63 user 76 critic

Cul-de-sac (1966)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Thriller | 7 November 1966 (USA)
1:31 | Trailer
In search of help, two wounded gangsters on the run find refuge in the secluded castle of a feeble man and his wife; however, under the point of a gun, nothing is what it seems.


Roman Polanski


Roman Polanski (original screenplay), Gérard Brach (original screenplay) (as Gerard Brach)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Donald Pleasence ... George
Françoise Dorléac ... Teresa
Lionel Stander ... Richard
Jack MacGowran ... Albie
Iain Quarrier ... Christopher
Geoffrey Sumner ... Christopher's Father
Renee Houston ... Christopher's Mother
Robert Dorning Robert Dorning ... Philip Fairweather
Marie Kean ... Marion Fairweather
William Franklyn William Franklyn ... Cecil
Jacqueline Bisset ... Jacqueline (as Jackie Bisset)
Trevor Delaney Trevor Delaney ... Horace


A wounded criminal and his dying partner take refuge at a beachfront castle. The owners of the castle, a meek Englishman and his willful French wife, are initially the unwilling hosts to the criminals. Quickly, however, the relationships between the criminal, the wife, and the Englishman begin to shift in humorous and bizarre fashion. Written by Sean Taylor <Taylor@org.chem.ethz.ch>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


L'Humour, L'Amour, La Mort. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Has one of the longest continuous sequences in cinematic history (at the time of release) at 7 mins 28 secs (the beach scene). See more »


When the boy carries the shotgun, discontinuity of the shots is apparent when you compare his progress of walking beside the door between the two shots. See more »


[first lines]
Richard: What the hell are you doing?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The VHS version released in Brazil by Globo Vídeo has exactly 100 minutes. See more »


Referenced in Multiple Maniacs (1970) See more »

User Reviews

Cul-de-sac (1966)
16 June 2017 | by rockman182See all my reviews

Finally had the opportunity to watch this film. I love Roman Polanski's work. The first two films of The Apartment trilogy are phenomenal. Even his recent stuff is so good (I'm talking especially about Carnage). This is a film he worked on in between Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby and going in I had no idea what it was about. After watching I don't think its among Polanski's best but still enjoyable and pretty damn frenetic like most of his work at the time.

The film follows a gangster and his dying partner who take refuge in a castle out in an island. On this island lives quite a neurotic man and his girlfriend and they kind of have to give into the whims of their captor. In a way push comes to shove and things get hectic between the trio and others coming onto the island. Its hard to explain this film fully giving it justice without spoiling. While the film has flaws and isn't as memorable as some of his others that came out at the same time.

It doesn't really tap into fear and paranoia like Rosemary's Baby and Repulsion; its another thing thematically. I think the comedic aspect of the film kind of hurts it from being one of Polanski's finer works. I think Polanski knows how to tap into fear, anxiety, paranoia and this film is pretty void of that. It's nice seeing Donald Pleasance in something so different prior to his Halloween days.

Overall, its worth a watch for people who really like Polanski's work although he is capable of much better. Its still an alluring experience as with most of his work. It doesn't quite feel as claustrophobic a film as it could be (with the title and his other work). I might go on a bit of a Polanski binge and watch a bunch of other stuff I haven't seen. Or, revisit some of his best which should be fun.


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Release Date:

7 November 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cul-de-sac See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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