8.0/10
74,451
422 user 196 critic

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Trailer
1:41 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON TV
ON DISC
ALL
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:

Charles Laughton

Writers:

James Agee (screenplay by), Davis Grubb (based on the novel by)
Reviews
Popularity
4,879 ( 307)
2 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 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
Touch of Evil (1958)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh
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
The Killing (1956)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Crook Johnny Clay assembles a five man team to plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards
Notorious (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Laura (1944)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A psychopath forces a tennis star to comply with his theory that two strangers can get away with murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses the suspicion of an insurance investigator.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara
The Third Man (1949)
Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli
Rope (1948)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two men attempt to prove they committed the perfect crime by hosting a dinner party after strangling their former classmate to death.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
Edit

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)
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 | child | money | doll | See All (331) »

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

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 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$795,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$654,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The sequence with Powell riding a horse in the distance was actually a little person on a pony. It was filmed in false perspective. See more »

Goofs

(at around 49 mins) When Harry tells the children about their "fine dinner, with fried chicken..." the chicken on the table is a whole, baked chicken. See more »

Quotes

Rev. Harry Powell: There are things you do hate, Lord. Perfume-smellin' things, lacy things, things with curly hair.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Seul le cinéma (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Hing, Hang, Hung
(1955) (uncredited)
Music by Walter Schumann
Lyrics by Davis Grubb
Sung by schoolyard children
Reprised a cappella by Sally Jane Bruce
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

An Unusual Blend Of Film Noir & German Expressionism
19 May 2015 | by CinemaClownSee all my reviews

Veteran actor Charles Laughton's directional debut & perhaps the only feature film he ever directed is a rare breed that blends film-noir with German expressionism, resulting in a very unique looking cinema that unfolds its narrative in a lyrical manner but also makes up for some weird moments as the two styles are often at odds with each other.

Based on the novel of the same name, the story of The Night of the Hunter focuses on one corrupt reverend-turned-serial killer who uses his charm to woo rich widows before killing them & fleeing with their money. Jailed for driving a stolen car, he learns from his cell mate about the large sum of money he had stolen & goes after his family once he's out of prison.

Co-written & directed by Charles Laughton, The Night of the Hunter really benefits from the few elements it borrows from German expressionism of the silent era like eccentric camera angles, unconventional settings, surreal photography or silhouette figures but its inclusion of stylised dialogues & unrealistic acting in a Hollywood crime-drama is also unintentionally hilarious at times.

Production design work is excellent, Cinematography makes terrific use of lighting, contrast & shadows, camera placement is inventive & every frame is captured in crisp detail. Editing is brilliant for the most part but its final act also feels overstretched, and performances are a mixed bag for the kids do a pretty good job in their given roles while Robert Mitchum's expressionist act borders on hamming.

On an overall scale, The Night of the Hunter is experimental cinema at its finest for it tries to merge into film-noir what influenced the genre in the first place. From a technical standpoint, the film is influential in every manner, especially the way it uses its camera to set a disturbing mood or introduce its themes but its overstretched ending, excessively dramatic lead act & depicted stupidity (or innocence) of children never allowed me to take its premise seriously.


9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 422 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching



Recently Viewed