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The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

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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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5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Skousen ...
Justin Zaremby ...
Roth, the Schoolyard Bully
Eric Melander ...
Jennifer Melander ...
Ashley Melander ...
Cliff Lenz ...
Seattle Today Host
Penny LeGate ...
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Peyton Flanders (Rebecca De Mornay) 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 due to the stress caused by the death of her husband, Dr. Victor Mott (John de Lancie), and blamed it on Claire (the mother, played by Annabella Sciorra),. Claire suspects nothing, having never met Peyton before. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Behind a beautiful face, beneath a dangerous smile, lies a rage that can't be stopped. 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)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Matt McCoy appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Price (1989) and John de Lancie was a recurring character as Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: Voyager (1995). See more »


It is illegal to broadcast the name and picture of a sexual assault victim. See more »


Michael Bartel: Marlene, I think I'm gonna bum one of these.
[Takes one of her cigarettes]
Claire: You are such a bad influence. He only smokes around you now.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Hollywood's Fear of Love (1993) See more »


from "H.M.S. Pinafore"
Written by W.S. Gilbert (uncredited) and Arthur Sullivan (uncredited)
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

The Nanny From Hell
22 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

Just the opening scene turns off a lot of people, but that's too because all of the film - all of it - is interesting with Rebecca DeMornay excelling at a vengeful, psychotic killer nanny. This "nanny" does about everything you could do to ruin a family. Yes, she's the nanny from Hell.

I always thought Annabella Sciorra had an interesting face with a knockout smile, at least back in late '80s, early '90s, so I enjoy watching her. Here, she plays a good woman who is married to a good man (Matt McCoy) - wow, there's an oddity in modern films: a happy and faithful husband and wife!

This is an involving film. Once you are into it, you're hooked and the 100-plus minutes go by pretty fast. DeMornay is so effective in her role you just can't wait to see her exposed for who she is and justice done to her.

I did think Sciorra's character would have needed more to go on to come to the right conclusion near the end, but, usually every film has some question marks regarding credibility. The violent, ending scene is very suspenseful and well- done.

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