8.0/10
72,442
420 user 190 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:

Charles Laughton

Writers:

James Agee (screenplay by), Davis Grubb (based on the novel by)
Reviews
Popularity
3,930 ( 80)
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 8.1/10 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
The Killing (1956)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A psychotic socialite attempts to force a professional tennis star to prove a theory that two complete strangers can get away with murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman
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
Touch of Evil (1958)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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
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
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison
High Noon (1952)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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 Searchers (1956)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles
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 | money | doll | death | See All (325) »

Taglines:

The Hands Of ROBERT MITCHUM in "The Night of the Hunter" 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:

Die Nacht des Jägers See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paul Gregory Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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 15 mins) When Mitchum shadow appears in the room of the children. He is staying under the street lamp in the next frame with him shadow on the ground. See more »

Quotes

Rev. Harry Powell: I can hear you whisperin' children, so I know you're down there. I can feel myself gettin' awful mad. I'm out of patience children. I'm coming to find you now.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Love & Rage (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Once Upon a Time There Was a Pretty Fly
(1955) (uncredited)
Music by Walter Schumann
Lyrics by Davis Grubb
Originally sung by Sally Jane Bruce but later dubbed by Betty Benson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Very atmospheric thriller
17 November 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Just before John Harper's father is captured by police, he tells his son where he has hidden the money. While in prison for his crime, he sleep talks and betrays himself to the religiously unhinged Rev Harry Powell. Powell leaves jail with Harper dead in his cell and sets out to infiltrate the family and get the money. However, when he kills John's mother, he and his sister go on the run from him.

One of these `hindsight is 20/20' films that gains a reputation with time, this film deserves the praise in gets in many areas and deserve to be very fondly remembered, or at least a lot more fondly than it was received by critics and audiences of the time. The plot is basic but full of religious imagery that works very well, whether it's Powell's twisted preacher or the runs of scripture that many of the characters cling to. The film presents itself with a very strong tone of foreboding and darkness that makes the material (and characters) feel more dangerous.

Most of the credit for this belongs with Laughton as director, who uses shadow really well and frames the film with clever shots. Some that come to mind is the shadow of Powell on his horse on the horizon, or the woman in the car underwater and so on. It stills feels clever and inventive now so it must have been seen as very different in the fifties. How he didn't win an Oscar, I'm not sure – wonder what else was up in this year.

Mitchum is tremendous in the title role, his role is larger than life and was also slightly playing with fire in it's portrayal as a reverend as corrupt or evil. Chapin is really wonderful as young John and has a much better character than some of the others in the cast. Winters is good in her performance. The only downside of the film is the 10 minutes at the end which feel like they are a happy ending that has just been tacked on and doesn't fit with the tone of the film.

Other than that, this is a very strong film in terms of theme, plot, acting and cinematography. It deserves more than it got at the time and I'm glad that modern audiences are finding this film all the time.


109 of 175 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 420 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Horror and Thriller Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular horror and thriller movies available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed