7.1/10
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77 user 60 critic

The Killers (1964)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 24 October 1964 (UK)
Surprised that their contract victim didn't try to run away from them, two professional hit men try to find out who hired them and why.

Director:

Don Siegel (as Donald Siegel)

Writers:

Ernest Hemingway (story), Gene L. Coon (screenplay)
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Marvin ... Charlie Strom
Angie Dickinson ... Sheila Farr
John Cassavetes ... Johnny North
Clu Gulager ... Lee
Claude Akins ... Earl Sylvester
Norman Fell ... Mickey Farmer
Ronald Reagan ... Jack Browning
Virginia Christine ... Miss Watson
Don Haggerty ... Mail Truck Driver
Robert Phillips ... George Fleming
Kathleen O'Malley ... Miss Leslie - Receptionist
Ted Jacques Ted Jacques ... Gym Assistant
Irvin Mosley Jr. Irvin Mosley Jr. ... Mail Truck Guard (as Irvin Mosley)
Jimmy Joyce Jimmy Joyce ... Salesman
Davis Roberts ... Maître D'
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Storyline

A remake of The Killers (1946) which itself was inspired by the Ernest Hemingway short story. Told instead from the hitmen's point of view, the killers decide to find out why their latest victim (a race car driver) "just stood there and took it" when they came to shoot him. They also figure on collecting more money. Ronald Reagan plays a rich, double-crossing financier. Lovely Angie Dickinson plays the femme fatale. Written by Mark Logan <marklo@west.sun.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There is more than one way to kill a man! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa #29502. See more »

Goofs

Although most of the staff and many of the students in the blind school are sight-impaired, all informational signs, names on doors and room numbers are painted, with no accompanying braille information. See more »

Quotes

Earl Sylvester: How'd he die?
Lee: Johnny North choked to death on one question... too many.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Hollywood Burn (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Little Time
Music by Henry Mancini
Lyrics by Don Raye
Sung by Nancy Wilson
See more »

User Reviews

My favourite cult B-movie...
20 January 2000 | by Glad-2See all my reviews

Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager, two contract killers, walk into a Midwest school for the blind and cold-bloodedly murder John Cassavettes. "We walk in, we put him down, we walk out," muses Marvin distractedly on the train back to Chicago. Cassavettes had the chance to run but didn't, and Marvin wants to know why.

Initially, Don Siegel's colour remake of the Ernest Hemingway story was intended as the first made-for-TV movie. Vetoed by the network for its amoral viewpoint and violence, it was released in cinemas and quickly became a cult 1960s B-movie.

Anonymous and menacing in executive suits, sunglasses and briefcase, Marvin and scene-stealing Gulager memorably personify organised crime under Siegel's expert direction. They're pure all-American evil.

True, the main plot - pieced together in flashback as the two hitmen track down the mail robbery gang led by Ronald Reagan (his last film) - is pretty routine stuff. But even that serves to heighten the threat represented by Marvin and Gulager, as they unravel the real reason for Cassavettes' deathwish.

"No one ever knows what we're talking about," mocks Gulager when femme fatale Angie Dickinson tries to act dumb. The scene in the hotelroom where the killers force her to tell is handled with a ferocious cool that is Siegel's trademark.

The Killers was still in production when Kennedy was assassinated - perhaps one reason, given its theme, why TV network ABC pulled it from their 1964 schedule. The scene where Gulager is shot down on a sunlit sidewalk even echoed the killing of Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (Gulager's character is called Lee).

OK, it's not a masterpiece. Even the great Don Siegel can't quite disguise a B-movie budget, a repetitious screenplay, brightly artificial colour, and exteriors that are only too obviously the Universal backlot. But it is tense and exciting, thanks to Siegel's authoritative grasp of the genre.

"I shot it in the style which I think is my style at its best," Siegel concluded later. "Very taut and lean with great economy. If I had to do it over again, I don't think I would change much."


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 October 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Johnny North See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,944
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Revue Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastman Color by Pathé)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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