Down 1,682 this week

Hammett (1982)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,898 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 25 critic

The novel writter Dashiell Hammett is involved in the investigation of the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful chinese cabaret actress in San Francisco.



(novel), , 2 more credits »
0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 22 titles
created 18 Sep 2011
a list of 41 titles
created 31 Dec 2011
a list of 49 titles
created 05 Feb 2012
a list of 37 titles
created 22 May 2012
a list of 25 titles
created 28 May 2013

Related Items

Search for "Hammett" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Hammett (1982)

Hammett (1982) on IMDb 6.5/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Hammett.
2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Lisbon Story (1994)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The director Friedrich Monroe has trouble with finishing a silent b&w movie about Lisbon. He calls his friend, the sound engineer Phillip Winter, for help. As Winter arrives Lisbon weeks ... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Rüdiger Vogler, Patrick Bauchau, Vasco Sequeira
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A drama that investigates anxiety and disillusionment in America.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Michelle Williams, John Diehl, Wendell Pierce
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Set in 1999, a woman (Dommartin) has a car accident with some bank robbers, who enlist her help to take the bank money to a drop in Paris. On the way she runs into another fugitive from the... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: William Hurt, Solveig Dommartin, Pietro Falcone
Tokyo-Ga (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Moved by the work of director Yasujirô Ozu, Wim Wenders travels to Japan in search of the Tokyo seen in Ozu's films.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Chishû Ryû, Werner Herzog, Yûharu Atsuta
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After the wild life-style of a famous young German photographer almost gets him killed, he goes to Palermo, Sicily to take a break. Can the beautiful city and a beautiful local woman help him calm himself down?

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Campino, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Dennis Hopper
Fantasy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A group of angels in the German capital look longingly upon the life of humans.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Otto Sander, Bruno Ganz, Mikhail Gorbachev
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Beck, James Blood Ulmer, Joy Brashears
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Wim Wenders talks with Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto about the creative process and ponders the relationship between cities, identity and the cinema in the digital age.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Wim Wenders, Yohji Yamamoto
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Sequence of five shots, each one with a particular color treatment, in which a man carrying a machine gun runs. He moves fast in the beginning but, as the end comes closer, he starts to ... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Hanns Zischler
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) has seen better days. Once a big Western movie star, he now drowns his disgust for his selfish and failed life with alcohol, drugs and young women. If he were to... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth
Room 666 (TV Movie 1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

During the '35th Cannes International Film Festival' (14th-26th May 1982), German director Wim Wenders asked a sample of 15 other international film directors to get, each one at a time, ... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Wim Wenders, Michelangelo Antonioni, Maroun Bagdadi
Klappenfilm (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Directors: Gerhard Theuring, Wim Wenders


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jimmy Ryan
Kit Conger / Sue Alabama
English Eddie Hagedorn
Eli the Taxi Driver (as Elisha Cook)
Lydia Lei ...
Crystal Ling
Lt. O'Mara
Detective Bradford
Michael Chow ...
Fong Wei Tau
The Punk
Donaldina Cameron
Elmer Kline ...
Doc Fallon
Samuel Fuller ...
Old Man in Pool Hall


The novel writter Dashiell Hammett is involved in the investigation of the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful chinese cabaret actress in San Francisco. Written by Michel Rudoy <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He Created 'The Maltese Falcon," "Sam Spade" and "The Thin Man". But He Didn't Write This Mystery-Thriller...He Lived It. See more »


Crime | Drama | Mystery


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 September 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Investigación en el Barrio Chino  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Trade Paper 'Variety' has said that "'Wim Wenders... [was] Reportedly hired by Francis Coppola on the strength of his complicated murder opus "The American Friend" [The American Friend (1977)] (1977)". See more »


Hammett: I was sure I heard you retired.
Doc Fallon: I heard you stopped drinkin'.
Hammett: I guess we were both wrong.
See more »


Referenced in Le bourreau des coeurs (1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Shouldn't we call the police? Shouldn't we do something legal?"
1 October 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

It's tempting to see Hammett as a real life variation of The American Friend with Francis Ford Coppola as Dennis Hopper's Ripley and Wim Wenders as Bruno Ganz's picture framer who gets conned into becoming a hit-man. Part of Francis Ford Coppola's ill-fated attempt to recreate the old studio system with a stock company of players and his own studio, Zoetrope, that had a troubled history to match any of his own directorial efforts, the wunderkind lured Wenders to Hollywood with the promise of artistic freedom in an artist-friendly environment with Joe Gores' fictional novel about the revolutionary crime writer and former private eye Dashiell Hammett getting involved in a semi-fictional mystery involving the cops, the crooks and the big rich while writing Red Harvest as bait. Set in 1928 San Francisco, it presents the tubercular Hammett as a half-decent man in a 9/10ths dishonest world who's given up the detective racket for short stories for pulp magazines, drinking too much and coughing his lungs up all the way until his old mentor turns up to call in a favour that leads to a web of murder, corruption and blackmail, it's easy to see the attraction. Instead things went a little haywire...

