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.


John Huston


Richard Brooks (screenplay), John Huston (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Frank McCloud
Edward G. Robinson ... Johnny Rocco
Lauren Bacall ... Nora Temple
Lionel Barrymore ... James Temple
Claire Trevor ... Gaye Dawn
Thomas Gomez ... Richard 'Curly' Hoff
Harry Lewis ... Edward 'Toots' Bass
John Rodney ... Deputy Clyde Sawyer
Marc Lawrence ... Ziggy
Dan Seymour ... Angel Garcia
Monte Blue ... Sheriff Ben Wade
William Haade ... Ralph Feeney


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 Brian Greenhalgh

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Gun Fury in the TROPICS! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This movie is referenced in Bertie Higgins's 1981 #1 hit song "Key Largo." See more »


Describing the summer heat in the Keys, Mr. Temple says that it will cool down in November: "The thermometer will drop to 100 (F, about 38C)", implying that summer temperatures are consistently above 100. This is incorrect. The climate is humid, but the adjacent waters moderate the temperature. Average summer high is 87F (31C). According to the Keys official tourism website, "The hottest it's ever been in Key West is 97º F (36º C), and that was way back in 1880." See more »


[first lines]
Sheriff Ben Wade: [to the driver after pulling over a bus] Hello, Eddie.
Bus Driver: 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.
Bus Driver: Okay.
[after the sheriff and deputy leave, he turns to Frank McCloud in the first passenger seat]
Bus Driver: Those Indians they're lookin' for must be from around here. They always head for home.
Frank McCloud: Home being Key Largo.
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Crazy Credits

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 »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Referenced in The Exotic Locations of 'Licence to Kill' (2006) See more »


Moanin' Low
Music by Ralph Rainger
Lyrics by Howard Dietz
Sung by Claire Trevor
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User Reviews

Stagy? Thank God!
3 June 2015 | by jeffhaller125See all my reviews

People often criticize this movie for really not being much more than a filmed play. Yeah! So what's wrong with that when the characters are three dimensional and the actors are brilliant. This movie gets dull only when it moves out of the hotel (the stage) and becomes a traditional action movie. The black and white photography is brilliant (I once saw it colorized and it was dreadful). The production design is perfectly honest. The direction is so clear and unpretentious; when you have faces as brilliant as these, you gotta take advantage of closeups. There is not one less than outstanding performance. Bacall's role doesn't call for her to do a lot of "acting" and as a result, she is very moving. Trevor had tough competition for her Oscar that year and she won because she understood that too much restraint would have been wrong yet she never goes too far. Bsrrymore is unusually tough and commanding, almost heroic against the thugs. Bogart is quiet and direct and when he gives Trevor her drink has the most powerful moment in the movie. Robinson? It is a real showy role, and Edward knew what not to do. He is savage. And he almost is sexy when he gets Claire to sing her song but he can revert to a monster within seconds and give the audience chills. It really is his movie. Gomez and his fellow stupid thugs are funny at times but the script is unusually honest and barbaric. Take away their guns and these guys are wimps. But why didn't they just stay in the hotel? The shootout at the end could have been done that way. The escape to Cuba isn't believable or compelling. Those who call this movie slow, just don't get it. They don't understand that artists use pacing for effect. Today's generation loving special effects and action and over-the-top acting will hate this movie. Their loss. And the loss for the future of film and theatre.

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English | Italian

Release Date:

31 July 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Key Largo See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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