7.5/10
11,422
202 user 83 critic

The Bad Seed (1956)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Horror | 12 September 1956 (USA)
Trailer
3:20 | Trailer

On Disc

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A housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect eight year-old daughter is a heartless killer.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

John Lee Mahin (screenplay), Maxwell Anderson (play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
1,537 ( 7,959)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Nancy Kelly ... Christine Penmark
Patty McCormack ... Rhoda Penmark
Henry Jones ... Leroy Jessup
Eileen Heckart ... Hortense Daigle
Evelyn Varden ... Monica Breedlove
William Hopper ... Col. Kenneth Penmark
Paul Fix ... Richard Bravo
Jesse White ... Emory Wages
Gage Clarke ... Reginald 'Reggie' Tasker
Joan Croydon Joan Croydon ... Claudia Fern (as Joan Croyden)
Frank Cady ... Henry Daigle
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Storyline

Christine Penmark seems to have it all: a lovely home, a loving husband and the most "perfect" daughter in the world. But since childhood, Christine has suffered from the most terrible recurring nightmare. And her "perfect" daughter's accomplishments include lying, theft and possibly much, much worse. Only Christine knows the truth about her daughter and only Christine's father knows the truth about her nightmare. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For little Rhoda, murder is child's play. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 September 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Bad Seed See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Apparently director Mervyn LeRoy did little to persuade Nancy Kelly to modulate her performance for the screen, rather than simply replicate her stage interpretation of this same role. As a result, many of Kelly's facial expressions, gestures and movements have an exaggerated, "stagey" quality. See more »

Goofs

When Leroy goes down to the incinerator after talking to Rhoda. As he opens the incinerator he goes to a lot of trouble not to be burned by the metal doors. But when he gets the doors open. After that, he just reaches right in and grabs the soles of the shoes right out of the apparently hot incinerator. See more »

Quotes

Hortense Daigle: Miss Fern dyes her hair.
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Crazy Credits

"You have just seen a motion picture whose theme dares to be startlingly different. May we ask that you do not divulge the unusual climax of the story. Thank you." See more »

Connections

Referenced in This Filthy World (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Au clair de la lune
(uncredited)
Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Lully
Played on the piano by Patty McCormack and whistled by Henry Jones
Played often in the score
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Camp Classic
19 October 2005 | by rday-9See all my reviews

I love this movie. I have read many reviews from professionals and they all seem to think the movie is too theatrical and you can tell it was a stage play and that the mother is especially dramatic. She is, that's true, but in the same way Faye Dunaway chews up Mommie Dearest and we all know what a hoot that is. Little Rhoda is a real stinker. The handyman had better "give her those shoes." The subplot of the mother's own identity is fun too. All in all, the movie is very 50s. You can almost see Wally and the Beaver coming down the street. Great! There is also some discussion about the formal introduction of the cast at the end which I've always found a very nice touch. Much older films of the 30s used to do that all the time. It's been said this film did it to show the characters were just flesh and blood actors and so their roles and the subject matter (especially Patty McCormack) shouldn't be taken seriously. See it. By the way, there is one review on this site by someone who says they saw the movie at age 12 that is very negative. Don't believe it!


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