IMDb > The Boston Strangler (1968)
The Boston Strangler
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The Boston Strangler (1968) More at IMDbPro »

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The Boston Strangler -- A gripping account of the real-life serial killer who stalked the Boston Common, leaving behind a trail of dead young women, and the detective who helped crack the case.


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Up 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Edward Anhalt (screenplay)
Gerold Frank (book)
View company contact information for The Boston Strangler on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 October 1968 (USA) See more »
This is the true story of Albert DeSalvo, the self-confessed Boston Strangler, and of what he did to thirteen women and one city. See more »
A series of brutal murders in Boston sparks a seemingly endless and increasingly complex manhunt. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations See more »
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User Reviews:
A Killer Role See more (80 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Tony Curtis ... Albert DeSalvo

Henry Fonda ... John S. Bottomly

George Kennedy ... Det. Phil DiNatale

Mike Kellin ... Julian Soshnick

Hurd Hatfield ... Terence Huntley

Murray Hamilton ... Det. Frank McAfee

Jeff Corey ... John Asgeirsson

Sally Kellerman ... Dianne Cluny

William Marshall ... Atty. Gen. Edward W. Brooke

George Voskovec ... Peter Hurkos
Leora Dana ... Mary Bottomly
Carolyn Conwell ... Irmgard DeSalvo

Jeanne Cooper ... Cloe
Austin Willis ... Dr. Nagy
Lara Lindsay ... Bobbie Eden

George Furth ... Lyonel Brumley
Richard X. Slattery ... Det. Capt. Ed Willis

William Hickey ... Eugene T. O'Rourke
Eve Collyer ... Ellen Ridgeway
Gwyda Donhowe ... Alice Oakville

Alex Dreier ... News Commentator
John Cameron Swayze ... T.V. Narrator
Shelley Burton ... David Parker
Elizabeth Baur ... Harriet Fordin

James Brolin ... Det. Sgt. Phil Lisi
George Tyne ... Dr. Kramer

Dana Elcar ... Luis Schubert
William Traylor ... Arnie Carr

Carole Shelley ... Dana Banks
Karen Ericson ... Pat Bruner (as Karen Huston)
Enid Markey ... Edna
Dorothy Blackburn ... Minnie
Almira Sessions ... Emma Hodak
Isabella Hoopes ... Bertha Blum
Richard Krisher ... Tom
Arthur Hanson ... Commissioner
Walter Klavun ... Chief of Police
Tim Herbert ... Cedric
Matt Bennett ... Harold
Penny Williams ... Mae
Janis Young ... Louise Parker

George Fisher ... Mr. Taylor

David Lewis ... Judge Schroeder

Pamela McMyler ... Grace (as Pam McMyler)
Greg Benedict ... Dick Matheson
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Tom Aldredge ... Harold Lacey (uncredited)
Linda Clifford ... Bystander (uncredited)

Linda Dano ... (uncredited)
Gina Harding ... Audri (uncredited)

Chuck Hicks ... Cop (uncredited)
Jack Hynes ... TV News Reporter (uncredited)
Nancie Phillips ... Barbara Wise (uncredited)

Alex Rocco ... Detective at Apartment of Victim #10 (uncredited)
Marie Thomas ... Gloria (uncredited)

Edward Winter ... Man in Hallway (uncredited)

Directed by
Richard Fleischer 
Writing credits
Edward Anhalt (screenplay)

Gerold Frank (book)