When the film was in development in 1978, Wenders had originally wanted Sam Shepherd – not only was he gaunt enough to play Hammett and was a writer himself but, more importantly for the director, he could actually type, something most actors who tested for the film had real problems with. Instead, Coppola wanted Frederic Forrest, one of his stock company of actors at Zoetrope, to play the lead: it turned out to be an inspired choice, but was indicative of how far the film would veer from his original intentions. After 40 scripts and countless legal and copyright problems with the Hammett Estate that ensured little of Gores' novel remained (and nothing of the Red Harvest connections), Wenders shot around 90% of the film before an unconvinced Coppola persuaded him not to shoot his planned ending until they had a rough cut of the film to see if it would really work, only for the director to realise they had film that was more about Hammett the writer than Hammett the detective. Cue yet another rewrite, while reshoots were delayed a year, by which time Forrest had gained so much weight for One From the Heart that they had to wait another year for him to slim down again while Wenders went off and shot The State of Things. Out went original co-stars Brian Keith and Ronee Blakely (by then the ex-Mrs Wenders) to be replaced by Peter Boyle and Marilu Henner, while Sylvia Miles part went out altogether, with only Frederic Forrest and Sam Fuller seemingly retained from the original cast. (Although there are claims that the bulk of the film was reshot by Coppola himself, Wenders is adamant that his American friend didn't shoot a single shot of it).

The result, Wenders felt, offered "More story, less soul." Damned with faint praise by the critics, audiences stayed away in droves when it finally saw light of projector in 1982. It's not a forgotten masterpiece and it's certainly no Chinatown, but it is a better one than it first appeared. While it's a film that felt slightly disappointing at first sight, on repeat viewings it's one of many pleasures for the film buff and more open-minded crime-writing fan. Forrest immersed himself in the role and is uncannily like the real Hammett, giving what's still his most effective performance (even briefly reprising it in the 1992 TV movie Citizen Cohn), while Wenders' visually inventive direction ensures that the film often feels more like the genuine Thirties item than a knowing pastiche.

Although Wenders' original version was shot on location, the finished version is possibly the last great backlot picture, rarely straying from the studio. Luckily it's a great backlot, with Dean Tavoularis' wonderful design that takes everything from the backstreets of Chinatown to the houses of the big rich complimented by the gloriously rich colours of Joseph Biroc's cinematography (just enough of the original shoot made it in the final cut for Philip Lathrop to get a credit for 'other photography'). John Barry's score, all smoke, piano and clarinet, compliments the mood beautifully even if one major theme had already made an appearance in Body Heat. And the film is often beautifully cast: Elisha Cook Jr (The Maltese Falcon) and Sylvia Sidney (City Streets) provide the cinematic links to the real Hammett with David Patrick Kelly and Roy Kinnear mirroring Cook and Sydney Greenstreet's roles, Richard Bradford and R.G. Armstrong a variation on Barton MacLane and Ward Bond's good cop-bad cop duo and restaurateur Michael Chow a more sophisticated upmarket Peter Lorre, while the pool hall boasts Sam Fuller (who suggested the evocative writing shots from under the typewriter's keys) and Royal Dano with Hank Worden sittin' in the corner in a rockin' char, with Jack Nance for any David Lynch fans who walked into the wrong theatre by mistake..

The script rarely triumphs over the look and feel of the film, and one plot development is more Chandler than Hammett (although it does lead to a neat bit of business with a mirror), but it offers some nice quips ("First day on the job?" Hammett cracks when a rookie cop asks him to sign for a million dollar pay off), has room for nice little moments like a weary Hammett finding children playing hide-and-seek outside his apartment and even offers a handy definition of the word 'gunsel' (no, it doesn't mean hired gun). It's not a great film and probably never would have been had it had a smoother ride to the screen, but it is a much more enjoyable one than it has any right to be and it's strangely easy to like.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Has Anyone Seen This Movie deckard316
aspect ratio deckard316
Does anyone know how watch this film? steveman1236
Whatever happened to Lydia Lei? DaveyV7
Discuss Hammett (1982) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: