7.5/10
11,094
197 user 84 critic

The Bad Seed (1956)

Trailer
3:20 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON TV
ON DISC
ALL
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
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Bad Seed (TV Movie 2018)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A father is forced to question everything he thought he knew about his daughter when he believes she may have played a role in the tragic death of a classmate at her school.

Director: Rob Lowe
Stars: Mckenna Grace, Cara Buono, Rob Lowe
The Bad Seed (TV Movie 1985)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Fatal freak accidents force a widow to realize her precocious 9-year-old daughter was born to kill.

Director: Paul Wendkos
Stars: Blair Brown, Lynn Redgrave, David Carradine
Kötü tohum (1963)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Nevzat Pesen
Stars: Alev Oraloglu, Lale Oraloglu, Öztürk Serengil
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the English village of Midwich, the blonde-haired, glowing-eyed children of uncertain paternity prove to have frightening powers.

Director: Wolf Rilla
Stars: George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Michael Gwynn
Edit

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
Edit

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:

What would you do if you were cursed with "The Bad Seed"? See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

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 »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Henreid tried to buy the rights to the play. He wanted to direct and was planning to cast Bette Davis in the role of the mother. See more »

Goofs

When Christine scolds Rhoda for asking for a garnet as well as a turquoise, the reflection of someone, probably Mervyn LeRoy, sitting in a chair with his legs crossed is visible in the coffee pot. Addition: Just to the left of the reflection that is assumed to be LeRoy you can see other crew members moving in the shadow of the door-frame reflected in the coffee pot. See more »

Quotes

Leroy: You ask me and I say you don't even feel sorry for what happened to that little boy.
Rhoda: Why should I feel sorry? It was Claude Daigle who got drowned, not me!
See more »

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

Remade as The Bad Seed (2018) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Assured portrayals of real characters in an amazingly chilling film!
5 May 2006 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

What we have here is a fantastic classic horror film, which benefits from great performances from all concerned and a plot not typical of serial killer films. The film doesn't adhere to convention and builds its story around an idea that was frightening for the time - and still is to this day. The murderer in this film is as evil as any other; the only difference being that here the killings are committed by a decidedly amoral child. The film presents a good portrait of its star, as it presents its ideas very much from a child's point of view. The young girl doesn't see what she's doing as wrong as she is always given a reason to pass on the blame for wrongdoings, and this always comes across in a plausible way. The plot surrounding the atrocities is even more interesting than the central idea, as we follow the torment inflicted on the girl's mother. The situation that Christine Penmark finds herself in is the stuff of nightmares; just what can you do if you find that your eight year old child has committed murder? The Bad Seed makes excellent use of this dilemma, and the fact that it's incredibly easy to buy into the plot ensures that The Bad Seed prevails as an potently chilling film.

The film is based on a stage play by Maxwell Anderson, and this comes across often as the film takes place in just a few settings and the whole thing is very stagy. This is, however, to its benefit; as the locations make the whole piece more claustrophobic, and the fact that we don't see the murders themselves benefits the film immensely as it allows the audience to spend more time considering the implications; which are what the film is actually about. The main reason why this film works so well is down to a great performance by talented child actor Patricia McCormack. McCormack presents a portrayal that finds exactly the right pitch between the sweet and innocent youngster that she appears; and the dark persona that lies just beneath her exterior. Nancy Kelly similarly gives a defining performance as her tortured mother, and excellently puts across a torrent of emotion. The acting is typically melodramatic, but all the cast somehow manage to keep their acting down to earth. Every scene in the movie is perfectly pitched and nothing is wasted as we are continually taught more about the characters and their situations. The climax to the film is fabulously poetic, despite being implemented on the producer's orders and overall, I really don't see much wrong with this film. Highly recommended!


52 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 197 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed