The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)

G  |   |  Drama  |  31 July 1968 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,642 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 12 critic

When deaf mute Singer moves to a small city to be near his only friend confined in a hospital, he grows attached to his landlady's sensitive 16-year-old daughter.


(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Spiros Antonapoulos
Peter Mamakos ...
Charles Spirmonedes
Margaret 'Mick' Kelly
Biff McGuire ...
Mr. Kelly
Jackie Marlowe ...
Bubber Kelly
Laurinda Barrett ...
Mrs. Margaret Kelly
Robbie Barnes ...
Ralph Kelly
Wayne Smith ...
Richard Fingar ...
Sucker Wells
Sherri Vise ...
Gavin Paulin ...
Percy Rodrigues ...
Dr. Copeland (as Percy Rodriguez)


Sentimental story centers around a deaf-mute, Singer, and Mick, a teenager who lives in the house where he rents a room. Mick and Singer become friends, though they are separated by Singer's lack of communication ability and Mick's struggle with teenage problems. The lives of the people Singer touches are varied, linked only by their friendship with Singer. His friends include a deaf-mute, a drunk, and a doctor. Singer does his best to help those around him solve their problems, but who is there to help him solve his own? Written by Melissa Portell <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


...and from this man who could not speak or hear, the girl heard many things.




G | See all certifications »



Release Date:

31 July 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Herz ist ein einsamer Jäger  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Comedian Jackie Vernon was initially cast in role ultimately played by Chuck McCann. See more »


When Dr. Copeland goes in to see Judge Bronson he enters via a swinging door with a glass panel in it. A member of the camera crew is reflected in the glass as it swings shut. See more »


Mick: [Lying on the beach on a blanket] Kiss me, Harry. Kiss me the way married people kiss.
Harry: Do you think we should?
Mick: Please let me have just one thing the way I want it to be.
[He kisses her]
See more »

Crazy Credits

And Introducing

Sondra Locke

as Mick See more »


Referenced in Boy Meets World: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1996) See more »


The Color of the Wind Is Cold
Written by Dave Grusin and Hermine Hilton
Performed by Mac Davis
See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliantly filmed story of infinite compassion
7 March 2002 | by ((Sheffield, England)) – See all my reviews

There is no doubt about it, but when Hollywood decides to make a cinematic masterpiece, and at the same time draws upon indigenous American social and cultural mores, as exemplified by a writer of the talent of Carson McCullers, the result can be both breath-taking and almost overwhelming. It is partly their very `Americaness' that makes films like THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER so unique and special to someone like myself who is not American. And this film in particular shows a side of the American psyche which is all too often neglected and unacknowledged in movies. The novel on which it is based is, sadly perhaps, too complex and long to adapt to the screen without sacrificing some aspect of the many subplots it contains, and although I regret the loss of the radical political dimension, the subtle and heart-wrenching way loneliness, racism, impoverishment, snobbery, and disadvantage are conveyed are so powerfully treated that the end result is a film of almost unbearable sadness and melancholy... and yet... And yet there is an element of tremendous hope also at work; of the human spirit overcoming huge odds and learning life's lessons as the various characters go along and work out their individual destinies. Superb ensemble acting from all concerned, and technical credits of the highest order make this one of the most deeply satisfying films I have ever seen in my life. A masterpiece, and one that could only have been made in the USA.

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