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A Thief in the Night
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Reviews & Ratings for
A Thief in the Night More at IMDbPro »

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28 out of 36 people found the following review useful:


Author: elipooh from United States
1 August 2006

Perhaps because I was so young, innocent and BRAINWASHED when I saw it, this movie was the cause of many sleepless nights for me. I haven't seen it since I was in seventh grade at a Presbyterian school, so I am not sure what effect it would have on me now. However, I will say that it left an impression on me... and most of my friends. It did serve its purpose, at least until we were old enough and knowledgeable enough to analyze and create our own opinions. I was particularly terrified of what the newly-converted post-rapture Christians had to endure when not receiving the mark of the beast. I don't want to spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it so I will not mention details of the scenes, but I can still picture them in my head... and it's been 19 years.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:


Author: Anarchyreigns from United States
7 August 2004

I saw this film so long ago I can't recall how old I was--had to have been less than 8 years old but older than 4. After watching it with my parents, it haunted me for the longest time, particularly when connected with the song "Wish We'd All Been Ready". Made in 1972 and having a low-budget feel to it, the acting was terrible and effects were poor, but the message was strong and persuading. The intent was obviously to scare the viewer into salvation. However, depending on your mindset while watching A Thief in the Night, you may or may not take any of it seriously. That is why as a child, lacking the experience, understanding, and ability to compartmentalize it was the most disturbing...for me anyway.

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13 out of 18 people found the following review useful:


Author: roonweez from United States
13 January 2010

I was raised in a "very Christian" household since birth. I was saved before I saw this movie and the rest of the series and was forced to watch it in a youth group at my church. This movie was highly disturbing. I saw it when I was about 12 years old and literally had nightmares about it for years. I used to lay awake in bed and listen for the sounds of my mom's footsteps upstairs. If I didn't hear her footsteps, I would sneak upstairs to make sure she hadn't been raptured. I used to pray so hard every night for salvation because I was terrified of Jesus forgetting me. This is definitely not something I will show to my kids until they are much older, if at all. It took me years to shake the fear that this movie gave me.

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17 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Ahead of its time

Author: nothingbutmyharp from United States
27 January 2005

Long before Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins would shake the world of the Christian subculture (and make millions in the process) with the LEFT BEHIND books, MARK IV Pictures, the Christian film distribution company of the Billy Graham evangelistic association, gave us this masterwork. What I love most about this genre is its incredible attention to detail, sitting in a living room. Instead of taking us to the dramatic scenes of this "post-rapture" tribulation, we sit in the living room, hearing about it on the news because the filmmakers can't afford to show it. The film's premise is grounded in Pre-Millenial, pre-Tribulation eschatalogy, believing that Christ comes once for the secret taking of the true church, and then comes again at the end of the seven years of hell on earth. What used to terrify me in junior high now makes me laugh. The intriguing adventures of Patty and her journey throughout the tribulation (and two of the film's three sequels) tells her remarkable story of unbelief and ultimately damnation. I hate to admit it, but I still thoroughly enjoy watching this. It even has the SAME EXACT score of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I think I'm the only person in history to make that observation.

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17 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A thief of life

Author: zensomor from Canada
30 December 2006

I saw this movie twice through a pentecostal church my family attended in Nanaimo BC in the 1970's. I was of the tender age of 6, my brother 4, then again when I was 8 my brother 6. This movie terrified my brother and I and shaped how we viewed the world with distrust. It wasn't just the movie, but it was also the philosophy that engulfs so many "christians" about the "mark of the beast"and the rapture. This movie, the church, and a volatile neglectful upbringing, lead to severe paranoia towards the future. For years, I lived under the delusional affects of the church and fear of being forgotten by Christ. I am now 40 years old. Went through years of counseling. I once explained to a psychiatrist this movie and the belief system of the church and family. I was pegged with a delusional disorder. I actually began to believe this, it was my brother who reminded me, that this cultic philosophy actually happened. I no longer fear the future, I have come to terms with the fear injected into it's members by the church. I have taken this experience to fulfill a purpose, I am nearing my licensure as a Psychologist specializing in childhood trauma.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

"Left Behind" of the '70s

Author: burdurhur from United Kingdom
12 February 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS AHEAD! I saw this film at the urging of the girl who works at the videostore, who described it as "Total MST3K." And how right she is. Granted, the film has a regional interest for me, as it was filmed in my hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. Basically, this is Left Behind from the early '70s, and it goes to show that the evangelicals have been pumping out religious propoganda aimed at scaring non-believers through the art of film for over thirty years now. The music is also right on, from the hit "You've Been Left Behind" (later covered in a decent version--something i can say even though i'm not a fan of Christian rock) to the thematic drum 'n' trumpet music reminiscent of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Also, the clothes and hairstyles are the best; Linklater surely stole the look of the character Jerry in this film for Dazed and Confused. As for story, well, the rapture comes and millions of Christians simply disappear--non-believers are left behind and life goes on as usual (except for the bit about the UN making a single global government called Unite, which uses the mark of the beast--your choice of back of the hand or on the forehead--for commerce and labeling of citizenship). Honestly, everything seems fine, except for the easily swayed citizens of the world who willingly accept one government, oh, and the underground new Christians, who are freaking out nonstop. Stuff gets crazier and crazier and the heroine--who I've failed to mention--thinks her old friends are trying to kill her. And then, yup, turns out it was all a dream. Granted, after she wakes up, we have a deja vu moment where her husband's electric shaver is in the sink--just like the beginning of the dream! But who's to say he didn't step out for a smoke? Eh... Whattaya expect from Russell Doughten (who appears as the grandfatherly preacher who misled his flock), the man who produced 1958's smash hit horror film starring Steve McQueen: The Blob! And thankfully for us, this wonderful golden nugget of gold was followed by A Distant Thunder, where we discover her husband really did disappear in the rapture... (by the way, the whole series of 4 films has been released on DVD with loads of cool extras!)

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

heap of bull...

Author: (snoopdoc15) from Germany
4 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As some other comments show, this movie might scare you, when you're a little child. (And that is probably all that it is good for.)

However, if you're older, this movie only does one thing: suck majorly -and thereby I don't mean the acting, its soundtrack, cutting or like that. I'm simply talking about the "plot" (if you can call it that).

SPOILERS ahead ------------------------

I don't want to give any more spoilers than necessary (if after reading this, you really still want to watch this movie) but if you graduated from any school, this is just a big insult of your intelligence. When watching this, I was stunned most of the time, because what was happening was just THAT stupid.

This includes:

-the forming of UNITE (an evil UN-association)

--> we are just supposed to believe it's evil. is it even evil at all? if so: why is it evil?

-the mark of evil in the form of a tattoo

--> there is no necessity to impose this on the people, so why the hell (no pun intended) are they doing it?

-inviting Christ to your heart merely as lip service

-->because there's nothing anybody, who in this movie is considered "a real Christian", ever does, besides saying that stupid prayer. so...just say that prayer before the rapture and you're saved - no matter what?!

Thus, rating 1/10

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Interesting in its Own Way

Author: Uriah43 from Amarillo, Texas
28 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film follows the belief of certain fundamentalist Christians that an event known as the "rapture" will take place soon which will cause all true believers to disappear from the earth all at once. In that regard, "Patty Myers" (Patty Dunning) is one of the many who is not taken up into heaven because she is not a Christian. However, her husband, "Jim Wright" (Mike Niday) was recently converted and he has disappeared. So has her friend, "Jenny" (Colleen Niday). On the other hand, her other two friends, "Diane Bradford" (Maryann Rachford) and her new husband "Jerry Bradford" (Thom Rachford) were also left behind and like Patty, they are now forced to deal with another fundamentalist event known as the "tribulation" which is essentially a hell on earth. Now, as I stated earlier, this film follows a controversial belief of a certain segment of the Christian faith. As such, there may be many people who may not understand or appreciate this type of film. Likewise, it is a low-budget production geared more for an evangelical outreach than for general entertainment purposes. Because of that, the acting is very basic and the dialogue will probably strike many as being a bit corny. Additionally, as the hairstyles and clothes clearly indicate, it is definitely dated to a time-period (late 60's & early 70's) which may not appeal to a more modern audience. Even so, this film created a stir within its targeted audience and resulted in 3 sequels: "A Distant Thunder", "Image of the Beast" and "The Prodigal Planet". In short, if a person can get beyond some of the peculiarities I mentioned earlier, they might find this film interesting in its own way. And while I am able to keep an open mind about the overall subject of the film, from a critical and objective perspective I have to rate it as slightly below average.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Thief in the Night is partly cheesy, partly effective

Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, La.
25 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I discovered this "End Times" movie on Google Video when I typed in "1972". It's basically the story of Patty and how she gets left behind with other non-believers after the believers (which included her snake-bitten husband) were perished. I liked the opening song in the beginning credits and some of the chase scenes. I'm just not sure the movie was a good lesson on the benefits of devotion to the teachings of the Bible since it gives us the fear but not the joy of the exercise. And then there's that cheesy montage of domestic life of Patty and her husband that screams '70s. This film is very much of its time. However, it is pretty effective as a story and it does make you think about the filmmaker's intentions. So see A Thief in the Night with an open mind and don't think too much about the uneven acting or writing but about how effective the movie's message is.

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17 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

The Second Most Embarrassing Film Ever Made

Author: ( from Andover, MA
28 September 2002

I'm truly embarrassed to admit that I suffered through this film four or five times, while growing up in a Baptist church and attending a WASPish Protestant elementary school. One of the most abhorrent motion pictures ever made (second only to Lamont Johnson's reprehensible "Lipstick" back in 1976), "A Thief in the Night" has -- sadly -- become a Bible belt staple -- one of the only "Evangelical Christian cult films." How wildly popular is it among conservative Christians? Let's put it this way: one could walk into any "film night" at a midwestern Baptist church during the eighties and nineties and catch this motion picture, nine times out of ten (until John Schmidt took over by making a series of contemporary Christian films that actually remain watchable to this day -- "The Wait of the World" (1989), etc.)

I fail to understand how anyone could even -sit through- "A Thief in the Night" (let alone heap unqualified praise onto the film). Not only are the production values, the direction, the 'performances,' the script, the music, and the editing ludicrous, but one can imagine the film feeling dated even back in 1972. (The characters seem to be walking around on another planet).

As other IMDB users imply in their critiques, it might be possible for a film of this nature to evolve into a secular cult item -- a joke, to be screened as a secular midnight movie and at 70's cinematic shlock fests, ala "Toomorrow," the mysterious and elusive "Darktown Strutters," and "BJ Lang Presents." Ahh, such is not the case. The "filmmakers" rendered this impossible by dampering "A Thief in the Night" with some of the sourest, most depressing dramatic overtones in movie history and ensuring that it can never (NEVER) be *enjoyed* as entertaining camp. From first frame to last, it remains repulsively gloomy, angry, and depressing. This, from a film about Christ's second coming -- a subject which should impart a message of hope, not of fear.

In short: nothing fun about this one, folks. It's a *miserable* experience, and it may even fall into the same category as "The Incredible Torture Show," about which, Danny Peary once wrote, "If any film deserves to be banned, this deserves strong consideration."

The worst sidelight of the film: the terrible light it continues to shed on conservative Christians, and on the Revelation of St. John per se. "Left Behind" (1999), starring Kirk Cameron and based on the bestselling book series (a film I have not seen), covers the same ground and is evidently far more watchable.

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