Produced by
James Cresson .... associate producer
Robert Fryer .... producer
Original Music by
Lionel Newman 
Cinematography by
Richard H. Kline (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Marion Rothman 
Art Direction by
Richard Day 
Jack Martin Smith 
Set Decoration by
Stuart A. Reiss 
Walter M. Scott 
Raphael Bretton (uncredited)
Makeup Department
Edith Lindon .... hair stylist
Daniel C. Striepeke .... makeup artist (as Dan Striepeke)
Ben Nye .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Eric Stacey .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David Hall .... assistant director
Art Department
Fred Harpman .... production film treatment
Benjamin Resella .... scenic designer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Don J. Bassman .... sound (as Don Bassman)
David Dockendorf .... sound
Visual Effects by
L.B. Abbott .... special photographic effects
John C. Caldwell .... special photographic effects
Art Cruickshank .... special photographic effects
Christopher Chapman .... special visual effects designer (uncredited)
Ron Burke .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Couch .... stunts (uncredited)
Dick Dial .... stunts (uncredited)
Bennie E. Dobbins .... stunts (uncredited)
Larry Duran .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Hicks .... stunts (uncredited)
Hubie Kerns .... stunts (uncredited)
Victor Paul .... stunts (uncredited)
Charlie Picerni .... stunts (uncredited)
George Sawaya .... stunts (uncredited)
Walter Scott .... stunts (uncredited)
Glenn R. Wilder .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Thomas Del Ruth .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Travilla .... costume supervisor
Transportation Department
Chris Haynes .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
John S. Bottomly .... technical advisor
Phillip J. Di Natale .... technical advisor
Ralph M. Leo .... production accountant (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
116 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)
Australia:M | Canada:PA (Manitoba) | Canada:R (Nova Scotia/Ontario) | Canada:18+ (Quebec) | Canada:18A (video rating) | Finland:K-16 | France:U (re-release) | Germany:16 (DVD rating) | Iceland:16 | Netherlands:18 (orginal rating) | Norway:15 | Norway:16 (original rating) | Norway:11 (DVD rating) (2006) | Spain:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:18 | UK:X (original rating) | USA:Approved (Suggested for Mature Audiences) | USA:R (re-rating) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Film debut of Edward Winter.See more »
Factual errors: In the film it is assumed DeSalvo was guilty, and it portrays him as suffering from multiple personality disorder and committing the murders while in a psychotic state. DeSalvo was never diagnosed with, or even suspected of having that disorder.See more »
Albert DeSalvo:[inside sanitarium] But... I don't belong here.... I-I guess everybody says that, don't they?See more »
Movie Connections:
Semper FidelisSee more »


Who was the Boston Strangler?
Is 'The Boston Strangler' based on a book?
How true is the movie to the real events?The movie is highly fictionalized.
See more »
13 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
A Killer Role, 6 May 2008
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

Tony Curtis really showed his acting chops when he took on the most unlikely role of Albert DeSalvo the famous Boston Strangler of the early 1960s. Though he's only in the film literally for about half of it, what you see is a classic performance. Why he wasn't nominated for an Oscar, the Deity only knows.

13 women were found dead in the Boston area of manual strangulation and they were also sexually molested. Public concern was so great that the then Attorney General Edward Brooke, played by William Marshall, overrode local jurisdictions and prerogatives and assigned a lawyer from his office John Bottomly to coordinate the strangler investigation.

Henry Fonda plays Bottomly who takes the task on quite reluctantly because his expertise is civil litigation. My guess is that Brooke was thinking that Bottomly would be best for the job because he came in with no preconceived notions on how to do the job and would be open to anything. Turned out he was right.

Actually Fonda has more screen time than Curtis because the first half of the film concentrates on him and the investigation. He follows up every red herring thrown at him. He even hires a medium paid for with private funds by a millionaire friend of Brooke's played by George Voskevec who actually comes close in terms of geography to finding the real killer.

One of the red herrings is a gay man played by Hurd Hatfield who in those days before Stonewall was considered a likely suspect. He gets turned in by his landlady who is suspicious of his reading material. It's something he's used to, every time there's a lurid sex murder as an openly gay, or at least openly gay for that time he's brought in for questioning. This was one of the few times I ever heard the word gay used in a film made before the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969.

Curtis however dominates the film. The last 20 minutes or so is a final confrontation with him and Fonda and for those who are used to the insouciant leading man of swashbucklers and comedies, this is a real breakthrough. As much if not more of breakthrough than his part in Sweet Smell of Success.

In his memoirs however Curtis decries the fact that on this, the second of two films he worked with Henry Fonda on, he said that he found Fonda cold and forbidding as a person to work with.

The film is tautly directed by Richard Fleischer with some fine editing though I think Fleischer was a bit too fond of the split screen technique. Still it's a film worth watching.

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