7.1/10
6,927
81 user 58 critic

The Killers (1964)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 24 October 1964 (UK)
Trailer
2:23 | Trailer
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 »

Videos

Photos

Edit

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
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'
Edit

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:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Seymour Cassel , who has a brief appearance as a clerk in the hotel near the end of the film, appeared in a number of films directed by co-star John Cassavetes, though they do not appear in any scenes together here. See more »

Goofs

Very poorly done rear-screen projection used for the go-cart racing scene, and the editing from the process shots to the main shots, with the change in color, brightness and sharpness is jarring. Same with the driving during the race where multiple studio lights can be seen reflected on the car and drivers' helmets. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Strom: [referring to Mickey Farmer] He knows me. I had to lean on him once.
Lee: You know 'em all, don't ya?
Charlie Strom: You never know them all.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The style of the film's credits reflect it's original made-for-TV origins: in 1960's TV movies, Stars, Co-stars and Featured Players were listed only in the opening credits, while supporting players were listed only in the closing credits. See more »

Connections

Featured in Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Little Time
Music by Henry Mancini
Lyrics by Don Raye
Sung by Nancy Wilson
[Johnny and Sheila dance to the song performed at the nightclub]
See more »

User Reviews

 
Siegel takes Siodmak into fast, brutal post-Camelot era
30 June 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

Under the title Ernest Hemingway's The Killers, Don Siegel's 1964 movie shows no more fidelity to the short story from which it takes its name and a fraction of its plot than Robert Siodmak's 1946 masterpiece, The Killers. And though it borrowed from the earlier movie its flashback structure (substantially simplified) and much of the backstory written for it, it's not quite a remake, either: the changes strike too deep.

A pair of contract hit-men track down a victim who seems ready, almost eager, to die. The killers this time around are Lee Marvin and Clu Gallagher, whose cozy arrangements suggest something of Fante and Mingo in The Big Combo. The first big shift from its 1946 predecessor is that Marvin's curiosity, not an insurance investigator's, sets the plot in motion, by his delving into the target's past and the whereabouts of a million dollars from a heist years before (in fact, he becomes the principal character). The second is a racheted-up level of violence: The movie opens with the pair tracking down their prey in a school for the blind, whose residents they ruthlessly terrorize during their hunt. And the level stays high.

John Cassavettes plays the victim, a former race-car driver fallen on hard times since a bad smash-up. Through the reminiscences of old buddy Claude Akins and past associate Norman Fell, we relive his racing career to an extent that stretches of the movie look like outtakes from Grand Prix. In those glory days he crossed tracks with the femme fatale of the piece, Angie Dickinson (in her rat-pack, late-Camelot salad days herself). After his car crash and their break-up, she lures him off the primrose path – to serve as driver during a mail-truck robbery.

But Dickinson's heart belongs to daddy – daddy in this instance being Ronald Reagan as a heavy. This marks his last film role. For a while it was chic to dismiss Reagan as a lousy actor, but he was always compentent enough. The puzzle is that the undeniable charisma that helped garner him the governorship of California and the presidency of the United States never came through on the screen; he couldn't carry a picture. He has a nasty moment slapping Dickinson silly when her attention strays to Cassavettes, but Marvin redeems his top billing by stealing the movie.

Ernest Hemingway's The Killers remains a good example of how the complexities and suggestiveness of the noir cycle were to metamorphose into a faster, flatter, more literal and brutal style of moviemaking starting in the late 1950s. Don Siegel was in the forefront of this change, starting in period noirs (The Verdict) but reaching his apogee, so to speak, in Dirty Harry. He delivers the goods, pronto, in a plain brown wrapper.


45 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 81 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 October 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Johnny North See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)

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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed