7.5/10
4,183
62 user 30 critic

Act of Violence (1949)

Passed | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | February 1949 (USA)
An embittered, vengeful POW stalks his former commanding officer who betrayed his men's planned escape attempt from a Nazi prison camp.

Director:

Fred Zinnemann

Writers:

Robert L. Richards (screenplay), Collier Young (story)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A small town policeman is assisted by a Harvard professor when a human skeleton is found on a Massachusetts beach.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Ricardo Montalban, Sally Forrest, Bruce Bennett
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Mexican and American federal agents tackle a vicious gang exploiting illegal farm workers in southern California.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Howard Da Silva
Crossfire (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A man is murdered, apparently by one of a group of demobilized soldiers he met in a bar. But which one? And why?

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan
The Set-Up (1949)
Crime | Film-Noir | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias
Tension (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A meek pharmacist creates an alternate identity under which he plans to murder the bullying liquor salesman who has become his wife's lover.

Director: John Berry
Stars: Richard Basehart, Audrey Totter, Cyd Charisse
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Rough city cop Jim Wilson is disciplined by his captain and is sent upstate, to a snowy mountain town, to help the local sheriff solve a murder case.

Directors: Nicholas Ray, Ida Lupino
Stars: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A former boxer turned cab driver has to hide from the police when his badgering wife is murdered by the jewel thief she was having an affair with.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: John Payne, Evelyn Keyes, Brad Dexter
The Prowler (1951)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

When Susan Gilvray reports a prowler outside her house police officer Webb Garwood investigates and sparks fly. If only her husband wasn't in the way.

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes, John Maxwell
Crime Wave (1953)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Reformed parolee Steve Lacey is caught in the middle when a wounded former cellmate seeks him out for shelter.

Director: André De Toth
Stars: Gene Nelson, Sterling Hayden, Phyllis Kirk
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An otherwise moral captain of a charter boat becomes financially strapped and is drawn into illegal activities in order to keep up payments on his boat.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: John Garfield, Patricia Neal, Phyllis Thaxter
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Van Heflin ... Frank R. Enley
Robert Ryan ... Joe Parkson
Janet Leigh ... Edith Enley
Mary Astor ... Pat
Phyllis Thaxter ... Ann
Berry Kroeger ... Johnny
Taylor Holmes ... Gavery
Harry Antrim Harry Antrim ... Fred
Connie Gilchrist ... Martha
Will Wright ... Pop
Edit

Storyline

War veteran Frank Enley seems to be a happily married small-town citizen until he realises Joe Parkson is in town. It seems Parkson is out for revenge because of something that happened in a German POW camp, and when a frightened Enley suddenly leaves for a convention in L.A., Parkson is close behind. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Man Hunt No Woman's Kisses Could Stop! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

February 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Act of Violence See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,290,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

All the credits except for the title are at the end of the movie, highly unusual for that time. See more »

Goofs

When Enley and his wife are awakened by the child's nightmare, the time on the nightstand clock is about 2:25. Later, she's awakened when Enley leaves, but the time has gone back to 1:25. See more »

Quotes

Joe Parkson: Sure, I was in the hospital, but I didn't go crazy. I kept myself sane. You know how? I kept saying to myself: Joe, you're the only one alive that knows what he did. You're the one that's got to find him, Joe. I kept remembering. I kept thinking back to that prison camp. One of them lasted to the morning. By then, you couldn't tell his voice belonged to a man. He sounded like a dog that got hit by a truck and left him in the street.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Act of Violence: Dealing with the Devil (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Done A Terrible Wrong
13 August 2010 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Neither Van Heflin or Robert Ryan were ever considered matinée idols or big box office draws. But both men were consummate professionals who could cast well in a variety of roles. I think that Act Of Violence could have worked just as well if they had played each other's parts.

MGM was a studio that did not do noir films very often, but in this case with Fred Zinnemann directing they did this one very well. No cops or private eyes in this one, both men are your average American of 1948. One has done a terrible wrong to the other and the other is seeking revenge.

Heflin is a former pilot who was shot down over Germany during World War II and Ryan was his bombardier. They both did time in a POW camp where Heflin informed on escape plans that Ryan and others made. No one survived but Ryan and he now walks with a limp, courtesy of Nazi machine gunners.

In civilian life Heflin is now a very successful contractor and when he hears Ryan is looking for him, he gets naturally rattled which concerns his wife Janet Leigh. Heflin who was not going to go to a convention in Los Angeles now changes his mind abruptly, but not before explaining to Leigh the reason for his fear. It's more fear of being exposed than for his life.

In Los Angeles Heflin who won his Oscar for Johnny Eager playing an alcoholic borrows a bit from that role as he ends up in a waterfront dive pouring his troubles out to some lowlifes played by Mary Astor, Taylor Holmes, and Berry Kroeger. Holmes is also drawing a bit from a previous role as a shyster lawyer in Kiss Of Death as he's playing the same kind of character in seedier circumstances. In fact Holmes's character says he is an attorney. I know Fred Zinnemann must have seen Kiss Of Death and cast Holmes as a result of that.

The climax might not be what you think, but in a way it's a fitting ending to the story. Though they get good support from the rest of the cast Heflin and Ryan dominate the story though they have no scenes together until the end. Act Of Violence is a noir classic and fans of Heflin and Ryan should list it among their best performances.


8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 62 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed