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

Director:

Charles Laughton

Writers:

Davis Grubb (from the novel by), James Agee (screenplay by)
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Popularity
4,562 ( 479)
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Mitchum ... Harry Powell
Shelley Winters ... Willa Harper
Lillian Gish ... Rachel Cooper
James Gleason ... Uncle Birdie Steptoe
Evelyn Varden ... Icey Spoon
Peter Graves ... Ben Harper
Don Beddoe ... Walt Spoon
Billy Chapin ... John Harper
Sally Jane Bruce ... Pearl Harper
Gloria Castillo ... Ruby (as Gloria Castilo)
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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

Taglines:

This morning we were married... and now you think I'm going to kiss you, hold you, call you my wife! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the trial at the end of the movie, the crowd is chanting "Bluebeard!" This is in reference to a French folktale of a man who married several women and then killed them. See more »

Goofs

(at around 56 mins) When the children escape by the river, the boat goes down the river against the current. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Rachel Cooper: Now you remember, children, how I told you last Sunday about the good Lord going up into the mountain and talking to the people and how he said, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God"? And how he said that King Solomon in all his glory was not as beautiful as the lilies of the field? And I know you will not forget, "Judge not, lest you be judged," because I explained that to you. And then the good Lord went on to say, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in ...
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Soundtracks

Cresap's Landing Party
(uncredited)
Composers unknown
Played on banjo and sung by James Gleason
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User Reviews

 
A must-see for lovers of art cinema and suspense. Exquisite!
29 December 1998 | by MoxieSee all my reviews

One of the best suspense films ever made. Exquisite art direction: moody, scary, sometimes lyrically beautiful. Yet there are comical and even idyllic moments. Mitchum is EXCELLENT, especially in the cellar scene. Subtle, different; not just the same old ax-after-ax tear-'em-up blood-and-gore formula, but REAL suspense built from the personalities of the characters and the artful editing, music, art direction, and Charles Laughton's directing. Yet warm and lovely in parts. The cast's characterizations are excellent, even in minor roles, such as the "typical townspeople". You'll remember this one for a long time. Maybe not for kids under 12, as the frightening parts are too much like real life (compared to run-of-the-mill horrendous movies) and might leave unsettling memories.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 November 1955 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

The Night of the Hunter See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$795,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,001
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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