8.0/10
71,259
414 user 189 critic

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Trailer
1:41 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay by), (based on the novel by)
Reviews
Popularity
3,991 ( 509)
2 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After a hard struggle the old man has just saved enough money to justify the marriage of his daughter and adopted son, when word comes from the oil fields nearby that his brother has lost ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: W. Chrystie Miller, Lillian Gish, Robert Harron
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

As part of a divorce settlement, Theodore Ainsley gets custody of his older daughter Millicent, and his wife Elinor gets younger sister Jean. The two girls, normally inseparable, can't bear... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Ingraham
Stars: Lillian Gish, Violet Wilkey, Keith Armour
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A poor Russian girl's beauty leads her unscrupulous uncle to bring her to the United States. There he is going to sell her into a marriage with a rich old man she has never met. But her ... See full summary »

Director: Christy Cabanne
Stars: Lillian Gish, Frank Bennett, Walter Long
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The question is, would the young tramp really have fallen in love with the groceryman's daughter if he had not caught her in the heart struggle. Be that as it may, she could not find it in ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Lionel Barrymore
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
Director: John B. O'Brien
Stars: Lillian Gish, Wilfred Lucas, Spottiswoode Aitken
The Sisters (1914)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Christy Cabanne
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Elmer Clifton
The Big Sleep (1946)
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

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
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A strait-laced amateur sociologist, Phillips Christy, from a wealthy family subscribes to the theory that people are shaped by their environment. When he falls in love with Diane, a ... See full summary »

Director: Christy Cabanne
Stars: Lillian Gish, Sam De Grasse, Howard Gaye
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: Lillian Gish, Spottiswoode Aitken, Sam De Grasse
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A dog (Hambone) treks from New York City to Los Angeles to be reunited with his owner (Hillie), meeting a host of helpers along the way.

Director: Roy Watts
Stars: Lillian Gish, Candy Clark, O.J. Simpson
Short | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Royal Macklin, a cadet at WEst Point, is discharged for a misdemeanor, and the father of Beatrice, Macklin's sweetheart, order her to break the engagement. Macklin goes to Honduras, in the ... See full summary »

Director: John B. O'Brien
Stars: Jack Conway, Lillian Gish, Spottiswoode Aitken
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Walt Spoon
...
...
...
Ruby (as Gloria Castilo)
Edit

Storyline

It's the Great Depression. In the process of robbing a bank of $10,000, Ben Harper kills two people. Before he is captured, he is able to convince his adolescent son John and his daughter Pearl not to tell anyone, including their mother Willa, where he hid the money, namely in Pearl's favorite toy, a doll that she carries everywhere with her. Ben, who is captured, tried and convicted, is sentenced to death. But before he is executed, Ben is in the state penitentiary with a cell mate, a man by the name of Harry Powell, a self-professed man of the cloth, who is really a con man and murderer, swindling lonely women, primarily rich widows, of their money before he kills them. Harry does whatever he can, unsuccessfully, to find out the location of the $10,000 from Ben. After Ben's execution, Harry decides that Willa will be his next mark, figuring that someone in the family knows where the money is hidden. Despite vowing not to remarry, Willa ends up being easy prey for Harry's outward ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

widow | preacher | children | money | doll | See All (326) »

Taglines:

The scenes...the story...The stars BUT ABOVE ALL - THE SUSPENSE! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 November 1955 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht des Jägers  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$795,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Lee Server in his biography, "Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don't Care", Robert Mitchum's "devotion to Charles Laughton and the project had begun to fade by the final week of the 36-day shoot. Producer Paul Gregory said that "Laughton had a keen thing for Mitchum, and Mitchum said all this shit about how he loved Charles, but he was on drugs, drunk, and what have you, and there were times when Charles couldn't get him in front of the camera. He put us through a lot of hell on that. The picture went two hundred thousand dollars over budget." To Gregory, Mitchum at times seemed uncomfortably like the character he was playing. "He was a charmer. An evil son of a bitch with a lot of charm. Mitch sort of scared me, to tell you the truth. I was always on guard. He was often in a state, and you never knew what he would do next. He would be drunk or in a fight with this flunky he kept around, and kicking him all over the place. I came from the world of the theatre and I had never seen anyone quite like this." See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 17 mins) When Harry says good morning to Ruby and Mrs. Cooper, he holds the hat about his chest. In the subsequent shot he is lifting the hat from about his knees. See more »

Quotes

Birdie Steptoe: Man of my age needs a little snort in the morning, heat the boilers.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Bringing in the Sheaves
(1880) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Knowles Shaw (1874)
Music by George A. Minor (1880)
Sung by all at a picnic
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Suffer the little children
24 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

Charles Laughton had only one choice to pay the role of psycho-reverend- conman for his adaption of Night of the Hunter and it was Robert Mitchum. When he's on the screen Mitchum fills it with malevolence.

It's an unusual part for Mitchum. Usually he's terse and laconic in films, but as Harry Powell he's just full of words. Of course he doesn't mean anything he says, but he's just a fountain of speech in Night of the Hunter. Mitchum as he did later on in Thunder Road drew from his hobohemian background of the open road to get his characterization of the Reverend Harry Powell.

Powell who marries and murders women after robbing them blind has more than 25 to his credit in the backwoods of the Ohio river country in West Virginia and Kentucky during the Depression years. But he gets arrested for stealing a car and gets 30 days in jail. Mitchum gets thrown in the same cell as Peter Graves who robbed a bank and killed two people. Graves before he's caught gave the loot to his son Billy Chapin with a promise not even to tell their mother because she's not too swift. How right he's proved to be.

After Graves is hung, Mitchum finishes his sentence with the intention of wooing and marrying widow Shelley Winters. She falls for his line as does her little girl Sally Jane Bruce. But young Billy spots Mitchum for a phony from the gitgo.

The children are in for a lot of heartbreak and tragedy before the film concludes. One of the things I like best about Night is the Hunter is the way Laughton graphically demonstrates the life and poverty of rural America during the Depression. The film is all seen through the eyes of the children as they begin their Huck Finn like odyssey down the Ohio river, escaping from Mitchum.

According to Lee Server's biography of Mitchum, Laughton while great with the adults had no patience at all with the kids. After a while he let Mitchum actually direct Chapin and Bruce in their scenes.

Lillian Gish gives one of her great performances in the sound era of her career as the farm woman who eventually takes in the kids as she does for a few others. She's there to be a contrast to Mitchum. Her actions speak her faith a lot louder than Mitchum's phony ramblings.

Another role I like in this is that of Evelyn Varden. She and husband Don Beddoe employ Shelley Winters at their drug store and she's all full of concern in a showy pharisee like way for the kids. She's totally taken with Mitchum, but when he's unmasked as a phony her rage is something to see on screen.

Sad that Charles Laughton didn't do more behind the camera than this one film. He and Robert Mitchum formed a mutual admiration society that lasted until Laughton passed on inn 1962.

Still Night of the Hunter is a testament to that mutual admiration.


45 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 414 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page