsion (1959)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, Diane Varsi
The Last Run (1971)
Certificate: GP Action | Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A former getaway driver from Chicago (George C. Scott) has retired to a peaceful life in a Portuguese fishing village. He is asked to pull off one last job, involving driving a dangerous ... See full summary »

Directors: Richard Fleischer, John Huston
Stars: George C. Scott, Tony Musante, Trish Van Devere
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An ambitious cowboy will stop at nothing to get what he wants, including using the affections of two women.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Don Murray, Richard Egan, Lee Remick
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Three men case a small town very carefully, with plans to rob the bank on the upcoming Saturday, which turns violent and deadly.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Victor Mature, Richard Egan, Stephen McNally
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two escaped convicts chained together, white and black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture.

Director: Stanley Kramer
Stars: Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel
Madigan (1968)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Policemen Bonaro and Madigan lose their guns to fugitive Barney Benesch. As compensation, the two NYC detectives are given a weekend to bring Benesch to justice. While Bonaro and Madigan ... See full summary »

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, Inger Stevens
Trapped (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

U.S. Treasury Department agents go after a ring of counterfeiters.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Lloyd Bridges, Barbara Payton, John Hoyt
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Det. Phil DiNatale
Mike Kellin ...
Julian Soshnick
Hurd Hatfield ...
Terence Huntley
...
Det. Frank McAfee
...
John Asgeirsson
...
Dianne Cluny
...
Atty. Gen. Edward W. Brooke
...
Peter Hurkos
Leora Dana ...
Mary Bottomly
Carolyn Conwell ...
Irmgard DeSalvo
...
Cloe
Austin Willis ...
Dr. Nagy
Lara Lindsay ...
Bobbie Eden
Edit

Storyline

Boston is being terrorized by a series of seemingly random murders of women. Based on the true story, the film follows the investigators path through several leads before introducing the Strangler as a character. It is seen almost exclusively from the point of view of the investigators who have very few clues to build a case upon. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Why did 13 women willingly open their doors to the Boston Strangler?


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 October 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Frauenmörder von Boston  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Edward Winter. See more »

Goofs

A shot of Tony Curtis, in a doorway, includes a 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado in the background, at a time (in the story) which is supposedly 1963-64 (shortly after JFK's funeral). See more »

Quotes

Capt. Ed Willis: Everybody's banging everybody. It's a horny world.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This is the true story of Albert Desalvo, the self-confessed Boston Strangler. The characters and incidents you are about to see are based on fact. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Maniac (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

There Will Never Be Another You
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Det. Di Natale gives the informant $20 and goes into the bar
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
True-crime drama features Tony Curtis in career-best performance
21 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

THE BOSTON STRANGLER (1968)

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Panavision)

Sound format: 4-track magnetic stereo

The true story of serial killer Albert DeSalvo (Tony Curtis), a devoted family man with a split personality who terrorised Boston during the early 1960's and murdered eleven women.

Perhaps taking its cue from the success of Richard Brooks' true crime drama IN COLD BLOOD (1967), Richard Fleischer's THE BOSTON STRANGLER is a dignified, unsensational account of Albert DeSalvo's notorious crimes and the wide-ranging police investigation which led to his arrest. However, modern viewers may be alarmed by the casual references to 'faggots', and a screenplay (by Edward Anhalt, from the book by Gerold Frank) which assumes a divide between 'normal' heterosexual behaviour and other forms of sexuality, all of which are bracketed as seedy, deviant and marginalised. That small (but significant) caveat aside, the movie provides an effective overview of a complex case, and Curtis

  • an unlikely choice for such a difficult role - gives a career-best


performance as the deranged killer whose routine domestic life provided no hint of the monster lurking within his psyche. Henry Fonda is his nemesis, a dedicated law lecturer assigned to the case against his will, who eventually secured DeSalvo's confession. Some of the crime-scene details are fairly frank for a major release of the period, though the worst of it is relayed through dialogue and reaction shots, and visual depictions are kept to a bare minimum. Even for those familiar with the outcome of the case, the movie generates suspense through an accumulation of historical evidence, as Boston's terrified populace reacts convulsively to the maniac in their midst, and police trawl the streets for anyone whose sexual peccadilloes mark them as possible suspects.

Fleischer was a particular advocate of the widescreen format (he photographed most of his films anamorphically after being bowled over by a demonstration of CinemaScope in 1953), and his modish use of split-screen effects is completely diminished whenever the movie is broadcast on TV (you'll need a big screen to get even a modicum of the intended effect!). While irritating for some, there's nothing gratuitous about this technical device, by which Fleischer is able to convey layers of relevant information within the space of a single scene, whereas a conventional approach might have taken more time and necessitated the removal of crucial information (note also the clever use of directional dialogue and sound effects during these episodes). Few of the murders are recreated in any detail, but there's a couple of unsettling scenes which describe the cunning manner in which DeSalvo was able to gain access to his victims despite a city-wide alert over the Strangler's crimes, and Sally Kellerman is hugely sympathetic as the only woman to survive one of DeSalvo's brutal assaults.

NB. While Fleischer's film takes DeSalvo's guilt wholly for granted, the facts which condemned him have been challenged in robust terms by a number of sources throughout the years (most recently in Susan Kelly's 2002 book 'The Boston Stranglers: The Public Conviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of Eleven Shocking Murders'), and much of the evidence which 'exonerates' DeSalvo is as compelling as anything in the movie. DeSalvo himself died in 1973, murdered by a fellow inmate whilst serving time in Walpole Prison.


25 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Director Fleischer's Sick + Twisted View Of A Victim Enjoying The Rape esaxxon
split screen technique humanjest
This movie was little more than a sociopolitical argument YINever
VHS or DVD? mcm1071989
Acting Ability jon-431
Curtis broke his nose. brisby1
Discuss The Boston Strangler (1968) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?