User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 34
  2. Negative: 6 out of 34

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  1. Jul 20, 2014
    Universally admired movie captures the energy of Manhattan and explores the power of celebrity and the dark side of the power of the press. Electrifying performances from Lancaster as a sinister newspaper columnist who abuses his vast power, and Tony Curtis as a sleazy, bottom-feeder PR flack. Barbara Nichols is mind-blowing as the voluptuous cigarette girl with the heart of gold forced to compromise herself to put her son through military school. Crackling dialogue by Ernest Lehman and Clifford Odets. Lush B&W photography by the masterful James Wong Howe that captures the essence, the neon lights, and the grime of NYC all at once, Believe the hype.

    "Match me Sidney..."
  2. Aug 23, 2012
    a very peculiar film in that, at a certain point, you don't know who is good and who is bad guy. Tony Curtis is brilliant in one of the most important roles of his career. Moreover, the story isn't captivating and superficially depicts a far darker reality than mere exchange of favors and young guitarists. A good theme barely tapped.
  3. Mar 12, 2012
    Initially a slow and awkwardly developed plot, but after 25 minutes or so (around the time of Lancaster's introduction) the tightly written and bold intentions of the movie begin to shine through. With killer performances by the whole cast, and a strong premise for such an early film, the pacing quickens, and the atmosphere builds.
  4. Feb 17, 2012
    This movie left me speechless. Far ahead of its time, even today. There is no flaw, no pathetic moment, no screwed dialogue. It is perfect in a Kubrickian way but still is very different.
  5. Mar 7, 2011
    one of the greatest films ever made,in my opinion.Everything about it is great,the jazzy score by Elmer Bernstein,cinematogrophy by James Wong Howe,the terrific performances,and the unbelivable screenplay which has some of the best dialogue ever written.A must-see.
  6. Aug 27, 2010
    This biting tale of power and corruption plays out as smoothly as its tantalizing Jazz soundtrack. Burt Lancaster is impressively evil as the newspaper columnist trying to keep a hold on his sister's life.

Universal acclaim - based on 5 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. 100
    Can a film so expertly capture the odious and bitter that it becomes deliciously, disgustingly beautiful? Yes, if that film is 1957's Sweet Smell of Success.
  2. 100
    Its pleasures are almost obscenely abundant.
  3. Everyone raves about this 1957 film -- and everyone's right.