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The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  10 January 1992 (USA)
Your rating:
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 27,722 users  
Reviews: 108 user | 33 critic

After her humiliated husband kills himself, an embittered pregnant widow loses her child, and embarks on a mission of vengeance against a woman and her family.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mitchell Laurance ...
Justin Zaremby ...
Eric Melander ...
Jennifer Melander ...
Ashley Melander ...
Cliff Lenz ...
Seattle Today Host
Penny LeGate ...
Seattle Today Host


Peyton Flanders seemed to be the perfect nanny, but secretly she was out to wreck the lives of the family she was supposed to be helping. Before becoming the nanny, Peyton had a miscarriage, and blamed it on Claire (the mother). Claire suspects nothing, having never met Peyton before. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Get rocked January 10th! See more »


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for terror, violence, a scene of sexual molestation, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 January 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La mano que mece la cuna  »

Box Office


$11,700,000 (estimated)


$88,036,683 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Madeline Zima's film debut. See more »


When Peyton is making the soufflé, she says "It's a shame Michael's not here, he's gonna miss it" but her mouth isn't moving. See more »


Marlene 'Marl' Craven: Cancel my morning.
Marlene's Assistant: But you have a showing! What do I tell them?
Marlene 'Marl' Craven: You have a Harvard education, make something up!
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the end credits roll, we see the Bartel residence. See more »


Featured in 1992 MTV Movie Awards (1992) See more »


from "Pirates of Penzance"
Performed by The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
Courtesy of London Records
A Division of PolyGram Classics
See more »

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User Reviews

Everything was fine until they hired that babysitter...
2 October 2005 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the cornerstone of the trashy chick flick sub-genre. Many films since have used the same formula that makes this one a success, and most have failed. The reason this film is almost a resounding success has nothing to do with the plot or characters, however, it's the way that director Curtis Hanson handles it. The man who would go on to find acclaim with the astounding L.A. Confidential directs with the utmost still, and while there are few absolutely shocking sequences in this film; you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise due to the way that Hanson handles every scene. The movie leaves a lot of room for suspense, and every instant is made the best of by the director. The plot seems rather routine these days (and it probably did back in 1992), as we see a good all-American family hire the 'perfect' babysitter. She's not quite so perfect, however, and as we watch her pull down the family she's supposed to be helping from within, this becomes abundantly clear.

One thing that makes this film hard to like for some people is the fact that almost every motivation in the film is extremely unlikely. Would you hire a babysitter who apparently 'just knew' you wanted one? Wouldn't you become suspicious when everything started going wrong after you hired her? The list goes on, it really does, and it would seem that writer Amanda Silver just wanted to portray certain plots and didn't care too much how the characters fit into them. It's also obvious that the script was written by a woman throughout, with many of the sequences being more aimed towards women. None of these bad points really harm it though, because it's so well handled that it's hard not to just sit back and enjoy yourself. The centrepiece when it comes to the stagy set pieces is definitely the one with the greenhouse, which is both psychologically pleasing and suspense filled. The acting is just fine, with Rebecca De Mornay slotting into the deranged psycho role nicely. The best thing about this film for me is definitely the way that the babysitter manipulates the children and engineers situations to her advantage. This may be trash at the end of the day, but it's fiendishly done!

20 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The wet kitchen scene b/t Peyton and Michael. crystalmora1121
Solomon, a black man, is nothing but a mockery tmarks106
Things I Learned from 'The Hand That Rocks the Cradle' Cello1949-2
Solomon- Great Protrayal or most offensive character of all time? frankasu03
When claire punches peyton! crystalmora1121
Why did they need a nanny? haydeecm
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