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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  20 March 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 15,634 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 32 critic

The sensuous wife of a lunch wagon proprietor and a rootless drifter begin a sordidly steamy affair and conspire to murder her Greek husband.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Traylor ...
Thomas Hill ...
Barlow (as Tom Hill)
Motorcycle Cop
Brian Farrell ...
Raleigh Bond ...
Insurance Salesman
William Newman ...
Man from Home Town
Albert Henderson ...
Art Beeman
Ken Magee ...
Eugene Peterson ...


This remake of the 1946 movie of the same name accounts an affair between a seedy drifter and a seductive wife of a roadside café owner. This begins a chain of events that culminates in murder. Written by Craig Clarke <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the heat of passion two things can happen. The second is murder. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El cartero siempre llama dos veces  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)


SEK 3,841,156 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After the success of this movie, Butterfly (1982), another filmed adaptation of a novel by 'James M Cain' was made and released the following year. Also released in 1981 was Body Heat (1981) which though not technically a remake of Double Indemnity (1944) (also from the novel by James M. Cain) did reference it considerably. The story and characters closely parallel the earlier film. Ned, Matty and Oscar are Walter, Phyllis and Keyes respectively. See more »


When the car goes down the hill the first time, the passenger door comes open and a person can be seen exiting the car through it (1:03:48). See more »


Cora: You're scum, Frank!
Cora: I knew that when I met you... You'll never change.
See more »


Version of Jerichow (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A movie well worth seeing
21 July 1999 | by (West Caldwell, NJ) – See all my reviews

I must admit I was quite impressed with Bob Rafelson's adaptation of the depression era novel, "The Postman Always Rings Twice". Jack Nicholson plays Frank, a vagabond who eventually falls in love with a sexy waitress named Cora,played by Jessica Lange, who reciprocates this love. However, there is one problem standing in the way: Cora is married, unhappily married, but married nonetheless.

Aside from an intriguing story, "The Postman Always Rings Twice" is a wonderfully put together film, as Rafelson does a splendid job delving into the characters and their relationships, as well as examining the problems associated with forbidden love. As a viewer, you truly feel the passion between Lange and Nicholson,(who both won academy award nominations), and you almost feel for their pain. In the 1930's women in America were at quite a different position than they are today. They were expected to stay with the husband no matter what the circumstances, as divorce was quite uncommon. Lange was very convincing as this trapped 30's woman who eventually broke free the only way she knew possible..

I definitely recommend "The Postman Always Rings Twice" for any fan of entertaining and thought-provoking movies. Although the character development is not quite as extensive as some of Rafelson's early work, particularly the 1971 classic "Five Easy Pieces", the movie combines an intriguing screenplay with superb acting to make its own statement.

21 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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