8.0/10
73,501
269 user 107 critic

The Big Sleep (1946)

Not Rated | | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery | 31 August 1946 (USA)
Trailer
1:47 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON TV
ON DISC
ALL
Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

William Faulkner (screen play), Leigh Brackett (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
3,730 ( 2,070)
2 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

During World War II, American expatriate Harry Morgan helps transport a French Resistance leader and his beautiful wife to Martinique while romancing a sensuous lounge singer.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan
Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George
Key Largo (1948)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A man visits his war buddy's family hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas
Dark Passage (1947)
Certificate: Passed Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A man convicted of murdering his wife escapes from prison and works with a woman to try and prove his innocence.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett
Laura (1944)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb
Notorious (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In Africa during World War I, a gin-swilling riverboat captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A potentially violent screenwriter is a murder suspect until his lovely neighbor clears him. But she begins to have doubts.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses the suspicion of an insurance investigator.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen
Touch of Evil (1958)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Philip Marlowe
Lauren Bacall ... Vivian Rutledge
John Ridgely ... Eddie Mars
Martha Vickers ... Carmen Sternwood
Dorothy Malone ... Acme Book Shop Proprietress
Peggy Knudsen ... Mona Mars
Regis Toomey ... Chief Inspector Bernie Ohls
Charles Waldron Charles Waldron ... General Sternwood
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown ... Norris - the Butler
Bob Steele ... Lash Canino
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Harry Jones
Louis Jean Heydt ... Joe Brody
Edit

Storyline

The Big Sleep is the story of private investigator Philip Marlowe, who is hired by a wealthy general to find out and stop his youngest daughter Carmen from being blackmailed about her gambling debts. Almost immediately, Marlowe finds himself deep within a web of love triangles, blackmail, murder, gambling, and organized crime. With the help of the General's eldest daughter Vivian, Marlowe skillfully plots to free the family from this web and trap Eddie, the main man behind much of this mischief, to meet his end at the hands of his own henchmen. Written by Alec

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Violence-Screen's All-Time Rocker-Shocker! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 August 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Al borde del abismo See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,540,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,682,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (pre-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Lauren Bacall shot another film, Confidential Agent (1945), after this one, Warners' decided to release it first, arguing that the later film was more topical and needed to come out during the final days of World War II. They also felt it showcased Bacall more effectively. The film turned out to be a disaster, however. At the urging of her agent, Charles Feldman, Hawks and the studio built up her part in The Big Sleep and re-shot a scene in which she wore an unflattering veil. The original version was only shown to U.S. soldiers stationed overseas. See more »

Goofs

During Marlowe's initial introduction to Vivian, she pours herself a glass of a clear-colored liquid from bar which turns into a dark liquid half-way through scene. See more »

Quotes

Philip Marlowe: Hm.
General Sternwood: What does that mean?
Philip Marlowe: [laughing] It means, "Hm!"
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall are seen in silhouette, placing cigarettes in an ashtray. At the end, two cigarettes are in an ashtray. See more »

Alternate Versions

The pre-release (1945) version, released in 1997, was extensively re-cut to produce the 1946 version, eliminating all the scenes that included Pat Clark, who played Mona Mars in the original. She was replaced by Peggy Knudsen for the scene near the end in the house at the back of Art Huck's garage, because Ms. Clark wasn't available. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hail, Caesar! (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

You Go to My Head
(uncredited)
Written by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots
[Played when Marlowe and Vivian Regan are having drinks.]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Lots of murders never looked and sounded to good
23 March 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Big Sleep (1946)

Even hardened film noir and Humphrey Bogart fans admit that this is one confusing movie. It makes sense, but it is edited down to such essentials, and it barrels along with the intensity of a bullet in a smoky canyon using overlapping dialog e and a shower of names, half of whom end up dead, it's really an impossible job for a mortal viewer.

And that's where it's aura, and magic, and legend, lie. It's a great film, and if it's flawed by its excessive velocity, it's defined by it, too. Enjoy Bogart as such, and Lauren Bacall for her sporadic appearances, and for Elisha Cook Jr. for a brief, wonderful splash. All the side characters, even the ones who are clearly only characters, are dripping with criminal drama. The photography is dark but never obscure, the action is fast but never unreasonable, and the lines are classic noir.

In fact, the dialog, if you are paying attention, is one of the gems of 1940s movies--really witty and cutting, and cunning. The movie is brilliant top to bottom, if only you could keep track of what was going on.

Suggestions: Read the plot in the Wikipedia entry before you watch the movie a second time. (The first time, just dive and and get lost. It's too much fun to care, if you can let go.) Watch Bogart's delivery, his physical presence, his wherewithal. Listen to Bacall sing (pretty darned good). Watch the amazing light and camera work (Sydney Hickox) with it's constantly moving perspective and layers of action. Follow the score (Max Steiner) which is appropriately restrained, turning just slightly when Bogart and Bacall are in scenes together.

Howard Hawks pulls of a quirky masterpiece here. You get to the end and frankly don't care too much, perhaps, about the outcome, about who survives and what their futures might hold. But that's fine, too. It might just make you want to watch it again. Good filmmaking does that.


9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 269 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed