6.6/10
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54 user 41 critic

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

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The sensuous wife of a lunch wagon proprietor and a rootless drifter begin a sordidly steamy affair and conspire to murder her Greek husband.

Director:

Bob Rafelson

Writers:

James M. Cain (novel), David Mamet (screenplay)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... Frank Chambers
Jessica Lange ... Cora Papadakis
John Colicos ... Nick Papadakis
Michael Lerner ... Mr. Katz
John P. Ryan ... Kennedy
Anjelica Huston ... Madge
William Traylor William Traylor ... Sackett
Thomas Hill Thomas Hill ... Barlow (as Tom Hill)
Jon Van Ness ... Motorcycle Cop
Brian Farrell Brian Farrell ... Mortenson
Raleigh Bond Raleigh Bond ... Insurance Salesman
William Newman ... Man from Home Town
Albert Henderson Albert Henderson ... Art Beeman
Ken Magee Ken Magee ... Scoutmaster
Eugene Peterson Eugene Peterson ... Doctor
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Storyline

This remake of the 1946 movie of the same name accounts an affair between a seedy drifter and a seductive wife of a roadside café owner. This begins a chain of events that culminates in murder. Written by Craig Clarke <clarkec@topaz.cqu.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You Will Feel The Heat. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English | Greek

Release Date:

20 March 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El cartero llama dos veces See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$12,376,625

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$44,376,625
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Film producer Gerald R. Molen worked on this film as a Unit Production Manager. Ironically, considering its subject matter and the intention of director Bob Rafelson to get an X rating for the film, Molen claims to be a conservative Christian. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 35 mins) When Cora walks to the door of the café after coming back from her mother's, her zipper and zipper pull show. What we see is an "invisible" zipper which were not invented until the early 1960's. See more »

Quotes

Frank Chambers: Now, you got this on the dash. And you don't know where you got this.
[Frank to Cora as he is hitting her to stage the auto crash injuries]
See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 30 minutes from this film for its 1986 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Nanny: Everybody Needs a Bubby (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Grubby film noir
25 July 2011 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

This novel adaptation was the second after a first movie in the 1940s. This one retains the period setting but ups the ante in terms of sexual content, featuring one of the most explicit sex scenes ever shown in a mainstream film which goes far further than any film before - or since.

The plot is simple in the extreme: the wife of a Greek man who runs his own diner, bored and neglected by her husband, begins a torrid affair with a drifter her husband employs as his mechanic. From there on in, the story gradually develops in often fascinating ways as the two lovers realise that only one thing's stopping their happiness: her husband.

The film is shot through with a grim and gritty emphasis, best realised by Nicholson's grubby mechanic. He's nobody's idea of a sex symbol, although Jessica Lange is quite ravishing as the object of his attentions. This focus on realism over Hollywood fantasy is what makes the film so watchable and, in places, uncomfortable as it becomes clear that the lovers have something of a sado-masochistic relationship.

Things move into courtroom-drama territory later on (featuring some terrific acting work from Michael Lerner as the lawyer) whilst handing a number of blink-and-you'll-miss-em minor parts to familiar faces (John P. Ryan as a blackmailer, Angelica Houston as - bizarrely - a circus owner, cult favourite Don Calfa as a circus hand, Brion James as a thug and Christopher Lloyd as a salsman).

I found the film to be sometimes compelling and never boring. It's one of those films you watch to find out just what happens to the central characters, a curiosity bolstered by the feeling that they're never going to unentangle themselves from this mess. Come the surprise climax, well...you'll have to see for yourself.


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