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.
Frank McCloud travels to a run-down hotel on Key Largo to honor the memory of a friend who died bravely in his unit during WW II. His friend's widow, Nora Temple, and wheelchair bound father, James Temple manage the hotel and receive him warmly, but the three of them soon find themselves virtual prisoners when the hotel is taken over by a mob of gangsters led by Johnny Rocco who hole up there to await the passing of a hurricane. Mr. Temple strongly reviles Rocco but due to his infirmities can only confront him verbally. Having become disillusioned by the violence of war, Frank is reluctant to act, but Rocco's demeaning treatment of his alcoholic moll, Gaye Dawn, and his complicity in the deaths of the Osceola Brothers and a deputy sheriff start to motivate McCloud to overcome his Hamlet-like inaction.Written by
A line of Rocco's dialogue was popularly misquoted following the 2000 presidential election and its Florida-centric "recount battle" to make it look as if the movie was prophetic. See more »
Before the storm, Frank and Nora attach two bow lines to the boat. After the storm, when the gang gets on board the boat, Frank has one of the hoods cast off "that bow line" - only one line this time. See more »
Sheriff Ben Wade:
[to the driver after pulling over a bus]
Hi, Ben. What gives?
Sheriff Ben Wade:
We're lookin' for a couple Indians broke out of jail. Young bucks in fancy shirts. If you see anything of 'em, telephone my office at Palm Grove.
[after the sheriff and deputy leave, he turns to Frank McCloud in the first passenger seat]
Those Indians they're lookin' for must be from around here. They always head for home.
Home being Key Largo.
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At the southernmost point of the United States are the Florida Keys, a string of small islands held together by a concrete causeway. Largest of these remote coral islands is Key Largo. See more »
Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »
Key Largo is an absolutely brilliant film. Cast and screenplay are both superb. Bogart and Bacall have an intense personal chemistry that sparks on screen, and the supporting cast of Barrymore and E. G. Robinson give their best performances ever. Robinson, in particular, as the slimy gangster johnny rocco is great - his portrayal of the 'banality of evil' is the best I've ever seen.
The screenplay is magnificent. Not just the dialog, but also the balance of characters is perfect. For each good character there is a bad one of equal weight, forming a perfectly complementary totality, a yin/yang balance that teeters between triumph and disaster according to the finest shades of personal choice. It's an examination of freedom, of corruption, of courage and betrayal - a perfect encapsulation of the world, focused upon a hotel on a tiny island in the middle of a hurricane.
This movie deserves more recognition than it gets. The action is understated but intense, densely-packed with meaning and significance, at both the individual and cultural level. Watch this movie with new eyes!
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